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Looking for home in an overheating world

If Emissions Continue, Will We All Be Migrants Someday?

Greenville, CA — Pines and firs parched by a three-year drought had been burning for days on a ridge 1,000 feet above my remote mountain town. On August 4, 2021, the flames suddenly flared into a heat so intense it formed a molten cloud the color of bruised flesh. As that sinister cumulus rose above an oval-shaped reservoir, it collapsed, sending red-hot embers down the steep slopes toward Greenville in a storm of torched trees and exploding shrubs. It took less than 30 minutes for the Dixie fire to transform my town’s tarnished Gold Rush charm into a heap of smoldering hand-hewn timbers and century-old brick walls.

Minutes earlier, the last of the nearly 1,000 residents had bolted, some in shirts singed by flames. We fled with what belongings we could take in the face of a fire few believed would ever destroy our town. I was among the evacuees, escaping with a hastily assembled truckload of journals and notebooks, shoes and shovels, laptops and passports. We scattered in the sort of desperate diaspora that has become ever more common in towns like ours across the West.

The Dixie fire left more than 700 residents of Greenville and its surroundings homeless. (While my office in town was demolished, my home on its outskirts escaped the flames.) Displaced by wildfire in a forest both poorly managed and dried by a warming planet, we burned-out residents joined America’s swelling ranks of climate migrants. Many of us found temporary shelter in neighboring small towns. Others went to Reno or Los Angeles, Idaho, Missouri, or Kentucky, where relatives and friends were ready to offer at least temporary safety.

My neighbors in Greenville, Indian Falls, and Canyon Dam weren’t the only victims of climate-driven fires that summer. Near Lake Tahoe, 100 miles to the south, the Caldor fire crossed the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountains, destroying more than 1,000 structures and forcing the entire city of South Lake Tahoe to evacuate. Nor were wildfires the only all-American calamities caused by our rapidly warming planet that year: Hurricane Ida pummeled Louisiana and Mississippi with 150-mile-an-hour winds; a crippling megadrought of a sort not seen in 1,200 years gripped the Southwest; and an unprecedented heat dome in the Pacific Northwest drove temperatures to 121 degrees Fahrenheit (49.5 degrees Celsius).

Think of the destruction of my adopted hometown as a parable for what the next century of climate change holds in store for this country, as Jake Bittle makes all too clear in his book The Great Displacement: Climate Change and the Next American Migration. By the end of 2021, one in three Americans had already experienced some kind of weather disaster driven by climate change and last year alone more than three million Americans lost their homes to climate disasters.

These days, it’s the sort of heartbreaking tale told around the globe, one that will, it seems, only worsen into the distant future. By 2050, it’s now believed that between 31 million and 72 million people across sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America will be displaced due to water stress, sea level rise, or crop failures, according to an estimate in the most recent report of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Unless we dramatically curb greenhouse-gas emissions in the years to come, scientists predict that, by century’s end, climate-change-caused events will affect every last one of us.

Where will we go to find safety from fire, floods, and extreme storms then? How long will those of us uprooted from our homes have to stay in evacuation sanctuaries? Will we ever find home again?

“Unpredictable, Chaotic, and Life-Changing”

The term climate migration has an orderly, almost bucolic ring to it, evoking as it does the age-old seasonal treks of caribou, wildebeests, and other charismatic species. In human terms, it suggests coastal residents dealing with flooding by simply moving inland and continuing their lives, or forest dwellers relocating from burn scars to places where the risk of wildfire is much lower. Unfortunately, in the years to come, count on one thing: climate migration will have a far less peaceful ring to it.

In a sense, of course, migration has always been the story of humanity. Throughout history, people have moved for a myriad of reasons. But what sets today’s growing climate-driven migration apart is the way it involuntarily displaces people, increasingly often at an unprecedented pace and scale. The more the planet warms, the more pressure so many of us will face to move, as those IPCC scientists made clear in their 2022 report.

According to the IPCC, most climate migration is still occurring within countries rather than across borders (though that, too, is growing). And while people of every income bracket will be hit by climate disasters, overall such migrants are only expected to increase social inequities. As the IPCC summary for policymakers puts it, “Across sectors and regions, the most vulnerable people and systems are observed to be disproportionately affected.”

But count on one thing: climate migration will be increasingly hard on everyone. As those scientists add: “Through displacement and involuntary migration from extreme weather and climate events, climate change has generated and perpetuated vulnerability.” In translation, that’s bureaucratese for widespread trauma to come.

And that, claims Bittle, is putting it mildly, since the fossil-fuelization of the atmosphere (and the oceans) is already creating disasters of a frequency and intensity that have no precedent in living memory. Over the past decade, the United States has, typically enough, experienced a succession of monumental climate disasters. Hurricanes have obliterated parts of the Gulf Coast, dumping more than 50 inches of rain in some places. Wildfires have denuded the California wilderness and destroyed thousands of homes. A once-in-a-millennium drought has dried up western rivers, even forcing farmers to stop planting crops.

As Bittle puts it, “The real story of climate change begins only once the skies clear and the fire burns out.” In fact, he insists, migration isn’t even the right word for the phenomena already taking place across this country. It implies an intentional action, while the response to ever-increasing climate disasters will be tumultuous and frenzied, as victims try to cope with the destruction of their homes and dreams, while searching for safe and affordable shelter.

His term for it is displacement, which, he adds, is “unpredictable, chaotic, and life-changing.” (Scientists are similarly now using the term “climate displaced” rather than “refugee.”) And such displacement is already altering American geography. In the decades to come, he suggests, climate change will displace more people than the six million Blacks who began moving north in the 1920s to escape the Jim Crow regimes of the former southern plantation states — in other words, a population relocation greater than what became known as the Great Migration.

Where do people go and what do they do after an evacuation? “We’re just beginning to sort that out,” Deb Niemeier, a transportation engineer at the University of Maryland, told me. They almost always end up in places where they have connections, whether family ones or otherwise, and those, Niemeier points out, tend to be in urban settings.

One of only a handful of studies documenting where climate migrants have gone was launched in 2018 by civil engineer Sarah Grajdura, previously a student of Niemeier’s. She began interviewing evacuees in shelters only three weeks after the Camp fire, California’s deadliest blaze, killed 85 people in the sadly named town of Paradise. She followed up eight months later.

Where people settled and how long they stayed, she found, varied with income, age, and race, especially as time elapsed. Those with greater financial resources were able, in the end, to resettle nearer their original homes. Younger white evacuees accepted housing farther away, on average 117 miles from their original residences, while Black residents and other people of color generally couldn’t afford to move more than 21 miles from their burned-out town.

Retreat or Adapt?

The human upheaval underway should make it obvious to even the most skeptical that our world is changing — that we, in fact, are changing it — in a remarkably radical fashion. Carbon dioxide and other gases that trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere have raised the average temperature of the planet about two degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the late nineteenth century. The ocean has absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 328 feet showing warming of 0.67 degrees Fahrenheit (0.37 degrees Celsius) just since 1969. Ice sheets are shrinking, glaciers are melting, and snow cover is decreasing. Global sea level has risen about eight inches in the last century, with the rate in the last two decades nearly double that of the century as a whole.

As more and more of us are uprooted by floods, rising seas, ever fiercer storms, and brutal wildfires, how we view the natural world has become ever more essential to our collective future. Our relationship to the places where we live needs to be re-envisioned. Historically, we Americans have sought to control nature with dams, sea walls, and an all-out federal campaign to suppress Western wildfires. Clearly, none of that is working any longer.

A handful of communities are starting to think differently about the ecosystems they share and how they interact with them. Several Gulf Coast communities are, for instance, accepting the inevitability of flooding and designing schools that float to keep their children protected. In New Orleans and elsewhere, entrepreneurs are experimenting with installing plastic water containers and manufactured dock floats inside the structural subframe of a house. The house and subframe would then be anchored to vertical guideposts, allowing that structure to rise and fall without floating away. In California, dozens of fire-prone communities are adopting the long-outlawed practices of Native Americans by setting small, controlled burns along forest edges to thwart future town-destroying fires and improve wildlife habitat.

Other communities are starting to accept that the places they chose as home and the houses they’ve built are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time for a rapidly warming planet. If it’s not a fire on the horizon, it’s a flood. If not tomorrow, next month, or next year. Instead of waiting to become inadvertent climate migrants evacuating under duress, they are moving in what’s becoming known as a managed retreat.

Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin, is an early example. In 1978, 600 residents retreated from the Kickapoo River to avoid its rising flood waters. After Superstorm Sandy swamped New York City in 2012, killing 24 people, homeowners in several neighborhoods on Staten Island decided not to wait for the inevitable future. They took buyouts from the state’s Office of Storm Recovery, moving to new homes away from the coast. Today, more than 600 properties in that area are being returned to nature and a salt marsh created where deer and turkeys, rabbits and racoons are already moving in. That marshland will, in turn, create a buffer for the homes that remain.

For Erica Gies, who reported on that Staten Island retreat,the possibility of living safely in a time of extreme storm events is transforming our relationship with water. “What does water want?” she asks in her book Water Always Wins: Thriving in an Age of Drought and Deluge. Re-envisioning the way we live with water, and with nature more generally, she says, will help create a better world “in which people are happier and communities more adaptable.”

Some places, however, are already beyond retreat. On the Bering Sea in 2019, thawing permafrost and erosion forced 380 villagers from Yup’ik, Alaska, to abandon homes where they had lived for centuries. And what about towns like Paradise and Greenville, each destroyed once by wildfire and still all too vulnerable? They are among the communities built “in a particular historical context that no longer exists,” as Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA, puts it. “Whatever risk tolerances that we collectively decided were acceptable, for whatever reason, in whatever context, are no longer valid,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 2022.

The Pull of Home

For all the documentation of the threats posed to ecosystems that humanity has so violently altered, for all the dangers so many of us have experienced living in them, and for all the uncomfortable questions raised about their future vulnerability, such places often still hold a powerful, almost magnetic draw for us. Gabrielle Wong-Parodi, a Stanford University behavioral scientist, calls such feelings place attachment, a powerful commitment to the community people have — or had. Some of that attraction is, of course, simply the security of the familiar. Some is intangible: the smell of coastal fog, the sound of wind in the tops of sugar pines, the sag of wet sand underfoot. It’s the draw of home.

As Jake Bittle puts it, “For a lot of people, a hometown is a really essential part of their identity.” He reports on a man who lost his entire neighborhood to a wildfire in Santa Rosa, California. He spent four years with family in Kentucky, but eventually rebuilt in his old neighborhood. The winding road home was even longer for a family that evacuated after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and other Gulf of Mexico communities in 2005. Even while forced to live elsewhere, they couldn’t help but envision going back “home.” It took them about eight years, but eventually they did so.

In our present world, sadly enough, the question always remains: For how long?

The importance of place and the compulsion to go back, despite ever-worsening odds, have Wong-Parodi and other scientists thinking about what resources are available when people do return. How can they better prepare for the known risks and the certainty that, over time, given our overheating planet, they’ll only increase?

When it comes to Greenville, my California town now in ruins, the pull to return, as Sue Weber, chair of the Dixie Fire Collaborative, points out, combines a yearning for the physical beauty of the place with a sense of community and hope. “I wouldn’t build back,” she says, “if I didn’t think there was a way to actually work collectively to create a safer environment.”

Less than two years after the Dixie fire, a third of the residents who fled Greenville are committed to rebuilding their homes and businesses. More than 20 already have. They are, however, applying Dixie’s harsh lessons to reconstruction, often using cross-laminated timber, Hardie board, and other less flammable materials. And when it comes to restoring the forests that surround the town, they are repurposing Gies’s question about water by asking what forests want. Answers are coming from the legacy of the Native Americans who managed these forests when they were far more resilient to fire and drought. The blackened specters that still haunt our hillsides will soon come down; the seedlings that take their place will be native species planted not in lines but in clumps. There will be space for fire to burn through, clearing out decadent brush and small trees to cleanse the land for new growth.

Climate disaster, Weber points out, inspires climate mitigation. “We are in a constant conversation about what that looks like for us… It’s going to take years to know whether we really survived or not.”

If humanity continues to emit greenhouse gases at anything like the current rate globally, all too many of the rest of us may not have to wait that long. We may once again become climate migrants embarking on our own torturous journeys, following in the footsteps of last year’s three million Americans.

And home will be that elusive pot of gold at the end of a climate-driven rainbow.

California AG threatens legal action against Florida for migrant flight to Sacramento

Speaking to CNNs Jim Acosta on Sunday, California Attorney General Rob Bonta revealed the state believes the flight of immigrants dropped off in Sacramento is part of another Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) scheme targeting Latinos.

DeSantis has previously paid to have individuals trick immigrants on the border into flying to a different location. The Florida-funded flights never remove Florida immigrants, but only those on the border with Texas.

"We're deepening our investigation now, and we believe that the state of Florida is involved," said Bonta. "And one of their vendors that they hired with an official budgetary allotment called 'Virtual Systems' was involved in moving these migrants from Texas to New Mexico and then to Sacramento. So, we believe the state of Florida is behind it and we are investigating now to see if there are any criminal or civil laws that have been violated."

The immigrants were interviewed, and they revealed someone gave them false promises of lawmakers being willing to help them find jobs "if they got on this plane and went to another location. They were manipulated. They were mistreated. They were abused and exploited. They came to this country after a three-month journey, most from Venezuela sleeping on the street at night and often not having food to have an opportunity to work here in the United States. The first thing that happened when they got here was someone lied to them. Told them they would help them find the work that they hoped for and dreamed of. But instead, they deserted them, dumped them in Sacramento, and didn't lift a finger to help them find a job."

In a statement, Bonta went on to call it "state-sanctioned kidnapping."

"We are locking down the evidence to demonstrate and prove their involvement," he went on. "This is the same company, the same one that was used when migrants were moved to Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. This is part of an official act and budgetary outlay in the state of Florida. It's called their voluntary transportation program, and they've hired Virtual Systems, the state of Florida has to identify migrants in Texas, not in Florida, in Texas, and move them to other states. So there's a pattern here, there's documentation here, the document clearly — that we have in our possession — says the state of Florida. So, we believe that the state of Florida, Gov. DeSantis is behind it. Gov. Desantis has demonstrated his pettiness, lack of substance, his xenophobia and his, discrimination and racism, and his willingness to treat human beings, people, as political pawns. It's wrong, and we are getting to the bottom of it."

See the interview below or at the link here.

California attorney general threatens legal actions against Florida for Immigrant

Evangelical insider thinks he knows how to break up Trump and the church

Salon columnist Nathaniel Manderson is searching for ways to break up Donald Trump and the evangelical community that followed him. The introduction of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has given some churches the opportunity to support a candidate that isn't tied to over two dozen sexual assault accusations. But some evangelical pastors are refusing to abandon the former president.

Manderson mentioned DeSantis' war against LGBTQ people, which was once a strong link between Republicans and the far-right religious community. But as public opinion has changed, the fight against LGBTQ equality means Republicans risk alienating younger voters.

"It is not supposed to be the church's job to force particular lifestyle choices [on] individuals," wrote Manderson. "First of all, the theology that has arisen claiming that Jesus would be opposed to the LGBTQ community is incredibly flawed. Even if it weren't, the church has no right to declare how a family should be formed. It is a waste of time and resources, not to mention against the most basic principles of both Christian faith itself and American individual freedom."

He also argued that there's nothing in the Bible about abortion or evangelical politics. In fact, it's only been in recent years that billions of dollars were contributed to create an evangelical political agenda. Selective passages from scripture have been used in an effort to control women in American homes, in the American workplace, and in American society overall."

These are just a few ways to "expose the so-called shepherds as the anti-Christians and anti-American hypocrites they are."

Meanwhile, there continue to be questions about why the evangelical church doesn't do more to help communities that Jesus Christ supported, like orphans, the homeless, widows, the sick, the elderly and the handicapped as evangelical churches continue to take money from low-income families to fund private jets and luxury homes.

Trump second term would mean war with Iran is 'more likely' than peace: report

Donald Trump, if he were to win a second chance at the presidency, would likely be plagued by the looming threat of Iran, according to a news analysis.

Trump's past actions and stated attitudes would reportedly make a second presidency difficult for the former commander-in-chief. That means a vote for Trump could be a vote for war with Iran, according to a report from Huffpost.

"To hear Donald Trump tell it, a vote for him in 2024 is a vote for world peace," HuffPost senior foreign affairs reporter Akbar Shahid Ahmed wrote. "The narrative serves Trump’s goal of seeming like an outsider fighting a flawed establishment and suits his strategy of seeking votes by appealing to Americans’ fears. But it ignores the issue that would likely pose the biggest foreign policy challenge of a second Trump presidency and one Trump has shown little capacity to handle peacefully: Iran."

"Trump twice risked a war with Tehran during his last year in office," the article states. "He first ordered the assassination of Iran’s top general, risking a cycle of tit-for-tat violence that tenuous diplomacy managed to prevent. After losing the 2020 election, he came close to launching another strike and risking a major conflagration, according to Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff."

The report from HuffPost further states that the same negotiations responsible for past accords may not be doable if Trump is president.

"Trump acknowledges the higher chances of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon and insists he knows how to keep that from happening," it says. "Yet in a second Trump term, the U.S.-Iran diplomacy that was at the heart of the last nuclear deal would be difficult to achieve both because of Tehran’s view of the former reality television star and real estate mogul and also because of the extremely different circumstances from previous periods of negotiations. Meanwhile, Trump’s 2024 agenda would weaken guardrails on his approach to the delicate issue and make it hard to win foreign support that would enable a fresh agreement."

'Deliver us from evil Knievel': Mike Pence mercilessly mocked for motorcycle photo op

Former Vice President Mike Pence decided to make a splash at an event in Iowa on Saturday by posing with a motorcycle.

Pence was reportedly the only 2024 presidential contender who participated in the morning motorcycle ride for charity that is a staple of the event. He wore jeans, boots, and "a leather vest with patches that said 'Indiana' and messages supportive of the military," according to the Omaha World-Herald.

"The former Indiana governor, who has made frequent trips to Iowa over the past year, is expected to launch his long-anticipated campaign at an event in Des Moines on Wednesday," the outlet reported.

"I'll be back a little later next week," Pence said to the crowd, according to the report. "I don't have anything to announce today."

Pence joked about what "lane we're going to be staying in today," but the real joke came after the event, when photos of Pence on a Harley wearing a white motorcycle helmet and a huge smile went viral.

One comedian quickly put up a video mocking Pence, saying he is a politician trying to be "the common man." "Pence is looking like if a glass of milk was a person," the performer said Saturday.

"Looking like a wolf in biker's clothing," he added. "Looking like moved by the holy ghost rider."

He continued:

"Looking like deliver us from evil Knievel," the comedian said. "He looks like when a lawyer specializes in motorcycle-related accidents."

The Gateway Pundit went as far as to say Pence "is not fooling anyone" by showing up on a motorcycle and wearing a leather jacket.

At least one verified Twitter user jumped to Pence's defense.

"Not that I'm a Pence fan, but he does own a Harley Davidson Streetglide and has rode in several charity rides, including Rolling Thunder the first year as Veep," they wrote.

DeSantis 'the ultimate performative politician' on outrage but not 'in-person performance'

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) is the best at performative politics when it comes to beating down policies perceived as "woke," but his performances falter when it comes to the in-person aspects of professional politics, according to a new report.

The mirage of DeSantis was different than the real man when he appeared in the "fidgety flesh," writes Mark Leibovich, a staff writer at The Atlantic. Leibovich reportedly covered DeSantis' recent appearances at various events in New Hampshire.

"What does the on-paper promise of DeSantis look like in practice? DeSantis has performed a number of these in-person chores in recent days, after announcing his presidential campaign on May 24 in a glitchy Twitter Spaces appearance with Elon Musk," Leibovich wrote on Saturday. "As I watched him complete his rounds in New Hampshire on Thursday—visits to a VFW hall, an Elks Club, and a community college, in addition to the American Legion post—the essential duality of his campaign was laid bare: DeSantis is the ultimate performative politician when it comes to demonstrating outrage and 'kneecapping' various woke abuses—but not so much when it comes to the actual in-person performance of politics."

In his New Hampshire visits, DeSantis reportedly repeated "woke" more than a dozen times at each event stop, yet strayed away from key topics of the day, including gun violence, the number one cause of death for children in the United States.

"His whole act can feel like a clunky contrivance—a forced persona railing against phony or hyped-up outrages. He can be irascible," Leibovich wrote. "Steve Peoples, a reporter for the Associated Press, approached DeSantis after a speech at a VFW hall in Laconia and asked the governor why he hadn’t taken any questions from the audience. 'Are you blind?' DeSantis snapped at Peoples."

Leibovich continued:

"'Politics is not about entertainment,' DeSantis said in all of his New Hampshire speeches, usually at the end. He might be trying to prove as much."

'Should we tell her?' Kari Lake roasted over her rally entrance song choice

Failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake was on the receiving end of a roasting by AzCentral columnist Laurie Roberts over her choice of an entrance song at her most recent rally to plug yet another attempt to get her 2022 election loss overturned.

Roberts joined with one of her readers in pointing out that Lake decided that the song "American Woman" -- which is critical of American women -- was an appropriate selection which Roberts, in turn, called "... the funniest thing I saw all week."

Noting that Lake used the Lenny Kravitz cover of the Canadian band Guess Who's oldie, Robetrs concentrated on the lyrics which state, in part, "Don't come hanging around my door --I don't want to see your face no more --I got more important things to do --Than spend my time growing old with you."

After asking rhetorically, "Should we tell her?" Roberts added, "Yeah, nothing funny about her now seven-month-old refusal to accept the fact that she just flat-out lost."

"I would guess a fair number of Arizona voters — the ones who put Katie Hobbs into the Governor’s Office come to mind, as well as the ones who have tired of her post-election tirade — might agree that Lake has hit upon the perfect anthem," she quipped before noting reader Michael Jonas wrote to her stating, "The lyrics are incredibly appropriate…….if one is strongly opposed to Ms. Lake,” before adding, "Why she’d do that is beyond me.”

To which Roberts pointed out, "It’s probably because, in her view of the world, the song is a compliment."

You can read her whole piece here.

You can listen to the original version by the Guess Who below:

The Guess Who - American Woman (Official Audio)

Another blow to DeSantis: Disney tourism numbers expected to be unaffected by his crusade

Disney is reportedly expected to be largely unaffected by the repeated attacks of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

DeSantis has turned all his political guns blazing on Disney after the entertainment giant dared to criticize his legislation prohibiting any mention of LGBTQ people in most elementary school classrooms. He has repeatedly attacked the corporation in speeches, took over the board that administers their special taxing district, and threatened to toll the roads into the Walt Disney World resort complex, or even build a state prison next to it.

But it doesn't seem like his threats are having much effect on Disney's bottom line, or tourism numbers, reported Orlando Weekly on Friday.

"In a recent interview with Travel Weekly, [Dana] Young, the president and CEO of Visit Florida, was asked about several topics that could have a negative bearing on the state," reported Jim Turner. "Included were the legal and political battles that sprung up after Disney opposed a controversial 2022 law that restricts instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. The law was titled by supporters as the 'Parental Rights in Education' bill but is derided by critics as 'don’t say gay.'"

“That is a business decision that we don't feel impacts the tourism product that Disney has,” said Young. “Disney has been a longtime partner of Visit Florida. They continue to be a valued partner of Visit Florida, buying into a lot of our programs. People love Disney, they love visiting Disney, and they will continue to go to Disney.”

While Disney tourism may be expected to continue to thrive, Disney itself has still responded with a lawsuit against DeSantis, arguing the governor's actions have discriminated against their freedom of speech.

However, in a wrinkle this week, the judge overseeing that case recused himself due to owning stock in Disney, resulting in the case being reassigned to another judge appointed by former President Donald Trump.

'Really, really bad': DeSantis blasts Trump over harsh Kayleigh McEnany criticism

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis blasted 2024 GOP rival former President Donald Trump during a Friday interview after the former president criticized his ex-press secretary and current Fox News host Kayleigh McEnany, Newsweek reports.

Per Newsweek, Trump lambasted the conservative commentator after McEnany, earlier this week, highlighted "current poll numbers between Trump and DeSantis saying that the Florida governor was 'closing the gap' in Iowa."

The MAGA 2024 hopeful wrote, "Kayleigh 'Milktoast' McEnany just gave out the wrong poll numbers on FoxNews. I am 34 points up on DeSanctimonious, not 25 up. While 25 is great, it's not 34. She knew the number was corrected upwards by the group that did the poll. The RINOS & Globalists can have her. FoxNews should only use REAL Stars!!!"

READ MORE: Donald Trump takes aim at right-wing targets as 2024 GOP primary heats up

During an appearance on the NH Journal podcast Friday, DeSantis said, "Donald Trump, even his greatest supporters have acknowledged, had a tough time picking good people. He had a lot of terrible personnel decisions, people like Jerome Adams, his Surgeon we know there was a tough record, but Kayleigh was one of the greatest selections. She did a fantastic job."

Aside from the governor's response, GOP lawmaker Rep. James Spillane (R-NH) rescinded his Trump 2024 endorsement following the former president's comments, switching his support to DeSantis.

This comes just weeks after the Sunshine State leader Florida "turned out troves of GOP voters during his trip to Iowa" on the same day Trump was "scheduled to hold a rally in Des Moines, but cancelled due to a storm warning."

In his denouncement of Trump, DeSantis added, McEnany is "a Harvard-trained lawyer, she's an absolute killer, and she ate the press alive, and so for him [Trump] to be attacking her, I thought that was really, really bad."

READ MORE: 'Pretty big crowd': DeSantis out-stumps Trump in Iowa

Newsweek's full report is available at the link.

Donald Trump takes aim at right-wing targets as 2024 GOP primary heats up

Donald Trump is focusing his rage on a new array of perceived enemies as the 2024 GOP primary heats up, and this time the former president is setting his sights on targets on the political right.

The early returns suggest this could be a losing strategy.

Trump’s social media rant attacking his former press secretary earlier this week has led to at least one New Hampshire lawmaker rescinding his endorsement of the former president in favor of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Trump in a post on his Truth Social website suggested he has no intention of abandoning his attacks on right-wing political targets.

“Andy McCarthy, legal pundit of the dying New York Post, who will do anything Rupert Murdoch (should have helped him do better in the Dominion case!) and RINO Paul Ryan, who is killing FoxNews (down 36% from a year ago!) tell him to do, tries desperately to make the case that Joe Biden cooperated in the documents case, which he didn’t, & ‘keeps it in an unsafe place,’ which he did (Chinatown, D.C., & open garage floor under Corvette, remember),” Trump wrote.

“He still is fighting 1,850 boxes. Witch Hunt!”

Montana GOP Rep. blasts DOJ for marking Pride month instead of replying to his letter

A conservative congressman on Friday assailed the Department of Justice for commemorating Pride month after it took the agency more than two years to reply to a letter from him on an unrelated matter.

Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mon.) on Friday tweeted that he just received a reply to a letter he wrote to the agency in 2021 over concerns about potential anticompetitive cattle and beef industry practices.

Rosendale posted a portion of the letter from the DOJ that said “We apologize for our delay in responding to your letter. The Department appreciates having the benefit of your perspective.”

The DOJ letter acknowledges Rosendale’s letter to the agency was dated May 17, 2021.

The Freedom Caucus member wrote sardonically in a tweet “Glad the DOJ has time to celebrate pride month.”

“Meanwhile, I received a response just this afternoon to a letter I sent over TWO YEARS ago!”

Countering MAGA inroads in NY State has become a 'top priority' for Democrats: report

Because New York State has gone Democratic in every presidential election since 1992, it has a reputation for being reliably blue. Yet parts of Upstate New York lean conservative, and people who voted for Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-New York) more than once are quick to point out that New York City doesn't reflect the entire state.

In an article published by Politico on June 2, journalist David Freelander reports on inroads the MAGA movement has been making in New York State.

"No state, except perhaps for the now sunburn-red Florida, bucked the national mood in the midterms quite like New York," Freedlander observes. "And while the GOP always had strength in rural counties upstate, in 2022 the party's gains came largely from the New York City suburbs, especially on Long Island, once a Democratic stronghold that has turned so sharply right that some national Democratic strategists wonder if they should just write off the area entirely."

READ MORE: 'You're the party of forced birth': Twitter lambastes Elise Stefanik for calling the GOP 'the party of women'

The reporter adds, "Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader who regularly gets upward of 70 percent of the vote statewide lost both Long Island counties by a combined 15 points, the first time he'd lost either since his first campaign in 1998. (New York Gov. Kathy) Hochul ended up winning reelection by a narrower margin than fellow Democratic governors of states that are usually tougher terrain for Democrats — places like Michigan, Maine and Colorado."

Freelander adds, "The Republican strength has even begun to seep into New York City, where the GOP flipped a handful of state legislative seats in outer Brooklyn and Queens."

In NYC, Democrats were out of the mayor's office for 20 years — first under Mayor Rudy Giuliani, then other Mayor Michael Bloomberg (who served either a Republican or an independent during his years in Gracie Mansion).

But neither of them ran far-right mayoral campaigns. The Republican trend that Freedlander describes is decidedly MAGA.

READ MORE: 'An absolute disaster': Democratic New York governor picks right-wing judge to lead state's highest court

"Figuring out what happened in New York has become one of the Democratic Party's top priorities as 2024 approaches," Freedlander reports. "Democrats see the state as key to reclaiming their congressional majority, and as a way to figure out what the next stage of the Trumpist GOP entails. House Majority PAC, an outside group affiliated with House Minority Leader, and Brooklyn's own, Hakeem Jeffries is preparing to spend $45 million in the state next year."

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Read Politico's full report at this link.

'A whole new level of wackadoodle': Kari Lake promotes theory that Trump won California

Failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake this week promoted a conspiracy theory about former President Donald Trump having won the state of California in the 2020 presidential election -- and even some of her fellow conservatives are saying enough is enough.

Posting on Twitter early on Friday morning, Lake composed a message that simply said, "Read this thread," and then linked to a series of Twitter posts filled with false claims about voting in California during the election.

The thread begins by falsely claiming that President Joe Biden in 2020 only won in the San Francisco Bay area, whereas the rest of the state, including Los Angeles, voted for Trump.

In reality, Biden won in counties up and down the coast of California and only lost to Trump in the interior sections of the state that traditionally votes for Republicans.

The theory that Lake promoted was so far out there that it drew a mocking rebuke from George Andrews, who currently serves as Chief of Staff to Republican California State Assemblyman Tom Lackey.

"This is a whole new level of wackadoodle," Andrews wrote of Lake's theory. "Not worth wasting precious kilobytes and battery power arguing over it. Just pointing it out for pure entertainment."

Conservative commentator Ryan James Girdusky, meanwhile, said that Lake's promotion of the theory showed she didn't have the smarts to be in politics.

"If you believe this tweet thread, you should not be in politics," he wrote. "You’re too gullible to even buy a car on your own."

And conservative attorney AG Hamilton argued that Lake's promotion of the theory could have potential legal repercussions.

"Kari Lake is now promoting an insane conspiracy thread claiming CA is secretly red and only seems blue because of voter fraud using Dominion and Smartmatic machines," he wrote. "Aside from being easily disprovable nonsense, this is a good way to get added to lawsuits by those companies."

Republicans can’t stop won’t stop hating the poor

We already knew that the deal struck between the president and the House Republicans, to lift the debt ceiling, was going to place new work requirements on childless adults between the ages of 50 and 54 in return for food stamps.

What we didn’t know is that the legislation changes “work requirements under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, which provides cash assistance to households with children. Under the provisions in the bill, states will likely have to require more parents on TANF to work or be in job training,” according to Kery Murakami, a senior reporter for Route Fifty, a news site.

Murakami has the details. They are granular and patchwork. Some states would be free to do more to help needy families. Other states would be free to do less. Either way, one official said, the new requirements don’t “leave a lot of time to be parents. We want them to be able to be parents. We want them to be able to solve the crisis that has brought them in our doors in the first place.”

According to David Dayen, editor of TheAmerican Prospect, food stamps and TANF “became a Republican red line. Both of these programs already have work requirements; they’re being made stricter. For TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or welfare), they appear to be somewhat optional for the states, which means red states will tighten their eligibility.”

During debt-ceiling talks, TANF did not get the press that food stamps got. This is due to those who get help with groceries being in a much larger group than those who get help at state-poverty levels. Some say the deal avoided the severest outcomes. Work requirements on food stamps affect only childless adults. But TANF changes affect plenty of kids. From a broad point of view, things could have been worse. From a particular point of view, they are worse.

So we should remember what Hakeem Jeffries said. During debt-ceiling talks, when word got out that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was bent on forcing the hungry to work, the House minority leader reportedly told a Democratic Party leadership committee that work requirements were a “nonstarter.”

I understand the need for flexibility during negotiations, especially with illiberals who can’t stop won’t stop hating poor people for the fact of their poverty. But evidently work requirements were not a nonstarter. Under Jeffries’ leadership, more Democrats than Republicans voted for the deal.

The problem, I think, was taking McCarthy’s words at face value. He, like other illiberals, said that forcing the poor to work lifts them out of poverty. Liberals were right to say he was wrong. Denying them aid deepens their misery. But one side saying it “works” and the other saying it doesn’t work as intended is variation of gridlock. Remember that gridlock favors rightwing politics.

Debating whether a particular policy does or doesn’t work is a losing debate in the face of illiberals who can’t stop won’t stop hating poor people for the fact of their poverty. Instead of debating illiberals as if they were prepared to stand by their own arguments (they are not), liberals should be alleging – that denying help to the needy is tantamount to punishing them for suffering.

Poverty is not a crime. Let’s stop acting like it is.

Let’s also stop acting like it’s a problem no one can solve.

It’s only unsolvable when debating for and against an anti-poverty policy takes place in a context in which illiberals can’t stop won’t stop hating poor people for their poverty. To get to the details of any policy idea, and to open a space in which debating its merits is possible, the illiberals must be marginalized, or at least chastened. Debating the merits of a policy won’t do that. Accusing illiberals of wanting to punish those who suffer for their suffering might.

No one chooses to suffer. Illiberals disagree.

They believe with all their hearts in the existence of the mythical Lazy Do-Nothing. They believe he’s out there, somewhere, lazing about, getting something, doing nothing. They believe that work requirements are benevolent and socially constructive. They said they punish laziness and reward work.

But the only way for that proposition to be true – that poor people choose their poverty as well as their suffering – is for you to have an opinion about poor people that’s so monstrous that they are scarcely human beings at all. In other words, for the proposition to be true – that poor people choose their poverty – you must already hate poor people for the fact of their poverty.

The problem isn’t whether this or that anti-poverty policy does or doesn't work. The problem is hating the poor. The problem is punishing them for suffering. They are already suffering. Now they will suffer twice as much.

'Judicial power grab': Georgetown law professor details the Roberts Court’s overt 'contempt' for America

A long list of polls from 2022 and 2023 have shown the United States' reputation continuing to suffer. Gallup, for example, found that approval of the High Court has sunk to only 40 percent.

In a scathing op-ed/essay published by the New York Times on June 2, Josh Chafetz — a law professor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. — lays out some reasons why the Roberts Court's bad reputation is well-deserved.

"Over roughly the past 15 years," Chafetz argues, "the justices have seized for themselves more and more of the national governing agenda, overriding other decision makers with startling frequency. And they have done so in language that drips with contempt for other governing institutions and in a way that elevates the judicial role above all others. The result has been a judicial power grab."

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Chafetz goes to say that the High Court's image has suffered because of rulings on everything from "campaign finance law" to "congressional oversight" to "federal regulation."

The law professor emphasizes that the Roberts Court's heavy-handedness was evident long before Republican-appointed justices obtained their current 6-3 majority.

"In recent years," Chafetz laments, "the judiciary has shown little but contempt for other governing institutions. It has earned a little contempt in return."

READ MORE: 'Unconscionable': Hochul backs proposal to gut New York’s landmark climate law

Read Josh Chafetz's full New York Times op-ed/essay at this link (subscription required).

Jim Jordan tells DOJ to turn over details of Jack Smith’s Trump investigation

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) is apparently trying to give Donald Trump a peek inside the special counsel investigation.

The House Judiciary Committee chairman sent a letter Thursday to attorney general Merrick Garland seeking details about the FBI's involvement in special counsel Jack Smith's sprawling investigations of the former president, including his mishandling of classified documents found at his private residence at Mar-a-Lago, reported The Federalist.

"Explain whether any FBI employees who have worked on Special Counsel Smith’s investigation previously worked on any other matters concerning President Trump," Jordan wrote, "and explain whether Special Counsel Smith’s investigation relies on any information or material gathered exclusively by the FBI prior the Special Counsel’s appointment."

The Ohio Republican claimed congressional oversight authority to request a briefing by deputy attorney general Lisa Monaco on any changes made by the FBI to correct any failings cited by Trump-era special counsel John Durham, who recently submitted his final report following a years-long investigation.

"Public trust in the FBI is low," Jordan wrote. "Recent examples of political bias in FBI and Department of Justice operations show that the so-called 'corrective measures' the FBI instituted after Crossfire Hurricane have done nothing to address, let alone cure, the institutional rot that pervades the FBI.

"It is clear that Congress must consider legislative reforms to the FBI, and the Committee has been engaged in robust oversight to inform those legislative proposals. In the interim, however, due to the FBI’s documented political bias, the Justice Department must ensure any ongoing investigations are not poisoned by this same politicization."

3 teens arrested as Upstate NY town mourns death of mother swan stolen from public pond, killed and eaten

For more than a century, Manlius — a town in Upstate New York east of Syracuse — has been known for its swans. Manlius officials even have a tradition of giving the swans names.

But in late May and early June, Manlius residents were shocked over reports that three local teenagers had been accused of stealing five swans from the town's pond —including a mother swan named Faye and her four babies. Faye was killed and eaten.

Sgt. Ken Hatter of the Manlius Police Department told the New York Times, "They prepared a feast" but added that the teens "did not have any idea of the significance the swans had on this community."

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According to Hatter, "They believed that it was just a very large duck. They did not know it was a swan, and they did not know it was not a wild animal.”

Two of Faye's four baby swans, according to reporter Darian Stevenson, turned up in a Syracuse store called Black Friday Bins — and the other two were found in a house in Syracuse. The store's co-owner, Stevenson reports, "stated online that he did not know his employees stole the cygnets from the pond and were unaware that they were swans."

"It has not been confirmed if those arrested worked for Black Friday Bins," Stevenson explains. "The owner said online that the store kept the swans because the store feared taking the baby birds to a random pond or body of water. The owner said they attempted to call a sanctuary, but could not reach anyone due to it being Memorial Day Weekend."

Stevenson adds, "Facebook commenters accused the store of trying to sell the swans. It is unknown at this time if the store attempted to sell the cygnets. The owner stated the store had nothing to do with the killing of the mother swan."

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According to WSYR-TV reporter Iris St. Meran in Syracuse, Manlius Mayor Paul Whorrall said the baby swans will be reintroduced to the town's pond.

Whorrall believes the presence of swans in Manlius' pond goes back to 1905.

READ MORE: 'Unconscionable': Hochul backs proposal to gut New York’s landmark climate law

GOP’s 'fealty to megadonors on full display': IRS cuts will cost $40 billion in lost revenue

A preliminary analysis from the Congressional Budget Office released Thursday estimates that the $21.4 billion in IRS funding cuts that Republicans and the Biden White House agreed to enact as part of their debt ceiling agreement would result in $40.4 billion in lost tax revenue—adding to the federal budget deficit.

The CBO provided its estimate to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who said in a statement that "after holding our entire economy hostage and threatening to trigger a global financial meltdown, Republicans protected wealthy tax cheats and creepy billionaires."

"Republicans' fealty to their megadonors is on full display, as is the hypocrisy of forcing cuts to the IRS that add $19 billion to the deficit," said Whitehouse, the chair of the Senate Budget Committee. "By contrast, President Biden's budget would have cracked down on wealthy tax cheats while making pro-growth investments in workers, families, and small business—and reduced the deficit by $3 trillion."

"There's a sharp contrast there," the senator added, "and the best explanation is Republican fealty to their dark-money megadonors."

The debt ceiling legislation that is now headed to President Joe Biden's desk after the Senate passed it late Thursday includes $1.4 billion in cuts to IRS funding that was aimed at providing the agency with the resources to pursue rich tax evaders, who cost the federal government tens of billions of dollars in revenue each year.

By itself, the $1.4 billion IRS cut would add $900 million to the deficit over a 10-year period, according to a separate CBO analysis released earlier this week.

But the White House and Republican leaders also reached a tentative side deal to cut $20 billion more from the chronically funding-starved agency over the next two fiscal years and use the money to prevent cuts to other federal spending programs.

Having secured an agreement to slash IRS funding, House Republicans are reportedly planning to introduce a massive tax-cut package later this month that includes provisions the CBO says would add roughly $3.5 trillion to the deficit over the next decade.

"House Republicans have proven once again that there is nothing they care about more than making sure the ultra-rich can avoid paying taxes," Morris Pearl, chair of the Patriotic Millionaires, said in a statement Wednesday. "In a fight they claimed was about shrinking the debt, they decided to prioritize rolling back IRS enforcement funding in a move that will actually increase the debt by billions. They have gone to bat to protect wealthy tax cheats, and won."

The $20 billion in IRS cuts—a quarter of the $80 billion funding boost the agency received under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)—aren't a sure thing.

As The American Prospect's David Dayen explains, the debt ceiling legislation headed for President Joe Biden's desk "only creates topline numbers, baselines for future budget appropriations that have yet to be written."

If the spending bills don't pass by January 1, 2024, Dayen notes, "the IRS fund transfer, which is not in the deal and is just presumed as part of the appropriation, would not happen."

Jon Whiten, communications director for the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, wrote in a blog post on Thursday that the funding "is critical to allowing the IRS to do one of its most important jobs: crack down on tax cheating by the extremely wealthy and by big corporations."

"The IRS has had a hard time doing this lately because its enforcement budget was cut by about a fourth between 2010 and 2021," Whiten noted. "This led to 40% fewer revenue agents—the auditors uniquely qualified to examine the returns of high-income individuals and corporations."

"Ironically, for Republican leaders who have spent months clamoring about the deficit," Whiten continued, "these cuts to the IRS will increase the deficit by reducing the revenue the agency is able to collect from those who owe," Whiten continued.

"Perhaps it's less ironic and more on-brand," he added, "given that these same Republican leaders want to quickly pivot to pushing through more big tax cuts that will disproportionately reward wealthy families and corporations."

Ohio Supreme Court temporarily suspends judge from divorce case over possible romantic relationship

Leslie Ann Celebrezze is a divorce court judge in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, which includes the state's largest city: Cleveland. According to Mark Puente, a reporter for The Marshall Project, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy has temporarily suspended Celebrezze from a divorce case involving Cleveland-area businessman Jason Jardine.

Jardine's attorney, Puente reports, filed an "affidavit of disqualification" against Celebrezze. The affidavit doesn't necessarily mean that Celebrezze will be permanently barred from the case, but it does mean that she is removed from it until Kennedy reaches a decision.

Jardine, according to Puente, was suspicious of Celebrezze's relationship with receiver Mark Dottore — a relationship the Marshall Project has been investigating.

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"Dottore has served as a receiver on cases in her courtroom on numerous occasions," Puente explains. "He even served as campaign treasurer when she ran successfully for her judgeship in 2008. Her campaign headquarters is listed under his business address."

Puente notes that in divorce cases, judges hire receivers "to act as neutral parties to take possession and control of all marital property, including real estate cash, equipment, deposit accounts and businesses."

"Receivers have the sole authority to operate and manage the businesses and assets in their discretion throughout the litigation," the reporter points out. "After taking an oath and posting a $100 bond, they take over."

The reporter adds, "According to the affidavit of disqualification, Jardine hired a private investigator because he was suspicious of the relationship. The investigator filmed the pair kissing on the lips outside Delmonico's Steakhouse in Independence, (Ohio) on March 22 and Celebrezze leaving Dottore's house during business hours on several Fridays."

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Celebrezze, however, denies having any type of romantic relationship with Dottore.

The judge told The Marshall Project, "I'm Italian, and I frequently kiss my family and friends on the lips when I greet them or say goodbye."

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Find The Marshall Project's full article at this link.

Ron DeSantis heaped praise on Fauci in 2020: report

CNN has unearthed a 2020 statement from Ron DeSantis about Dr. Anthony Fauci, and to say it sounds nothing like the rhetoric the Florida governor is now using to describe America’s top infectious disease expert would be an understatement.

DeSantis, among the most recent entries in the 2024 Republican race, last week assailed Donald Trump over the role Fauci played in the former president’s COVID-19 response.

"When he turned the country over to Fauci in March of 2020 that destroyed millions of people's lives," DeSantis said last week.

But DeSantis was singing a different tune in the early days of the pandemic. The Florida governor heaped praise on Fauci during a March 25, 2020 briefing on Florida’s pandemic response, CNN reports.

"You have a lot of people there who are working very, very hard, and they're not getting a lot of sleep," DeSantis said in 2020.

"And they're really focusing on a big country that we have. And from Dr. Birx to Dr. Fauci to the vice president who's worked very hard, the surgeon general, they're really doing a good job. It’s a tough, tough situation, but they’re working hard."

DeSantis' 2020 remarks appear to undercut his criticism of the former president’s pandemic response.

"I think [Trump] did great for three years, but when he turned the country over to Fauci in March of 2020 that destroyed millions of people's lives," DeSantis said on May 25.

"And in Florida, we were one of the few that stood up, cut against the grain, took incoming fire from media, bureaucracy, the left, even a lot of Republicans, had schools open, preserved businesses."

During one of his first Iowa campaign events the Florida governor said he would have fired Fauci.

"If you are faced with a destructive bureaucrat in your midst like a Fauci, you do not empower somebody like Fauci. You bring him into the office and you tell him to pack his bags: You are fired," DeSantis said.

Read the article here.

Grassley admits he doesn’t care if GOP accusations against 'Vice President Biden' are 'accurate or not'

Promising to continue his demands on FBI Director Chris Wray, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) admitted on Thursday he does not care whether or not conservatives’ accusations against President Joe Biden are true or not.

Grassley and House Oversight Committee Chairman Jim Comer have teamed up to pursue what they claim is a document held by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that allegedly accuses President Biden of a corrupt act.

The two Republicans have been ratcheting up their attacks on FBI Director Chris Wray, threatening him with contempt of Congress if he does not hand over the alleged document, which Grassley calls an “unclassified, FBI-generated record alleging a criminal scheme involving then-Vice President Joe Biden and a foreign national.”

On Wednesday, Director Wray, according to Grassley and Comer, discussed the document with them, and has offered to allow them to view it in person. He is, they say, still refusing to release it to the House Oversight Committee. It’s unclear why Grassley is even involved; he is not a ranking member on any Senate Committee that has oversight responsibilities for the FBI, except the Budget Committee.

READ MORE: ‘Absolutely Blockbuster Evidence’: Experts Stunned Over Trump ‘Espionage Act’ Bombshell That Pressures ‘DOJ to Indict’

House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jamie Raskin (D-MD) requested to join Grassley and Comer on the call Wednesday, but Comer reportedly refused to allow him access, Punchbowl News’ Max Cohen reported. NBC News also reported Comer refused to allow Raskin to join the call with Director Wray.

Ranking Member Raskin in a statement characterized the lone document as containing “unsubstantiated, second-hand claims,” and called it a “tip.”

Noting Director Wray’s “extraordinary accommodations” to Comer and Grassley, “and the fact that Republicans have claimed to have access to the very information subpoenaed,” Raskin points out in his statement, “Chairman Comer has continued to insist he will hold the FBI Director in contempt.”

“It is increasingly clear that Committee Republicans have always planned to hold Director Wray in contempt of Congress to distract from the obvious fact that they do not have evidence to support their unfounded accusations against President Biden. This latest political maneuver underscores Chairman Comer’s determination to use the Committee to help former President Trump’s reelection efforts and pander to extreme MAGA Republicans.”

Cohen also reports Raskin said, “Chairman Comer has crafted a hyper-partisan narrative that depicts the FBI as obstructionist. This is a radical distortion of the situation.”

CNN reports that even then-Attorney General Bill Barr questioned the validity of the alleged document, which “has origins in a tranche of documents that Rudy Giuliani provided to the Justice Department in 2020, people briefed on the matter said.”

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“We can’t take anything we received from Ukraine at face value,” Barr said at the time.

“While the 1023 form documents the claims from the informant, it doesn’t provide proof that they are true, people briefed on the matter said. The FBI and prosecutors who reviewed the information couldn’t corroborate the claims,” CNN adds.

“The allegations of wrongdoing by the then-vice president, many originating from sources in Ukraine, were dubious enough that Attorney General William Barr in early 2020 directed that they be reviewed by a US attorney in Pittsburgh, in part because Barr was concerned that Giuliani’s document tranche could taint the ongoing Hunter Biden investigation overseen by the Delaware US attorney.”

Ian Sams, a White House spokesperson, told CNN Chairman Comer “has already admitted this isn’t about uncovering facts but about trying to hurt the President’s poll numbers, so the only question left is how long he will waste time, energy, and taxpayer dollars to support a fact-free politically-motivated goose chase simply to get media attention and the Fox News spotlight.”

Indeed, late last month Comer appeared to tell Fox News that his investigations into Hunter Biden are actually designed to help Donald Trump win the 2024 presidential election.

Asked by Fox News if his investigations are “what’s moved this needle with the media?” – meaning Biden’s poll numbers, Comer replied: “Absolutely. There’s no question.”

“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,” he said, referring to one poll. “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.”

Meanwhile, Senator Grassley also appeared on Thursday to make clear he was not interested in the validity or accuracy of the claim against “Vice President Biden.”

“We aren’t interested in whether or not the accusation against Vice President Biden are accurate or not,” Grassley told Fox News, claiming his pursuit of the single document is merely to ensure “the FBI does its job.”

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Even the Fox News host sounded surprised.

“Senator, let me stop you right here. You just said you read the document, is that right?”

“Yes,” Grassley replied.

When asked what it said, Grassley refused to discuss it.

“I’m not going to characterize it,” he declared.

Watch below or at this link.

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