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George Santos: I’ve Lived an “Honest Life,” and Also Don’t Ask Me Where My Money Came From

The New York representative refused to answer where he got the $700,000 he loaned to his own campaign.

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Among George Santos’s many lies and embellishments and cover-ups is how, exactly, he came into so much money so quickly.

Just a few years ago, Santos claimed no major assets and a $55,000 salary. Two years later, his net worth skyrocketed and he apparently boasted a nearly seven-figure salary and millions in dividends. He even loaned some $700,000 to his campaign. Santos has thus far refused to answer where this inordinate amount of money actually came from, especially so quickly. And on Thursday, while speaking on friendly territory, he still avoided the question.

On Steve Bannon’s War Room program, guest host and Santos’s colleague Representative Matt Gaetz asked Santos about the $700,000.

“I’ll tell you where it didn’t come from. It didn’t come from China, Ukraine, or Burisma,” Santos quipped with a grin. “How about that?”

Santos has claimed a net worth as high as $11.5 million—all from the newly formed Devolder Organization from which Santos claimed to receive a $750,000 salary and between $1 and $5 million in dividends. Gaetz followed up on Santos’s quip, giving him an easy out to offer any simple explanation for where the money came from. Instead, Santos remained cryptic and even more dishonest.

“Look, I’ve worked my entire life. I’ve lived an honest life. I’ve never been accused—sued—of any bad doings,” Santos said, contributing yet another lie to his already massive pile. “You know, it’s the equity of my hardworking self that I’ve been invested inside of me,” he continued, nonsensically.

“Like I said, it didn’t come from Burisma, it didn’t come from Ukraine, Russia, China—unlike some folks that we all know that get money from those sources,” Santos concluded, relieved to somehow have stumbled his way to the end of his vacuous sentence.

Gaetz marched forward with the conversation, perhaps with second-hand embarrassment after watching Santos fumble even the most generous layup opportunity.

Attorney General Merrick Garland Appoints Special Counsel to Investigate Biden Classified Documents

What to know about new special counsel Robert Hur, and how this case is still nothing like Trump’s.

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Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday he has appointed a special counsel to investigate the classified documents found in President Joe Biden’s home and former private office.

Biden’s personal attorneys found about a dozen documents in total at the two locations. It is unclear what the documents contain or how sensitive they are. The White House immediately alerted the National Archives, returned the documents the following day, and has been cooperating with the investigation into how the papers got there.

After the initial department investigation, “I concluded that under the special counsel regulations, it was in the public interest to appoint a special counsel,” Garland told a press conference.

He said he had picked Robert Hur, who was nominated to be U.S. attorney in Maryland by former President Donald Trump, to lead the investigation. Before serving as U.S. attorney, Hur worked with the Department of Justice in the early 2000s, focusing on counterterrorism and corporate fraud.

While serving as the U.S. attorney for the district of Maryland, Hur supervised cases dealing with national security and public corruption, including a high-profile case in 2020 in which a white nationalist Coast Guard lieutenant was charged with domestic terrorism.

Since the documents were discovered, Republicans have slammed what they consider a double standard in treatment for Biden and Trump. Senator Lindsey Graham called for a special counsel to be appointed to lead an investigation into Biden.

It’s worth noting that Trump’s and Biden’s situations are nowhere near similar. Trump took hundreds of classified documents, insisted he had done nothing wrong, and resisted all federal efforts to retrieve the papers. Ultimately, the FBI raided his Mar-a-Lago residence to find the documents. As for Biden, as late-night host Seth Meyers noted, “The FBI doesn’t raid someone who’s already cooperating.”

Garland’s decision to appoint a special counsel has produced a mixed reaction. Elie Mistal, the justice correspondent for The Nation, criticized the attorney general’s relative speed in appointing Hur, compared to the nearly two years it took him to appoint Jack Smith as special counsel to investigate Trump.

But national security reporter Marcy Wheeler, who goes by the Twitter handle @emptywheel, argued that doing so would essentially throw Republicans a bone, giving Smith more breathing room for his investigation.

People Are Getting Real Heated Over a Gas Stove Ban That Isn’t Even Happening

The government isn’t taking anyone’s gas stove. You wouldn’t know that looking at the tweets.

Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

People are getting incredibly hot under the collar over a gas stove ban that isn’t even happening.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced in mid-December that it was considering health regulations on gas stoves for the first time ever, following a report that gas ranges were responsible for almost 13 percent of childhood asthma cases. But the debate really boiled over this week after Richard Trumka, a CPSC commissioner, told Bloomberg the agency was considering banning gas stoves.

Trumka has since clarified that the agency will not forcibly take anyone’s  gas stove, but will instead seek to decrease the associated health hazards, including by implementing regulations on new products. President Joe Biden has also said that he does not support a ban on gas stoves.

Still, the reactions have been heated, to say the least, and utterly out of proportion.

Representative Ronny Jackson, an actual physician who opposed masking to protect against Covid-19 and said former President Donald Trump could live to be 200, tweeted that the CPSC can pry his gas stove “from my cold dead hands.” He also shared a petition to “Save the Stoves.”

Representative Mark Alford tweeted a photo of a gas stove top captioned, “COME AND TAKE IT.”

Senator Ted Cruz tweeted that the Biden administration is considering banning gas stoves, which is completely untrue.

Even Democratic Senator Joe Manchin got in on the debate. Manchin represents a state that is the second-largest coal producer in the nation, and he chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources, so he has a definite interest in protecting the fossil fuel industry.

Looks like people need to simmer down a bit.

A List of Every Republican Calling for George Santos to Resign or Be Expelled

More Republicans are calling on the New York representative to resign over his pile of lies.

Representative Geroge Santos walks through a doorway with his briefcase in hand
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

There may be clowns in Congress, but George Santos is every day building the case that he’s the whole circus.

A growing number of Republicans are calling for the New York representative to resign, as his pile of lies (and potential crimes) continues to rise. On Tuesday, May 9, Santos was indicted on 13 counts related to money laundering, wire and unemployment fraud, and lying to Congress.

Twelve Republican members of Congress have called for Santos’s resignation so far.

The congressman, for his part, has not yet commented publicly on the charges against him. Though Santos may claim he was rightfully elected by the people, voters actually elected someone now proven to be entirely fictitious—and a criminal.

While Santos weathers the barrage of Democrats who have already called for his resignation, here is every Republican who have joined those calls so far:

  • Nassau County Republican Party
  • Suffolk County Republican Party
  • Representative Steve Womack (Arkansas)
  • Representative Darin LaHood (Illinois)
  • Representative Anthony D’Esposito (New York)
  • Representative Nick LaLota (New York)
  • Representative Nick Langworthy (New York)
  • Representative Mike Lawler (New York)
  • Representative Marcus Molinaro (New York)
  • Representative Brandon Williams (New York)
  • Representative Max Miller (Ohio)
  • Representative Nancy Mace (South Carolina)
  • Representative Tony Gonzales (Texas)
  • Senator Mitt Romney (Utah)

Alex Jones and Tucker Carlson Texted Each Other Conspiracy Theories Throughout the Pandemic

The most watched cable news network in America is taking at least some editorial direction from Infowars’ Alex Jones.

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Isolating during the pandemic, especially earlier on when we knew so little, led many of us to share vulnerable, open conversations with others. Looking for comfort and inspiration, text messages became a haven for some. Such is the case for a pair of the most influential far-right conspiracy theorists: Infowars’ Alex Jones and Fox News’s Tucker Carlson.

Text messages between the pair, reported by HuffPost, show the duo swapping Covid-19 conspiracy theories, at least one of which later showed up on Carlson’s show. It also reveals that the most watched cable news network in America is taking at least some editorial direction from Jones.

On March 16, 2020, Jones texted Carlson a link to a now-deleted Infowars article. It detailed how Carlson drove to Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort to urge the then president to take Covid seriously. “Fox News Host saves America,” the article’s subhead proclaimed.

“I tried man,” Carlson humbly responded.

After the victory lap, the demonic duo quickly shifted gears by the following month. As their beloved leader chose not to take the pandemic seriously, Jones and Carlson began an ongoing exchange of Covid conspiracy theories.

On April 27, as Trump was lauding the debunked idea of killing Covid by shining a “very powerful light” inside people’s bodies, Jones and Carlson were discussing YouTube removing a viral video promoting the same weird claim.

“They’re clamping down. We’ll be China soon,” Carlson said.

On April 28, Jones sent Carlson a link to a viral video of two California doctors downplaying the virus, falsely claiming it was no worse than influenza and that death rates were low enough to reopen businesses. About 2,000 people in America were dying daily at that point.

The video had been taken down for being what the American Academy of Emergency Medicine and the American College of Emergency Physicians called “reckless and untested musings.”

“This is our lede tonight,” Carlson texted Jones after receiving the video. That evening, the host told his massive audience that the video’s removal was just another example of “Big Tech” censorship.

The pattern would continue, though with Jones appearing to text Carlson more enthusiastically than vice versa. In earlier texts, Jones complains that The Daily Caller, a right-wing publication founded by Carlson, wasn’t allowing Infowars to feature its content on the Infowars website.

“Fucking crazy. I’m really sorry,” Carlson responded simply.

The text messages come after Jones’s legal team accidentally sent an entire copy of his cell phone and every text message he sent over the course of two years.

Read more at HuffPost.

House Republicans Pass Abortion Bill That Would Criminalize Doctors for Doing Their Job

House Republicans have passed the first post-Roe abortion bill, in a clear sign of what their priorities are.

House Republicans passed the first post–Roe v. Wade abortion bill, which would criminalize doctors for doing their job.

The so-called Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act passed the House Wednesday afternoon 220–210, largely along party lines. Though the bill is unlikely to pass the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, it reveals Republicans’ priority now that they have control of the House.

The bill would require medical care be given to infants born alive during or after an attempted abortion, something that rarely happens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health care providers who fail to comply would face fines or up to five years in prison.

Abortion rights advocates argue that such a measure is both unnecessary—intentionally killing a living newborn is already classified as a homicide—and harmful, as it could negatively affect care for babies born prematurely or with fatal abnormalities by preventing doctors from helping relieve any pain those babies might be in or by punishing medical professionals who let families hold such newborns before they die.

In the clearest sign that Republicans simply cannot (or will not) read the room when it comes to abortion, Montana residents voted solidly to reject a similar measure at the state level during the November midterms.

Abortion rights group NARAL Pro Choice America slammed the bill as part of the Republicans’ “dishonest and out-of-touch crusade against reproductive freedom.”

“Despite the irrefutably clear message sent by voters last November in support of abortion rights, Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the House GOP are undeterred from moving to further restrict abortion for all Americans,” NARAL said in a statement.

The House also passed a bill condemning attacks on anti-abortion centers in the wake of Roe being overturned—but made no mention of the fact that reproductive health centers and care providers have been victims of often deadly attacks for decades.

Voters have made their stance on abortion abundantly clear: The overwhelming majority of the population supports legalizing the procedure. Democrats ran on aggressively pro-abortion platforms during the midterms and achieved historic victories as a result.

Representative Nancy Mace criticized her fellow Republicans Monday for introducing the abortion bills, saying, “We learned nothing from the midterms if this is how we’re going to operate in the first week.”

The House is “paying lip service to life” because “nothing that we’re doing this week on protecting life is ever going to make it through the Senate,” she argued.

But when push came to shove, Mace still voted “yes” on both bills.

Kevin McCarthy on George Santos: Well, Is There a Charge Against Him?

New York Representative George Santos does, in fact, have a charge against him. He’s also under three other criminal investigations.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy speaks to reporters
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy seemed Wednesday to overlook the fact that serial fabulist George Santos has already been charged with fraud, saying he would not ask the New York congressman to resign.

McCarthy—whose Republican Party holds the House majority by only a few seats and who needs every vote he can get—sought to defend Santos, even as the latter’s list of tall tales seems to grow longer by the hour.

“What are the charges against him?” McCarthy asked reporters, in what he clearly thought was a bump-set-spike of a response. “In America today, you’re innocent till proven guilty. So just because somebody doesn’t like the press you have, it’s not me that can oversay what the voters say.”

But as fate would have it, Santos has been charged—in Brazil, where he is accused of fraud for stealing a checkbook in 2008 and using it to make purchases. He is also at the center of three other criminal probes.

Federal prosecutors for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York are looking into Santos’s finances and financial disclosures. The Nassau County district attorney is investigating Santos over the falsehoods in his résumé, although the office has not said what specifically it will be looking at. New York Attorney General Letitia James has said her office will investigate Santos and his multiple apparent fabrications.

The freshman congressman was also hit with two ethics complaints this week, one to the House Ethics Committee over his financial disclosures and one to the Federal Election Commission for alleged misrepresentation and misuse of campaign funds.

Santos has already received multiple calls to resign from Democrats, and on Wednesday alone, three House Republicans also urged him to step down. Leaders of the Republican Party in Nassau County, which Santos represents, called for him to resign, as well.

House Republican leadership, though, seems almost loath to even chastise Santos. Both McCarthy and Majority Leader Steve Scalise have evaded questions about Santos, and the New York Republican will still receive committee assignments (but don’t worry, they’ll be lower-tier ones).

Barbara Lee Says She’ll Run for Senate in 2024

The progressive representative told her colleagues she will run for California’s Senate seat in 2024. The news comes one day after Katie Porter announced she’ll do the same.

 speaks to reporters
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images
Representative Barbara Lee

Representative Barbara Lee says she’ll run for Senate in California in 2024, setting up a sure to be crowded Democratic primary.

During a closed-door Congressional Black Caucus meeting Wednesday, Representative Barbara Lee told her colleagues that she will be running for Senate, Politico reported Wednesday. Though no official announcement has been made, the decision comes one day after her progressive colleague Representative Katie Porter announced her own run for Senator Dianne Feinstein’s seat.

Lee, a member of Congress since 1998, has led a storied career in and around politics. As a college student, she helped bring Representative Shirley Chisholm to visit her campus; Lee went on to work for the congresswoman’s historic run for president in 1972 as the first Black candidate seeking a major party’s nomination. Lee also volunteered for the Black Panther Party’s community learning center and worked for Party co-founder Bobby Seale’s Oakland mayoral campaign.

Thereafter, Lee worked as a staff member for Representative Ron Dellums, before serving in the state Assembly and Senate. Finally, in 1998, Lee was elected to California’s 9th district.

Lee has garnered generally progressive bona fides throughout her time in Congress. She is a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and chair emeritus and former co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and was a founding member of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus.

Lee’s most notable moment came as she was the lone member of Congress to vote against authorizing the use of force following the September 11 attacks. She warned fellow members to be “careful not to embark on an open-ended war with neither an exit strategy nor a focused target.”

“It was a blank check,” Lee wrote on September 23, 2001. “In granting these overly broad powers, the Congress failed its responsibility to understand the dimensions of its declaration. I could not support such a grant of war-making authority to the president; I believe it would put more innocent lives at risk.” Lee’s foresight proved prophetic. “We must respond, but the character of that response will determine for us and for our children the world that they will inherit.”

With two candidates expressing interest in the Senate seat, Feinstein has remained mum about her intentions. The 89-year-old senator has led a long career, having served in the Senate for 30 years. But in the past year, lawmakers and staffers alike have expressed concerns about Feinstein’s mental capacities and whether she can continue serving.

If Lee does indeed run, she will be joining a quickly filling competitive field alongside Porter. Representatives Ro Khanna and Adam Schiff are also rumored to be heavily interested in joining the field. Khanna has said he would take Lee’s intentions into account while considering his own decision; members of Schiff’s inner circle chided Porter for announcing while California faces a weather disaster (in a way only those in a primary opponent’s orbit might).

But based on Lee’s likely step in, the race is on—whether Schiff likes it or not.

New York Republicans Demand George Santos Resign Immediately, Calling Him a “Disgrace”

There is “absolutely no way Mr. Santos can be an effective member of Congress.”

George Santos walks down a hallway with a coffee cup in his hand
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

New York Republicans are calling on George Santos to resign, saying he “disgraced” the House of Representatives with his serial lies.

Republican leaders of Nassau County, which Santos represents, said Wednesday there was “absolutely no way Mr. Santos can be an effective member of Congress” and urged him to step down immediately.

They also slammed him for being “insincere, glib, and insulting” when answering questions about his background, much of which he appears to have fabricated.

Santos stayed true to form in responding, tweeting, “I will NOT resign!”

Several Democrats have already said Santos should resign, but this latest call is the first from any form of Republican leadership. Representative Anthony D’Esposito became the first House Republican to call for Santos’s resignation, as he joined the press conference Wednesday.

The call for Santos’s resignation comes a day after he was hit with his second ethics complaint just this week. New York Democrats Ritchie Torres and Daniel Goldman filed a formal complaint Tuesday asking the House Ethics Committee to investigate whether Santos broke the Ethics in Government Act. On Monday, the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center also filed a formal complaint with the Federal Election Commission, accusing Santos of masking the real source of his campaign’s funds, misrepresenting his campaign’s spending, and using campaign funds to pay for personal expenses. Meanwhile, federal prosecutors and prosecutors in Nassau County are investigating Santos’s finances and financial disclosures.

Santos has admitted he fabricated parts of his professional background. It appears he also made up details of his educational history, his ethnicity and religion, and even his mother’s death. His list of his tall tales appears to grow longer by the day.

House Republican leadership, however, still seems unsure of what exactly to do with him. With the party holding onto the House majority by only a few seats, every vote counts—and Santos proved his loyalty by voting for Kevin McCarthy in every round of votes for speaker. It appears that Santos will still get committee assignments, so any consequences for him remain unclear.

This post has been updated.

The IRS Is Finally Semi-Functional, So Of Course Republicans Want to Kneecap It

A new report says the Internal Revenue Service has massively reduced its backlog of unprocessed tax returns. House Republicans see this as a good time to gut the agency altogether.

Kevin McCarthy
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The Internal Revenue Service is finally semi-functional, which House Republicans apparently see as a good time to gut the agency entirely, even though doing so would cost the United States billions of dollars.

An independent watchdog agency reported Wednesday that the IRS began 2023 on a high note, having reduced its backlog of unprocessed tax returns by two-thirds over the past year. “We have begun to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Erin Collins, the IRS’s national taxpayer advocate, wrote in the report. “I am just not sure how much further we have to travel before we see sunlight.”

But House Republicans, who control the chamber, voted Monday to rescind nearly $80 billion recently allotted to the IRS and will soon vote on the Fair Tax Act, which would eliminate the agency entirely. While neither measure will pass the Democratic-controlled Senate or White House, both are indicative of Republican plans to undermine any gains Democrats have made in the past two years.

The IRS recently received a massive $80 billion infusion from the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, which Phillip Swagel, head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, predicted would produce more than $180 billion in revenue over the next decade. The money would help hire and train more agents, as well as modernize the IRS’s internal systems.

Republicans have argued that improving the IRS would lead to more audits for middle-class people, spreading a fearmongering, bananas theory that the new agents would actually be part of a highly weaponized “shadow army.”

In reality, as The Washington Post noted, Democrats point out that “audits are meant to collect money from very rich people who are avoiding taxes.”

The IRS is no one’s favorite agency. It is chronically understaffed and underfunded, and burdened with a seemingly Sisyphean task. Even though it has dramatically reduced its backlog, it still has 10 million unprocessed tax returns from previous years to get through. It has also come under intense scrutiny recently for apparently failing to audit former President Donald Trump’s taxes until two years into his term, in violation of standard operating policy.

But Republicans have a long-standing vendetta against the tax agency, and they certainly oppose the Biden administration, even at the cost of progress and their own purported ideals. Despite constantly talking about fiscal responsibility and needing to reduce the federal deficit, the House GOP still voted to rescind the IRS funding, even though doing so would actually increase the deficit by more than $114 billion.