The New Civil Rights Movement

Ron DeSantis accuses teachers of 'forcing' students to pick pronouns

Governor Ron DeSantis kicked off his official presidential campaign tour on Tuesday, traveling to Iowa after announcing last week he was launching a White House run. On Wednesday, the Republican bragged to GOP voters that in Florida he recently signed a bill into law banning teachers from forcing children to pick pronouns, insisting it is happening in other states.

“It is wrong for a teacher to tell a student that they may have been born in the wrong body, or that their gender is a choice,” DeSantis announced.

“We don’t allow this in the state of Florida, and we actually just signed legislation protecting students from having teachers force them to pick pronouns, which they are doing in some parts of this country, at [a] very, very young age. We’re not competing in the ‘pronoun sweepstakes.’ We’re going to have school just like school’s been, from time in memoriam [sic], we’re not going to do all this other stuff,” he declared.

READ MORE: ‘Will Make a Great Trial Witness’: Experts Thrilled Jack Smith Is Investigating Trump’s Firing of Election Security Expert

While DeSantis is insistent that teachers are forcing very young students to pick pronouns, NCRM found no news reports supporting that claim.

We did find several news reports of teachers suing for not wanting to use a child’s preferred pronoun, which are issues for the courts.

We did find one report of a teacher who allegedly insisted on calling a 9-year-old girl who identifies as a girl a boy, and the parents are suing.

News12 on Long Island, New York in March reported, “the lawyer representing the girl’s family…says the student was bullied and had suicidal feelings.”

“She says the teacher told the student to ‘try being gay.’ The teacher is also accused of calling the girl a male name.
‘The teacher had some kind of agenda to have these students have alternate sexual preferences or gender identities they may or may not have had,'” the attorney said.

READ MORE: ‘It Has to Be Done’: These Are the House Republicans Open to Firing Kevin McCarthy as Speaker

In April, Colorado’s KRDO reported, “During the last Colorado Springs School District 11’s board meeting, officials tabled a controversial pronoun policy that would prevent educators from asking students their preferred pronouns. While the policy isn’t in effect, some teachers are concerned about how it would hinder them inside the classroom.”

Watch DeSantis below or at this link.

Experts thrilled Jack Smith is investigating Trump’s firing of election security expert

U.S. Dept. of Justice Special Counsel Jack Smith has subpoenaed former Trump administration staffers possibly involved in the firing of Chris Krebs, a top cybersecurity official who had published a report calling the 2020 presidential election “the most secure in American history,” just days after the election, infuriating then-President Donald Trump.

The New York Times reports the special counsel’s investigators have “been asking witnesses about the events surrounding the firing” of Krebs (photo), who was appointed by Trump to the newly-created position of Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, part of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security.

Krebs was fired by Trump on November 17, 2020 after tweeting that election fraud claims were bogus: “59 election security experts all agree, ‘in every case of which we are aware, these claims either have been unsubstantiated or are technically incoherent,’” according to The Washington Post.

READ MORE: ‘Sure Wasn’t by Drag Queens’: DeSantis Slammed for Ignoring Florida Mass Shooting That Included Children

“Krebs’s statement amounted to a debunking of Trump’s central claim that the November election was stolen,” The Post reported at the time.

The New York Times on Wednesday reports the Special Counsel’s investigators “appear focused on Mr. Trump’s state of mind around the firing of Mr. Krebs, as well as on establishing a timeline of events leading up to the attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6, 2021. The latest subpoenas, issued roughly two weeks ago, went to officials in the personnel office, according to the two people familiar with the matter.”

But national security and civil liberties journalist Marcy Wheeler asserts the Special Counsel’s efforts go further.

“I think it likely erroneous to imagine that Jack Smith is getting into Chris Krebs’ firing JUST to get to Trump’s mindset,” Wheeler tweeted. “He fired Krebs for doing something his Admin had specifically bought off on. It was a necessary part of the plot.”

“So,” Wheeler adds, “1) Trump fires Krebs for saying the election was fair 2) Trump fires Esper for saying he couldn’t invoke the Insurrection Act,” referring to then-Trump Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

“Then he sought about sowing an insurrection based on claims the election wasn’t fair,” she notes.

RELATED: ‘Fired for Telling the Truth to the American People’: Legal Experts Blast Trump for Firing Top Cybersecurity Chief

MSNBC’s Steve Benen agrees, writing: “Presumably, pulling on this thread would also offer investigators additional evidence that the then-president was presented with the truth by his own team, even as he pushed his anti-election lies.”

Andrew Weissmann, the former FBI General Counsel who spent 20 years at DOJ, heralded the Special Counsel’s investigation into the firing of Krebs.

“A very natural thing for Jack to examine as part of plot to overthrow the election. AND Krebs will make a great trial witness for govt.,” Weissmann tweeted.

'It has to be done': These House Republicans are open to deposing Kevin McCarthy

Many House Republicans are furious with Speaker Kevin McCarthy after they realized President Joe Biden was able to negotiate an excellent deal to avert a debt default — one that is good for the nation and the world but does not give the far-right everything they wanted.

Now some of these extremist House Republicans are threatening to invoke a parliamentary procedure they included in their agreement to support Kevin McCarthy as Speaker, even if it did take 15 tries.

Called the “motion to vacate the Speaker,” under the McCarthy House rules just one person can invoke the procedure, forcing a vote on McCarthy’s future. It would need just a simple majority to get rid of the embattled McCarthy, and in theory with such a narrow margin, Democrats could easily join with Republicans to boot him.

The question then would become, who becomes Speaker?

Here are the Republicans who say they are open to or willing to boot McCarthy.

READ MORE: Watch: Fox News Smacks Down Far Right Republican Complaining He Gets Just 3 Days to Read Debt Ceiling Bill

Dan Bishop: “It is inescapable to me. It has to be done,” he told Politico, referring to a motion to vacate for McCarthy.

Lauren Boebert: “If this bill passes with a majority of Democrats voting in favor of it, then I’m sorry, that’s the end of Kevin McCarthy’s speakership,” Raw Story reports. “That is a bad, bad look to pass a bill of this magnitude without the support of the majority and if it’s Democrats.”

Ken Buck: NBC News reports Monday night Buck “floated using the motion to vacate,” calling it the “elephant in the room.”

NBC News adds that Paul Gosar “proposed using the threat to force McCarthy to allow members to amend the bill on the House floor, under an “open rule” that could stall the bill’s passage. Perry responded that they would discuss the issue more when members return to Washington after the long weekend.”

Additionally, Matt Gaetz says if McCarthy can’t get at least half of the GOP conference to vote for the debt ceiling bill, it would immediately “trigger” a motion to vacate.

“That would immediately be a black-letter violation of the deal we had with McCarthy to allow his ascent to the speakership and it would likely trigger an immediate motion to vacate,” Gaetz said on Newsmax.

According to Fox News, Chip Roy, “a key member the House Freedom Caucus (HFC), indicated Tuesday that if Republicans do not stop the debt deal in committee he would consider ousting Kevin McCarthy from leadership as House speaker.”

Ralph Norman told Fox News earlier Tuesday he might be up for kicking McCarthy out.

Separate from McCarthy’s future, Politico reports these House Republicans opposed McCarthy as Speaker on January, and now also oppose the debt ceiling bill: Reps. Chip Roy (R-Texas), Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), Bob Good (R-Va.), Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.), Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Dan Bishop (R-N.C.), Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), Eli Crane (R-Ariz.), Keith Self (R-Texas), Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Mary Miller (R-Ill.) and Josh Brecheen (R-Okla.). Many of these members are hard line conservatives who belong to the House Freedom Caucus.”

'It’s only 99 pages': Fox News rebuffs House Republican complaining about debt ceiling bill

Far-right House Republican Ralph Norman of South Carolina spent a good portion of Tuesday complaining about the debt ceiling bill, legislation that was brokered by President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy to avert a national and global financial meltdown, but even Fox News isn’t interested in his complaints.

“It’s an insult, to get a 100-page bill, and be asked to decide on it on the spot,” Congressman Norman lied while at the Freedom Caucus’s press conference Tuesday.

“I won’t buy a microwave, unless I get it in writing,” Rep. Norman said, although it was unclear what “it” is.

READ MORE: House Republicans Tied to J6 Admit Goals: Defeat Debt Ceiling Agreement, Kill Economy, Help Trump Win in 2024

That video on social media went viral, with nearly one million views in just six hours.

Congressman Norman previously has claimed children are being aborted after being born while also voting against legislation to protect child sex abuse victims, refused to wear a mask during the hight of COVID because he was “tired” of them, voted for a federal vigilante “Don’t Say Gay” bill, denied the January 6 insurrectionists were Trump supporters, and urged the U.S. Supreme Court to declare it legal to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

Tuesday afternoon he continued his rant about having to vote on the debt ceiling bill while only getting three days to read it, but even Fox News was not putting up with it.

“We were on Memorial Day, and to get a call to come and support a bill, a negotiated bill that we hadn’t even read,” Norman complained.

“It’s like the [Speaker] Pelosi days. You gotta pass it before you can read it,” Norman said. For only one bill, the Affordable Care Act, which is 906 pages, and was written and negotiated over the course of more than a year, did Speaker Pelosi say it could only be read after it had been passed.

“But he is giving you 72 hours to consider it,” Fox News host John Roberts reminded Norman.

READ MORE: McCarthy Says GOP Put Work Requirements in Debt Ceiling Bill for a Child ‘Sitting on the Couch Collecting Welfare’

“Pelosi didn’t do that,” he claimed.

“We ought to have a lot more time,” Norman insisted.

READ MORE: ‘Sure Wasn’t by Drag Queens’: DeSantis Slammed for Ignoring Florida Mass Shooting That Included Children

“It’s only 99 pages,” Roberts also reminded Norman.

Norman, who has signaled he will not be voting for the legislation, insisted it’s “time to negotiate and go back to the table,” which will not happen.

Watch the videos above or at this link.

'Clown car': MAGA Republicans blasted for threatening to 'tank economy to help Trump win'

Some members of the most far-right group of House Republicans, the Freedom Caucus, admitted Tuesday their goals are to defeat the debt ceiling agreement, thereby killing the economy, which some of them believe would then help Donald Trump win back the White House in 2024.

Many of the House Freedom Caucus members are tied to the January 6, 2021 insurrection, by various methods, including supporting efforts to overturn state elections and spreading false claims about the results of the 2020 presidential election.

U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) in Tuesday’s Freedom Caucus’s press conference pointed to the portion of the debt ceiling agreement, brokered by President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy, which says the nation’s debt limit will not have to be raised until 2025. Outraged, Congressman Bishop admitted Republicans had wanted to have another debt ceiling fight next year, which would, he claimed, help a Republican presidential candidate win the White House.

Surrounded by far-right Republican Representatives Byron Donalds, Lauren Boebert, Chip Roy, Freedom Caucus chair Scott Perry, former Freedom Caucus chair Andy Biggs, and others, Bishop angrily complained, “And what does the device of two years do?”

READ MORE: ‘Sure Wasn’t by Drag Queens’: DeSantis Slammed for Ignoring Florida Mass Shooting That Included Children

“It removes the issue from the national conversation during the presidential election to come. How could you more successfully kneecap any Republican President than to take that issue out of his or her hands?” Bishop asked, fully and freely admitting the GOP is trying to use the levers of government, and the U.S. and even global economy, to put a Republican back in the White House, regardless of cost to the American people.

As he spoke Rep. Boebert’s head was nodding in agreement.

Sirius XM host and journalist Dean Obeidallah blasted the North Carolina Republican: “GOP Dan Bishop says quiet part out loud: MAGA wanted to use debt ceiling in 2024 to tank economy to help Trump win.”

Freedom Caucus chair Scott Perry, who the Select Committee on the January 6 Attack reportedly saw as “central” to its investigation, also spoke at Tuesday’s press conference.

Rep. Perry tried to spin conspiracy theories, including by claiming that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has not been telling the truth on when America’s cash will run out.

“We’ve asked for Janet Yellen’s figures. And with all due respect, she comes with zero credibility to the discuss,” Perry claimed, falsely. “We don’t believe her figures, we’ve asked to see her figures.”

And he admitted Freedom Caucus members “will be absolutely opposed to the deal and will do everything in our power to stop it.”

Calling it a “bad deal…that we all campaigned to put an end to,” Freedom Caucus member Lauren Boebert also spoke at the press conference, declaring, “There is nothing real in this bill to enforce. In short, tomorrow’s bill is a bunch of fake news and fake talking points.”

U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) called the debt ceiling deal “crap.”

“Washington is doing it again,” Rep. Donalds declared, apparently attacking his own party since Republicans have the majority of the House seats.

READ MORE: McCarthy Says GOP Put Work Requirements in Debt Ceiling Bill for a Child ‘Sitting on the Couch Collecting Welfare’

“While you were celebrating Memorial Day, all of our men and women who gave their lives for this great nation, and you were spending time with your family and your friends, this town was cutting another crap deal that’s going to put you more in debt with no real changes whatsoever.”

“Washington is lying, again,” said Donalds.

Republican turned Democrat, attorney Ron Filipkowski mocked the extremist GOP lawmakers.

“The Freedom Caucus members just climbed out of their clown car, and are upset that their cult leader won’t be able to run for president on a crashed economy,” he tweeted.

“Wait,” tweeted Seth Kaplan, the managing editor for Fox affiliate stations in the Twin Cities. “He wants to help ensure a catastrophic economic situation just so it can be a talking point during the 2024 election? Please tell me I’m misinterpreting.”

Earlier this month journalist Jay Bookman observed, “So basically, the debt ceiling crisis is just another version of the Jan. 6 insurrection: Give us what we want, or we’re going to tear the whole damn thing down.”

Reps. Scott Perry, Dan Bishop, Byron Donalds, Lauren Boebert, Andy Biggs, and other Freedom Caucus members earned a “very poor” grade by the Republican Accountability Project, which has been tracking Republicans in the wake of the 2021 insurrection.

Among the criteria for earning a “very poor” grade include signing the Supreme Court amicus brief “that sought to nullify votes cast in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia,” (Boebert and Donalds were not in Congress at the time to sign to that brief.)

Also, objecting “to the certification of Electoral College votes from at least one state,” making “public statements that cast doubt on the legitimacy of the 2020 election,” voting “to hold Trump accountable via impeachment or conviction,” voting “to create an independent commission to investigate the January 6th insurrection,” and voting “to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

'Wasn’t by drag queens': DeSantis slammed for ignoring Florida mass shooting that included children

A Memorial Day mass shooting 20 miles north of Miami left nine people, including children as young as one, wounded, yet Governor Ron DeSantis hasn’t said a word about it publicly, leading many on social media to blast the Florida Republican who for months has been highly-focused on his presidential campaign.

“Nine people were wounded Monday evening when gunfire erupted along a beachside promenade in Hollywood, Florida, sending people frantically running for cover along the crowded beach on Memorial Day,” CBS News reports. “The shooting happened on the Hollywood Oceanfront Broadwalk near a convenience store, a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream store and a Subway sandwich shop.”

Police continue to search for “two people they believe were involved in the shooting. The department released the surveillance video alongside still images of the individuals and asked that anyone who recognizes them contact police.”

“Several children were among those injured. Police spokesperson Deanna Bettineschi said four children between the ages of 1 and 17 were hit, along with five adults between 25 and 65,” CBS News adds.

Governor DeSantis, who is hosting a major event in Iowa Tuesday, has not said a word on his Twitter accounts, has not posted a statement on his government website, and it does not appear he has spoken to reporters about the mass shooting.

READ MORE: McCarthy Says GOP Put Work Requirements in Debt Ceiling Bill for a Child ‘Sitting on the Couch Collecting Welfare’

The governor’s official press secretary did, however, take time to attack California’s Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, who noted on social media that DeSantis recently signed a permit less carry bill into law, which will further expand the number of guns on the streets.

“California Gov. Gavin Newsom was fact-checked by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ spokesman after he blamed the Memorial Day shooting in Hollywood, Florida, on laws DeSantis signed that are not yet in effect,” Fox News reported. “Newsom reacted to reports of the shooting on social media, blaming gun violence on a bill DeSantis signed in April that eliminates the requirement for an individual to obtain a permit to carry a concealed firearm.”

DeSantis’ government spokesperson Jeremy Redfern, on what he says is his “personal” Twitter account, tweeted: “Hi Gavin, How does a law that doesn’t take effect until July 1st change this outcome?”

But Governor Newsom’s remarks are entirely factual.

“DeSantis signed a permit-less carry bill in April that removes requirements for:
-background checks

Until our leaders have the courage to stop bowing down to the NRA and enact common sense gun safety this kind of senseless violence will continue,” he wrote via Twitter.

Meanwhile, many on social media are blasting DeSantis for ignoring the mass shooting.

“9 people were shot in Hollywood, Florida and it sure as hell wasn’t by Drag Queens,” one social media user wrote, referring to DeSantis’ attacks on drag queens and the the LGBTQ community, and making clear drag queens aren’t a danger.

“Ron DeSantis had laws changed so he could stay Governor AND run for POTUS,” another social media user said, accurately. “MEANWHILE he ignores what is happening in Florida. He hasn’t said ONE WORD about this mass shooting (a 1 year old got shot) in HIS STATE this weekend. Ron, I think you should leave.”

In response to a news report on the shooting, another user simply said, “Thank you Ron DeSantis.”

“To all the Ron DeSantis supporters out there. 9 people were just shot and not one word from your precious governor,” wrote another on Twitter.

McCarthy: GOP put work requirements in debt ceiling bill for child 'sitting on the couch collecting welfare'

Extremist House Republicans are furious how President Joe Biden was able to craft a debt ceiling deal without giving up much, but according to Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, GOP lawmakers were able to put work requirements into the legislation that will require families using government assistance to put their “able bodied” children to work in order to continue receiving benefits.

We also did something different,” McCarthy, trying to sell GOP voters on the bill, told Fox News Tuesday morning. “In this family we may have a child, able-bodied, not married, no kids, but he’s sitting on the couch collecting welfare.”

“We’re gonna put work requirements on that individual, so he’s going to have work requirements, he’s gonna get a job, and he’s gonna make the life easier,” McCarthy said (video below).

Fox News’ Chad Pergram also published McCarthy’s remarks via Twitter.

Last week McCarthy appeared to be trying to get the general public to accept GOP work requirements, telling reporters they would be “only for people who are able-bodied with no dependents.”

READ MORE: ‘Republicans Got Outsmarted by a President Who Can’t Find His Pants’: GOP Congresswoman Throws Debt Ceiling Tantrum

“I don’t think it’s right that we borrow money from China to pay somebody that has no dependents, able-bodied, to sit on a couch.”

HuffPost last week explained the GOP’s “work requirements contribute a tiny amount to the overall spending reduction Republicans have proposed, but McCarthy has highlighted them as a top priority. And now the couch surfer is a symbol of that priority.”

“The changes would apply to Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the much smaller Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The new rules would deny benefits to some childless adults without disabilities unless they work, volunteer or enroll in training for at least 20 hours per week. (SNAP and TANF already have work requirements along those lines, but Republicans would make them stricter.)”

Last week The Lever reported McCarthy “borrowed his punishing work requirement proposal from [a] conservative think tank pushing to loosen child labor laws.”

“McCarthy’s work requirement proposal and his gripes about dependency come straight from the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), a conservative think tank that recently made headlines for helping secretly draft several state bills to roll back child labor laws,” The Lever reported.

Watch McCarthy’s remarks from Tuesday below or at this link.

Prosecutors tell Trump they have a recording of him and a witness: report

Prosecutors in Donald Trump’s Manhattan criminal trial have notified the ex-president’s attorneys they have a recording of him and a witness. The notification comes in the form of an automatic discovery form, CBS News reports, which “describes the nature of the charges against a defendant and a broad overview of the evidence that prosecutors will present at Trump’s preliminary hearing or at trial.”

CBS reports prosecutors have handed the recording over to Trump’s legal team.

It’s not known who the witness is, nor are any details known publicly about what the conversation entails, or even if it is just audio or if it includes video.

READ MORE: ‘Likely to Be Indicted Soon’: Trump Might Face Seven Different Felonies, Government Watchdog Says

According to the article’s author, CBS News’ Graham Kates, via Twitter, prosecutors say they also have recordings between two witnesses, a recording between a witness and a third party, and various recordings saved on a witness’s cell phones.

Trump is facing 34 felony counts in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case related to his allegedly unlawful attempt to hide hush money payoffs to a well-known porn star by falsifying business records to protect his 2016 presidential campaign.

See the discovery form above or at this link.

Government watchdog: Trump 'likely to be indicted soon' and could face seven different felonies

It’s no secret the U.S. Dept. of Justice is investigating Donald Trump for his role in attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and for his likely unlawful removal, retention, and refusal to return hundreds of documents with classified and top secret markings.

Earlier this week Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal reported, “Special counsel Jack Smith has all but finished obtaining testimony and other evidence in his criminal investigation into whether former President Donald Trump mishandled classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort.”

And while it’s unknown if or when Trump will be indicted, a government watchdog says the ex-president who is once again staging a White House run is “likely to be indicted soon.” The organization is offering details on what it claims could be seven felony charges he might face.

“The next criminal charges former President Donald Trump may face could well come from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into Trump’s possession of nearly 300 classified documents — including some marked as top secret — at his Mar-a-Lago residence and business in the year and a half after he left office,” Betsy Schick and Debra Perlin of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) state in a lengthy report published Friday.

READ MORE: DeSantis Slammed by Former High-Level FBI Official After Declaring How He Would Treat Bureau’s Independence

“While Fani Willis’ Fulton County, Georgia investigation into election interference continues, as does a federal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and Alvin Bragg has already indicted Trump in New York for his role in false statements connected to hush money payments to Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) during the 2016 presidential campaign, an indictment by Smith in the Mar-a-Lago investigation would yield the first federal charges against the former president,” CREW notes.

“Trump may face charges ranging from obstruction of justice and criminal contempt to conversion of government property and unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material.”

Here is a list of “possible crimes” Trump might be charged with, according to CREW:

Obstruction of justice (18 U.S.C. § 1519)

Criminal contempt (18 U.S.C. § 402)

False statements to federal authorities (18 U.S.C. § 1001)

Conversion of government property (18 U.S.C. § 641)

Unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material (18 U.S.C. § 1924)

Removing and concealing government records (18 U.S.C. § 2071)

Gathering national defense information (18 U.S.C. § 793(e))

READ MORE: Republican Complaining It’s ‘Almost Impossible’ for Straight ‘White Guys’ to Get Appointed by Biden Has History of Bigotry

CREW also offers that Trump’s attorneys may try to argue several different defenses, including:

No “knowing” removal

Deference to the intelligence community

Challenging the constitutionality of the Special Counsel regulations

Additionally, several reports this week also appear to suggest an indictment might be coming, and soon.

Citing a Washington Post report published Thursday, several top legal experts are predicting DOJ will charge Donald Trump, and those charges will include obstruction and violations of the Espionage Act.

Earlier this week NYU School of Law professor of law Ryan Goodman said Dept. of Justice Special Counsel Jack Smith had struck “gold” after obtaining the contemporaneous notes of a Trump attorney who counseled the ex-president on his possibly unlawful handling of classified documents.

Former top FBI official slams DeSantis after declaring he’d fire the director 'on day one'

Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is under fresh fire after launching his presidential campaign and declaring he believes the Federal Bureau of Investigation and even the U.S. Dept. of Justice are not “independent” agencies, and they should be subject to the scrutiny of the President of the United States.

After disgraced GOP President Richard Nixon left office, a virtual wall between the White House and the U.S. Dept. of Justice, including especially the FBI, was created to prevent turning the chief law enforcement agencies of the federal government into political, partisan tools to do the bidding of the nation’s chief executive and Commander-in Chief.

Days after the November, 2016 election, the Los Angeles Times reported on the “revelation that President-elect Donald Trump does not intend to seek a new investigation into Hillary Clinton,” calling it “startling,” but “not only because it seemed to reverse a campaign pledge.”

“It also suggested that Trump thinks that that’s his decision to make, reflecting an apparent lack of regard for the cherished independence of the Justice Department, which is responsible for conducting investigations without the influence or opinion of the White House.”

READ MORE: ‘Putinesque Kleptocracy’: DeSantis Slammed Over Bombshell His Administration Officials Are Soliciting Donations From Lobbyists

“Long-standing protocol dictates that the FBI and Justice Department operate free of political influence or meddling from the White House,” The Times explained. “That’s one reason that the FBI director serves a 10-year term and does not turn over the reins as presidential administrations come and go. It also means that presidents are not supposed to supervise, initiate or stop law enforcement investigations.”

As president, Donald Trump and his attorneys general would immediately obliterate those protocols, with the then-President literally directing his AGs to acquiesce to his demands, and he would do so publicly, via Twitter.

Under President Joe Biden that wall was quickly rebuilt, with Attorney General Merrick Garland issuing a “directive restricting Justice Department contact with the White House as a firewall against potential political interference,” as USA Today reported in July of 2021.

“The order, which reaffirmed some policies of previous administrations, marks a sharp pivot from the Trump era when the former president casually broke with institutional norms, repeatedly calling on the department to launch investigations of his political rivals, including President Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey.”

And now, Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to not just rescind that order, if he wins the White House, he apparently wants to direct the activities of DOJ and FBI.

READ MORE: Bill Barr’s Former Special Counsel John Durham to Testify in House Hearing

In a little-noticed portion of his rare Fox News interview Wednesday, DeSantis told former U.S. Congressman Trey Gowdy (who once was the chairman of the House Oversight Committee and thus should know better), of his apparent plans to remake the DOJ and the FBI.

“I would not keep Chris Wray as director of the FBI. There’d be a new one on Day One. I think that’s very important,” DeSantis declared, as the right-wing National Review reported. DeSantis is ignoring the fact that Congress has mandated FBI Directors be appointed for a full ten-year term, while allowing Presidents to remove them, generally for cause.

“Under the Constitution,” The National Constitution Center wrote in March of 2017, less than two months into Trump’s term, “the FBI Director is an executive branch official and can be removed if needed. But only in one instance since 1908, after the FBI and its predecessor agency were formed, has a President removed an FBI Director from office.”

Less than two months later, on May 9, Trump became the second president to fire an FBI Director. Trump terminated Jim Comey by falsely claiming it was over how he handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, by announcing to Congress he was revisiting it after obtaining a laptop that had some of her emails. (Many, including FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, and Comey himself, believe that move likely handed Trump the election.)

Now DeSantis, literally on the first day of his presidential campaign, is vowing to become the third president in history to fire an FBI Director.

“I think the DOJ and FBI have lost their way,” DeSantis continued in his Fox News interview. “I think that they’ve been weaponized against Americans who think like me and you, and I think they’ve become very partisan. Part of the reason that’s happened, Trey, is because Republican presidents have accepted the canard that the DOJ and FBI are independent.”

“They are not independent agencies. They are part of the executive branch. They answer to the elected president of the United States.”

Semafor’s David Weigel, pointing to the nascent GOP presidential candidate’s remarks, writes via Twitter, “DeSantis’s answer to Fox on why he’d fire Chris Wray = great example of how a norm fades away. D[emocratic] presidents grudgingly pick GOP FBI directors. Trump fires Comey, huge scandal, Mueller probe. DeSantis saying outright that the FBI is not ‘independent,’ president can reshape it.”

READ MORE: DeSantis Tells Evangelicals He Wants to ‘Improve’ Supreme Court So Justices Reflect ‘Gold Standard’ of Clarence Thomas

Pete Strzok is a former Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. He led the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and earlier, as chief of the FBI’s Counterespionage Section led the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server.

After being viciously targeted repeatedly by Donald Trump, Strzok was fired. he is suing for wrongful termination.

On Friday he responded to DeSantis’ remarks and Weigel’s tweet.

“ALL presidents pick GOP FBI directors. There has never been a Democrat FBI director. Ever,” Strzok tweeted.

He added he agrees with national security and civil liberties journalist Marcy Wheeler, and says, “this isn’t some norm fading away. This is a sudden assault on a generations-long norm by one man and those who support him, or seek the support of his base.”

In October of 2017, nearly one year after Trump was elected President, NPR published a report: “‘Breaching The ‘Wall’: Is The White House Encroaching On DOJ Independence?

It includes remarks from several Democrats, weighing in on how Trump had been reshaping the White House’s relationship with DOJ and the FBI.

At the time, despite his extreme actions, Democrats generally pointed to a “perception” problem, not the legal crisis it would become.

Obama Attorney General Eric Holder, however, was more forceful.

“There has to be a wall” between DOJ and the White House, Holder told NPR. “History has shown us that when that wall is too low, that’s when Justice departments get in trouble.”

NPR also quoted Democratic U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, then the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who at a hearing in October of 2017 said: “The attorney general’s master is the people and the law.”

Bill Barr’s former special counsel John Durham to testify at House hearing

Former Special Counsel John Durham, who recently ended his four-year investigation into the FBI’s decision to launch an investigation into Russia’s attack on the 2016 election and any possible connection Donald Trump or his campaign had to those efforts, will testify before the Republican-majority House Judiciary Committee next month.

The Durham report, widely-panned by legal experts but praised by GOP partisans, was the culmination of an investigation many believe was started to appease then-President Donald Trump. Trump Attorney General Bill Barr secretly elevated Durham to Special Counsel status in October of 2020, effectively to allow his investigation to continue regardless of the result of the following month’s presidential election.

Durham ended up indicting just three people. He lost two cases and the third pleaded guilty to a minor charge.

RELATED: ‘Circle of Garbage’: Experts Slam Durham ‘Wild Goose Chase’ as Investigation Into DOJ Trump-Russia Probe Ends With ‘Bupkis’

Washington Post columnist Philip Bump published an analysis earlier this month titled, “Durham’s probe ends as it began: Pointing at trees to obscure the forest.”

But Durham’s report gives fodder to the far-right.

National security and legal experts have torn the Durham report apart, with some noting his investigation directly conflicts with findings from a DOJ Inspector General and the then-GOP majority Senate Intelligence Committee’s report.

Fox News reports Durham “will testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee about his report in June, a source has told Fox News on Friday.”

“The hearing will happen on Wednesday, June 21,” Fox adds. “The day before, Durham will appear before the House Intelligence Committee in a closed-door briefing.”

'Putinesque': DeSantis slammed over bombshell his admin officials are soliciting donations from lobbyists

Democratic and Republican political campaign experts, lobbyists, politicians, attorneys, and others are stunned and outraged after learning taxpayer-paid government officials in the administration of Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis have reportedly been soliciting donations for his presidential campaign, in violation of longstanding expectations of a firm wall between a political leader’s work as an elected public servant, and their political campaign machine.

“Whoever is telling these kids to do this has lost their damn mind,” a Florida Republican lobbyist told NBC News, which broke the bombshell story late Thursday night.

The solicitations from DeSantis government officials are in the form of personal text messages to Florida lobbyists, “a breach of traditional norms that has raised ethical and legal questions and left many here in the state capital shocked,” NBC News reports, adding that it was seen as “jaw-dropping.”

“It is walking a very close line to what is ethical and possibly legal,” a Florida lobbyist told NBC News. “It is state employees leveraging their official position to ask people whose livelihood depend on access to state government for money.”

READ MORE: ‘He’s Gonna Get Charged’: Experts Predict Obstruction and Espionage Act Charges for Trump Based on WaPo Report

“Using a bundle code makes it look like certain employees get credit with the campaign,” that same lobbyist added, calling it “very questionable.”

“If any of my clients had legislative staff sending out donation links, we would be having a hard conversation,” a Republican fundraiser who works on federal elections said.

NBC News says the “legality of the solicitations depends on a series of factors, including whether they were sent on state-owned phones, or if they were sent on state property.”

At the federal level, with the exception of the President and Vice President, elected and government officials are banned from soliciting donations or campaigning on government property, including in government buildings, such as Congress or the White House.

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was formally admonished in March by the Senate Ethics Committee for violating ethics rules and standards by repeatedly soliciting campaign donations during an interview at the Capitol. It was not the first time he “directly solicited campaign contributions,” the Committee noted.

A longtime Florida election law attorney told NBC News, “At a minimum, even if they are sitting in their home at 9 p.m. using their personal phone and contacting lobbyists that they somehow magically met in their personal capacity and not through their role in the governor’s office, it still smells yucky.”

“There’s a misuse of public position issue here that is obvious to anyone paying attention,” they added.

READ MORE: ‘Manufactured MAGA Madness’: House Dems Slam GOP for ‘Running Out of Town’ to Trigger an ‘Economic Meltdown’

Pay-to-play, as some might call DeSantis’ actions, apparently has been part of the Florida GOP Governor’s playbook for years.

“Since assuming office in 2019,” The Tampa Bay Times reported this past October, “DeSantis has accepted roughly $3.3 million in campaign donations from about 250 people he selected for leadership roles,” referring to government jobs. The Times called it “a 75% increase in the number of donors appointed compared to former Gov. Rick Scott’s first term in office, and over 10 times the amount of money.”

The Miami Herald at the time spoke with Kedric Payne, vice president and general counsel with the Campaign Legal Center, who noted appointing donors is a typical practice.

“The public perceives this to be pay to play,” Payne told The Herald. “It’s perceived to be a contribution given with a wink and a nod to get the appointment.”

Orlando Sentinel Capital bureau reporter Jeffrey Schweers calls the NBC report “huge,” and says “the implications are staggering.”

Matt Dixon, the NBC News reporter and co-author of the bombshell report, observed on Twitter, “The $117b state budget and several bills remain on DeSantis desk.”

“That’s a lot of leverage, and those who got the texts are feeling pressure,” he noted. “Beyond that, it’s just so drastically beyond the norm. Taxpayer funded staff asking lobbyists for political $ isn’t how it usually works.”

Jay Nordlinger, a senior editor at the right-wing National Review, tweeted, “Frankly, I didn’t know this was a matter of ‘norms’; I thought it was a matter of law. Something to keep an eye on.”

Former federal prosecutor in the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s fraud division, Andrew Warren, currently a Florida state attorney who was suspended by DeSantis, had strong words in response to NBC’s reporting.

“Florida government officials on taxpayer salaries are raising money for DeSantis campaign from companies doing business with his administration. This is corruption—plain & simple. But what else should we expect from a Governor who flaunts the rule of law?”

Warren is challenging DeSantis’ suspension in court.

READ MORE: DeSantis Tells Evangelicals He Wants to ‘Improve’ Supreme Court So Justices Reflect ‘Gold Standard’ of Clarence Thomas

Rick Wilson, the well-known political strategist and now-former Republican who has worked in politics since 1988, blasted DeSantis.

“The stories of @RonDeSantis GOVERNMENT staff…not campaign, GOVERNMENT staff soliciting Florida lobbyists for money for his Presidential campaign should draw the immediate attention of the Department of Justice,” he tweeted Friday morning. “This is Putinesque kleptocracy.”

“Here’s why the quid pro quo is so outrageous,” he noted. “DeSantis has yet to sign the state budget.”

Indeed, NBC News “spoke with 10 Republican lobbyists in Florida, all of whom said they couldn’t remember being solicited for donations so overtly by administration officials — especially at a time when the governor still has to act on the state budget.”

“That process that involves DeSantis using his line-item veto pen to slash funding for projects that the same lobbyists whom they are asking for political cash have a professional stake in. Most of the lobbyists said they felt pressure to give to the governor’s campaign.”

Florida Democratic Party chair Nikki Fried, who ran in the 2022 gubernatorial primary but lost to Charlie Crist, responded to Wilson on Twitter, charging, “This is also how he [DeSantis] strong armed the endorsement of members of the legislature.”

“It’s not just the lobbyists they’re extorting,” Democratic former state lawmaker Carlos Guillermo Smith, a current state senate candidate, alleged via Twitter. “Ron DeSantis got 99 Florida Republican lawmakers to sign endorsement agreements before budget vetoes were announced. Using fear, intimidation, and threats of retribution is all they know how to do.”

Republican whining it’s 'almost 'impossible' for 'white guys' to get Biden appointments has bigoted past

A Republican U.S. Congressman complaining that President Joe Biden isn’t appointing enough straight white men to the federal judiciary has a long history of racist and anti-LGBTQ remarks.

U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI), who has spent the past three decades as an elected official, stood on the House floor Thursday to discuss what he called a new “study” that showed out of 97 judicial appointments President Biden made in his first two years in office, just five were “white guys,” and “two were gay.”

“A study was done a little while ago on the federal judiciary. I wish we had these studies for all other appointments by the Biden administration,” Rep. Grothman says. “And apparently in his first two years, President Biden had appointed 97 federal judges. Of the 97 federal judges, I was expecting maybe 25 or 30 were white guys, because I know President Biden wasn’t heavy on appointing more white guys.”

“Five of the 97 judges were white guys of those, two were gay. So almost impossible for a white guy who’s not gay apparently to get appointed,” the Wisconsin Republican lawmaker complained.

The video, posted to Twitter Thursday afternoon, has quickly gone viral, garnering 1.2 million views in just four hours.

Grothman’s history of bigotry has been well-documented over the years.

“In 2010 Grothman, who believes that homosexuality is a choice, proposed banning Wisconsin public school teachers from mentioning homosexuality in sex education classes because some teachers had an ‘agenda’ to turn kids gay,” as Mother Jones reported.

READ MORE: ‘He’s Gonna Get Charged’: Experts Predict Obstruction and Espionage Act Charges for Trump Based on Bombshell WaPo Report

In 2015 Grothman responded to the U.S. Supreme Court decision the found same-sex couples have the same constitutional rights and responsibilities to marriage as their different-sex peers. Grothman said the Obergefell ruling, as Right Wing Watch reported, “was an affront to the Americans who died in the Civil War because it was ‘a strong religious war to further a Christian lifestyle by getting rid of slavery.'”

In 2019, he was one of 53 members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives who urged the U.S. Supreme Court, in writing, to rule against LGBTQ people. The lawmakers, all Republicans, said the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not – and should not be interpreted to – protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.

In 2021, Delegate Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) blasted Grothman after he claimed Black Lives Matter “doesn’t like the old-fashioned family.”

“If you just look up Glenn Grothman, he has a history of making remarks about ‘welfare mommas,’ just very racist remarks throughout his time,” Placket later told MSNBC.

Last year Grothman, who ran unopposed for his seat, was one of 33 House Republicans who sponsored a federal vigilante “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Back in March, all 26 Republicans on the House oversight Committee, including Grothman, refused to sign a simply two-sentence statement denouncing white supremacy.

“We, Members of the Committee on Oversight and Accountability, together denounce white nationalism and white supremacy in all its forms, including the ‘Great Replacement’ conspiracy theory. These hateful and dangerous ideologies have no place in the work of the
United States Congress or our Committee,” the statement from Ranking Member Jamie Raskin (D-MD) read.

Also in March Rep. Grothman was one of just eight members of the House – all Republicans – to vote to suspend normal trade relations with Russia, in response to Vladimir Putin ‘s illegal war against Ukraine.

Meanwhile, many on social media reacted to Grothman’s complaint there are not enough straight white men on the federal bench by pointing to various statistics to show the Wisconsin Congressman that the vast majority of Donald Trump’s appointees to the federal bench were straight white men.

According to Pew Research, in his four years as president, just 16% of Trump’s massive number of judicial appointees were not white. Just 24% were women.

READ MORE: ‘Manufactured MAGA Madness’: House Dems Slam GOP for ‘Running Out of Town’ to Trigger an ‘Economic Meltdown’

“Glad to see someone standing up for that repressed and beleaguered demographic,” tweeted Steve Metz, sarcastically. Metz is an author and professor of national security and strategy at the U.S. Army War College.

“Republicans are the only party brave enough to dream of an America where white men are finally given a voice on the federal judiciary,” mockingly claimed CREW’s research director Robert Maguire. Maguire posted charts showing the lack of racial and gender diversity in the nation’s federal courts.

“For the first 139 years, all federal judges were white males,” noted a Twitter user whose bio says they are an attorney. “The first woman was appointed in 1934, the first black man in 1950. Even now white males are over represented, 71% of the judiciary versus 61% of the general population. Biden is trying, but we aren’t there yet.”

Another Twitter user observed, “This is what the GOP war on Woke is all about! The GOP is terrified that their white dominance in society is eroding.”

Watch the videos of Grothman above or at this link.

'He’s gonna get charged': Experts predict Espionage Act violations for Trump after bombshell WaPo report

Citing a just-published Washington Post report, top legal experts are predicting the U.S. Dept. of Justice will charge Donald Trump, and those charges will include obstruction and violations of the Espionage Act.

The Washington Post Thursday afternoon reported the ex-president had classified documents unprotected in his Mar-a-Lago office, showed classified documents to people visiting his Mar-a-Lago office, and held a “dress rehearsal” for moving documents around even before receiving a DOJ subpoena, and before the FBI executed a search warrant to retrieve classified and top secret documents.

“Two of Donald Trump’s employees moved boxes of papers the day before FBI agents and a prosecutor visited the former president’s Florida home to retrieve classified documents in response to a subpoena — timing that investigators have come to view as suspicious and an indication of possible obstruction, according to people familiar with the matter,” The Washington Post report reads.

“Trump and his aides also allegedly carried out a ‘dress rehearsal’ for moving sensitive papers even before his office received the May 2022 subpoena, according to the people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a sensitive ongoing investigation.”

READ MORE: ‘Manufactured MAGA Madness’: House Dems Slam GOP for ‘Running Out of Town’ to Trigger an ‘Economic Meltdown’

“Prosecutors in addition have gathered evidence indicating that Trump at times kept classified documents in his office in a place where they were visible and sometimes showed them to others, these people said.”

Ryan Goodman, an NYU School of Law professor of law, and international and national security law expert, pointed to that last sentence from the Post and wrote, “I expect this will result in Espionage Act charges. Dissemination is key.”

MSNBC anchor and legal contributor Katie Phang, responding to the Washington Post report, tweeted one word in all-caps: “OBSTRUCTION.”

But Goodman goes even further.

“The reported facts are now far beyond just an obstruction case,” he says. “Willfully disseminating to third parties is also easily distinguishable from Pence, Biden, other instances in which DOJ has declined to prosecute.”

Goodman adds: “Trump’s reported conduct of RETAINING classified documents is already more serious than average case in which Justice Department DOES indict. COMMUNICATING or TRANSMITTING classified documents to third parties is considered much more egregious.”

Further dissecting the Washington Post’s report, Goodman finds an “interesting detail.”

“A second employee who help Walt Nauta move boxes into storage room a day before FBI visit on June 3,” he writes. “The next day… ‘the employee helped Nauta pack an SUV ‘when former president Trump left for Bedminster.'”

That, Goodman suggests, points to both obstruction and willful retention.

READ MORE: DeSantis Says He Will Turn ‘Woke Military’ Away From ‘Gender Ideology’ and Reach ‘Settlement’ in Russia’s War Against Ukraine

Former U.S. Attorney and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman, a frequent MSNBC guest, pointed to the portion of the Post’s report that said Trump showed classified documents to others.

“That could be a whole new crime if evidence is solid,” he said on Twitter.

Attorney, author, and former diplomat Norm Eisen, a board chair of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a former White House Special Counsel, and former co-counsel for Trump’s first impeachment, also weighed in.

“I helped draft the classified document handling rules that Trump violated,” Eisen said via Twitter.

“And I know this,” he added. “He’s gonna get charged if he was part of a dress rehearsal for moving the boxes & if he showed classified docs as WaPo reports.”

Meanwhile, Goodman’s earlier remarks also build on his prior claims.

Earlier this week he said that Dept. of Justice Special Counsel Jack Smith had struck “gold” after obtaining the contemporaneous notes of a Trump attorney who counseled the ex-president on his possibly unlawful removal, retention, and refusal to return hundreds of classified documents from the White House.

READ MORE: DeSantis Fails to Launch as Twitter Spaces Crashes – Second Try Leads to ‘#DeSaster’

“Special Counsel Smith strikes gold,” tweeted Goodman, himself a former Special Counsel at the U.S. Dept. of Defense, and the founding co-editor-in-chief of Just Security, an NYU website on U.S. national security law and policy.

“Moving boxes of documents the *day before* the FBI and DOJ came to visit?” observed former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti. “It’s easy to see why Special Counsel Jack Smith and his team are very suspicious. It sure looks like an indictment in the Mar-a-Lago investigation is likely.”

The government watchdog CREW simply responded to the Post’s report, saying, “This is a big one.”

'Manufactured MAGA madness': House Dems slam GOP for 'running out of town' to trigger 'economic meltdown'

House Democrats are blasting their GOP colleagues for exiting Washington, D.C. just days before the U.S. is expected to run out of cash and, for the first time in history, be unable to pay its debts – unless Congress passes legislation to raise the debt ceiling. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has repeatedly warned that June 1 is the likely deadline, as Republicans reportedly don’t believe her. Experts agree the results of a default would be globally catastrophic.

Among the likely outcomes would be potentially massive increases in interest rates, social security recipients not getting paid, businesses with government contracts not getting paid, layoffs and spiking unemployment, potential bank runs, a recession, lack of confidence in the U.S. dollar, destabilizing world financial markets, and increased international reliance on America’s enemies including China, further destabilizing the U.S.

Three weeks ago the Biden administration published a report showing that “defaulting on our government’s debt could reverse the historic economic gains that have been achieved since the president took office: an unemployment rate near a 50-year low, the creation of 12.6 million jobs, and robust consumer spending that has consistently powered a solid, reliable growth engine, supported by paychecks from the strong job market and healthy household balance sheets.”

House Democrats are insisting this is actually the goal of the GOP, and warning them to not do so

READ MORE: DeSantis Says He Will Turn ‘Woke Military’ Away From ‘Gender Ideology’ and Reach ‘Settlement’ in Russia’s War Against Ukraine

Democrats are urging Republicans to stay in Washington until the job is done, but the Republican-majority House, under Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s leadership, is, as one Democrat put it, “running out of town.”

“We’re here. We continue to work,” House Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffriestold Politico’s Nicholas Wu. “We want to get a resolution of this manufactured default crisis. And unfortunately, Republicans have chosen to get out of town.”

On the House floor, Leader Jeffries continued to pound Republicans.

“This is a default crisis that is manufactured MAGA madness,” Jeffries declared, rightly noting that the debt ceiling crisis is an entirely made-up construct that doesn’t even exist in most other countries. “It is repugnant, reckless and reprehensible. It’s unacceptable. It’s unconscionable and it’s un-American. And that’s why House Democrats have remained on the House floor fighting hard for every-day Americans. That’s why we are here. And we will continue to fight for working families, continue to fight for middle class folks, continue to fight for all those who aspire to be part of the middle class, continue to fight for young people, continue to fight for older Americans, continue to fight for veterans, continue to fight for military families, continue to fight for people in urban America and rural America and suburban America and small town America and the heartland of America, continue to fight for the people in Appalachia, continue to fight for the poor, the sick and the afflicted, continue to fight for the least, the lost, and the left behind. House Democrats will continue to fight for every-day Americans to avoid the fault and we will not rest until victory is won.”

Leader Jeffries also noted that Democrats “helped make sure we avoided default three times, notwithstanding the fact that in our country’s 247 year history 25% of the nation’s debt was racked up under the four years of the Trump administration.”

READ MORE: Dem ‘Apologizes’ to ‘Grand Appliance Party’ for Protecting Kids From Gun Violence Rather Than Protecting Gas Stoves

“How dare you lecture America about fiscal responsibility with that shameful record, notwithstanding the fact that you’ve racked up unprecedented amounts of debt to subsidize the rich, the richest amongst us, and big corporations. We never threatened to default.”

He accused Republicans of making “a political calculation that you will be successful in 2024 if you crash the economy.”

“That’s wrong. That’s cruel. That’s un-American, because you’ll be hurting veterans, hurting children, hurting seniors, hurting young people, hurting every-day Americans. And that’s why Democrats are here today in Washington fighting hard against this unreasonable manufactured default crisis.”

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) demanded Republicans “stop holding our nation’s economy hostage.”

Outraged, Congresswoman Dingell yelled, “It’s dangerous. It’s unconscionable. – knowing the devastating impact that it is going to have on the American working families.”

She noted that Republicans will be posting messages of support this Memorial Day weekend on social media, “while advocating for a plan that will abandon all those veterans and their families at a moment they need their country most.”

Addressing Republicans, she shouted, “I’m staying. I’m missing my goddaughter’s wedding because I have a job to do. Where are you?”

Freshman U.S. Rep. Greg Casar (D-TX) said if just five House Republicans joined Democrats, the American people can avoid default and devastation. All 213 House Democrats have agreed to vote for a debt ceiling discharge petition to avoid default. With 218 votes it would pass.

Republicans dared to cut the mic of U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) as soon as she went over her time. She continued to speak anyway, even as the gavel pounded away.

U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), a former constitutional law professor, noted the 14th Amendment mandates the U.S. must pay its debts. “The validity of the public debt shall not be questioned,” he said, quoting our founding documents. Rep. Raskin also slammed Rep. Matt Gaetz, accusing the Florida Republican of calling the American people hostages in the debt ceiling negotiations.

CPAC’s longtime treasurer unloads in resignation letter: 'Cancer has been metastasizing'

The longtime treasurer for the American Conservative Union, the organization that hosts the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), has quit and issued a damning resignation letter citing how the organization is handling funds for the defense of its chairman, Matt Schlapp, accused by a GOP operative of sexual assault.

Bob Beauprez, a former GOP Congressman, personal friend of Schlapp, and American Conservative Union (ACU) board member and treasurer, wrote the board in March saying, “I cannot deliver a financial report at the upcoming board meeting with any confidence in the accuracy of the numbers,” as New York magazine‘s Ben Jacobs reports.

When the lawsuit was filed the board fronted Schlapp $50,000 to hire an attorney. Beauprez “wrote he was blindsided when Schlapp told him that he had raised another $270,000 from donors to ACU and its related foundation, ACUF. His shock grew when he said ACU’s lawyer told him in February at CPAC that the money ‘was already either dispersed or invoiced.’”

RELATED: Male Staffer Sues Matt Schlapp for $9 Million – Lawsuit Alleges ‘Sexual Battery’ After ‘Aggressively Fondling’ Groin Area

“I have to admit that I feel like I’m in the dark,” Beauprez told the board. “I have received no further information about what additional costs have accrued since then … I assume any monies paid are either coming from Matt personally or from ACU/F. But, again, I don’t know, and it is most unsettling.”

In January, a Republican political aide in his 30’s working at the time of the alleged assault for the Herschel Walker campaign, filed a lawsuit against Matt Schlapp for $9.4 million. It accuses Schlapp of “aggressively fondling” his “genital area in a sustained fashion” while the two were alone in a car, as The New York Times reported.

The Daily Beast also reported the staffer was suing “for battery, defamation, and conspiracy.”

“In a letter, the staffer’s attorney, Tim Hyland of Hyland Law, called Schlapp a ‘sexual predator,’” The Daily Beast added.

Schlapp, through an attorney’s statement, has declared the allegations he “groped” and “fondled” the male staffer’s crotch without consent after buying him drinks at two different bars, “false.”

Meanwhile, New York magazine’s Jacobs notes that Beauprez also said he told the board during its March meeting, “there was no mention of the case, no status update, no summary of expenditures to date, no word regarding acceptance of coverage from either our D&O [directors and officers] insurance company, or Matt’s personal liability carrier, no opportunity to ask questions, etc., etc. I thought this was not only inappropriate, but unconscionable.”

He pointed to their “fiduciary obligation to be made aware of what, how, and why monies are being spent, especially involving a corporation insider such as the chairman.”

READ MORE: DeSantis Says He Will Turn ‘Woke Military’ Away From ‘Gender Ideology’ and Reach ‘Settlement’ in Russia’s War Against Ukraine

Beauprez alleged that when some “have sought answers to some of what seem to be obvious and necessary questions … we have been accused of ‘not having Matt’s back’ and ‘trying to stage a leadership coup.’”

He also warned the organization’s “operating procedures are in direct conflict with our own bylaws,” which could lead to invented “charges” by a “rogue DA.”

NEW YORK reports that Beauprez “also said Schlapp refused to give any specific information about the finances of the 2023 CPAC conference held in March.”

“Matt always responds in much the same way, ‘It looks like we made about $500,000, maybe more.’ I hope that’s roughly accurate, but I’d like to also see the financial data upon which Matt has reached this conclusion.”

“A cancer has been metastasizing within the organization for years,” Beauprez concluded. “It must be diagnosed, treated, and cured, or it will destroy ACU/F. You simply cannot survive like this.”

RELATED: Watch: Matt Schlapp Gets Pulled Away From Reporter at CPAC Asking About the Sexual Assault Allegations Against Him

In 2021, citing unnamed sources, the conservative website The Dispatch reported, “federal investigators are currently looking into possible criminal campaign-finance misdeeds at ACU during Schlapp’s tenure. As part of the investigation, the FBI has interviewed former and current ACU employees about the financial dealings of the organization and its leaders.”

DeSantis says he’ll turn 'woke military' away from 'gender ideology'

Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis, immediately after his disastrous presidential campaign launch on Twitter Spaces, headed to Fox News where he said on “day one” as Commander in Chief the way he will handle Russia’s war against Ukraine is to keep America’s “woke military” from focusing on “gender ideology” and “global warming” in order to reach a “settlement.”

“All right, you wore the uniform,” Fox News host and former GOP Congressman Trey Gowdy said to DeSantis. “If you are elected president, you may be the first one in a while to have worn the uniform. How would you address the ongoing war in Eastern Europe between Russia and Ukraine on day one of a Ron DeSantis presidency?”

“Well, first,” the new presidential candidate declared, “I think what we need to do as a veteran is recognize that our military has become politicized. You talk about gender ideology, you talk about things like global warming, that they’re somehow concerned and that’s not the military that I served in.”

READ MORE: DeSantis Fails to Launch as Twitter Spaces Crashes – Second Try Leads to ‘#DeSaster’

“We need to return our military, to focusing on commitment, focusing on the core values and the core mission. That would be something that I can take care of on day one,” he said, appearing to suggest America’s service members are not sufficiently committed.

“There’ll be a new sheriff in town as Commander in Chief, and I think you’ll see recruiting start to get back to where it needs to be because people don’t want to join a woke military, and I think it’s been really really problematic.”

None of those issues have anything to do with the illegal war being waged by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is facing an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court in the Hague for alleged war crimes. DeSantis in March called Russia’s war against Ukraine a mere “territorial dispute.”

U.S. troops are not fighting in Ukraine, so America’s current military recruitment challenges have nothing to do with defeating Russia.

Nor does what DeSantis has called the “woke mind virus.”

Current recruitment challenges are caused by issues DeSantis does not want to bring up: President Joe Biden’s successes of pulling out of Afghanistan and very low unemployment, as the strategy, defense, and foreign affairs website War on the Rocks explains. It also points to a drop in Americans eligible to join the military, and that under President Donald Trump, confidence in the U.S. Armed Forced had dropped, but has actually risen under President Biden.

READ MORE: Moms for Liberty Leader Says Biden Behind High-Level, Coordinated Effort to Make Kids LGBTQ (Video)

DeSantis did get around to mentioning “what’s going on over in Eastern Europe,” as he called Russia’s war against Ukraine, saying simply he’d “like to see a settlement of this,” and doesn’t want U.S. troops involved.

Attorney George Conway, a Republican turned independent during Donald Trump’s presidency, mocked DeSantis’ response.

“You see, Ron’s military policy advisers showed him a theatre map reflecting that Transnistria borders Ukraine and he concluded that some woke soldiers must have drinking Bud Light.”

Attorney Ron Filipkowski, a former Republican and former DeSantis administration official, responded by saying DeSantis “wants to play footsie with pro-Putin MAGA while hanging on to his pro-Ukraine donors.”

Former GOP Congressman Joe Walsh added, “He’s Johnny one note. Everything is an attack on ‘woke.’ Everything. He ain’t ready for prime time.”

Democratic former state lawmaker Carlos Guillermo Smith, a current state Senate candidate said: “Culture wars are all this clown can do.”

READ MORE: It’s a Day That Ends in ‘Y’ So Trump Is Once Again Going After E. Jean Carroll

Harvard Law School Cyberlaw Clinic instructor Alejandra Caraballo tweeted, “Rudy Guiliani was ‘noun, verb 9/11’ and now DeSantis is ‘noun, verb, gender ideology.'”

Watch DeSantis below or at this link.

'DeSaster': Ron DeSantis fails to launch as Twitter Spaces crashes

Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis attempted to launch his 2024 presidential campaign on Twitter Spaces with Elon Musk, but failed to launch as the social media’s live audio platform repeatedly crashed.

The event was supposed to begin at 6:00 PM ET, but started late, never seemed to get off the ground, and sometime around 6:20 just abruptly ended.

The mockery of both Musk and DeSantis was widespread.

Presidential historian Michael Beschloss weighed in several times.

“Is Twitter audio conking out because DeSantis has gotten cold feet about running for President?”

READ MORE: ‘Leaning Into Weird’: DeSantis Presidential Launch Panned Before It Starts Because Who Even Knows What Twitter Spaces Is?

“DeSantis announcement still crashing after fifteen minutes–not an inspiring harbinger of his leadership competence as President.”

“It’s twenty minutes in, and still the DeSantis announcement is crashing–anyone have a metaphor to suggest?”

Twitter seemed to be fueled by massive mockery.

“The DeSantis live event on Twitter has already featured reverb, audio cutting out, chatter from the participants as they scramble to fix audio problems, and now another extended period of silence,” reporter Jamie Dupree tweeted. “‘The servers are straining somewhat’ as someone whispers in the background.”

That someone appears to have been Musk.

Attorney Brad Moss appeared to mock both Musk and his SpaceX Starship explosion last month that reportedly “spread particulate matter for miles.”

READ MORE: It’s a Day That Ends in ‘Y’ So Trump Is Once Again Going After E. Jean Carroll

“Elon’s products usually blow up so this is nothing new,” Moss tweeted.

Democratic political strategist Tom Bonier summed it up as Twitter appeared to pull the plug: “And just like that, the DeSantis launch ended. Without ever really beginning.”

But Musk tried again, and with a far smaller audience, according to the counter on the app, about 205,000 listening. The second time the technical aspects seemed to work better.

Host David Sacks asked DeSantis why he chose to launch his campaign on Twitter Spaces, and the Florida governor replied that just as he bucked convention during the COVID pandemic, he decided to not follow the crowd in launching his campaign.

DeSantis did not mention his coronavirus statistics, including Florida ranking third in total cases and deaths, and in the top 10 for per capita cases and deaths.

Even before the first attempt failed, the Biden Campaign was quick to capitalize on the mayhem, tweeting a link to donate, saying, “This link works.”

But even once the second attempt was live, the discussion was widely panned.

Veteran Republican presidential campaign strategist Stuart Stevens tweeted, “As presidential announcements go, this is the three stoned guys who couldn’t get a date in their dorm room on Saturday night version.”

SiriusXM host Michelangelo Signorile, a veteran journalist, observed, “DeSantis could have had millions of people watching as he launched if he did this on TV. Instead he got 100k listening to whiny rich guys on this broken down app, which malfunctioned at the start. And many of those people listening are just here for the train wreck.”

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes concluded, “I’m sorry but this is an ASTOUNDINGLY HUMILIATING degree of incompetence. Unspinnable failure. Total and complete. Fully public.”

Making clear DeSantis has made enemies nationwide, the DC Public Library tweeted, “We have better audio and don’t ban books.”

By the end, “#DeSaster” was trending on Twitter.

Democrat 'apologizes' to 'Grand Appliance Party' for protecting kids from gun violence instead of gas stoves

U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz of Florida, one of the more prolific Democrats in the House of Representatives, mocked the GOP and his Republican colleagues during the Oversight Committee’s hearing on gas stoves.

“I want to apologize on behalf of the Democratic Party that we have decided to put kids’ safety, in their neighborhoods from getting gunned down, in movie theaters, or grocery stores, or school churches, or synagogues – we as Democrats have clearly lost our way that we are not focused on appliances,” Congressman Moskowitz said sarcastically in the viral video below.

Officially called, “Consumer Choice on the Backburner: Examining the Biden Administration’s Regulatory Assault on Americans’ Gas Stoves,” Wednesday’s hearing was a magnet for mockery, as some Republicans outright lied about Biden administration’s claims and plans.

Congressman Byron Donalds (R-FL) falsely claimed that the Biden Administration was forcing, or trying to force, Americans to replace their gas stoves with electric ones that don’t cause the type of dangerous air pollution gas stoves in the home do when there is poor air circulation.

READ MORE: ‘Leaning Into Weird’: DeSantis Presidential Launch Panned Before It Starts Because Who Even Knows What Twitter Spaces Is?

“I’m not even joking around, because this thing is stupid,” Rep. Donalds told the committee. “For black and brown communities, the cost of actually having to go out and buy a new appliance, or to retrofit your kitchen is far more dangerous to your bottom line and to your pocketbook. I’m being honest, far more dangerous.”

“What we can’t do are these crazy demands from the Department of Energy and from the EPA,” he said at the end of his diatribe.

None of which is true. DOE and EPA are not mandating gas stoves be banned. What they want is all new construction – new buildings – to not have gas stoves. There’s no requirement to replace your current gas stove, although studies show they can be more dangerous than electric stoves.

In January, Yahoo News reported, “Gas stoves have given 650,000 U.S. children asthma, study finds,” but the GOP quickly dismissed those findings.

In fact, however, studies going back decades have shown gas stoves can be harmful to your health, and your children’s health, especially when there’s inadequate ventilation.

“There is about 50 years of health studies showing that gas stoves are bad for our health, and the strongest evidence is on children and children’s asthma,” the co-author of a study, cited by Bloomberg, said.

Rep. Donalds was responding to Oversight Ranking Democratic member Cori Bush, who told the committee she was there to “discuss climate, the environment, and the very air we breathe – not just gas stoves. I w9sh my Republican colleagues were as concerned about the Black and Brown communities on the front lies of our climate crisis as they are about an appliance.”

“This proposed rule is not a ban on gas stoves,” Bush declared, repeating her remarks. “We are regulating indoor air pollution.”

U.S. Rep. Shontel Brown (D-OH) also blasted Republicans: “You know what they are banning? Abortions. You know what they are banning? Books. You know what they won’t ban? Assault weapons, but we are sitting up here talking about a ban on gas stoves.”

Congressman Moskowitz’s remarks, however, went viral.

“You know, and it’s warm, and you’re in the kitchen, and you stare into the knobs of your beautiful stainless steel beauty. I got it, I get the bravado – we can pry your gas stove from your cold dead hands, or, give me my gas stove or give me death,” Rep. Moskowitz said as he mocked House Republicans.

RELATED: ‘Pry It From My Cold Dead Hands’: GOP Vows ‘Stove War’ Legislation, Doesn’t Want Feds ‘Coming After Kitchen Appliances’

“You know I have a six-burner double oven range that sits on legs. I mean, I miss her, right now, as as we’re talking about it. And, and so I think because it’s a two party system, I think when my colleagues across the aisle, the the other party, show leadership, the leadership of our times that is desperately needed, Democrats like myself, should commend them.”

“And I want to apologize on behalf of the Democratic Party that we have decided to put kids’ safety in their neighborhoods, from getting gunned down in movie theaters or grocery stores or school churches or synagogues, we as Democrats have clearly lost our way that we are not focused on appliances. And so we’re finally seeing our friends across the aisle stand up for parents all across the country as they tuck their kid in at night. As they dress them for school in the morning, as they are worried that they may not come home. My friends across the aisle are telling those parents, you can breathe a sigh of relief that the Grand Appliance Party is going to make sure your gas stove goes nowhere.”

“You, you might own a small business,” he continued, “and you are worried about how you’re going to pay your employees if we default. The good news for you today is that if you have to shutter your business because the country defaults, your gas stove will still be there. And so, you know, I look forward to the legislation of our time the Appliance Bill of Rights that might come in front of this committee.”

The video has been seen over 850,000 times in under six hours.

Watch below or at this link.

'Leaning into weird': Ron DeSantis’ campaign panned ahead of launch due to confusion over Twitter Spaces

Some time this evening Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to finally announce he is running for president, an announcement that has been seen for years as all but inevitable. NBC News broke the story Tuesday afternoon that not only would the far-right authoritarian, anti-LGBTQ, anti-woke, anti-social justice warrior finally throw his hat into the ring, he would do it with Big Tech billionaire Elon Musk in a Twitter Spaces chat.

While some saw it as an interesting move initially, 24 hours later the decision to announce in a Twitter Spaces chat is being widely panned, for many reasons including that even regular, active users of Twitter have little to no idea what Twitter Spaces is, or how to access it.

More importantly, most Americans don’t use Twitter, so they will not bother to tune in. Nor – since Twitter Spaces is audio – is there expected to be video, and certainly not live video.

Former Republican and former U.S. Congressman from DeSantis’ home state of Florida, David Jolly, sums up what many seem to be thinking.

READ MORE: It’s a Day That Ends in ‘Y’ So Trump Is Once Again Going After E. Jean Carroll

“The DeSantis decision to announce with Musk is a serious miscalculation. A launch with three missteps,” he tweets. “1. He’s leaning into the ‘weird’. 2. He’s doubling down on being the candidate who needs a safe space. 3. He’s promoting his association with regressive ideology.”

“Dumb move,” he concludes.

Political strategist and Lincoln Project senior advisor Jeff Timmer agrees with Jolly.

“Every single thing about the DeSantis campaign has been a stupid not-ready-for-primetime misstep,” he writes. “Every. Single. Thing. The paper tiger has feet of clay and a glass jaw. The most overrated stock in the history of POTUS campaigns.”

READ MORE: Chief Justice: Harder Deciding to Erect a Fence Around the Court Than Deciding to Rescind Right to Abortion (Video)

So why Twitter Spaces?

The Atlantic’s David Frum, the Bush 43 speechwriter who reportedly came up with the 2002 State of the Union phrase “axis of evil,” served up an on-target take not even mentioning the Twitter Spaces event.

Criticizing a DeSantis pre-launch video (below), Frum wrote: “Fascinating how every DeSantis message raises some barrier between the candidate and the target audience. In previous ads, the candidate’s face was mediated through screens; here, somebody else’s voice is substituted for the candidate’s own. He himself is always missing.”

That’s a good description of how it will likely be on Twitter Spaces.

Attorney, former Republican, former DeSantis administration official, former federal prosecutor Ron Filipkowski mockingly tweeted, “With a couple of dynamic personalities like Musk and Desantis, the audio-only announcement tonight should be real compelling.”

There’s been a lot of criticism, from Democrats, independents, and yes, Republicans.

“This announcement is a symptom of thinking random conservative Twitter personalities are the GOP base,” a Republican strategist who is “working with a rival campaign” told the website Semafor.

Another told them, “I couldn’t think of a more terrible way to spend my time than watching two socially awkward introverts talk about themselves.”

As it turns out, according to this two-year-old Twitter “how to” on Spaces, it is only available on iOS – Apple’s iPhone and iPad platform – so if DeSantis was hoping for a massive draw, he’s unlikely to get that. (Turns out Twitter didn’t update that How To — it’s also available on Android and in a web browser.)

There’s also been remarkably little effort via Twitter or the DeSantis campaign to promote the event. If you are a Twitter user you may not have even seen anything about it.

Even scrolling on my Twitter app, I see absolutely nothing about the event.

Earlier today I tweeted, “I’m not a marketing expert, but I am on Twitter a lot, and I have no idea what time Elon Musk and Ron DeSantis [are] going to be on Twitter ‘Spaces,’ I have no idea how to access it, and I’ve seen nothing telling me about it, other than it’s supposedly happening.”

Two people responded, one of them later pointing me to a USA Today article apparently originally titled, “How to watch: Gov. Ron DeSantis announces presidential bid on Twitter.” The current title, since it’s audio, reads: “Elon Musk will host Ron DeSantis on Twitter Spaces. How to listen on iPhone, tablets or desktop PC.”

Oh, and it is slated to start at 6 PM ET.

After I complained it was “just bad execution from Musk, as usual here,” the other person who responded wrote, “It’s such loser behavior all around.”

Watch the video above or at this link.

Trump is once again going after E. Jean Carroll despite knowing 'he could face additional legal trouble'

Despite a jury’s decision that ordered him to pay E. Jean Carroll $5 million, despite her having a separate defamation lawsuit pending, Donald Trump once again on Wednesday is publicly going after the 79-year old journalist whose case, should she win, could add another $10 million or more to her coffers.

Wednesday morning Trump resurfaced what appears to be an 11-year old Facebook post from Carroll, which has been making its way around far-right wing blogs, and ordinarily would have served to stoke his ego. He posted a screenshot of it to his Truth Social account.

The first part of Carroll’s post reads, “I’m a MASSIVE Apprentice fan” – referring to Trump’s former reality TV show.

The second part simply says, “Two many good TV shows on Sunday Night! My God! What do YOU watch?”

READ MORE: Chief Justice: Harder Deciding to Erect a Fence Around the Court Than Deciding to Rescind Right to Abortion (Video)

Atop the image of her remarks, Trump on Wednesday wrote, “Is she, in actuality, a stalker?”

Carroll’s expert attorney is Robbie Kaplan, perhaps best-known for successfully representing LGBT icon Edie Windsor at the U.S. Supreme Court, in the case that overturned a large section of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.

On Monday Kaplan amended Carroll’s defamation lawsuit against Trump to include his remarks about Carroll that he made during his recent CNN town hall. In that lawsuit Carroll is asking for $10 million.

On Tuesday, undeterred, Trump again went after Carroll, “reiterating the same statements about her he’s been making since 2019,” as MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin noted.

Among them are Trump’s repeated claim he doesn’t know Carroll, and “never met her or touched her.” He also alleged Tuesday she had previously made a racist remark about her then-husband. In addition to other claims, the ex-president called Carroll’s allegations “Fake” and “Made Up.” And in all-caps, he called it a “scam” and the trial “unfair.”

READ MORE: Marjorie Taylor Greene Slammed for Paying $100,000 for Kevin McCarthy’s Cherry Chapstick as US ‘Teeters on Default’

Rubin also explained that on Tuesday Trump was to appear before a judge who could have brought the hammer down on the ex-president for his social media remarks in a separate case, his Manhattan criminal indictment.

After his appearance, Mother Jones reported, “Donald Trump was summoned to appear Tuesday before a Manhattan judge, who warned the former president that he could face additional legal trouble if he publicly rants about the evidence against him in his criminal fraud case—a recurring problem during the E. Jean Carroll sexual assault lawsuit earlier this month. Trump’s virtual appearance was brief, and New York judge Juan Merchan spoke to him gently. But the message was clear: Do not try to mess with this trial.”

Chief Justice: Harder deciding to erect a fence around SCOTUS than deciding to rescind abortion rights

Chief Justice John Roberts says it was harder for him to decide to have a fence erected around the U.S. Supreme Court ahead of the ruling that would reverse the 49-year old Roe v. Wade decision than it was to decide that case, which stripped women of their constitutional right to abortion.

The embattled Chief Justice told the 100-year old American Law Institute, which honored him with a prestigious award at their annual meeting Tuesday night, that erecting the fence was actually the hardest decision he’s ever had to make in his nearly two decades as head of the nation’s highest court.

“I’m asked what was the hardest thing? What was the hardest decision I had to make in 18 years? Was it this First Amendment case? Was it that death penalty case? Was it some major separation of powers case? None of those. The hardest decision I had to make was whether to erect fences and barricades around the Supreme Court. I had no choice but to go ahead and do it,” Roberts declared.

READ MORE: DeSantis Tells Evangelicals He Wants to ‘Improve’ Supreme Court So Justices Reflect ‘Gold Standard’ of Clarence Thomas

As The Washington Post noted, those fences and barricades erected around the Supreme Court were “in preparation for protests of the court’s decision that overturned the constitutional right to abortion the court had established nearly 50 years earlier in Roe v. Wade. The fences remained for months.”

Unlike the fences and barricades, the decision not only still stands, it has led to total or partial abortion bans in at least 20 states, with more being debated in other states, and some Republicans pushing for a nationwide abortion ban.

Chief Justice Roberts is leading a Supreme Court under fire on several fronts, which has led to historically low approval ratings. In September, just months after the decision to allow states to ban abortion, Gallup found that just “47% trust the judicial branch,” and noted the “previous low was 53%.”

It also found that the Court’s 40% job approval “is tied for record low,” and 42% say the Supreme Court is too conservative, a record-high.

READ MORE: Bombshell Paper Shows Democrats Likely Won’t Regain Majority Control of Supreme Court Until 2065 – Unless They Expand It

Wednesday morning, CNN reported “Americans’ approval of the Supreme Court has fallen since the start of the year, according to a new poll released Wednesday, with 41% of the country saying it approves of the nine justices amid a barrage of media reports and watchdog complaints concerning ethics and transparency at the nation’s highest court.”

Justice Roberts has refused to implement at his Supreme Court the same ethical standards every federal judge, except the nine justices, are required to observe. He has also refused to take significant action against several justices who appear to be in violation of certain ethics reporting requirements, not to mention the appearance, some say, of corruption.

And while he gave lip-service to ethical issues Tuesday evening in his 15-minute remarks, the concerns surrounding the court’s corruption remain, as these headlines show: “A Rare Inside Look at Our Corrupt Supreme Court.” “The US supreme court’s alleged ethics issues are worse than you probably realize.” “The Stench of Corruption Is Growing Stronger Around the Supreme Court.” “Why the Supreme Court Is Blind to Its Own Corruption.”

Watch a short clip of the Chief Justice’s remarks below or at this link.

Ron DeSantis wants to 'improve' the Supreme Court toward the 'gold standard' of Clarence Thomas

Speaking before a welcoming crowd of national evangelical broadcasters one Tuesday, Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis declared Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is the “gold standard for jurisprudence” and the next president could have the opportunity to create a 7-2 conservative majority that would last for a quarter century.

DeSantis, who will formally announce his 2024 presidential run on Wednesday with Twitter owner Elon Musk, appeared to be perfecting his stump speech as he delivered his 30-minute remarks before the National Religious Broadcasters Convention, which just happened to be hosting its 2023 annual convention in Orlando.

Merely hinting at his impending presidential candidacy announcement, DeSantis at one point in his lengthy speech said, “the U.S. Supreme Court with some of the recent appointments is in a much better spot than it’s been in a long time. But I think if you look over, you know, the next two presidential terms, there is a good chance that you could be called upon to seek replacements for Justice Clarence Thomas, and Justice Samuel Alito, and the issue with that is you can’t really do better than those two. They are the gold standard for jurisprudence.”

Justices Thomas and Alito are seen as the most far-right extremists on the Supreme Court today. Justice Thomas is at the center of what many legal experts see as a two-decade-old corruption scandal involving possibly millions of dollars.

READ MORE: Marjorie Taylor Greene Slammed for Paying $100,000 for Kevin McCarthy’s Cherry Chapstick as US ‘Teeters on Default’

“And so you got to make sure that we’re appointing people who are going to be as close to that standard as possible,” he declared. “If you replace a Clarence Thomas with somebody like a [John] Roberts or somebody like that, then you’re going to actually see the court move to the left. And you can’t do that. I also think if you, if you look over those eight years, you very well could be called upon to replace Chief Justice John Roberts, and perhaps even someone like Justice Sotomayor.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor is rated the most left-leaning of all the current Supreme Court Justices. She is 68.

“So it is possible that in those eight years, we’d have the opportunity to fortify justices Scalia [sic] and Thomas Alito, and in Thomas, as well as actually make improvements with those others and if you were able to do that, you would have a seven to two conservative majority on the Supreme Court that would last a quarter-century. So this is big stuff very important that that that gets done right.

RELATED: ‘Could Shoot Somebody on Fifth Avenue’: Clarence Thomas’ Corruption Is Indefensible. Here’s Who’s Defending Him.

Watch DeSantis’ speech below or at this link (video begins at 11:48 mark).

Ron DeSantis to launch presidential bid live on Twitter with Elon Musk

Republican Ron DeSantis will officially launch his 2024 presidential campaign in an event with a billionaire mogul who represents some elements of what conservative America greatly opposes: Big Tech, and clean and renewable energy.

The Florida Republican Governor, who has spent months traveling the country, will sit down with Musk and David Sacks on Wednesday, NBC News reports, when he is expected to formally announce his White House run. Musk is a Big Tech giant, the owner of the social media platform Twitter, the head of the electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla, CEO of the space exploration company SpaceX, and founder of the electric vehicle public transportation company The Boring Company.

He is also the world’s second richest person.

“Musk and DeSantis will host an event on Twitter Spaces, the site’s platform for audio chats, on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET. It will be moderated by David Sacks, a tech entrepreneur who is a Musk confidant and DeSantis supporter,” NBC adds. “That same evening, the campaign will release a launch video, and DeSantis will begin visiting several early states after Memorial Day.”

READ MORE: Marjorie Taylor Greene Slammed for Paying $100,000 for Kevin McCarthy’s Cherry Chapstick as US ‘Teeters on Default’

It’s unclear why DeSantis is choosing to let the momentum wane by pausing travel for several days.

Appearing to confirm his participation, Musk retweeted a Fox News reporter’s tweet announcing the Wednesday evening event. “Twitter Spaces” is also now trending.

Musk is a highly-polarizing figure, but he has publicly suggested he supports a DeSantis presidency.

“My preference for the 2024 presidency is someone sensible and centrist,” Musk tweeted in November. Asked by a Twitter user if he would support a DeSantis run, Musk tweeted one word: “Yes.”

DeSantis is far from centrist. He has hammered together what some call one of the most extreme and authoritarian state governments in modern America.

One year ago in April Vox alleged, “Ron DeSantis is following a trail blazed by a Hungarian authoritarian,” doing, “The Florida governor isn’t doing ‘competent Trumpism.’ He’s inventing American Orbánism.”

“By operationalizing the culture war into a set of concrete policies, DeSantis has transformed the nation’s third most populous state,” TIME’s Molly Ball wrote last week. “What was once the butt of jokes about gators and retirees is now the swaggering, Southern-tinged Free State of Florida—where men are men, woke is broke, and business is booming; 1,200 net new residents arrive every day.”

And the headline on a March piece at The Atlantic reads: “How Did America’s Weirdest, Most Freedom-Obsessed State Fall for an Authoritarian Governor?”

And an April opinion piece by U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat of Florida, in the Sun Sentinel reads: “Ron DeSantis’ anti-choice extremism will keep hurting Florida’s women and girls.”

MSNBC also announced the event on-air.

Watch below or at this link.

Legal expert reveals the three ways Trump put his foot in his mouth by 'taunting' E. Jean Carroll

One day after the attorney for E. Jean Carrollamended her first defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump to include remarks he recently made about her at a CNN town hall, a town hall that was held one day after a jury found him liable in the journalist’s sexual abuse and defamation lawsuit, the ex-president again has gone after Carroll.

A legal expert says Trump’s remarks early Tuesday morning could harm him later today in his criminal case as he appears virtually in a pretrial hearing before a New York judge.

“Just hours after E. Jean Carroll moved to amend her original defamation case against Donald Trump, Trump is back on Truth Social, reiterating the same statements about her he’s been making since 2019,” MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin observes.

At 7:30 Tuesday morning, Trump again claimed he doesn’t know Carroll, and “never met her or touched her,” he said on his social media site, including alleging she made a racist remark about her then-husband. In addition to other claims, the ex-president, who was ordered by a jury to pay Carroll $5 million, called her allegations “Fake” and “Made Up.” And in all-caps, he called it a “scam” and the trial “unfair.”

READ MORE: Marjorie Taylor Greene Slammed for Paying $100,000 for Kevin McCarthy’s Cherry Chapstick as US ‘Teeters on Default’

“What’s different now, however, is threefold,” Rubin explains. “First, she already has obtained a jury verdict that he sexually assaulted her in the mid-1990s and then defamed her with substantially similar statements last year.”

“Second, she’s now made it crystal clear that she’s not dropping her first-filed — and arguably significantly more remunerative — case, which stems from his June 2019 statements about her and also seeks punitive damages for his post-verdict speech on CNN earlier this month,” she adds.

In Carroll’s first defamation lawsuit, which has yet to go to trial, she is asking $10 million.

“And third,” Rubin continues, “there is not-so-coincidental overlap with Trump’s criminal case in Manhattan. Today, Judge Juan Merchan is expected to look Trump in the eye (albeit by video link) & ensure there is no confusion about Trump’s obligations under the protective order in that case.”

In Trump’s Manhattan criminal case he is being charged with 34 felony counts, related to “orchestrating a hush-money scheme to pave his path to the presidency and then covering it up from the White House,” as The New York Times reported.

“That protective order enumerates what Trump can’t do with discovery obtained from the Manhattan DA’s office. He may not post, distribute, or even disseminate any information derived from that discovery on social media, including, but not limited to, Truth Social.”

READ MORE: ‘Obstruction & Espionage Act’: Top Legal Expert Says Trump Attorney’s Notes Show ‘Evidence of Willfulness’

Additionally, Trump may only see discovery materials while in the presence of his attorney, and he may not take photos or other recordings of them.

“What does this have to do with Carroll?” Rubin posits. “No judge lives in a vacuum. That Trump is again taunting a private litigant against him on social media — and making reference to discovery and evidentiary disputes in her recent trial — only underscores the need for the protective order.”

“Neither Carroll nor her lawyers scare easily. But the ongoing threat Trump’s social media abuse poses not only to her but to the Manhattan DA team, its witnesses, and investigators cannot be understated,” she explains.

In Carroll’s defamation and sexual abuse case, the judge in a rare move ordered the jury be anonymous, barring even Trump’s attorneys from knowing who they were out of fear they or those close to them might be harmed.

The Daily Beast’s Jose Pagliery weighs in via Twitter, writing: “Trump keeps defaming E Jean Carroll. This afternoon, a NY state court judge in an unrelated case will warn Trump about his online behavior. He’s giving the judge ample reason to doubt whether he can abide by court orders–and common decency. Quite the fast-moving train wreck.”

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow a week ago interviewed E. Jean Carroll and her attorney, Robbie Kaplan, and re-ran a portion of that interview Monday evening.

Watch below or at this link.

Marjorie Taylor Greene slammed for paying $100K for Kevin McCarthy’s chapstick as US 'teeters on default'

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican of Georgia, on Tuesday was the highest bidder among House Republicans for a cherry “chapstick” used by Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy. Greene, who promotes herself as a culture warrior and fiscal conservative, made the winning bid for the lip balm after McCarthy sweetened the deal by promising to attend a donor dinner, according to reports.

“During GOP conference today,” Politico’s Olivia Beavers reports, “House Rs did about a 15-min fundraising auction for chapstick used by Speaker McCarthy. The winner: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), whose winning bid was $100,000, her Spox confirms to me.”

“Others bid on it as well, but MTG ultimately won: And as bidding went on, McCarthy would sweeten the deal, throwing in agreeing to attend a dinner with donors/supporters for whoever wins, Spox confirmed,” Beavers adds, citing Greene’s spokesperson. “The chapstick specifically was a Rep. Aaron Bean campaign chapstick.”

READ MORE: Moms for Liberty Leader Says Biden Behind High-Level, Coordinated Effort to Make Kids LGBTQ (Video)

Speaker McCarthy has been allegedly negotiating with President Joe Biden over the debt ceiling. If Republicans refuse to raise the debt limit, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warns by June 1, the U.S. will default on its debt for the first time in history. Experts say the result will likely have global ramifications, drive interest rates sky high, and devastate the U.S. and world economies. It will also destroy international confidence in the American dollar, and permanently increase the interest rate the U.S. spends on its debt.

It is if the $100,000 came from Greene’s personal funds or if it is donor money.

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) responded to the news, saying, “They doing this insane chapstick shit while the country teeters on default. Wild.”

“$100,000 spent on used chapstick,” said podcaster Rachel Vindman. “Please bring this up when people say this woman is relatable and down-to-earth.”

U.S. Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL) tweeted, “In today’s Democratic caucus meeting, we discussed how devastating a default would be for American families and what we can do to get the GOP to take this seriously. In the House GOP meeting, they auctioned off Kevin McCarthy’s used chapstick.”

READ MORE: School District’s Book Ban Created a Hostile Environment and May Have Violated Civil Rights Says Biden Education Dept.

Journalist Rafi Schwartz: “MAGA economic populism is spending more for a tube of used chapstick than most of your constituents make in an entire year.”

U.S. Rep. Jennifer McClellan (D-VA): “MAGA Republicans are paying $100,000 for Speaker McCarthy’s chapstick while holding Social Security checks and retirement benefits hostage unless we cut food benefits for seniors, Medicaid funding, and childcare/preschool for low-income Americans.”

The Lincoln Project’s Philip Germain: “House Republicans demand an end to wasteful and reckless spending while dropping $100,000 on Kevin McCarthy’s used chapstick.”

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY): “Spending $100,000 on chapstick while working overtime to gut the programs that working families rely on. GOP priorities in a nutshell.”

Beavers posted a photo of the Georgia GOP Congresswoman with the “chapstick,” although it’s unclear if it was a Chapstick branded balm.

'Obstruction and Espionage Act': Legal expert says Trump attorney’s notes show 'evidence of willfulness'

Dept. of Justice Special Counsel Jack Smith has struck “gold” after obtaining the contemporaneous notes of a Trump attorney who counseled the ex-president on his possibly unlawful removal, retention, and refusal to return hundreds of classified documents from the White House, says a top legal expert and former special counsel.

“Special Counsel Smith strikes gold,” tweeted NYU School of Law professor of law Ryan Goodman, the founding co-editor-in-chief of Just Security, an NYU website on U.S. national security law and policy.

Goodman pointed to a CNN article titled, “Trump’s attorney took notes that say the former president wanted to fight subpoena for classified docs.”

“Donald Trump asked whether he could push back against Justice Department efforts last year to recover any classified documents still in his possession during conversations with his lawyer over compliance with a federal subpoena, according to multiple sources familiar with notes taken by his lawyer and turned over to investigators,” CNN reported.

READ MORE: Special Counsel Subpoena Orders Trump Organization to Hand Over Records From Seven Different Foreign Countries

“Special counsel Jack Smith has obtained dozens of pages of notes that Trump’s attorney Evan Corcoran took last spring, memorializing conversations with his client after the former president received the subpoena last May and before a key meeting with the Justice Department a few weeks later when Trump’s legal team said they had turned over all classified records they could find, the sources told CNN.”

Goodman highlights aspects of the reporting. He writes: “Trump’s team ‘surprised about the level of detail,'” and “Obtains ‘dozens of pages of notes’ of Trump attorney ‘memorializing conversations with his client.'”

“My take,” he summarizes, “Contains evidence of obstruction & Espionage Act.”

Goodman continues, citing CNN, and says, “the notes show over the course of conversations with Trump, ‘the attorney explained that the subpoena meant Trump would need to return all records.'”

“As [former U.S. Attorney Barb McQuade] explained with The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell’s “scoop, that is evidence of willfulness,” Goodman says.

He then points to this sentence from CNN: “Trump, when informed by his lawyer about the subpoena and how he should respond, asked if there was any way to fight it.”

Goodman says that “is evidence of Espionage Act ‘willful retention,’ 18 USC 793(e), and Obstruction, 18 USC 1519.”

'The depth of his malice': E. Jean Carroll adds Trump’s CNN comments to her defamation lawsuit

Barely 24 hours after he was ordered to pay E. Jean Carroll $5 million in her civil lawsuit, Donald Trump was on national television continuing to talk about the journalist after a jury found him liable for her rape and defamation allegations.

Less than two weeks after that highly-controversial town hall, E. Jean Carroll’s attorney has amended her defamation lawsuit (this is a different lawsuit, which was originally filed in 2019) to include the comments Trump made about Carroll on CNN.

Carroll “is now seeking a ‘very substantial’ additional amount in response to his insults,” The New York Times reports.”Ms. Carroll’s filing Monday in Manhattan federal court seeks to intensify the financial pain for Mr. Trump.”

READ MORE: School District’s Book Ban Created a Hostile Environment and May Have Violated Civil Rights Says Biden Education Dept.

Twelve days ago on CNN, Trump “echoed his earlier denials about the episode, calling her account ‘fake’ and a ‘made-up story.’ Despite a photograph showing them together, he claimed again that he had never met Ms. Carroll, 79, called her a ‘wack job’ and said the recent civil trial was ‘a rigged deal.'”

Her amended filing “argues Mr. Trump’s defamatory statements following the verdict ‘show the depth of his malice toward Carroll, since it is hard to imagine defamatory conduct that could possibly be more motivated by hatred, ill will or spite.'”

“This conduct supports a very substantial punitive damages award in Carroll’s favor both to punish Trump, to deter him from engaging in further defamation, and to deter others from doing the same,” it also says.

Oversight chair appears to admit his Hunter Biden probe is designed to help Trump win the White House

Oversight Committee Chairman Jim Comer in a 4 AM interview Monday morning appears to have admitted to actually weaponizing the federal government for political gain.

Chairman Comer, Republican of Kentucky, appeared to tell Fox News early Monday morning that his investigations into Hunter Biden are actually designed to help Donald Trump win the 2024 presidential election.

“We have talked to you about this on the show, about how the media can just not ignore this any longer. In an op-ed in The Washington Post, it says, ‘Millions Flowed to Biden Family Members. Don’t Pretend It Doesn’t Matter,’” said Fox News host Ashley Strohmier, as HuffPost reported Monday. “So do you think that because of your investigation, that is what’s moved this needle with the media?”

READ MORE: Moms for Liberty Leader Says Biden Behind High-Level, Coordinated Effort to Make Kids LGBTQ (Video)

“Absolutely. There’s no question,” Comer replied, sounding very similar to Kevin McCarthy in 2015 (below) when he admitted the Benghazi investigations were designed to hurt Hillary Clinton in the polls. “You look at the polling, and right now Donald Trump is 7 points ahead of Joe Biden and trending upward, Joe Biden’s trending downward. And I believe that the media is looking around, scratching their head, and they’re realizing that the American people are keeping up with our investigation.”

Comer citied one recent poll, but may polls show President Joe Biden beating Donald Trump, and overall, while it is still very early, the polls are very close.

“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?” McCarthy had said. “But we put together a Benghazi Special Committee, a Select Committee ― what are her numbers today?” McCarthy had told Fox News at the time. “Her numbers are dropping, why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened.”

HuffPost notes that “in reality, despite House Republicans’ efforts to portray Biden as hopelessly corrupt, the committee didn’t present any evidence in its hearings that directly implicated Biden.”

Watch Comer below or at this link.

Billionaire SCOTUS benefactor Harlan Crow has just hours to comply with Senate Judiciary probe

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee investigating the U.S. Supreme Court’s ethics crisis earlier this month requested an extensive list of documents from billionaire real estate magnate, Republican mega donor, and activistHarlan Crow. He has just hours left to meet the deadline.

According to the letter – not a subpoena – signed by the 11 Democratic Senators including Chairman Dick Durbin, the committee appears to be working off reporting from ProPublica, which published several articles recently exposing, among other concerns, decades-worth of annual or nearly annual luxury all-expenses paid vacations gifted to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and at times his wife Ginni. Legal experts say Justice Thomas failed to comply with federal law by not disclosing certain portions of those gifts, like travel aboard private planes and yachts – a required category. There’s also Crow’s purchase of Thomas’ mother’s house, where she lives now rent-free, and payments (including a half-million dollar startup seed fund) to or for Ginni Thomas. Then there are the tuition payments for the Thomas’ legal ward, their grandnephew.

“Recent investigative reporting has identified multiple instances in which you or entities you own or control have made payments, purchased real estate, or provided gifts, travel, or other items of value to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and members of his family,” the May 8 letter to Crow from the Judiciary Committee begins. “Many of these gifts, transactions, and items of value had not been previously disclosed by Justice Thomas, in apparent contravention of the Supreme Court’s April 25, 2023 ‘Statement on Ethics Principles and Practices’ which claimed that Justices since 1991 ‘have followed’ the financial disclosure requirements provided in the Judicial Conference Regulations, and other applicable obligations. You have issued several public statements acknowledging these items of value that you have given to Justice Thomas and his family members.”

RELATED: ‘Weren’t in a Fraternity Together’: Harlan Crow’s Relationship With Clarence Thomas Based on ‘Cozying Up’ Says Fallon

Indeed, in an interview with The Atlantic published Monday, Crow defiantly insisted he saw nothing wrong with lavishing a sitting U.S. Supreme Court justice with gifts, a justice who can and, some say, has issued rulings favorable to his interests.

According to a short biography at the George W. Bush Presidential Center where he sits on the board of directors, Crow’s “company owns and manages real estate investments throughout the United States and overseas. Mr. Crow serves on the boards of the American Enterprise Institute, Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Supreme Court Historical Society, and is a member of the American Antiquarian Society and The Philosophical Society of Texas.”

The nonpartisan 501(c)3 watchdog group Accountable.USalleges: “Harlan Crow Is A Longtime Member Of AEI’s Board Of Trustees, And Has Served While The Group Promoted Numerous Supreme Court Amicus Briefs During Thomas’ Tenure.”

It also alleges, “As Recently As 2022, AEI Declared It Had Initiated A ‘Renewed Emphasis On… The Supreme Court’ And The Organization Has Highlighted Their ‘Impact’ On Court Decisions Multiple Times.”

RELATED:‘Could Shoot Somebody on Fifth Avenue’: Clarence Thomas’ Corruption Is Indefensible. Here’s Who’s Defending Him.

The Senate Judiciary letter asks Crow for items from five different categories:

“An itemized list of all gifts, payments, and items of value exceeding $415 given by you, or by entities you own or control or for which you have served as a partner, director, or officer, to any Justice of the Supreme Court or a member of the Justice’s family, including the name of the Justice, the approximate dollar amount of each item, and the date it was extended.”

“An itemized list of all real estate transactions in which you, or any entity you own or control or for which you have served as a partner, director, or officer, conducted with a Justice of the Supreme Court or a member of the Justice’s family, including the name of the Justice, the date of the transaction, the valuations of the properties, the dollar amount conveyed in the transaction, any occupancy agreements reached regarding the real estate, and the dollar value of any improvements made or taxes paid on the properties during the course of any occupancy agreement.”

“An itemized list of all transportation or lodging provided by you, or any entity you own or control or for which you have served as a partner, director, or officer, to a Justice of the Supreme Court or a member of the Justice’s family, including the name of the Justice, the date the transportation was provided, the mode of transportation provided, the itinerary traveled, any lodging provided, and the approximate dollar value of the transportation or lodging.”

RELATED: Clarence Thomas in 2001: Being a Supreme Court Justice Is ‘Not Worth Doing for What They Pay’

“An itemized list of the occasions on which any property or facility owned by any entity you own or control or for which you have served as a partner, director, or officer, provided lodging to a Justice of the Supreme Court or a member of the Justice’s family, including the name of the relevant Justice, the location of the lodging, the date the lodging was provided, and the approximate dollar value of the lodging.”

“An itemized list of all occasions when entrance to any private, members-only club was provided by you, or entities you own or control or for which you have served as a partner, director, or officer, to any Justice of the Supreme Court or a member of the Justice’s family, including the name of the Justice, the dates of those visits, and the full names of any other guests who were also provided entrance by you, or entities you own or control or for which you have served as a partner, director, or officer.”

That letter gives a deadline of today.

Last month Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden also requested documents from Crow. He refused to comply. Last week in an extensive letter Wyden replied, renewing his committee’s request.

It does not appear Crow has complied with either committee’s requests as of this writing.

School district’s book ban under investigation for potential civil rights violations

A U.S. Dept. of Education investigation into how a Georgia school district chose to remove almost a dozen books, mostly with Black and LGBTQ characters, finds it created a hostile environment for students and may have violated their civil rights. The DOE’s Office of Civil Rights says the effects of the book removals were so “harsh” they led at least several students to be afraid to go to school.

The Washington Post calls the investigation’s conclusion “a move that could affect how schools handle book challenges.” The Forsyth County, Georgia school district has “agreed to offer ‘supportive measures’ to students affected by the book removals and to administer a school climate survey,” according to a letter from the Dept. of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

The extensive and detailed letter notes that the district weighed multiple methods to handle parents’ complaints about several books, and took steps, albeit insufficient, to attempt fairness. But it also makes clear extremist parents’ demands played a role in its decision to remove certain books. The letter also includes comments from students.

READ MORE: Moms for Liberty Leader Says Biden Behind High-Level, Coordinated Effort to Make Kids LGBTQ (Video)

In March of 2022, a local CBS affiliate in Georgia ran a news report detailing the remarks of some parents. That report largely focused on parents who were demanding books be banned. It did not include any students. It also alleged the books were inappropriate: “A slew of inappropriate books in Forsyth County school libraries is causing outrage amongst some parents,” the video’s written statement on YouTube reads.

“During a February 15 District school board meeting, which the District’s Superintendent attended, multiple parents and students spoke about the District’s removal of books,” the Office of Civil Rights’ letter reads, referring to an earlier meeting. “Many parents called for the removal of additional books, with most of their comments focused on sexually explicit content; however, some comments focused on removing books for reasons related to gender identity or sexual orientation. Also, some parents made negative comments about diversity and inclusion or critical race theory.”

“The students’ comments at the board meeting focused on the gender identity, sexual orientation, and race or color of authors or characters in the books. Some students also raised concern about the impact of removing the books. One student stated that the book ban immediately made the environment more harsh for students; people like him who are not in the closet are watching their safe spaces disappear, and he is sick of being fearful at school,” OCR states. “A student who identified herself as Asian said it is hard for her to find books with main characters who are of her race; she knows that people of other minority backgrounds have the same struggle and banning books written with diversity silences mainly minority voices. A third student — who characterized the District’s actions as singling out books by authors who are gay, supporters of the LGBTQI+ community, women and people of color — expressed the belief that the District does not care about diversity.”

In its letter, the Office of Civil Rights sys it “has a concern the District received notice that its media center book screening process may have created a hostile environment for students, yet the District’s responsive steps related to the book screening process were not designed to, and were insufficient to, ameliorate any resultant racially and sexually hostile environment.”

READ MORE: Chris Hayes Decimates DeSantis’ ‘Dystopian’ Hypocrisy of Taking Away Rights of Parents to Decide Trans Kids’ Health Care

It also “recognizes the District Media Committee rejected suggestions to handle challenged books in ways that it believed would target certain groups of students and that the District posted a statement on media centers’ websites that they ‘provide resources that reflect all students within each school community’ and that ‘If you come across a book that does not match your family’s values and/or beliefs, and you would prefer that your child does not check that book out, please discuss it with your child.’ OCR also recognizes the District limited its book screening process to sexually explicit material.”

But OCR makes clear the district’s attempts were insufficient, noting that “communications at [school] board meetings conveyed the impression that books were being screened to exclude diverse authors and characters, including people who are LGBTQI+ and authors who are not white, leading to increased fears and possibly harassment.”

“District witnesses reported to OCR that the District has not taken steps to address with students the impact of the book removals. In light of these communications and actions, OCR is concerned a hostile environment may have arisen that the District needed to ameliorate.”

Watch the video above or at this link.

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