Skip Navigation
Breaking News
Breaking News
from Washington and beyond

Kevin McCarthy: We’re Putting Work Requirements on ... Kids?

That’s one way to sell your debt ceiling deal to the American public.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

On Tuesday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy took to the morning shows to boast about a deal made between Republicans and White House leadership to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for spending cuts and work requirements. And one of the benefits of the deal, according to McCarthy? Requiring kids to work for their benefits.

“In this family, we may have a child that [is] able-bodied, not married, no kids, but he’s sitting on the couch collecting welfare,” McCarthy said on Fox. “We’re going to put work requirements on that individual, so he’s going to have work requi—he’s going to get a job. And he’s gonna make the life easier.”

Presumably, McCarthy was referring to individuals above the age of 18 who may be living with their family (though, given the GOP’s recent hustle to become the party of child labor, uncertainty is understandable here).

It’s unclear what exactly McCarthy is referring to in his remarks. The debt deal proposes imposing new work requirements for food assistance, or SNAP, on childless adults aged 54 and younger—raising the current maximum age of 49. The bill also lowers the percentage of people states can exempt from work requirements for SNAP. But all homeless people, veterans, and young people aging out of foster care will be exempt from the requirements. There’s not much else the bill does to target “children” sitting on their parents’ couches.

As far as cash assistance goes, the bill modifies the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families formula, potentially making it harder for some states to disburse cash assistance at all.

All that is to say, McCarthy is doing his routes on the TV news circuit, boasting about putting work requirements on “children,” all while actually not doing so at all. He’s reminding the country of Republicans’ desire to turn kids into laborers, and also misleading conservatives who actually do want such work requirements.

Trump Lawyer Wasn’t Allowed to Search for Classified Documents in Mar-a-Lago Office

Evan Corcoran was stopped by someone from searching the exact place where many of Trump’s classified documents were kept.

Donald Trump raises his hand in a wave. He wears a white Make America Great Again cap.
James Devaney/GC Images

Donald Trump’s lawyer says he was prevented from searching for classified documents in the former president’s office at Mar-a-Lago, where the FBI later found the most sensitive materials kept at the resort.

Evan Corcoran found 38 classified documents in the estate storage room last June following a Department of Justice subpoena, and he told the department that that was all there was to be found. The FBI raided Mar-a-Lago two months later and seized 101 additional classified documents, including from Trump’s office. The documents found in the office were some of the most highly classified of the entire batch.

Corcoran told associates that several Trump aides told him all materials brought from the White House after Trump left were kept in the storage room, so he only needed to search there, The Guardian reported Tuesday. Corcoran said he asked whether he should search the office too, but was sent away from the room and never allowed to search it.

Corcoran did not specify who steered him away from the office, whether it was Trump himself or an aide. A Trump spokesperson has denied the allegation. But The Guardian points out that Corcoran’s new account suggests he was intentionally misled about the documents.

This wouldn’t be the first time Trump or one of his allies misled his own legal team about the documents. A judge ruled in March that some of Trump’s attorney-client privileges could be “pierced,” after prosecutors on special counsel Jack Smith’s team found that Trump intentionally misled his own lawyers, including Corcoran, about keeping classified materials when he left office.

U.S. Judge Beryl Howell ordered Corcoran to comply with a grand jury subpoena for testimony on six different lines of inquiry. She also ordered him to hand over records of Trump’s alleged “criminal scheme,” including handwritten notes, invoices, and transcriptions of personal audio recordings.

Some of those notes revealed that Corcoran had warned Trump about needing to comply with the Justice Department’s subpoenas. The notes reveal that Trump and his valet, Walt Nauta, knew exactly where and when Corcoran was planning to search for the documents at Mar-a-Lago. Nauta had previously testified that Trump asked him to move boxes out of the storage room both before and after the subpoena was issued.

According to Corcoran’s notes, Nauta had offered to help him look through the boxes in the storage room, which Corcoran declined. But Corcoran took breaks during the multiday search, leaving the storage room unattended multiple times. The Guardian reported that it is possible prosecutors are investigating whether Nauta knew exactly what was in the boxes he was moving.

In addition to Smith’s investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents and role in January 6, the former president is also under investigation in Georgia for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. He has been indicted on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records for paying hush money to porn actress Stormy Daniels.

Trump was found civilly liable for sexually abusing and defaming writer E. Jean Carroll—and last week, she sued him for defamation again over comments he made about her during a CNN town hall.

Happy 100th Birthday, Henry Kissinger

Still a war criminal

Adam Berry/Getty Images

One hundred years.

More years than many of us may be so fortunate to have on earth, a place where every minute, every day we have can significantly impact the time others have on earth too.

For years, outlets and writers have defended, sought to explain or complicate, and even hailed Henry Kissinger and his legacy.

Today, we remember all the minutes, all the days lost, from all the days Kissinger has lived and still has to come.

Happy 100th birthday, Henry Kissinger. You have a lot to answer for.

Poll: Half of Americans Don’t Know if the Abortion Pill Is Legal or Not

Republican attacks on mifepristone are succeeding.

Packages of Mifepristone tablets
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Packages of Mifepristone tablets

Almost half of Americans don’t know whether the abortion pill mifepristone is legal, a report released Friday found, a sign that Republican attacks on abortion access are succeeding.

Mifepristone, one of the medications used to induce an abortion, is still legal nationwide, but it has gone through a lot of legal back-and-forth over the last few months. In April, the Supreme Court temporarily halted lower court rulings that would have restricted access to the pill. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to rule on mifepristone soon. If someone hasn’t been following the case closely, it would be understandable if they didn’t know what was going on anymore.

As it turns out, that is exactly the case. A poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 45 percent of all adults are “unsure” whether medication abortion is available in their state. If people live in a state that restricts or bans abortion, they are less likely to know what options are available to them.

For instance, in the 25 states and Washington, D.C., where abortion is legal, about 60 percent of people know current medication abortion laws. But in the 14 states where all abortion is banned, only one-third of people actually know this. More than half are unsure, and 13 percent believe medication abortion is still legal.

The confusion is the point: If people don’t know whether they can get an abortion or not, then they will be less likely to seek one out of fear of the legal repercussions. This will mean fewer abortions overall, the same result as banning mifepristone altogether. So even if the pill remains available, anti-abortion activists have already won by leaving health care providers and patients scrambling to try to figure out what options, if any, they actually have.

KFF surveyed nearly 1,700 adults between May 9 and 19, shortly after the Supreme Court kept mifepristone legal. The poll also followed a series of bombshell reports that Justice Clarence Thomas secretly accepted lavish gifts for decades from billionaire Republican megadonor and Nazi memorabilia collector Harlan Crow. These were soon followed by reports that Justice Neil Gorsuch sold property to the CEO of a law firm whose lawyers have argued about two dozen cases before the Supreme Court and that Chief Justice John Roberts’s wife was allegedly paid more than $10 million by law firms, at least one of which has argued before the Supreme Court.

The scandals have tanked public opinion of the nation’s highest court. The KFF poll found that 58 percent of Americans disapprove of how the Supreme Court does its job. This matches a poll conducted by NPR, PBS NewsHour, and the Marist Institute for Public Opinion in late April that found that 62 percent of Americans say they have not very much confidence or no confidence at all in the Supreme Court. This is the lowest number since the NPR/PBS/Marist poll was first conducted in 2018, when almost twice as many people said they had confidence in the court.

The KFF poll went a step further and found that only 37 percent of Americans trust the court to decide on cases about reproductive and sexual health. Only about half of Americans trust the court to weigh in on cases about science and technology (55 percent), the role of the federal government (53 percent), and the Affordable Care Act (49 percent).

The Supreme Court has become increasingly politicized, from the appointment process to the justices themselves, and people are starting to see it. That politicization chips away at public trust in the institution. It’s no longer clear that the court will uphold people’s rights, as opposed to wielding its almost absolute authority to impose its personal beliefs on the country.

Matt Walsh Is Selling Plush Toys of Himself in a Diaper “for Your Kids to Play With”

The far-right commentator has led the charge about LGBTQ people grooming kids. Now he’s selling this monstrosity.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr
Far-right commentator Matt Walsh

Right-wing commentator Matt Walsh is selling plush toys of himself donning a diaper “for your kids to play with.”

“I’ve been informed that as of today you can get your own, very own stuffed sweet baby by purchasing yours from the Swag Shack at daily wire dot com slash shop,” Walsh said on his program.

The $24.99 product—marketed on the “Swag Shack” as being perfect “for your kids to play with—can be bought at a special premium too! Just $44.99 for a pair of twins.”

“I never asked for this, but some of you have,” Walsh said.

Who is asking for this?

Walsh’s career at this point is mainly dedicated to whipping up vicious conspiracy theories about LGBTQ people. He’s so far deep that in the aftermath of a mass shooting at a Colorado gay nightclub last year, which left five people dead and another 25 injured, Walsh didn’t express much concern at all for the actual victims of the hate crime. He instead threw a fit about some fictitious liberal agenda to use the mass shooting to force people to accept the sexualization of children (the logic, supposedly: Being gay means sexualizing children).

Earlier this week, Walsh menacingly said he’s “excited” for Pride Month, saying, “We have big plans.”

The plush toy sale, and Walsh’s eagerness for Pride Month, comes as the far right has increased its attacks on LGBTQ people and culture. This week, its new target has been … Target, for selling clothes with rainbows on them. Its issue is that one specific brand also makes a shirt that says, “Satan respects pronouns”—something not sold in Target. Nevertheless, figures like Walsh, Benny Johnson, Ben Shapiro, and others have targeted Target (and their minimum-wage workers) anyhow.

All that to say, this toy is already kind of weird for Walsh to be selling. But one need not even imagine how violently Walsh would respond if, say, any gay person on the street were selling a contextless plush toy of them in a diaper “for your kids to play with.” There’s not some sort of educational benefit to the toy, nor any practical use. Just a stuffed “sweet baby” Matt Walsh. In a diaper. For your kids to play with.

Sure, Walsh is hypocritical; but more than anything else, he’s just downright weird.

A Judge Has Temporarily Blocked South Carolina’s Extreme Abortion Ban

If it goes back into effect, the ban would block abortion before many people even know they’re pregnant.

Sean Rayford/Getty Images
Demonstrators at the South Carolina Statehouse on May 23

A judge temporarily halted South Carolina’s new draconian abortion ban on Friday, allowing abortions to continue until the state Supreme Court can review the measure.

Republican Governor Henry McMaster signed the measure, which bans abortion after six weeks, into law on Thursday. He did so behind closed doors, with no warning to doctors who could be about to perform a newly illegal procedure. The law went into immediate effect, and Planned Parenthood’s action arm sued the same day.

Judge Clifton Newman issued his ruling about 24 hours later, meaning abortion is once again legal up to about 20 weeks in South Carolina. “The status quo should be maintained until the Supreme Court reviews its decision,” Newman said. “It’s going to end up there.”

After Roe v. Wade was overturned, South Carolina enacted a six-week trigger ban, which the state Supreme Court blocked in January. One of the justices, John Few, said in a separate opinion that he had sided with the majority because he felt the 2021 law was poorly written and lacked proof that six weeks is enough time for someone to know they are pregnant (spoiler alert: It isn’t).

State Republicans have since tried to push through a new law that will circumvent the ruling, with new language aimed at swaying Few to vote in favor of it should the measure go up before the high court.

A similar ban had died in the legislature in late April after all the female senators, who span the political spectrum, banded together to filibuster the measure. But McMaster called the lawmakers back for a special session to consider multiple measures, including a new abortion ban, which finally passed the legislature on Tuesday.

With Newman’s ruling, South Carolina is once again one of the last states in the South to hold the line on abortion access; the only other state that does not restrict the procedure is Virginia. Florida and North Carolina codified new abortion restrictions in quick succession in recent months, decimating abortion rights in the Southeast.

Jamaal Bowman: Why Are We Negotiating With Economic Terrorists (Republicans)?

The New York representative does not see any need to negotiate with Republicans on the debt ceiling.

Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Jamaal Bowman is not impressed.

On Thursday, as Republicans continued their stall on allowing the government to increase the debt ceiling, the New York representative reiterated his urges to President Biden not to negotiate with “the economic terrorists here that are the Republican Party.”

“I’m very frustrated. I called on the president to invoke the Fourteenth Amendment and mint a coin, and do not negotiate with hostage-takers,” Bowman said to CNN’s Manu Raju. “I mean, we don’t negotiate with terrorists globally, why are we gonna negotiate with the economic terrorists here that are the Republican Party?”

Since then, the White House and Republicans have reportedly closed in on a deal that involves a two-year debt limit hike in exchange for maintaining the defense budget but cutting other spending, like $10 billion in IRS funding.

To Bowman’s point, Matt Gaetz outright admitted that the debt limit talks have just been about holding the government “hostage” (as if it was not already abundantly clear by Republicans’ actions). And while Republicans may not win every single one of the cuts they wanted—like instating work requirements on Medicaid and food stamps and repealing green energy programs—the cut in IRS funding is still worrisome. The additional funding Biden allocated to the agency has already led to massively faster support call times for Americans, and a cut of that size is expected to greatly limit the agency’s ability to audit wealthy tax cheats.

Most important is that none of these cuts had to happen, had the White House and Democrats put forth a stronger front earlier or even taken care of the debt ceiling before the new Congress was seated in January. Of course, it is Republicans’ fault for only now deciding to play hardball on doing something they happily did three times under twice-impeached, criminally indicted, and liable-for-sexual-abuse former President Donald Trump. But Democrats know this is how the Republicans behave. And as Bowman said, it didn’t have to be this way.

Indiana Board Reprimands Doctor Who Performed Abortion on 10-Year-Old Rape Victim

Dr. Caitlin Bernard helped a rape victim after the fall of Roe, and now she’s being punished for it.

Kaiti Sullivan for The Washington Post/Getty Images
Doctor Caitlin Bernard

The Indiana doctor who made headlines last year for performing an abortion on a 10-year-old rape victim has been punished for telling reporters about it.

Caitlin Bernard carried out the procedure in June, less than a week after Roe v. Wade was overturned. The 10-year-old had traveled to Indiana from neighboring Ohio, where a trigger law banned abortion after six weeks (the trigger law has since been temporarily blocked while it is challenged in court). Bernard told the story to the Indianapolis Star.

And Indiana’s Republican Attorney General Todd Rokita has waged a campaign against Bernard ever since. He first accused her of making the story up, but when that claim was debunked, he accused her of failing to report the case to authorities—she had already reported it—and of violating privacy laws by revealing too much information about the patient.

The state medical licensing board ruled late Thursday that Bernard had violated ethical standards and privacy laws, even though her employer, Indiana University Health, had determined she was not at fault. The board decided to fine Bernard $3,000 but allowed her to continue practicing medicine, in part because she is one of the only ob-gyns in Indiana who accepts Medicaid.

“I think that it’s incredibly important for people to understand the real-world impacts of the laws of this country, about abortion or otherwise,” Bernard said during the 14-hour hearing. “I think it’s important for people to know what patients will have to go through because of legislation that is being passed.”

Rokita’s team argued that Bernard was acting on a political agenda, and she faced pointed questions throughout the hearing to try to determine a political motivation. At one point, she was asked if she had a tattoo of a coat hanger that said, “Trust women.” Her lawyers objected to the question as being irrelevant.

The 10-year-old’s story was one of the first about the effects of abortion bans to come out after Roe was rolled back. While abortion rights advocates had pushed it as proof of how important abortion access is, Republicans have remained firm in opposing the procedure. Some even doubled down and argued that it wouldn’t have been so bad to force that child to carry the pregnancy to term. In April, Ohio Republicans held hearings for several anti-abortion bills. When asked about the 10-year-old, anti-abortion activist Laura Strietmann said, “While a pregnancy might have been difficult on a 10-year-old body, a woman’s body is designed to carry life.” (A 10-year-old is a child, not a woman.)

The Indiana board has 90 days to finalize its decision, after which Bernard has a month to file an appeal. The licensing board’s seven members are appointed by the governor, and two of the current members reportedly donated a total of $25,000 to Rokita’s campaigns.

Ron DeSantis Signs Bill Protecting Elon Musk If His Rockets Explode and Kill Workers

DeSantis signed the bill just one day after his presidential announcement alongside Musk.

Ron DeSantis
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Just a day after Elon Musk and David Sacks hosted Ron DeSantis on Twitter for an exclusive and disastrous presidential announcement, the Florida governor signed a bill shielding Musk’s SpaceX from liability if workers are killed after his rockets blow up (something that Musk is apparently very adept at making happen, from Tesla cars to rocketships, to presidential campaigns).

The Spaceflight Entity Liability Bill expands legal immunities that will shield private space companies, like Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin, from legal responsibility when workers suffer injuries or even die. At its core, the bill broadens when these companies are exempted “from liability for injury to or death of a crew resulting from spaceflight activities.”

And Musk made sure his presence was known throughout the process of the bill. While the bill was advancing through both the state House and Senate, a SpaceX lobbyist, Jeffrey Sharkey, appeared at practically every single committee meeting related to it—lobbying members on at least five separate occasions, in five different state House committees. Other lobbyists from Boeing, Space Florida, and Florida Rising also made their presence known—but not to the extent SpaceX did.

While tycoons imagine a future of taxiing their fellow fat cats to space on a whim, these billionaire-plaything rockets keep exploding. The urge to make a business out of something that is not safe—nor, well, needed at the moment since we can’t even take care of the planet we’re on—helps explain the genesis of the bill. An analysis by the Florida state Senate admits it all quite plainly: “This bill has the potential to limit the cost of litigation to businesses engaging in spaceflight activities.”

The bill mandates “crew” and participants alike fill out a waiver that grants legal immunities to space companies in cases of injury or death.

Moreover, the bill expands the definition of “spaceflight entity” to include any entity authorized to conduct spaceflight activities, beyond ones solely associated with the United States Federal Aviation Administration, opening up which entities in the broader industry will qualify for the expanded immunity. The bill also cuts out language ascribing liability to spaceflight entities for damage caused from “inherent risks” of spaceflight activity; instead, the bill broadens the scope of liability immunity to include all spaceflight activities.

Finally, the bill also amends language that orders entities to be liable for injury if they had actual knowledge, or reasonably should have known, of risks. The new language only orders legal liability for “actual knowledge” of risks, meaning there is no longer any expectation for companies to be responsible for damages from risks they “reasonably should have known” about.

The bill comes after both DeSantis’s annoucement—where hand-picked guests spent more time hailing Musk like God than asking DeSantis questions—and DeSantis’s own campaign released a bizarre post-launch video that showcases Musk as much as (if not more than) DeSantis.

On its way to DeSantis’s desk, buttressed by the heavy lobbyist presence, the bill passed the state Senate 39–0 and state House 107–5. The wildly bipartisan effort to give special legal immunities to the richest people in the world’s pet projects is in part a result of how much money these companies have flooded into both parties.

Musk’s SpaceX has spent some $8 million in lobbying efforts since 2020 and donated another $1 million to members of both parties during the 2022 election cycle alone. Bezos’s Blue Origin has spent some $6.3 million in lobbying efforts since 2020, while sending just over half a million dollars to members of both parties during 2022.

This post has been updated.

GOP Lawmaker Complains That Biden Isn’t Picking Enough Straight, White Male Judges

Glenn Grothman would like justice for straight white dudes.

Representative Glenn Grothman
Andrew Harnik/Pool/Getty Images

On Thursday, Wisconsin Republican Representative Glenn Grothman used his time on the floor of America’s Capitol to complain that President Joe Biden has not nominated enough straight “white guys” as judges.

“Apparently in his first two years, President Biden had appointed 97 federal judges. Of the 97 federal judges, I was expecting maybe 25 or 30 were white guys, because I know President Biden wasn’t heavy on appointing more white guys,” Grothman started. “Five of the 97 judges were white guys,” he continued with a tinge of disgust. “Of those, two were gay. So, almost impossible for a white guy who’s not gay apparently to get appointed here.”

According to the American Constitution Society, over 68 percent of federal judges are white.

Still, it seems to Grothman that you can either be a straight white guy, or you’re everything else. And, well, he doesn’t seem to be a big fan of “everything else.”

In 2015, Grothman was one of 37 co-sponsors of a House resolution that defined marriage as “consisting only of the union of a man and woman.” The resolution prohibited either the Constitution or even states to be required to recognize marriages of “any other union.”

In 2012, Grothman said Kwanzaa is a fake holiday made up by a college professor and the libs. “Irresponsible public school districts such as Green Bay and Madison … try to tell a new generation that Blacks have a separate holiday than Christians.”

Grothman also has a tenuous relationship with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, arguing that public employees should be forced to work on the holiday. In 2018, at an event on the holiday itself, when asked about some of then-President Trump’s controversial comments—like ones about immigrants from African countries—Grothman offered a puzzling retort. “The past president brought Al Sharpton into the White House something like 80 times,” he told the college crowd. “That was kind of stunning to me, but nobody ever made a big ruckus out of it.”

The derangement goes beyond people’s social lives, into their economic ones.

In 2014, Grothman, then a state Senator, expressed disdain for a Wisconsin law that mandated businesses provide workers with “at least one period consisting of 24 consecutive hours of rest in each calendar week.”

“Right now in Wisconsin, you’re not supposed to work seven days in a row, which is a little ridiculous because all sorts of people want to work seven days a week,” he told HuffPost.

After he voted to repeal Wisconsin’s equal-pay protection law, Grothman said the wage gap wasn’t about workplace discrimination. “You could argue that money is more important for men. I think a guy in their first job, maybe because they expect to be a breadwinner someday, may be a little more money-conscious,” he told The Daily Beast.

Calling for restrictions on food stamps (sound familiar?), Grothman has also encouraged citizens to spy on food stamp recipients’ shopping carts, lest any person be lying about their need for help to buy groceries. He has previously written that some recipients do not look “genuinely poor” enough to be obtaining such benefits.