MSN

Roe’s demise is increasing interest in vasectomies — which Obamacare doesn’t cover: report

With the U.S. Supreme Court having overturned Roe v. Wade and ended federal protection for abortion rights, it’s only a matter of time until far-right Christian fundamentalists go after contraception as well. Justice Clarence Thomas himself is calling for the High Court to “reconsider” Griswold v. Connecticut, the 1965 ruling that made access to contraception a federally protected right for married couples; so is Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.

Certainly, that type of extremism isn’t characteristic of all Christians. There are plenty of Catholics and Mainline Protestants who use contraception. But on Christianity’s lunatic fringe, far-right White evangelicals oppose anything that prevents a pregnancy, be it birth control pills, IUDs, condoms, tubal ligations or vasectomies — which, according to Vox reporter Kenny Torrella, are enjoying an uptick in interest online now that abortion is becoming illegal or greatly restricted in a long list of states.

One of the challenges of getting a vasectomy, Torrella stresses in an article published by Vox on July 1, is paying for it. Torrella notes that the Affordable Care Act of 2010, a.k.a. Obamacare, fully covers birth control pills but not vasectomies.

READ MORE: Roe's overturning commands ‘forced socialism’ in response to ‘forced births’: journalist

Torrella observes, “In early May, after the Supreme Court draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade leaked, Google searches for vasectomies spiked — and then spiked again in late June when the final decision was handed down on June 24…. Despite the sudden interest in the term, chances are it won’t lead to a wave of vasectomies.”

The Vox journalist notes that Bobby Najari, a urologist at New York University’s Langone Health, is seeing what Torrella describes as a “modest” increase in vasectomy consultations. But the Vox reporter adds, however, that according to 2019 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tubal ligations for women were three times as common as vasectomies for men in the U.S.

Torrella explains, “Much of the sterilization gap can be explained by the simple fact that the burden to prevent pregnancy in the U.S. — like the burden of managing childbirth and reproduction more generally — disproportionately falls on people who can become pregnant…. Simply making vasectomies more accessible and less expensive could shift some of the burden soon, at the moment when it is most needed.”

The reporter continues, “The overturning of Roe v. Wade will severely restrict or practically eliminate abortion access in over 20 states, which will disproportionately affect low-income people and people of color. With Republicans gearing up to further restrict access to abortion and potentially contraception, and Democrats’ options to fight back limited, modest measures like increasing access to vasectomy care could be a previously underutilized route for change and serve to level some of the playing field of birth control.”

According to Planned Parenthood, the cost of a vasectomy in the United States can be “anywhere between $0 and $1000,” depending on the type of health insurance one has. Some men in the U.S. can expect full coverage if they want a vasectomy; most can’t.

“If you want to get a vasectomy, you’ll probably have to pay at least some of it out of pocket,” Torrella explains. “Obamacare doesn’t require insurers to fully cover the procedure, and health insurance plans vary on how much of the procedure they’ll pay for. Plus, millions of Americans still lack any kind of health insurance. Congress could help to close the sterilization gap.”

Torrella adds, “The Affordable Care Act required insurers to cover a few categories of preventive services without cost-sharing, including women’s health care; Congress could pass a law requiring the ACA to cover contraception for all genders, or expand the law’s requirements to include preventive services for men.”

Florida's ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law takes effect today as schools scramble to avoid parental lawsuits

Even before Republicans in Florida passed Governor Ron DeSantis‘ “Don’t Say Gay” bill some defenders of the anti-LGBTQ legislation insisted it applied only to kindergarten through third grade, and that anyone who opposed the bill – as the governor’s official spokesperson charged – was “probably a groomer.

But LGBTQ advocates, activists, and supporters made clear the purposefully broad and vague language in the bill and the threat inserted into the legislation allowing parents to sue for perceived violations would have a chilling effect.

They were right.

READ MORE: Ron DeSantis hasn’t asked for Trump’s endorsement — and doesn’t plan to: report

The “Don’t Say Gay” law, officially the “Parental Rights in Education” law, goes into effect today, July 1, after DeSantis, at an event held at a charter school exempt from the legislation in March, surrounded by young children, talked about the bill and signed it into law.

Educators across the state’s 67 school districts are seeing just how extensive it is being interpreted and implemented, given the near-total lack of guidance from the DeSantis administration.

In March, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona issued a warning to Florida, saying “The Department of Education has made clear that all schools receiving federal funding must follow federal civil rights law, including Title IX’s protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

“We stand with our LGBTQ+ students in Florida and across the country, and urge Florida leaders to make sure all their students are protected and supported,” he said.

But aside from that broadside, the federal government appears to be taking a wait-and-see approach.

Meanwhile, reports from across Florida say districts’ legal counsel have warned that teachers should remove LGBTQ supportive materials, including rainbow and pride stickers, and even stickers denoting a particular classroom is a “safe space,” They have warned teachers should not wear anything with a rainbow and should remove any family photos if they include a same-sex spouse or partner. That same warning did not go to teachers with different-sex spouses or partners, leading some legal experts to warn of constitutional violations.

LGBTQ teachers, especially those who teach students in grades K-3, have also been warned to not discuss their family lives or even mention same-sex spouses or partners. And teachers and other school officials have been directed to look for anything LGBTQ-related, including books in school libraries.

But it hasn’t stopped there. Teachers have been told they are required to report – “out” – any student who comes out as LGBTQ.

Spectrum News reports Florida’s Orange County Public Schools “held a legal camp for 600 principals, vice-principals, and junior administrators,” specifically telling them, “Teachers must notify parents if a student comes out as gay to them.” Not an administrator, but a teacher.

ABC affiliate WFTV reports that Orange County Teachers’ Association (CTA) says “teachers will have to report to parents if a student ‘comes out’ to them and they must use pronouns assigned at birth, regardless of what the parents allow.”

Elsewhere in Florida, if there are questions about a student’s gender identity before or during overnight school trips that student will be outed not only to their own parents but to the parents of all the students in their class.

NBC News reports on Tuesday “the Leon County School Board unanimously approved its “LGBTQ Inclusive School Guide,” which includes a provision to alert parents if a student who is ‘open about their gender identity’ is in their child’s physical education class or with them on an overnight school trip.”

“Upon notification or determination of a student who is open about their gender identity, parents of the affected students will be notified of reasonable accommodation options available,” NBC reports the guidelines read. “Parents or students who have concerns about rooming assignments for their student’s upcoming overnight event based on religious or privacy concerns may request an accommodation.”

NBC also reports that in late May, “the School District of Palm Beach County sent out a questionnaire asking its teachers to review all course material and flag any books with references to sexual orientation, gender identity or race, said a Palm Beach County high school special education teacher, Michael Woods. Several weeks previously, the district removed two books — ‘I Am Jazz’ and ‘Call Me Max’ — that touch upon gender identity, he said.”

Adam Kinzinger: Donald Trump must be held accountable

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) recently shed light on different aspects of the House Select Committee's hearings as he painted a damning picture of former President Donald Trump and his allies over their attempted coup to overturn the outcome of the presidential election.

During an appearance on Stephen Colbert's "The Late Show," Kinzinger emphasized why it's important for the former president and his allies to be held accountable. According to the Republican lawmaker, who has been a vocal critic of Trump, there are no excuses for his actions.

“When you try to overthrow the will of the people, and you try a coup in the United States government, you have to pay for that. Period,” said Kinzinger.

READ MORE: Donald Trump's 'terrified and frazzled' Newsmax interview prompts new witness tampering allegations

The Illinois lawmaker also weighed in with his take on the influx of requests for presidential pardons after the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol. Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Trump's former personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and several Republican lawmakers had all sought pardons, according to testimony this week from a former White House aide.

Kinzinger also explained the true purpose of a presidential pardon and when it should be sought.

“You do not seek a pardon unless you actually think that either you committed a crime or you’re concerned that maybe you committed a crime,” Kinzinger said.

“They knew what they were doing,” he added. “These Republican members of Congress knew what they were doing, and they need to be shamed for it in the very least.”

Watch Kinzinger's interview below or at this link.

"When You Try A Coup, You Have To Pay For That. Period." - Rep. Adam Kinzinger youtu.be

Kinzinger's remarks come as the House Select Committee continues its investigation into the Capitol insurrection. Lawmakers are aggressively working to build a case that may also lead to accountability for the former president and many of his allies.

Democrats in swing states vow to defy anti-abortion laws

When the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973, anti-abortion laws in Wisconsin, Michigan and many other states began unenforceable — and they remained unenforceable for 49 years. But that changed on June 24, 2022, when the High Court announced that it had overturned Roe v. Wade with its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Now, those laws are once again enforceable, but some Democratic governors, state attorneys general and prosecutors are vowing to defy their enforcement. Journalist Bill Lueders, a former editor for The Progressive, takes a look at those vows of defiance in an article published by the conservative website The Bulwark on July 1.

The 62-year-old Lueders, a native of Milwaukee, cites Gov. Tony Evers as an example of a Democratic governor who says he will not enforce his state’s anti-abortion law — which goes back to 1849. Evers declared, “I will provide clemency to any physician that is charged under that law…. I don’t think that a law that was written before the Civil War, or before women secured the right to vote, should be used to dictate these intimate decisions on reproductive health.”

READ MORE: Biological daughter of ‘Jane Roe’ torches Court for its overturn of the historical abortion rights precedent

Similarly, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, also a Democrat, and the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office have vowed not to prosecute anyone for abortion.

Nonetheless, the 1849 law will still be on the books, and it isn’t going to be overturned as long as far-right Republicans control both branches of the Wisconsin State Legislature. In light of how insanely gerrymandered Wisconsin’s legislative map is, the Legislature is likely to be controlled by Republicans for some time to come.

“At some point, someone in Wisconsin is going to be convicted of a crime for performing an abortion, and will want to take Evers up on his offer of clemency — should he still be in office,” Lueders explains. “He’s up for reelection this fall. So far, he seems to be the only governor in the nation to extend an offer of clemency or commutation to those who run afoul of their state’s laws restricting abortion, although others have bolstered abortion protections in other ways since the Dobbs ruling…. Several other elected officials in legislative red states profess unwillingness to enforce newly revived or triggered laws against abortion.”

READ MORE: Why Roe’s demise pushed the US even closer to violent civil conflict: author

Lueders notes that prosecutors in four counties in Georgia (Fulton, Cobb, Gwinnett and DeKalb) have “either sworn off or indicated resistance to prosecuting abortion cases.”

In Fairfax County, Virginia, head prosecutor Steve Descano has put Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin on notice and vowed to defy any future anti-abortion laws in his state. Youngkin is a perfect example of how sneaky Republicans in swing states can be when it comes to abortion; he generally avoided the issue during his 2021 gubernatorial campaign, but behind closed doors, Youngkin has vowed to “start going on offense” against abortion when he has a chance.

In the Midwest, one of the anti-abortion laws that became unenforceable in 1973 thanks to Roe v. Wade was a 1931 law in Michigan. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has vowed to fight the law, but Republicans have majorities in both the Michigan State Senate and the Michigan House of Representatives.

Post-Roe, there are likely to be some states where abortion is illegal but anti-abortion laws go largely unenforced. Wisconsin could be such a state if Evers is reelected in November.

Lueders observes, “There will be times when the only thing that stands between an abortion provider and a jail cell will be a prosecutor who refuses to enforce the law — or a governor who offers clemency to those who break it.”

New report details the legal perils Trump World could face regarding its 'sleeper wire fraud’ scheme

A new report is shedding light on details about a possible "sleeper wire fraud" scheme that could ultimately upend TrumpWorld.

According to The Daily Beast, this particular scheme is one that legal experts have reportedly been analyzing as they believe it "contains the ingredients for possible federal charges against officials with the campaign and the Republican National Committee—as well as Trump himself."

In short, Trump and his allies are facing scrutiny for raising more than $250 million for his campaign's legal defense fund that actually does not, and never did, exist. The Beast's Roger Sollenberger also noted that the case laid out by House Select Committee focuses on a number of simple issues:

  • Campaign officials and lawyers eagerly testified that they had told Trump they didn’t believe the claims of fraud
  • The campaign team then continued to blast out hundreds of emails raising money off claims that officials, by their own admission, knew to be false
Another compelling detail centers on the emails sent out by the campaign committee as they told the former president's supporters that their donations "would go to a legal fund that didn’t exist." Former U.S. Attorney Barb McQuade, professor at the University of Michigan School of Law, described the possible prosecutions for wire fraud as the “bread and butter cases for federal prosecutors.”

“If it can be shown that Trump or others sent an email asking for money for one purpose, and then used it for another, that could constitute fraud, regardless of whether it can be proved that they knew the election had not been stolen,” she said.

Speaking to The Beast, Natalie Adams, a partner at Bradley LLP, who is experienced in prosecuting wire fraud cases, also insists “the committee’s definitely got something.”

“You don’t get to say things you know to be false,” Adams said.

“It’s not whether you know something absolutely for sure,” she explained. “It’s if it’s ‘reasonably foreseeable’ to you that people will believe promises and statements that you either know aren’t true, or are reckless or deceptive, which you are trying to use to get something of value.”

Although the arguments surrounding the emails are clear, Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance insists there is one problematic issue.

“The biggest question I see with a wire fraud case, based on publicly available information, is, who are the defendants?” Vance wondered. Justice Department prosecutors would need to know who exactly designed, approved, and disseminated the solicitations before they consider whether the scheme constitutes wire fraud—“although it looks like one!”

However, Adams believes the committee could dig deeper and build a case substantial enough to reach Trump, himself.

“With conspiracy, you don’t necessarily have to commit an overt act. And jury instructions don’t require proof of a formal agreement, because criminal actors avoid doing that,” Adams pointed out. “But if people work together and profit from it, it’s helpful to show who had the access and opportunity to review those communications, and who would be likely to know by virtue of their job what is ‘reasonably foreseeable’ to occur, who are charged with vetting the truth of statements, and so on.”

'She knows it wasn't stolen': Liz Cheney dares Donald Trump-backed primary challenger

United States Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) debated a stageful of GOP congressional hopefuls on Thursday night and challenged the candidate endorsed by former President Donald Trump to stop misleading voters and concede that Trump lost the 2020 election.

Cheney's Trump-backed opponent, attorney Harriett Hageman, is leading her in the polls ahead of the GOP primary in August and has asserted that there were “serious concerns” about the contest between Trump and President Joe Biden.

Cheney, the vice-chair of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, has been ostracized by the Republican Party for voting to impeach Trump for inciting the insurrection and for her role on the bipartisan commission tasked with uncovering the truth about who was ultimately responsible for the attempted coup.

READ MORE: Liz Cheney warns of 'threats to our freedom' during Reagan Library speech

In spite of the risks to her political future, Cheney is refusing to back down

"It has become clear that the efforts Donald Trump oversaw and engaged in were even more chilling and threatening than we imagined. It is undeniable: The Republican Party cannot be both loyal to Donald Trump and loyal to the Constitution. At this moment, we are confronting a domestic threat we have never faced before– a former president who is attempting to unravel the foundations of our Constitutional Republic. And he is aided by Republican leaders and elected officials who have made themselves willing hostages to this dangerous and irrational man," Cheney remarked, per CBS News.

“The tragedy is there are politicians in this country, beginning with Donald Trump, who’ve lied to the American people. And people have been betrayed. He consistently has said the election was stolen when it wasn’t. She knows it wasn’t stolen. I think that she can’t say it wasn’t stolen because she’s completely beholden to Donald Trump and if she says it wasn’t stolen he won’t support her,” Cheney said as reported by The Washington Post.

Cheney dared Hageman to present proof or abandon the argument.

"I think that in Wyoming we have tremendously secure elections. I also know that truth matters, and the claims that Ms. Hageman is making about the 2020 election are the same claims for which the president's lead lawyer Rudy Giuliani was disbarred. They are the same claims for which ['Kraken' attorney] Sidney Powell has had her law license suspended. They are simply not true," said Cheney.

"It is not true that there was sufficient fraud to change the results of the 2020 election," Cheney continued. "The president's own attorney general has said that, the president's own deputy attorney general has said that – and I mean President Trump – President Trump's campaign manager said that, President Trump's White House counsel said that, President Trump's own family said that there was not sufficient fraud to overturn the results of the 2020 election."

Wyomingites "have to either decide that we are either going to abide by the rulings of the courts," Cheney added, noting that "Trump and his associates brought 61 lawsuits" in both state and federal courts that were thrown out due to a lack of evidence. "The president lost every one. On December 14th, when the Electoral College meets and votes, that is the end."

Cheney contended that if Hageman "is up here claiming that the election was stolen or that there was fraud that was sufficient to overturn the election, she oughta say it. Otherwise, she needs to stop making claims that are not true and she oughta tell the people of Wyoming the truth."

Watch the video below or at this link.

Texas educators propose changing 'slavery' to 'involuntary relocation' to pacify Republicans

An advisory group of Texas educators has proposed changing the word “slavery” to “involuntary relocation” after the Texas State Board of Education directed them to examine how to implement a new law, signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, banning the teaching of topics that would make students “feel discomfort.”

The group, comprised of nine educators, made the proposal for second-grade social studies instruction, but “board members have asked them to reconsider the phrasing, according to the state board’s chair,” The Texas Tribune reports.

State Board of Education Member Aicha Davis told the Tribune, that calling slavery “involuntary relocation” is “not going to be acceptable.”

READ MORE: Far-right Texas AG says he’s 'willing and able' to challenge a landmark Supreme Court ruling on gay rights

“Part of the proposed social studies curriculum standards outlines that students should ‘compare journeys to America, including voluntary Irish immigration and involuntary relocation of African people during colonial times,'” the Tribune notes.

Last year in September Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law SB3, which “prohibits teaching certain concepts about race,” The Dallas Morning News reported at the time.

It also “develops a civics training program for teachers,” and “urges educators to teach only that slavery and racism are ‘deviations’ from the founding principles of the United States.”

SB3 “establishes that teachers can’t be forced to discuss current controversial topics in their classrooms,” The Washington Post reported last year.

Attorney Imani Gandy, a Senior Editor of Law and Policy for Rewire News Group, responded to the news via Twitter.

“This was always the point of the CRT hysteria— to teach white children that slavery was just ‘involuntary relocation’ so they don’t feel bad about what their ancestors did to Black people in this country,” she said. “Classic fascist move.”

Conservative lays out 5 reasons why Cassidy Hutchinson’s 'stunning' testimony was so damning for Trump and his allies

Even before Tuesday, June 28, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bipartisan select committee on the January 6, 2021 insurrection had made an incredibly damning case against former President Donald Trump and his allies. But some of the most powerful testimony of all came on June 28, when Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming questioned 25-year-old Cassidy Hutchinson — a former Trump White House aide and ex-assistant to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

Hutchinson’s bombshell testimony won’t necessarily lead to criminal charges against Trump or any of his allies. Despite the case against him — he has, according to former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks, crossed lines that even President Richard Nixon wouldn’t have dared to cross — Trump has been found “not guilty” in two impeachment trials, is still wildly popular in the GOP, survived the Mueller report, and has a long history of dodging accountability time and time again.

Nonetheless, Hutchinson’s testimony was incredibly compelling. Conservative Never Trumper and Washington Post opinion writer Jennifer Rubin describes five of the most “stunning revelations” in a listicle/column published on June 28.

“Let’s put it this way: The parlor game in identifying who would be the January 6 committee’s John Dean — the insider who devastated the Nixon Administration during the Watergate investigations — may finally have an undisputed winner,” Rubin argues. “Hutchinson, who served as executive assistant to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, provided five stunning revelations about former President Donald Trump’s coup attempt.”

Revelation #1, according to Rubin, is that “Meadows and Trump knew there could be violence on January 6 and enabled the mob.”

Hutchinson, Rubin notes, “confirmed that Meadows and other officials were aware of the potential for violence.” According to Hutchinson, Meadows told her, “There’s a lot going on, Cass, but I don’t know. Things might get real, real bad on January 6.”

“Hutchinson’s testimony suggested that Meadows was utterly indifferent to reports of potential violence,” Rubin explains. “Meanwhile, Trump was furious that the Ellipse outside the White House, where the rally took place, was not filled with people. He demanded that attendees be allowed to go through the security checks with their weapons.”



Hutchinson’s other revelations, Rubin writes, include: (2) “Trump’s advisers knew that Trump could be exposed to criminal charges,” (3) “Trump went ballistic when he was told he couldn’t go to the Capitol” on January 6, 2021, and (4) “Trump’s ring leaders asked for pardons.”Hutchinson testified that former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone was vehemently opposed to the idea of Trump going to the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6 and feared, “We need to make sure this doesn’t happen. We have serious legal concerns…. We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable.”

“Trump desperately tried to join the crowd on January 6 as it marched toward the Capitol,” Rubin writes, describing Hutchinson’s testimony. “When he declared, in his speech, that he would join them, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) called Hutchinson and accused her of lying to him ‘all week’ about the White House’s intentions for him not go to the Capitol. That’s an indication that McCarthy was fully aware of the danger of Trump leading the mob.”

Rubin continues, “Hutchinson also said that when Trump was told, in the presidential motorcade, that he was not going to the Capitol, he became irate. Others told her that he said, ‘I’m the effing president. Take me to the Capitol now.’ She also heard that Trump had tried to grab the steering wheel and lunged at the Secret Service agent who told him he could not go.”

Revelation #5, according to Rubin, is that “other Trump aides are cowards and dissemblers.”

“Hutchinson’s appearance before the committee placed a spotlight on the list of Trump aides who have refused to come forward with their eyewitness testimony, including Meadows, (former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Tony) Ornato, Cipollone and others,” Rubin explains. “In fact, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the vice chair of the committee, read statements from unnamed witnesses that they had been warned by others to be ‘loyal’ to Trump, suggesting the possibility of witness tampering. Pressure or not, those who refuse to testify have chosen to protect themselves and Trump. Hutchinson’s courage and character stands in dramatic contrast to the spineless Trump protectors.”

Colombia – a once conservative stronghold – elects a leftist president for the first time

For the first time ever, Colombia has chosen new leadership that is not conservative. Voters in the third-most populous nation in Latin America narrowly elected the former mayor of Bogotá, Gustavo Petro, in a runoff election against his conservative opponent Rodolfo Hernández, with 50.47 percent of the votes.

This article was produced by Economy for All, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

Petro, who ran on a platform to tackle inequality, is a former rebel soldier who, at the age of 17 joined a now-defunct guerilla group called M-19 and was briefly imprisoned and tortured. His election is viewed as part of the ongoing “pink tide” in Latin America where a wave of left-leaning, but not-hardcore-communist leaders have succeeded in taking power through democratic elections.

Perhaps even more impressive than Petro is his running mate, Francia Márquez, the nation’s first Afro-Colombian vice president and a celebrated environmental activist.

No other Afro-Colombian has risen so far up the ranks of the government as Márquez—in spite of the fact that nearly 10 percent of the nation’s population is of African descent—and neither has anyone with the kind of environmental and social justice credentials that Márquez has.

Hailing from one of the poorest provinces in Colombia, Cauca, Márquez was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2018 for her courageous work against illegal mining. In 2014, she led 80 women on a massive march spanning 10 days and 350 miles and faced death threats for her environmental work.

Janvieve Williams Comrie, executive director of the U.S.-based organization AfroResistance, is a long-time friend of Márquez’s and someone she considers a “sister and comrade.” Comrie traveled to Colombia for the election and in an interview she shared her elation at seeing someone who looks like her rise to the position of vice president.

Márquez “is loved by the whole country,” says Comrie. “She has been impacted by the [civil] war, she is an internally displaced person, and to come from where she comes from and now be the vice president of a nation, it’s for the people, by the people.” She adds, that Márquez’s win, “is the whole community’s victory.”

For a nation that has embraced U.S.-style neoliberal politics and, for years, been a bulwark against leftist leaders in nations like Venezuela and Cuba, Colombia’s election results represent a shattering of the prevailing regional political order in the Americas.

Colombia has been a United States ally for 200 years. The U.S. State Department boasts of the more than $1 billion aid it has given Colombia in recent years, saying on its website that “With the support of the United States, Colombia has transformed itself over the past 20 years from a fragile state into a vibrant democracy with a growing market-oriented economy.”

Already, pro-capitalist Western media outlets are responding negatively to the election results. Barron’s published an article with a headline that read, “Colombia’s New President Moves the Country to the Left. Markets Don’t Seem Enthusiastic.” Bloomberg had a similar response with a story titled, “Colombian Markets Sink After Leftist Wins Presidential Election.” The cryptic desires of “markets” are apparently important enough to warrant strong opinions from media outlets about the nation’s new leadership.

What’s missing from the news coverage is how Colombia “has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the world,” and the second-highest in Latin America and the Caribbean, as per the World Bank. Further, more than 40 percent of Colombians live below the poverty line.

To news outlets like Barron’s and Bloomberg, such statistics are unimportant. To the State Department, this is apparently what a “vibrant democracy with a growing market-oriented economy” looks like.

Given how reliably conservative and pro-U.S. Colombia’s leadership has been, how is it that Petro and Márquez won?

Comrie explains the election results saying, “people needed a change.” Petro and Márquez’s “whole platform was around cambio, which means ‘change’ in Spanish.”

Environmental justice is a critical aspect of the change that the new government has promised. Comrie contextualizes how “[Colombia] is really the environmental lung to Latin America,” given that a significant portion of the Amazon rainforest lies within its borders. Colombia’s rainforest has experienced devastating deforestation.

Petro and Márquez, according to Comrie, are, “committed to dealing with the high levels of deforestation,” and to “figuring out how can we restore what has been depleted and what has been exploited from an environmental perspective that is accountable to Mother Earth first, and then to the economy, second.”

A significant portion of the United States’ aid to Colombia has come in the form of mass aerial fumigation of glyphosate, a “probable carcinogen,” to supposedly combat Colombia’s cocaine farming efforts.

Furthermore, the United States’ “Plan Colombia” has centered on a failed drug war that analyst Brendon Lee, in an in-depth report for the Harvard International Review, described as, “largely ineffective, causing drug production to expand into other countries and creating a militarized war on drugs that has victimized countless Colombian citizens.”

Petro and Márquez have vowed to take the country in a different direction, moving away from aerial fumigation and focusing instead on eradicating poverty among farming communities.

According to Comrie, the election results are, “not only about Colombia, it’s about the whole region. And those policies [that Petro and Márquez plan to implement] will impact how other governments behave” elsewhere in Latin America.

She explains that Márquez and Petro plan to create a Ministry of Igualdad, or Equality which, “will propose new policies and new structures,” to address inequality, such as, “giving women heads of households [who] have been excluded from the economy, a base salary so that they can then sustain themselves.” Additionally, there is expected to be an “expansion of social programs,” and an exploration of programs like “education for all.”

Historically, the U.S. has opposed left-leaning governments in Latin America whose focus on eradicating poverty outweighs a desire to enrich industries. The U.S. has instead preferred right-wing authoritarian rule and backed dozens of coups on the continent.

In replacing a pro-U.S. government with one that is focused on progressive solutions to internal problems, Colombian voters face the prospect of American interventionism. Comrie advises President Joe Biden’s administration, saying that if Biden wants to address climate change, “this is really the administration to work with on that.” But, she warns, “it can’t be on Biden’s terms, it really has to be on Petro and Márquez’s terms.”

Ultimately, Comrie thinks, “it’s time to really… shift the power dynamics” between the U.S. and Colombia.

Sonali Kolhatkar is the founder, host and executive producer of “Rising Up With Sonali,” a television and radio show that airs on Free Speech TV and Pacifica stations. She is a writing fellow for the Economy for All project at the Independent Media Institute.

Watch: Tucker Carlson spins new conspiracy theory saying US gov will lace country’s water supply with antidepressants

Fox News' Tucker Carlson is attempting to spin a new conspiracy theory with a tall accusation involving the United States government.

During his latest segment of "The Tucker Carlson Show" on Tuesday, the conservative primetime host claimed the U.S. government will be lacing the country's water supply with "SSRIs – selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – in an effort to placate an increasingly dissatisfied population," Mediaite reports.

Broadcasting from Rio de Janeiro, Carlson expressed concern about the United States' low fertility rates. On multiple occasions, Carlson has leveled attacks at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) over her concerns about having children. In fact, last year, the Fox News host reportedly said claimed: "some liberals are 'offended by fertility and nature and the idea that people reproduce.'”

During Tuesday's segment, Carlson revisited the same argument but went a step further this time.

READ MORE: Adam Kinzinger roasts Lindsey Graham after he criticizes Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony

“The more atomized and unhappy American society becomes, the easier it is for them to control,” said Carlson. “Fewer marriages and babies and family-owned homes means more rootless and dissatisfied people. It means an entire nation of desperately unhappy grad students. Sandy Cortez could become the queen of a country like that.”

Carlson went on to highlight the inflated cost of having a family as he insisted that the issue is no longer just a temporary problem, but rather a new staple in American society.

“Families are for the tech tycoons in Napa, they’ve got a ton of kids,” he continued. “And for the Haitians huddled underneath the bridges at the border in south Texas, they’ve got a ton of kids too. But for you, a middle-class American, sorry. Your deepest desires are far beyond reach.”

The host concluded with a conspiratorial prediction about what the U.S. government may do next to "numb the public into accepting their childless fate," per Mediaite.

“You have to wonder, how long before Democrats sponsor legislation to distribute free cats to young people in the cities, placebos to replace the families they can no longer have,” he said. “That’s coming, along with SSRIs in the water supply, so you don’t have to think too much about it. We’re finally getting to see what their utopia feels like. Hope you feel better.”

Watch the video below or at this link.

Donald Trump 'desperately' 'wanted to walk into the House with an armed mob': Yale historian

The revelations from former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson are being called “bombshells” and, according to a former advisor to the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, a “cluster bomb.”

Dr. Joanne Freeman, Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University, is urging Americans to focus on an important part of Hutchinson’s testimony.

“People are focusing on the drama of [Donald Trump] trying to grab the steering wheel to force his car to go to the Capitol,” Dr. Freeman writes. “But far more revealing — and alarming — is the fact that he wanted to walk into the House with an armed mob.”

“Again: think COUP.”

Freeman, the author of “The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War,” adds: “Hutchinson testified that there was discussion about having him enter the House chamber.”

Hutchinson also testified that Trump and Meadows knew the rally-goers and insurrectionists were armed, some heavily. According to Hutchinson, he demanded the “mags” — magnetometers, or metal detectors — be removed.

“I don’t care that they have weapons, they’re not here to hurt me.,” Trump allegedly said, according to Hutchinson. “They’re not here to hurt me. Take the f*ing mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here, let the people in and take the mags away.”

“Today we saw 1/6 was a plot to overturn the election with deliberately incorporated violence,” Freeman said.

“That was wild,” Freeman added after the hearing ended.

Hutchinson testified there were discussions about Trump walking into the House chamber, which would have been yet another violation of centuries of precedent: the President is typically invited to Capitol Hill.

Clarence Thomas 'said the quiet part out loud': Harris issues warning about future Supreme Court cases

Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday issued a warning that the United States Supreme Court's overturning of multiple legal precedents is "far from over," hours after the Court sided with a high school football coach who claimed that his religious freedom was violated when was fired after he led players in prayer on the field.

Speaking with CNN's Dana Bash, Harris cited Associate Justice Clarence Thomas's concurring opinion in last week's reversal of Roe v. Wade (federally-protected abortion rights) that "the Court should reconsider other cases" – Griswold v. Connecticut (granting access to birth control), Lawrence v. Texas (striking down anti-sodomy laws), and Obergefell v. Hodges (marriage equality) – which he believes have no valid constitutional basis.

The vice president foresees a dark path ahead for American civil rights.

"I definitely believe this is not over. I do. I think he just said the quiet part out loud," Harris said of Thomas.

"And I think that is why we must all really understand the significance of what just happened," Harris added. "This is profound, and the way that this decision has come down has been so driven, I think, by the politics of the issue versus what should be the values that we place on freedom and liberty in our country."

The Vice President said she believes "the right to privacy," which served as the foundation for the landmark ruling in Roe, is in grave peril.

In an interview with NPR, Harris expanded on her comments.

"We have to stand together in this fight, right — those of us who understand what's at stake," told NPR White House correspondent Asma Khalid.

"It is profound, in terms of where [the decision] takes us back. We have a 23-year-old daughter who is going to know fewer rights than my 80-something-year-old mother-in law," Harris said.

"I think we all felt, and rightly, a huge blow when this decision came down," Harris said. "That's real. So I don't deny anybody how they are feeling right now. I know how I'm feeling right now."

Watch below via The Recount or at this link.

A pregnant Ohio woman’s cancer diagnosis underscores the horrors of life after Roe

With the U.S. Supreme Court having overturned Roe v. Wade after 49 years, abortion laws will vary from state to state — and an Ohio resident’s struggle with pregnancy and cancer offers a disturbing glimpse into the type of health care nightmares that lie ahead now that abortion is no longer a nationally protected right.

The woman, according to Dayton Daily News reporters Josh Sweigart and London Bishop, is pregnant and has been diagnosed with cancer. In order to begin chemotherapy, she will have to terminate her pregnancy first — only she will have to travel to Indiana to do that.

A representative for Dayton Women’s Med Center, interviewed on condition of anonymity, told the Dayton Daily News, “Today, we saw a patient in Dayton who has cancer. Her doctors told her she would have to terminate before she received chemotherapy treatment. She will have to travel to Indiana. A mom brought her daughter in and doesn’t own a car. She will have to rent one to get her daughter to her appointment in Indianapolis later this week.”

Abortion, post-Roe, is still technically legal in Ohio, but the Buckeye State now has a very restrictive “heartbeat law” that criminalizes doctors if they perform an abortion after about six weeks into a pregnancy. The law makes no exception for rape.

Sweigart and Bishop explain, “Women’s Med can still screen patients at its Dayton office and then refer them to the Women’s Med facility in Indianapolis for surgery as long as they are less than 13.6 weeks pregnant. Ohio patients can’t be given medication abortion in Indiana, only surgical termination, according to the clinic. Patients more than 13.6 weeks are being referred to providers in Pittsburgh, Michigan and Illinois.”

The state-to-state complications that Women’s Med is dealing with will only grow more complicated in the months to come. Indiana, a red state, is likely to ban abortion altogether; Michigan has a restrictive anti-abortion law from 1931 that was invalidated by Roe v. Wade in 1973 — and now that Roe has been overturned, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is fighting to keep that law from inflicting misery on women in Michigan.

Abortion is still legal in Pennsylvania, but that could change if Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano — a far-right conspiracy theorist and QAnon sympathizer — defeats his Democratic opponent, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, in November. Shapiro is campaigning on abortion rights, slamming Mastriano for opposing abortion even in cases of rape or incest.

Ohio’s conservative Republican governor, Mike DeWine, is adamantly anti-abortion. However, far-right MAGA extremists often lambast him for not being right-wing enough and consider him a RINO: Republican In Name Only.

The Women’s Med representative interviewed by the Dayton Daily News explained, “We hear many providers are already fully booked for three or four weeks. That means someone who is 19 weeks in her pregnancy will not be able to get an abortion at all, even if she is carrying a dead fetus, even if she needs to terminate in order to get chemotherapy, even if she was raped.”

You can read some reactions to the Dayton Daily News' reporting below or at this link.










Lithuanian president calls for robust NATO expansion as Ukraine war rages on

During former President Donald Trump’s four years in the White House, he was vehemently critical of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and even entertained the idea of the United States withdrawing from it. President Joe Biden, in contrast, was aggressively pro-NATO during his 2020 campaign, fearing that NATO wouldn’t survive if Trump were reelected.

Trump lost the election, and Biden has been quite vocal in his support for NATO — especially during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. NATO has not only survived; it may even expand if Sweden and Finland join the alliance, which Biden has said he would welcome. And Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausèda is obviously very much in favor of that expansion as well.

In an op-ed published by the Washington Post on June 23, Nausèda stresses that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brutal attack on Ukraine makes a strong case for expanding and strengthening NATO.

Who would you vote for in 2024, Biden or DeSantis? Vote now.

“For decades,” Nausèda observes, “the West has failed to understand what Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime is about — namely, expansionism, revisionism, violence, rule by fear and coercion. Russia is not interested in creation or cooperation, but rather, in destruction and rule by force. February 24, 2022, was the day when the rose-tinted glasses fell off.”

It was on February 24 that Russian forces, on orders from Putin, launched a full-fledged invasion of Ukraine — resulting in the worst military conflict in Europe since World War 2. Biden, in response, has been calling for the United States’ European NATO allies to join him in tough economic sanctions against Russia, although he has adamantly maintained that there will be no U.S. troops putting “boots on the ground” in Ukraine.

“Putin is clear in his desire to subvert western values, cut the links between North America and Europe, and subdue Europe to Russia’s will,” Nausèda warns. “He knows that he can achieve these aims by confronting NATO. We can prevent this from happening by ensuring that the transatlantic community has a clear plan for defense.”

Throughout most of NATO’s 73-year history, Sweden and Finland have opted to stay out of the alliance. But the invasion of Ukraine has inspired those Scandinavian countries to change their minds and ask to join, which Nausèda is very much in favor.

“NATO’s ‘open-door policy’ must be officially maintained as the most effective tool in expanding security and providing peace for millions of Europeans,” Nausèda argues. “We should wholeheartedly welcome Sweden and Finland into the alliance. This decision will have a wide-ranging positive impact on the Baltic region and NATO as a whole.”

The Lithuanian president concludes the op-ed by stressing that NATO’s well-being is an essential part of discouraging Putin’s aggression.

“The success of NATO as the backbone of collective defense spanning the whole transatlantic area is crucial,” Nausèda writes. “This also means that the alliance will have to reinvent itself. Only by being more proactive, investing more in our indivisible security and making it more difficult for adversaries to wreak havoc can we hope to achieve the return of a lasting peace in Europe.”

Here are 12 stunning revelations from Cassidy Hutchinson’s bombshell testimony before the House January 6th panel

It’s early yet, but we may look back on today’s hearing by the January 6th committee as a major turn in the story of Donald Trump’s attempted coup on January 6, 2021. After hearing testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, January 6th Committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MI) said:

After hearing your testimony in all its candor in detail, I want to speak directly to the handful of witnesses who have been outliers in our investigation, a small number who have defied us outright., those whose memories have failed them again and again, on the most important details and to those who fear Donald Trump and his enablers because of this courageous woman, and others like her: Your attempt to hide the truth from the American people will fail.
To that group of witnesses, if you've heard this testimony today, and suddenly you remember things you couldn't previously recall, or there are some details you'd like to clarify or you discovered some courage you have hidden away somewhere.
Our doors remain open.

That seems to me like something you’d say when you know an investigation is about to turn. Here’s what Hutchinson said.

1. On Jan. 6, Donald Trump was “infuriated” about the small number of people in the arena on the Ellipse. He was told that the reason was the magnometers, or "mags" – machines that detect weapons. Trump told the Secret Service to remove the mags from the Ellipse, to let them all in so he would have a good shot for the TV audience. Trump knew supporters were armed, some with spears, pistols and AR-15s.

2. Trump wanted to go to the Capitol with the insurgents. There was even talk of the former president giving a speech in the House. White House counsel Pat Cipollone said that if Trump goes to the Capitol, "We're going to be charged with every crime imaginable," specifically obstruction of justice and defrauding an electoral vote count.

3. When Trump took the stage on the Ellipse on Jan. 6, he expected to travel with the insurgents to the US Capitol. In the presidential limo, White House Counsel Bobby Engel said no — we’re going back to the White House. Trump then lurched for the steering wheel. Engel grabbed his arm. Hutchinson then gestured toward her own neck, suggesting that the former president tried to strangle Engel.

4. Trump had a history of violent outbursts during his time in the White House. He would throw dishes or flip tablecloths, breaking everything on the table, Hutchinson said. Former Attorney General Bill Barr said Trump once pounded the table to accept Barr's resignation.

5. After seeing Trump say in his Jan. 6 speech that he was going to the Capitol with the insurgents, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called Hutchinson. He said, I thought you said Trump wasn't going to the Capitol. You lied to me. Trump didn't go, but McCarthy’s call to Hutchinson suggests that he knew and feared violence was coming.

6. Trump and his advisers spoke about white-power terrorist groups the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers at the rally. They were made aware of plans by insurgents to "occupy federal buildings."

7. Rudy Giuliani reportedly asked for a pardon.

8. Mark Meadows reportedly asked for a pardon.

9. In a speech on Jan. 7 that he was urged to give, Trump wanted to include pardons for all the insurgents. Advisers struck that out. He gave the speech “as cover” for “what might happen in the Senate” (impeachment?) and because the Cabinet was considering invoking the 25th Amendment to strip Trump of his presidential power.

10. When told that insurgents were chanting "hang Mike Pence," Trump reportedly said, "Mike deserves it.”

11. The Jan. 6 committee learned of attempts at witness tampering. Vice-Chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) said these were statements made to witnesses:

What they said to me is as long as I continue to be a team player, they know I'm on the right team. I'm doing the right thing. I'm protecting who I need to protect. You know, I'll continue to stay in good graces in front of the world. And they have reminded me a couple of times that Trump does read transcripts, and just keep that in mind as I proceed through my interviews with the committee.
[The person] let me know you have your deposition tomorrow. He wants me to let you know he's thinking about you. You know, you're loyal. And you're going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition.

12. When asked if he believes in the peaceful transfer of power, Trump adviser Mike Flynn pleaded the Fifth Amendment.

As Cheney keeps repeating, all of these witnesses are Republicans appointed by the former president. Moreover, most of them are white men in positions of authority. They are not Democrats. They are not “agents of the Deep State.” They are Trump’s own people.

Donald Trump was warned that his Cabinet considered invoking the 25th Amendment: Cassidy Hutchinson

Former President Donald Trump was aware on Jan. 7, 2021 that his Cabinet was discussing removing him from office if he did not address the violent insurrection that he incited on the 6th.

Ex-White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson first revealed this during her deposition before the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol last week.

But at the bipartisan panel's emergency sixth public hearing on Tuesday afternoon, Committee Vice-Chair Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) presented additional details about the warnings that Trump had received from multiple department secretaries.

Then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "reached out to have the conversation" with Trump's White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows "because he hadn't heard the conversations about the Cabinet secretaries. And from what I understand it was more of a, 'this is what I'm hearing. I want you to be aware of it, but I also think it's worth putting on your radar because you are the chief of staff and you are technically the boss of all the Cabinet secretaries and if the conversation progressed, you should be ready to take action on it. I'm concerned for you and your positioning with this,'" Hutchinson said under oath.

According to Hutchinson, Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani as well as Meadows asked Trump for clemency.

Hutchinson recalled that Trump "didn't think he needed to do anything more on the 7th than what he had already done on the 6th," referring to a video address that Trump posted hours after the assault in which he instructed his followers to "go home in peace."

She also explained that crucial passages in the speech that she had drafted for Trump were significantly edited out. Instead of pledging to hold the rioters accountable, Hutchinson said, Trump "wanted to potentially pardon them." Trump, she continued, believed that "they didn't do anything wrong. The person who did something wrong that day was [Vice President] Mike Pence by not staying with him."

Hutchinson noted that it was individuals within Trump's immediate orbit – Meadows, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Oval Office adviser Eric Herschmann, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, Deputy White House Counsel Pat Philbin, and Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany – who ultimately informed the president that "there's a large concern about the 25th Amendment potentially being invoked and there were concerns about what would potentially happen in the Senate if the 25th was invoked. So the primary reason other than what I had heard other than 'we did not do enough on the 6th, we need to get a stronger message out there and condemn this otherwise this will be your legacy.'"

Hutchinson then added, based on what she heard, that "the secondary reason to that was, 'think about what might happen in the final 15 days of your presidency if we don't do this. There's already talks about invoking the 25th Amendment. You need this as cover.'"

Watch below via C-SPAN or at this link.

Constitutional law professor proposes a way Congress can stop Donald Trump from running in 2024

Former President Donald Trump is almost universally expected to run again in 2024 amid multiple ongoing civil and criminal probes into his actions during his single term as well as his personal business ventures.

The highest-profile cases are being handled by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, which Trump incited, as well as the state of Georgia, where Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has convened a grand jury to determine whether Trump broke the law when he tried to strongarm Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger and other elections officials into overturning President Joe Biden's Electoral College victory.

So far, Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice have given no indication if Trump is on their radar for potential indictment and prosecution. Even if he is, there are technically no legal barriers to him launching a presidential campaign or getting elected while under law enforcement's microscope. Plus, there is no guarantee that Garland or Willis would secure a conviction, despite the voluminous evidence that has already been presented to the public.

Who would you vote for in 2024, Biden or DeSantis? Vote now.

But one idea has emerged that could stop Trump in his tracks. And all it would take is an act of political courage by lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Congress "should exercise its constitutional authority to prohibit Trump from seeking the presidency again," Edward Foley, the Ebersold Chair in Constitutional Law at Ohio State University and head of its election law program, wrote in a Washington Post editorial on Thursday.

To accomplish that end, Foley explained, the House of Representatives and Senate can tap into the 14th Amendment – which bars individuals who participate in insurrections from holding office – to pass a law "that would authorize the Justice Department to file a civil suit to prohibit Trump" from mounting a third (or fourth, if you count his Reform Party bid in 2000) attempt at the White House.

"Congress can make clear as part of its new statute," Foley continued, "that it deems the January 6th assault on the constitutional procedure for counting the electoral vote to amount to an 'insurrection' for purposes of the 14th Amendment’s disqualification clause."

While such an action would indeed be unprecedented – and have to come to fruition quite quickly – Foley conceded that it carries some tricky challenges.

First, Foley explained, "Congress could have achieved the same goal by convicting Trump in the second impeachment trial — the one charging him with incitement of the insurrection — and this would have resulted in disqualifying Trump from holding federal office again."

Trump was acquitted by Republicans in the Senate, in part because he had already left office, as Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) maintained at the time. Now that Trump is a private citizen, however, "that argument wouldn’t apply here," giving Congress "the chance for a do-over — if it’s willing to take it," Foley said.

That begets the second issue.

"Ten Republican Senators would have to agree to overcome a filibuster. But seven Republicans voted to convict Trump in the second impeachment proceeding," Foley noted. "It is not impossible to imagine that three more would be willing to vote in favor of this statute. After all, they don’t have to make the declaration that Trump is unfit for office; they need only allow the Justice Department to pursue disqualification in court."

Third, Foley continued, "Congress can’t specifically label Trump as a disqualified insurrectionist in such a statute. That would risk judicial invalidation for violating a separate constitutional provision, the 'bill of attainder' clause, which prohibits Congress, as the legislative branch of government, from determining a specific individual’s liability under the law."

Congress would therefore have to "further define for purposes of these civil adjudications that participants include anyone who orchestrated or advanced the insurrection without personally taking up arms at the Capitol," Foley added.

That umbrella would encompass Trump.

Foley further points out one additional advantage to his approach – that it "would avoid all the extra burdens of a criminal trial, including proof beyond a reasonable doubt."

He stressed that "safeguarding the 2024 election from the kind of subversion that Trump attempted in 2020 does not require putting him in prison for his past criminality. Instead, what is necessary is to disable him from being a candidate again."

It would also not preclude filing criminal cases against Trump.

Read Foley's column here (subscription required).

'I hardly know who this person is': Donald Trump lashes out at Cassidy Hutchinson during hearing

Former President Donald Trump lashed out at ex-White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson during her explosive testimony before the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol on Tuesday afternoon.

Hutchinson worked closely with Trump in the West Wing and was also a special assistant to then-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Her office was only a few yards away from Trump's.

Hutchinson's appearance at the Committee's unscheduled sixth session – which was announced on Monday – provided new insight about what went on inside Trumpworld in the leadup to, on, and following the events of January 6th.

Her sworn statements included recollections of Trump throwing his lunch against a wall, demanding that armed supporters be permitted to attend his Stop the Steal rally so that he could deploy them to the Capitol, and one incident in which Trump tried to grab a Secret Service agent's clavicle and commandeer the presidential limo when his security detail refused to drive him down the street.

Hutchinson further stated that White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and other senior staffers believed that Trump felt that his mob's threats to assassinate Vice President Mike Pence were justified.

"I remember Pat saying something to the effect of, 'Mark, we need to do something more, they're literally calling for the vice president to be f*cking hung.' And Mark had responded something to the effect of, 'You heard him, Pat. He thinks Mike deserves it. He doesn't think they're doing anything wrong.' To which Pat said something -- 'This is f*ckng crazy. We need to be doing something more,'" Hutchinson said.

CNN reported prior to the hearing that Trump was 'nervous' and 'blindsided' by the news of Hutchinson's cooperation. And as he has frequently done in the past, Trump engaged in what his long-term personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen recently described as a "distance, disparage, and destroy" effort against Hutchinson.

"I hardly know who this person Cassidy Hutchinson, is, other than I heard very negative things about her (a total phony and "leaker"), and when she requested to go with certain others of the team to Florida after my having served a full term in office, I personally turned her request down," Trump wrote on his Twitter-knockoff Truth Social app.

"Why did she want to go with us if she felt we were so terrible?" Trump continued. "I understand that she was very upset and angry that I didn't want her to go, or be a member of the team. She is bad news!"

Read it below or at this link.

Meanwhile, the Select Committee tweeted after the conclusion of its hearing that unnamed individuals whom they have interviewed may be victims of witness tampering by Trump and his associates.

Another possible instance occurred on Monday in an angry missive directed at Meadows that Trump posted to Truth Social.

Gavin Newsom pushes national Democrats to turn up the heat in culture-war battles: report

In November 2021, California Gov. Gavin Newsom showed his resilience when he survived, by double digits, a recall election and trounced far-right Republican challenger Larry Elder — and on Tuesday, June 7, Newsom enjoyed a decisive victory when he won California’s 2022 Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Now, he will be going up against Republican nominee Brian Dahle in the general election.

Newsom, a former San Francisco mayor, has been arguing that fellow Democrats aren’t being aggressive enough when it comes to fighting Republicans on culture war issues. The California governor’s efforts to make members of his party more forceful in the United States’ culture war battles is the focus of an article written by Politico reporters Christopher Cadelago and David Siders and published on June 23.

“Real Time” host Bill Maher has been bullish on Newsom’s prospects as a future presidential candidate, and Cadelago and Siders discuss the possibility of Newsom someday running for president in their report.

Who would you vote for in 2024, Biden or DeSantis? Vote now.

“Is the governor positioning himself for a White House run in 2024?” the reporters write. “Newsom has stressed that he isn’t challenging President Joe Biden — either on his stewardship of their party or as a candidate in two years. He’s reminded people that Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris separately trekked across the country to stump for him in his recall election.”

Nonetheless, Cadelago and Siders add, Newsom’s argument that Democrats need to be more forceful on culture war issues is being “widely interpreted as a relatively young executive using the specter of a future presidential bid to shine a bright spotlight on himself.”

“Newsom has long centered Republican leaders as foils, using his State of the State speech in March to argue that America is plagued by agents of a ‘national anger machine’ that’s fueling division and weaponizing grievance,” Cadelago and Siders observe. “Often focusing on Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas, Republican governors who revel in making California an example of progressivism run amuck, Newsom argues, the GOP is counting on complacency to erode voting rights, scapegoat minorities, conjure conspiracies and undermine democracy.”

The journalists add, “But after Politico revealed the leaked Supreme Court draft overturning Roe v. Wade, Newsom unloaded on Democrats, asking outside a Planned Parenthood office last month, ‘Where the hell is my party? Where’s the Democratic Party?.… Why aren’t we calling this out? This is a concerted, coordinated effort. And, yes, they’re winning.”

Biden, now 79, has indicated that he plans to seek reelection in 2024 if his health is good. Possibly, Newsom is setting himself up for a presidential run in 2024 if Biden doesn’t run — or perhaps a presidential run in 2028.

Attorney John Morgan, a Democratic bundler and Biden ally based in Orlando, Florida, told Politico, “They don’t know if Biden is going to run or not. They are thinking, ‘I don’t know if I am going to be at the swim meet or not, but I am going to put my bathing suit on anyway.’”

Morgan said of the California governor, “He looks like a million dollars. And he looks at the Democratic bench, and he doesn’t see anyone sitting there. So, he says, ‘I am going to sit there.’”

Donald Trump tried to grab Secret Service agent's clavicle and steer limo toward Capitol: Cassidy Hutchinson

After delivering his speech at the Ellipse telling supporters to march “to the Capitol” and promising them “and I’ll be there with you,” then-President Donald Trump got into the presidential limousine determined to see the insurrection, according to testimony Tuesday by former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.

Trump, his chief of staff Mark Meadows, the Secret Service, and many others knew rally-goers and insurrectionists had weapons, including AK-47s, Hutchinson, an aide and advisor to Meadows, said.

Hutchinson told the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack that Trump ordered Secret Service to “get rid of the mags,” meaning the magnetometers – metal detectors – so his armed supporters could enter the Ellipse.

“You know, I don’t even care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me,” Trump reportedly said.

Hutchinson also told the Committee that Trump ordered Secret Service to take him to the Capitol after his speech, but they refused.

“I’m the f-ing president! Take me up to the Capitol now!” Trump, irate, demanded, as The Washington Post reports.

“The president reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, said, ‘Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We’re going back to the West Wing. We’re not going the Capitol,’” Hutchinson averred.

“Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel,” she said. “When Mr. Ornato had recounted this story to me, he had motioned towards his clavicle.”

New York Times White House reporter Maggie Haberman said Tuesday that Trump is aware the temperature is heating up around investigations of the Capitol riot.

"Look, the line from Trump’s world is he’s not worried about the DOJ investigations," Haberman said. "He’s just angry because these House investigations are quote-unquote, very unfair, in his words. Donald Trump is pretty good at seeing when there’s heat turning up. And, you know, again, I can’t read his mind, can’t see into his heart. But I, based on reporting, don’t believe that it is only about the politics of the situation."

Maggie Haberman explains why she believes Donald Trump is worried about facing criminal charges

Is former President Donald Trump worried about the U.S. Department of Justice's investigative probe? Although he publicly makes it seem as though he isn't concerned, The New York Times' Maggie Haberman is now arguing otherwise.

On Tuesday, June 28, Haberman appeared on CNN's "New Day" where she discussed the surprise House Select Committee hearing involving Eric and Don Trump, Jr. During the interview, CNN co-anchors Brianna Keilar and John Berman also asked about her recent report on the former president reportedly being "in friend-making mode." When asked to offer more insight on that claim, Haberman weighed in with more context into her latest report, Mediaite reports.

"Friend-making mode" is the former president's attempt to repair burned bridges. According to Haberman, Trump's efforts are a result of his concerns about U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland‘s investigative and criminal probes. Although Trump and his allies are arguing that's not the case, Haberman explained why she believes otherwise.

Here is an excerpt from the conversation:

MAGGIE HABERMAN: I don’t think it’s a coincidence. I don’t think it’s as much about wanting to run for president. I think that’s a part of it. I think it is about the investigations. And I think it is —

JOHN BERMAN: Really?

MAGGIE HABERMAN: I do, I think I think a lot of what is driving him right now is about concern about the various investigations. And I think he is trying to make more friends than enemies at the moment. Now, could it benefit him if he ran for president and won? Absolutely. But I think the investigations have a, House and otherwise, have a large mind-share.

JOHN BERMAN: Is it the bad PR, or does he think, do you know or have reporting whether he thinks that they’re getting close to something?

MAGGIE HABERMAN: Look, the line from Trump’s world is he’s not worried about the DOJ investigations. He’s just angry because these House investigations are quote-unquote, very unfair, in his words. Donald Trump is pretty good at seeing when there’s heat turning up. And, you know, again, I can’t read his mind, can’t see into his heart. But I, based on reporting, don’t believe that it is only about the politics of the situation.

The latest surprise hearings have raised more speculation about the possibility of Trump facing criminal charges in connection with the Capitol insurrection.