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Andy Biggs Absolutely Fumbles When Asked What Biden Evidence GOP Has Now

The House Oversight Republican had no idea what to say when asked about the charges against ex–FBI informant Alexander Smirnov.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The GOP impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden is crashing and burning without its star witness, Alexander Smirnov, but Republicans were still primed and ready to answer pressing questions from reporters—actually, wait, no they weren’t.

Representative Andy Biggs somehow made an even more embarrassing attempt at defending the now transparently baseless impeachment effort than Representative Jim Jordan did on Wednesday, flatly insisting that the party had plenty to go on without Smirnov.

“What evidence do you have of a bribery scheme now?” a reporter asked the House Oversight Committee member.

“We got lots of evidence, yes,” Biggs replied as he hurried past a crush of reporters, refusing to elaborate.

Republicans had spent months building up the hype around Smirnov as a witness, isolating his allegation that Biden had pocketed millions of dollars from a Ukrainian oligarch as the centerpiece of their probe.

But on Tuesday, the Justice Department revealed that Smirnov admitted to prosecutors that “officials associated with Russian intelligence were involved” in developing the Hunter Biden narrative. In a court filing, Smirnov told investigators he was in contact with “four different [top] Russian officials,” two of whom were the “heads of the entities they represent.”

“It targeted the presumptive nominee of one of the two major political parties in the United States. The effects of Smirnov’s false statements and fabricated information continue to be felt to this day,” prosecutors wrote, noting that Smirnov’s contacts were “not benign.”

Those revelations came after Smirnov was charged with lying to the FBI about his Biden allegations.

Republican waffling on whether to continue the probe offers just another whiff of Russian meddling in a presidential election—and legal experts have picked up on the scent, predicting that the effort to save Smirnov’s testimony could spell certain disaster for the Republican lawmakers leading the effort.

Well, That Alabama Supreme Court Embryo Ruling Is Already Gutting IVF

Critics warned that the ruling would hurt anyone seeking IVF in the state—and they were right.

A hand points to an ovocyte on the computer screen.
IVAN COURONNE/AFP/Getty Images
An embryologist shows an ovocyte after it is inseminated.

It has been less than a week since the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that embryos created through in vitro fertilization can be classified as children, but the decision is already wrecking access to fertility treatments.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s medical school announced Wednesday that it is pausing IVF treatments in order to avoid potential lawsuits under the court ruling. Patients can complete the process up through egg retrieval, but fertilization and embryo development have been paused.

“We are saddened that this will impact our patients’ attempt to have a baby through IVF, but we must evaluate the potential that our patients and our physicians could be prosecuted criminally or face punitive damages for following the standard of care for IVF treatments,” UAB spokeswoman Hannah Echols said in a statement.

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled 7–2 on Friday that embryos created through IVF are protected under the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act. The case stems from a lawsuit brought by several parents against a fertility clinic. The plaintiffs argued their “embryonic children” had been the victims of wrongful death when an intruder broke into the clinic and dropped trays holding some of the embryos, destroying them.

The court ruled the clinic had been negligent and chillingly cited the Bible in its majority opinion. “We believe that each human being, from the moment of conception, is made in the image of God, created by Him to reflect His likeness. It is as if the People of Alabama took what was spoken of the prophet Jeremiah and applied it to every unborn person in this state: ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, Before you were born I sanctified you.’ Jeremiah 1:5 (NKJV 1982),” the opinion read.

The president and CEO of Resolve: The National Infertility Association, Barbara Collura, said she was “heartbroken” by the UAB decision. “Would-be parents have invested their hearts, time and resources” in lengthy and potentially emotionally draining IVF treatment, she said in a statement. “Now, less than a week after the Alabama Supreme Court’s devastating ruling, Alabamans in the midst of seeking treatment have had their lives, their hopes and dreams crushed.”

“This cruel ruling, and the subsequent decision by UAB’s health system, are horrifying signals of what’s to come across the country.”

In addition to already wreaking havoc on the third-party fertility industry, the ruling could have devastating effects on reproductive health statewide. As reporter Jessica Valenti pointed out Wednesday, the ruling further enforces the concept of fetal personhood.

Anti-abortion activists argue that humanity begins at conception and thus fetuses should be afforded legal rights. But health experts warn this line of thinking could be used to criminalize doctors who provide lifesaving care, such as by terminating a pregnancy that is fatal to the patient. By further enshrining fetal personhood, the Alabama ruling could put health care workers or even people who miscarry at risk of legal repercussions.

Trump Is Planning an Even More Inhumane Anti-Immigrant Second Term

A new report says Donald Trump is preparing to do everything he couldn’t in his second term, like mass deportation camps.

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For all the horrific immigration policies Donald Trump instituted during his first term—expanding detention centers, separating families at the border, and ending “catch and release”—the GOP front-runner and his allies are sketching out even more disturbing plans should he regain the White House.

Trump has promised to bring back President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Operation Wetback,” which used military tactics to conduct massive roundups of some 1.3 million immigrants, legal or otherwise, across the country, packing them into trucks and shipping them to locations without food or water, resulting in tragic and unnecessary deaths.

“Americans can expect that immediately upon President Trump’s return to the Oval Office, he will restore all of his prior policies, implement brand new crackdowns that will send shock waves to all the world’s criminal smugglers, and marshal every federal and state power necessary to institute the largest deportation operation in American history,” said Trump campaign spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt in a statement to The Washington Post, adding that undocumented immigrants “should not get comfortable because very soon they will be going home.”

To support such an operation, Trump adviser Stephen Miller and other allies have proposed building mass deportation camps.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Miller, who is largely expected to reenter the West Wing as the leading expert on “America First” immigration policy should Trump win in November, has also described the forthcoming reality of “large-scale raids” and “throughput facilities.”

“I don’t care what the hell happens in this world,” Miller said earlier this month on a podcast with Charlie Kirk. “If President Trump gets reelected, the border’s going to be sealed, the military will be deployed, the National Guard will be activated, and the illegals are going home.”

Behind the scenes, Trump has worked overtime to make immigration a focal point of the upcoming general election. He has strong-armed Republican lawmakers into refusing bipartisan border deals to avoid giving President Joe Biden a win on the issue. He has stoked the flames of a standoff between Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the federal government over lengths of concertina wire erected by the state that have prevented federal border agents from doing their job along the Rio Grande section of the U.S.-Mexico border. And so far, his angling has been successful—as of a January poll conducted by Harvard CAPS-Harris, immigration now ranks as the top issue for U.S. voters, with 35 percent of respondents listing it as the primary concern.

“Trump is following the 20th century dictator’s playbook of dehumanizing vulnerable groups in order to isolate them and justify cruelty by the state,” Genevieve Nadeau, a former Department of Homeland Security lawyer, said in a report by the nonpartisan organization Protect Democracy. “He’s backing up his rhetoric by threatening to invoke extreme and novel legal tools to effectuate an agenda of inhumanity on a scale we haven’t seen for generations. We should expect him to follow through on his pledges.”

And the violent measures fly in the face of what Republicans and Democratic leaders alike argue would most benefit their communities: allowing the immigrants to legally work.

“Every migrant I speak to tells me they don’t want any charity; they just want to work,” Denver Mayor Mike Johnston wrote in an MSNBC op-ed earlier this month. “When I speak to conservative business leaders, they say the same thing: Newcomers should work; I have open jobs; let me hire them.”

James Biden Gave Republicans Exactly What They Asked for in Testimony

James Biden testified behind closed doors as House Republicans continue their Biden impeachment crusade.

House Oversight Chair James Comer leaves a room. The door behind him says "2155 Members and Committee Staff Only."
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House Oversight Chair James Comer

House Republicans have hit yet another dead end in their Biden impeachment crusade, after perhaps their biggest witness yet debunked all their claims in closed-door testimony.

Joe Biden’s brother testified Wednesday before the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees, whose Republican chairmen have led the charge against his brother. Biden slammed Republicans for accusing the president and his family of influence peddling, accusing the GOP of “flat-out lying” during their impeachment inquiry.

The GOP has insisted for about a year that the president was involved in his family’s business ventures and accused his relatives, particularly his brother and his son Hunter, of wielding their proximity to him to leverage their work. But in his opening statement, which was obtained by The New Republic, Jim Biden firmly debunked every allegation.

“I have had a 50-year career in a variety of business ventures. Joe Biden has never had any involvement or any direct or indirect financial interest in those activities. None,” Biden said. “I never asked my brother to take any official action on behalf of me, my business associates, or anyone else.”

“In every business venture in which I have been involved, I have relied on my own talent, judgment, skill, and personal relationships—and never my status as Joe Biden’s brother. Those who have said or thought otherwise were either mistaken, ill informed, or flat-out lying.”

Biden summarized his various business ventures over the past couple decades, which included a few partnerships with his nephew Hunter. But Joe Biden “played no role, was not involved with, and received no benefits,” his brother said.

Republicans have also seized on two checks that James Biden gave his older brother, one for $200,000 labeled “loan repayment,” and another for $40,000. GOP lawmakers insist these were actually Joe Biden’s share of profit from his brother’s businesses. Jim Biden, however, said they were nothing more than repayment for money his brother loaned him when he fell on hard times.

“With my appearance here today, the Committees will have the information to conclude that the negative and destructive assumptions about me and my relationship with my brother Joe are wrong,” Biden said. “There is no basis for this inquiry to continue.”

Republicans have repeatedly insisted that Joe Biden is guilty of corruption, but they have yet to produce a single shred of evidence tying the president to criminal behavior. What’s more, the informant who provided the main accusations behind the investigation was charged just last week with providing false information to the government.

Alexander Smirnov, a longtime FBI informant with ties to Ukraine, had claimed to have proof of Biden and his son Hunter accepting $5 million bribes each from a Ukrainian oligarch. In addition to being charged with making false statements, the Justice Department revealed Tuesday that Smirnov had likely been spreading Russian disinformation when he made the Biden allegations.

“Kill ’Em All,” Republican Congressman Says of Palestinians in Gaza

Republican Representative Andy Ogles really does not care if even more kids are killed in Gaza.

Representative Andy Ogles yells and points a finger
Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

Representative Andy Ogles is making headlines over flippant remarks he made regarding the harrowing conflict in Palestine, saying in a recently released clip that America should help “kill ’em all.”

On Thursday, the far-right Tennessean got into a fiery spat with an activist, who pressed Ogles on his position regarding Israel’s atrocities in Gaza and America’s never-ending distribution of munitions to the cause.

“Do you know there’s a genocide happening right now in Palestine?” the activist asked. “Over 300 health care workers have been killed. Have you called for a cease-fire?

“Let’s be clear. Hamas raped and murdered babies,” Ogles started. “I’ve seen the footage, and you haven’t.”

“I’ve seen the footage of shredded children’s bodies,” the activist responded. “That’s my taxpayer dollars that are going to bomb those kids.”

But Ogles had no mercy for the plighted people, ruthlessly advocating for the complete extermination of Palestine.

“You know what? So, I think we should kill ’em all, if that makes you feel better,” Ogles, a self-described Christian, spat back. “Everybody in Hamas.”

“Do you have a heart? Do you have a family?” the activist responded, flabbergasted.

“Hamas and the Palestinians have been attacking Israel for 20 years. And It’s time to pay the piper,” the lawmaker continued.

Other prompts jumped out at the Republican after a small flock had gathered around him, with activists decrying Israel as an “occupier” that has spent decades attacking Palestine.

“Your naïveté doesn’t make it true,” Ogles said, adding, “Death to Hamas” before descending further into the Capitol.

The blatant cruelty is maybe not as shocking given that Ogles seemingly doesn’t care about dead children in his home state either, allegedly pocketing tens of thousands of dollars donated to build a child graveyard in Tennessee.

On Tuesday, the White House vetoed a resolution at the United Nations Security Council for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza proposed by Algeria, claiming it would  “jeopardize” talks to end the war. 

“Examine your conscience; how will history judge you?” said Amar Bendjama, Algeria’s U.N. diplomat.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday that Israel is bringing more than two million Palestinians to the brink of death—especially for those living in the northern section of the enclave.

“Israel’s prevention of aid trucks from entering and its occasional targeting of the few allowed in is already resulting in the death of children, elderly, and patients due to hunger,” the ministry said in a statement to Al Jazeera.

“The sight of thousands of children holding empty pots and standing in long lines waiting for any meal or food rations dominates life in northern Gaza.”

New York Attorney General Threatens to Take Action if Trump Doesn’t Pay Up

New York Attorney General Letitia James is vowing to make Donald Trump pay that massive fraud judgment, one way or another.

Letitia James speaks at a mic. A U.S. flag is in the background.
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

New York real estate mogul Donald Trump could soon be without any New York real estate, as the state attorney general has warned that she is prepared to seize his buildings if he doesn’t pay his $354 million penalty for financial fraud.

A judge fined Trump the whopping amount on Friday for committing real estate–related financial fraud in New York state. Trump can appeal the ruling, but he would first have to pay the entire amount plus interest, which could add as much as an additional $100 million.

The penalty could prove too much for Trump’s personal coffers to bear. But New York Attorney General Letitia James, who initially sued Trump for fraud, has a plan.

“If he does not have funds to pay off the judgment, then we will seek judgment enforcement mechanisms in court, and we will ask the judge to seize his assets,” James told ABC on Tuesday.

“We are prepared to make sure that the judgment is paid to New Yorkers, and yes, I look at 40 Wall Street each and every day,” she said, referring to one of Trump’s iconic Wall Street skyscrapers.

James accused Trump, his sons Don Jr. and Eric, the Trump Organization, and other company executives of fraudulently inflating the value of various real estate assets to get more favorable terms on bank loans. Presiding Judge Arthur Engoron determined in September that Trump committed fraud and last week delivered the final judgment.

In addition to Trump’s massive penalty, his two adult sons have been fined $4 million each. Trump has been banned from serving as an officer in any New York company for three years, while his sons have been banned for a period of two years.

James had originally sued for $250 million, but the penalty went up significantly after Trump repeatedly bragged about his alleged net worth during his deposition.

“Their complete lack of contrition and remorse borders on pathological,” Engoron wrote in his ruling. “They are accused only of inflating asset values to make more money. The documents prove this over and over again.”

(Unfortunately) More on Trump:

Jim Jordan Spirals When Asked About Losing His Star Biden Witness

House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan is desperately trying to spin the damning news on ex–FBI informant Alexander Smirnov.

Jim Jordan stands in front of a mic, looks distressed
Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Representative Jim Jordan seems to be struggling with the realization that Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden appears to be founded on a bed of lies peddled by the Russian government.

On Wednesday, the Ohio Republican got caught up in his own words, insisting that the inquiry still had merit, despite the Justice Department indictment against its primary witness, Alexander Smirnov.

“You said the 1023 is the most corroborating piece of information you have,” CNN’s Manu Raju prompted the Freedom Caucus politician on Wednesday, referring to the FBI’s FD-1023 form that documents Smirnov’s claims, which he is now accused of completely making up. In December, Jordan claimed the 1023 form constituted the “key” impeachable offense.

“It corroborates but it doesn’t change the fundamental facts,” Jordan responded, trying to flip the script and maintain that Biden was still involved in his son’s business dealings during his vice presidency.

But, of course, those facts are untrue. On Tuesday, the Justice Department revealed that Smirnov admitted to prosecutors that “officials associated with Russian intelligence were involved” in developing the Hunter Biden narrative.

According to a new court filing, Smirnov told investigators he was in contact with “four different [top] Russian officials,” two of whom were the “heads of the entities they represent.”

Ultimately, Smirnov’s testimony—and the GOP’s ongoing turmoil to save the impeachment probe against the president—serves as just another staining example of how effectively the Russian government is capable of infiltrating and undermining U.S. elections.

“It targeted the presumptive nominee of one of the two major political parties in the United States. The effects of Smirnov’s false statements and fabricated information continue to be felt to this day,” prosecutors wrote.

On Thursday, special counsel David Weiss announced the indictment of Smirnov on one count of making a false statement and one count of creating a false record, related to what he told the FBI in 2020 about alleged corruption by the Biden family and its connection to Ukrainian-owned Burisma Holdings.

Republicans had spent months building up the hype around Smirnov as a witness, isolating his allegation that Biden had pocketed millions of dollars from the Ukrainian company as the centerpiece of their probe.

On Tuesday, attorneys for the president’s son, Hunter Biden, argued that the “Smirnov allegations infected this case,” and that the special counsel threw out Biden’s plea deal while following Smirnov “down his rabbit hole of lies.”

Meanwhile, legal experts are predicting an unpretty ending for Jordan and other GOP representatives hawking the conspiracy.

“Jim Jordan, Chuck Grassley, and James Comer were either duped by Smirnov and the Kremlin—or they were in on it,” Tristan Snell, a lawyer and former assistant attorney general for New York state, argued on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “Either way, DOJ must subpoena every single communication Jordan, Grassley, and Comer had with or about Smirnov and anything related.”

“Either way—because either they are material witnesses—or they’re co-conspirators,” Snell added. “They have ZERO grounds to quash the subpoenas.”

Republicans Rush to Scrub Mention of FBI Informant in Impeachment Letter

House Republicans are quietly trying to remove traces of indicted ex–FBI informant Alexander Smirnov in their Biden impeachment quest.

Jim Jordan and James Comer standing in front of a mic
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

House Republicans quietly deleted a reference to their epic fail of an FBI informant in a letter to a potential witness in the somehow-still-ongoing impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden.

Republicans have hinged their Biden investigation on accusations from a supposedly credible but confidential FBI source that Biden and his son Hunter accepted bribes from a Ukrainian oligarch. But the Justice Department has since charged that source, former FBI informant Alexander Smirnov, with making false statements and revealed his accusation may have been Russian disinformation.

As a result, House Republicans have begun to scrub mentions of Smirnov from their imploding investigation. Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan and Oversight Chair James Comer, who have spearheaded the probe, sent a letter Tuesday to former State Department official Amos Hochstein requesting an interview. The GOP has accused Hochstein of advising Hunter Biden when the latter served on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

The original letter, which was obtained by The New Republic, included a section explaining the reason for the Biden investigation, with a paragraph that described a credible, confidential source’s accusation that a Ukrainian gas company executive had bribed the president. This background information has been standard for Republicans’ interview request letters during the impeachment inquiry thus far.

But an hour later, Republicans sent out a second version of the letter, also obtained by TNR. This time, the entire paragraph about the informant had been deleted.

Republican leadership has recently been forced to acknowledge that their impeachment efforts are a total bust. Comer said just last week that the inquiry is highly unlikely to result in an impeachment vote. He told Spectrum News that the “math keeps getting worse,” both in terms of his party’s shrinking House majority and growing skepticism about the impeachment.

Removing the reference to Smirnov from the interview request letter is the GOP’s latest admission of how badly things are going. With Smirnov’s initial allegation completely discredited, it’s unclear how the investigation can actually continue.

Smirnov, a longtime FBI informant with ties to Ukraine, had claimed to have proof of Biden and his son Hunter accepting $5 million bribes each from a Ukrainian oligarch. Republicans repeatedly touted Smirnov’s claims in their quest to impeach the president. But last week, the Justice Department announced that it was charging Smirnov with making a false statement and creating a false record related to the bribery allegation.

On Tuesday, the department revealed Smirnov actually confessed that Russian intelligence officers helped him smear Hunter Biden. In fact, department prosecutors warned that Smirnov was still “actively peddling new lies that could impact U.S. elections after meeting with Russian intelligence officials in November.”

The memo notes that Smirnov himself reported several meetings with Russian officials as recently as December 2023.

This article has been updated.

Blabbering Donald Trump Hands Jack Smith a Key Piece of Evidence

Trump said something he probably shouldn’t have in that Fox News town hall.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Special counsel Jack Smith

Donald Trump must really believe he’s above the law, because he continues to essentially admit to wrongdoing in the classified documents lawsuit against him.

Special counsel Jack Smith indicted Trump in June for hoarding classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. During a Fox News town hall on Tuesday night, host Laura Ingraham asked Trump why he hadn’t simply returned the material when the government asked him to do so.

“First of all, I didn’t have to hand them over,” Trump said bluntly. “But second of all, I would have done that. We were talking, and then all of a sudden they raided Mar-a-Lago.”

The FBI raided Mar-a-Lago in August 2022 after the federal government—and even Trump’s own lawyers—tried for months to get Trump to return hundreds of classified documents that he took with him when he left the White House. And FBI agents may not have even found all of the documents hidden at the resort.

The former president faces 41 criminal counts for willful retention of national defense information, making false statements, and conspiracy to obstruct justice, among other things. He has repeatedly insisted that he had every right to keep the documents. He does not.

Trump has also claimed, despite knowing otherwise, that all the material he brought to Florida was already declassified. Trump said that being president enabled him to declassify documents at will, including “just by thinking about it.” This is not true.

And now Trump has given Smith even more proof that the former president had wrongfully kept classified documents. Trump’s trial for hoarding classified documents is set to begin in May.

Rapist Who Wanted Vice President Dead Compares Self to Navalny

Donald Trump used a Fox News town hall to claim he’s basically the same as Putin critic Alexei Navalny, who was found dead in a Russian prison.

Donald Trump speaking
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Donald Trump thinks he has a lot in common with Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, likening his own legal comeuppance for fraud and rape to the plight of the Russian opposition leader, who died in one of Russia’s harshest penal colonies on Friday.

“It is a form of Navalny. It is a form of communism or fascism,” Trump said at a Fox News town hall on Tuesday evening, referring to his recent court judgments, which are expected to top nearly $540 million.

That stems from losing just two cases: a defamation case brought by writer E. Jean Carroll, whom a jury determined had been sexually abused by the former game show host, and Trump’s New York fraud trial, in which Judge Arthur Engoron ruled that Trump’s lack of contrition and remorse “borders on pathological.”

But using Navalny to make himself a martyr can only go so far for Trump, who won the 2016 general election in part due to Russian election interference that his campaign welcomed, per the 2020 report by the GOP-led Senate Intelligence Committee, and who consistently kowtowed to Russian President Vladimir Putin during his presidency.

Instead of condemning Putin for Navalny’s death—like President Joe Biden, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya—Trump instead opted to simply refer to it as a “horrible thing.”

“People thought that could happen, and it did happen,” Trump said, vaguely referring to Navalny’s death before quickly turning the spotlight back on himself.

“It’s happening here,” he continued, claiming that his indictments are “all because of the fact that I’m in politics.”

Earlier on Fox, Haley took a stronger stance against the Kremlin, describing Navalany as a “a hero who challenged Putin” and “lost his life because of it.”

“This is on the heels of Trump saying that he would encourage Putin to invade any NATO countries that didn’t pull their weight,” she said, keeping the heat on Trump rather than the Russian dictator.

“He’s gonna compare himself to Navalny, and the victim that he is in his court cases?” she added.