Skip Navigation
Breaking News
Breaking News
from Washington and beyond

Giuliani Says Key Biden Informant Is Dead

The Biden whistleblower can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, ’cause they’re dead!

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani

There’s a new wrinkle in the Republicans’ totally legitimate investigation into Joe Biden: One of their informants is apparently dead, according to Rudy Giuliani.

Republicans have spent all week accusing the president of accepting a massive bribe from Ukraine (conveniently at the same time that Donald Trump was arrested for allegedly stealing and hiding classified documents), and have referred a number of times to a set of recordings that they claim prove his guilt. The GOP learned about these supposed recordings as part of the House Oversight Committee’s months-long investigation into the Biden family, which has yet to produce any actual evidence linking the president to wrongdoing.

House members were allowed last week to see a redacted version of an FD 10-23, a form the FBI uses to note unverified information from confidential sources. Several Republican lawmakers say that not only does the FBI form they saw last week mention this bribe but that a Burisma executive has audio recordings of Biden and Hunter Biden accepting the money. Both Anna Paulina Luna and Marjorie Taylor Greene said that the executive is Burisma owner Mykola Zlochevsky.

But according to Rudy Giuliani, the executive is actually the wife of Burisma co-founder Mykola Lisin. Giuliani told Newsmax over the weekend that Lisin died under suspicious circumstances. He seemed to imply the businessman left the recordings to his wife, but she died before the FBI could interview her.

The FBI “followed up on none of the evidence I gave them,” Giuliani said. “I gave them one witness that any investigator would jump through hoops to go to. Gave them a witness who is a woman, who is the chief accountant at this crooked company Burisma.”

“She was the wife of the former owner, who died under suspicious circumstances. And she was willing to give up all of the offshore bank accounts, including the Bidens’!”

Only right-wing outlets have reported Lisin’s wife’s death. Lisin died in a car crash in 2011—well over a decade ago. Hunter Biden didn’t join the board of Burisma until 2014. And the $10 million bribe Republicans keep mentioning, first pushed by Giuliani and Donald Trump, supposedly occurred in 2016.

What’s more, the FBI did investigate Giuliani’s claim. The bureau, alongside a U.S. attorney appointed by then-President Trump, had reviewed the bribery accusation when it was made in 2020 and found it to be unsubstantiated.

The GOP investigation into Biden is rapidly going off the rails. Multiple Republicans have admitted they don’t know if the recordings even exist, while House Oversight Chair James Comer, who is leading the probe, said he doesn’t know if the audio is “legit.”

Comer also can’t keep track of his informants, while his colleagues are begging more informants to come forward. But given how many informants they supposedly have, it sounds like they can spare a couple.

DeSantis Super PAC: The Trump Campaign is “Obsessed With Men’s Genitalia”

The DeSantis-Trump feud keeps getting weirder, grosser, and more intense.

Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images
Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis in 2019

Marco Rubio’s time in the 2016 Republican presidential primary ended with a humiliating series of dick jokes. Desperate and trailing in the polls, the diminutive Florida senator tried to act like the then front-runner and eventual nominee by trying his hand at insult comedy. Speaking at a rally ahead of Super Tuesday, Rubio implied that Trump had a small penis, telling an audience, “You know what they say about men with small hands.” (Never mind that the actual knock on Trump is that he famously has very short fingers.) Donald Trump was not so coy when he responded to Rubio a few days later during a primary debate. “Look at those hands, are they small hands?” Trump said, as he raised them for viewers to see. “And, he referred to my hands—‘If they’re small, something else must be small.’ I guarantee you there’s no problem. I guarantee.”

That was a low moment of the 2016 race, though (probably) not the lowest. It also came months into the contest: Rubio would hang around for another week after that debate before dropping out of the race entirely (and eventually endorsing Donald Trump). The dick jokes also came at a time when Rubio was running out of options and had nothing left to lose—except even more of his dignity. Nearly eight years later, this portion of the GOP primary has sadly arrived far earlier.

Ahead of Ron DeSantis’s Friday visit to Nevada, surrogates for both the Florida governor and the former president have been duking it out—and once again going blue. DeSantis is traveling to Reno to attend the long-running Basque Fry, an event where “lamb fries”—stewed, fried lamb testicles—are served.

Trump campaign senior adviser Chris LaCivita couldn’t help himself: “Not surprised Ron DeSantis is looking for a set of balls,” he said.

Erin Perrine, communications director for the pro-DeSantis Super PAC Never Back Down, quickly hit back: “The Trump team’s obsession with men’s genitalia is more perverted than a woke grooming book.” This is the DeSantis campaign in a nutshell: It’s a convoluted response with forced, clunky references to “wokeness” and the Florida governor’s obsession with book bans shoved in. (It’s also not entirely clear what a “woke grooming book” is, though that’s understandable given that no one knows what “woke” even means.) In any case, the Republican primary is devolving way ahead of schedule. It’s only June. We may have another year of this to go.

DOJ: Systemic Problems Led to George Floyd’s Murder

A report released on Friday found that the Minneapolis Police Department discriminated against racial minorities for years before Floyd's death in 2020.

Photo by KEREM YUCEL/AFP/Getty Images
A mural dedicated to George Floyd near where he was murdered in Minneapolis

The Minneapolis Police Department systemically used excessive force and discriminated against racial minorities for years ahead of the police killing of George Floyd, the Department of Justice said Friday.

Floyd, a Black man, was murdered while being handcuffed and pinned down during an arrest on March 25, 2020. His death sparked an international wave of protests against systemic racism and police brutality, and led the Justice Department to launch a probe into the city’s policing policies.

The patterns and practices we observed made what happened to George Floyd possible,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said during a press conference.

The 89-page report slams the Minneapolis Police Department for using “dangerous tactics and weapons,” including neck restraints and Tasers for small or even nonexistent offenses. The report found police punished residents who criticized the department, patrolled neighborhoods differently based on their racial demographics, and discriminated against people with behavioral health disabilities.

The Justice Department also found the Minneapolis Police Department’s accountability procedures were “fundamentally flawed,” as senior officers regularly dismissed legitimate complaints or mischaracterized allegations, causing any internal investigations to stall.

In light of the report’s findings, Minneapolis agreed to negotiate a court-enforced deal for a massive overhaul of its police force. While this is an important step forward, Black Americans still face daily discrimination and are concerned about the level of racism in society.

A new Washington Post-Ipsos poll found that 51 percent of Black Americans believe racism will get worse in their lifetime.

Donald Trump’s Legal Woes Keep Growing

Another attorney has withdrawn from yet another case, this time citing “irreconcilable differences.”

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Donald Trump is facing a growing pile of lawsuits with a rapidly shrinking legal team.

On Friday, lawyer Jim Trusty withdrew from the former president’s lawsuit against CNN, citing “irreconcilable differences.” Trump sued CNN in October for defamation and is seeking $475 million in damages. That lawsuit accuses the network of trying to “sabotage” his political career by focusing on his numerous lies and misstatements about the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

Just last week, Trusty left the legal team representing Trump for charges of mishandling classified documents and making false statements to federal officials. Trump announced he was switching up his defense squad just hours after Trusty vehemently defended him on CNN.

But there was already trouble among Trump’s legal staff, who reportedly had so much internal conflict that it was hindering their ability to defend the former president in the classified documents case. Trusty and lawyer Jim Parlatore, who quit Trump’s team in May, took particular issue with Trump’s senior adviser and in-house counsel, Boris Epshteyn, The Guardian reported.

Trusty and Parlatore disliked Epshteyn so much that they began withholding information from him. Trusty also chafed at having to run all of his decisions by Epshteyn first. He felt Epshteyn was not a trial lawyer and focused too much on Trump’s P.R. issues, not legal ones.

Things got so bad that Trusty and Parlatore began withholding information from another Trump lawyer, Evan Corcoran, because they worried he would brief Epshteyn without their knowledge. But that hobbled the team’s ability to build a defense, as the different factions had no clue what the others were doing.

Trump was charged with a total of 37 counts for keeping national defense information without authorization, making false statements, and conspiring to obstruct justice. A different Trump lawyer, Christopher Kise, attempted to convince Trump to return the documents he had taken from the White House and reach a settlement with the Department of Justice but was rebuffed by more “pugilistic” members of Trump’s team, per a Thursday Washington Post report. Trump is also under investigation in both Washington, D.C., and Georgia for his alleged role in trying to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Beyond that, Trump has recently been charged with 34 counts of business fraud in New York relating to hush-money payments made during the 2016 election, found liable for sexual abuse and defamation, and sued for defamation twice. He needs all the legal help he can get, but he’s running out of options.

More on Trump's Legal Woes

New Poll Shows a Majority of Black Americans Believe Racism Will Get Worse

The poll comes as several Republican presidential contenders rail against “critical race theory.”

Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

A new Washington Post-Ipsos poll highlights the concerns of Black Americans over daily discrimination and fears of worsening racism, with majorities describing an economic system that is stacked against them and worries about the safety of Black teenagers and children.

Fifty-one percent of Black Americans believe racism will get worse in their lifetime, although 48 percent still believe it is a “good time” to be Black in America. The latter figure is a steep improvement from similar polls conducted in 2020 and 2021—only 30 percent answered that it was a “good time” to be Black in America during Donald Trump’s presidency, while 34 percent answered affirmatively shortly after a white supremacist massacred 10 Black people in Buffalo, a year later.

Although more Black Americans say their financial situation has gotten better in the past year, 81 percent also say that the country’s economic system is “stacked against Black people.” Worries also filter to education and the way Black children are treated, with more than 70 percent of Black Americans concerned that schools will stop teaching about Black history or the history of racism. By comparison, roughly half of white Americans share these concerns.

In light of the April shooting of a 16-year-old Black boy by an 84-year-old white man, 85 percent of Black Americans say both instances were emblematic of broader problems in how white people treat Black people, compared to 54 percent of white Americans who feel the same. Just 17 percent of Black Americans believe white people trust Black people, compared to 44 percent of white Americans.

The poll comes as several Republican politicians, including many contenders for the 2024 presidential nomination, have railed against “critical race theory.” Senator Tim Scott, who is Black, has argued that structural racism is not a major issue in the U.S. Former President Barack Obama criticized Scott’s approach to racial issues in a podcast interview Thursday, saying that optimism on race relations must be “undergirded with an honest accounting of our past and our present.”

“There’s a long history of African American or other minority candidates within the Republican Party who will validate America and say, ‘Everything’s great, and we can make it,’” Obama said, specifically calling out Scott and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who is the daughter of Indian immigrants.

“Let us not forget we are a land of opportunity, not a land of oppression,” Scott replied in a statement. “Democrats deny our progress to protect their power. The Left wants you to believe faith in America is a fraud and progress in our nation is a myth.” However, the Post-Ipsos poll indicates that most Black Americans align more with Obama’s interpretation of structural racism than Scott’s argument.

Donald Trump Has a Long, Long History of Not Picking Up the Check

The former president loves leaving promises unfulfilled and bills unpaid.

Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images
Donald Trump greeting supporters at Versailles, a popular Miami café.

Donald Trump has a long history of failing to deliver on promises, and not just when it comes to politics: The man seems incapable of picking up the tab.

After pleading not guilty to 37 criminal charges for mishandling classified documents, Trump stopped at the popular Miami restaurant Versailles to meet with supporters. During his visit, he could be heard shouting, “Food for everyone!” But he left after just 10 minutes—not long enough for anyone to order anything—without paying a single bill, the Miami New Times reported.

You’d be forgiven for assuming that Trump was just a little pressed. He was just arrested for federal crimes! He might need some alone time to decompress.


Trump is notorious for leaving a trail of unpaid bills wherever he goes. Hundreds of people have accused him of failing to pay them for services, ranging from a glass company in New Jersey to workers at his resorts, real estate brokers, and even law firms who represented him in suits for unpaid bills.

In his 2004 book Trump: Think Like a Billionaire, the former president instructed readers to “always question invoices.” But it sounds like his personal approach is more “Just ignore invoices.” He has been sued for failing to pay dozens of vendors who have worked his resort properties as well as his now-defunct, fraudulent university.

And this penny-pinching didn’t start when he became a businessman. Artist and designer Lucy Klebanow recounted a date she had with Trump in the early 1970s. In a 2016 essay for Salon, Klebanow said Trump took her out to an expensive restaurant but didn’t have cash to pay the bill. He promised to pay her back—but never did.

And it looks like the apple didn’t fall far from the tree: Donald Trump Jr. reportedly proposed to his ex-wife, Vanessa, with a ring he got for free. According to the New York Post, he agreed to make promotional appearances for the jewelry company in exchange for the ring.

Then, in 2018, Vanessa divorced Don Jr., in part because he was so cheap that she “had to rely on her mother for financial help for her personal needs,” Page Six reported, citing an anonymous source. Apparently, the family that saves together stays together.

Donald Sr.’s broken promise at Versailles, however, is also part of a larger trend. As The Washington Post’s Philip Bump writes, his failure to pick up the tab in Miami isn’t just about frugality. Trump loves to make big promises in front of cameras—which often, in turn, leads to positive coverage in both traditional media and online, even though he rarely follows through. For Trump, it’s a win-win: Get a short boost of positive press coverage without having to pay a dime.

It Turns Out Being Indicted is Not Good for Donald Trump

A growing number of Independents—and Republicans—are concerned by the former president's handling of classified information.

SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Speaking to Georgia’s Republican Party last weekend, Donald Trump made the case that storing America’s nuclear secrets in an unlocked bathroom was good, actually. “The only good thing about it is it’s driven my poll numbers way up,” Trump said in a defiant speech

Trump was right, sort of. The indictment has helped him further consolidate his lead in a Republican primary that he has been consistently dominating for months. He has raked in millions after sending out dozens of fundraising emails decrying a politically-motivated “witch hunt” from “misfits, mutants, Marxists, & communists.” (That said, he raised nearly twice as much in a similar fundraising push earlier this spring after being indicted for hush money payments sent out during the 2016 election.)  

But there are growing signs that being indicted for endangering America’s national security is damaging Trump politically, even if it isn’t harming his chances of securing the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.  An ABC News/Ipsos poll released earlier this week found that 61 percent of voters believed the indictment was “serious,” as opposed to just 28 percent who viewed it as “not serious.” The number of voters who believed that he should be charged was somewhat lower: Just 48 percent, compared to 35 percent who believe the Department of Justice should have refrained from charging the former president. 

Given the early stage of the Republican primary, Trump’s strong support among Republicans has driven much of the coverage of the indictment. But the ABC/Ipsos poll also pours some cold water on this as well: 38 percent of GOP voters believe that the charges are serious, a significant if not overwhelming number. But as David Leonhardt writes for The New York Times, Trump’s numbers among Republicans and Independents are trending in the wrong direction. “The number of Republicans bothered by his legal problems seems to be growing,” Leonhardt writes. “So is the number among independents. More voters are bothered by the case against him — on charges of taking classified material and trying to conceal that he did — than by the earlier New York State charges related to hush money for a sexual encounter.” 

These are both very bad signs for Donald Trump, even if the indictment has only made him stronger in the Republican primary. To win a general election against Joe Biden, Trump will need to consolidate support among both skeptical Republicans and Independents, even if Biden remains stubbornly unpopular. The indictment, moreover, may get worse for him, not better. Democrats have largely stayed silent about it and have not aggressively pressed the case that Trump wantonly and recklessly endangered America’s national security but that may be changing—a growing number of advisers and aides are frustrated by Biden’s kid gloves approach to the indictment and it’s likely that the party will take a more aggressive tack in the coming days and weeks. And the indictment isn’t going anywhere: The case against Trump will proceed slowly over months and may stretch well into the 2024 election. Trump’s problems are only going to get worse, in other words.

More on Trump's (Second) Indictment

Republican Lawmaker Says Abortion Makes Us Lose Potential Laborers

“I think it’s bad for society,” Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos boldly claimed.

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos addresses the Assembly with mic in hand
Andy Manis/Getty Images
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos

Yeah, the right to choose is good and all.… But have you thought about how many more laborers we’d have if people would just suck it up and give birth?

Such is the inquiry Wisconsin’s Republican speaker of the Assembly encourages us to consider.

“I think how many Americans today would be alive in our workforce, doing all the things that helped make America great, if we hadn’t had such easy access to abortion,” Representative Robin Vos said on Tuesday at an event. “I think it’s bad for society.”

Vos hedged the remarks, noting there ought to be a “natural middle ground,” citing his support for a bill to provide easy access to birth control. Nevertheless he continued, saying that “if you get pregnant, I feel like then you’ve made the commitment to deliver that child, and that’s what should happen in my world.”

The remarks followed Wisconsin overwhelmingly electing Janet Protasiewicz to the state Supreme Court in April, flipping the court’s control to the left for the first time in 15 years; the election came in voters’ anticipation of the court ruling on abortion rights and electoral districts in Wisconsin.

Vos also vowed that the state will not expand Medicaid access as long as he is speaker. He made the comments while being perched in front of a banner emblazoned with “UnitedHealthcare,” namesake branch of the world’s largest health care company and eleventh-largest company generally by revenue—ahead of Exxon, Toyota, and Microsoft.

“As long as I am speaker of the Assembly, Medicaid expansion will never happen,” Vos pledged.

“I see absolutely no reason. I can’t imagine it. I think I would resign first before I would vote for that. So, it will never happen.”

While Vos argued there is no utility to Medicaid expansion, that doesn’t appear to be true. The state government found some 312,000 Wisconsinites were completely uninsured in 2020. Wisconsin’s Department of Human Services estimates Medicaid expansion would expand coverage to 89,700 people. Wisconsin is one of just 10 states that have not chosen to expand Medicaid yet; in doing so, it could save $1.6 billion by unlocking enhanced federal funds through the program.

GOP Senator Admits Biden Bribery Tapes Might Not Exist After All

Chuck Grassley was at the forefront of pushing these claims to begin with.

Senator Chuck Grassley
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Senator Chuck Grassley

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley admitted that he doesn’t actually know if the audio recordings that he said reveal Joe Biden accepting a bribe even exist.

Republicans have spent all week accusing the president of accepting a bribe from Ukraine (conveniently at the same time Donald Trump was arrested for stealing and hiding classified documents) and referring specifically to a set of recordings that prove their claim. The GOP learned about these supposed recordings as part of the House Oversight Committee’s months-long investigation into the Biden family, which has yet to produce any actual evidence linking Biden to wrongdoing.

House members were allowed last week to see a redacted version of an FD 10-23, a form the FBI uses to note unverified information from confidential sources. Grassley had called Monday for the FBI to release the unredacted version of the form, which he said mentioned 17 audio recordings of Biden and his son Hunter Biden accepting a bribe from an executive at Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian oil company where Hunter Biden served on the board for a few years.

But speaking on a podcast Wednesday, Grassley admitted he doesn’t know whether or not the tapes are real.

“I’m oversight of the FBI,” the Iowa Republican said, referring to his work on the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus.

“I want to know [if] the FBI, are you doing your work? I want to see your work. Have you listened to these tapes? And if you haven’t, why haven’t you? In other words, do the tapes even exist?”

Grassley isn’t even the only Republican to acknowledge the tapes might not be real. Senator Ron Johnson told Fox News Thursday that “we don’t know” if the tapes exist. House Oversight Chair James Comer, who has led the charge against Biden, said Wednesday he doesn’t know if the recordings are “legit.”

And yet these tapes have been the basis for almost every accusation leveled against Biden this past week. Republicans are pushing a conspiracy first started by Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump that the Biden family accepted a $10 million bribe to remove former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin in 2016 to stop a probe into Hunter Biden’s role at the oil company Burisma Holdings.

This claim has been widely debunked by Ukrainian officials, U.S. State Department officials, American intelligence experts, and Burisma owner Mykola Zlochevsky.

N.C. Lawmaker Pretends She Never Got an Abortion After Switching Parties to Pass Abortion Ban

Tricia Cotham single-handedly gutted abortion access in the South. And now she’s lying about her own abortion.

Tricia Cotham
North Carolina Representative Tricia Cotham

The North Carolina representative who switched her party affiliation to Republican, paving the way for the state’s cruel 12-week abortion ban and decimating abortion access in the South, is now lying about the abortion she had years ago.

Tricia Cotham was a staunch advocate for abortion rights while she was still a Democrat, promising to codify reproductive rights after Roe v. Wade fell. In 2015, she spoke out against making patients wait 72 hours before they can get an abortion, citing her own experience getting one.

“My first pregnancy ended in an induced physician-assisted miscarriage. While I served in this chamber,” she told the state legislature. “Abortion is a deeply personal decision. It should not be a political debate. My womb and my uterus is not up for your political grab.”

But in a weekend radio interview while at the North Carolina Republican Party convention, Cotham denied having an abortion, saying instead she had a miscarriage.

I had a miscarriage, and a miscarriage in medical terms is called a spontaneous abortion,” she said. “And instead of saying—first of all, they should not be talking about my miscarriage, that is just very painful and wrong. But they are repeating this message that I had an abortion. And that is false. And that is completely frustrating, and they keep on doing it, and that’s below the belt.”

A common Republican talking point is to portray medically assisted miscarriages and abortion as different things. This allows them to pretend they care about people who get pregnant, because they can say they aren’t actually banning medically necessary procedures.

Except, treatment for a medical miscarriage and abortion are the same: Either a health care provider will give the patient medication to induce the miscarriage and expel the fetus, or a doctor will dilate the patient’s cervix and remove the fetal tissue.

Cotham switched parties in April, an abrupt about-face that two of her former aides described as a “deeply petty, personal” decision. Autumn Alston, an activist who canvassed for Cotham’s last two campaigns (when she was a Democrat), told Jezebel that the lawmaker had felt underappreciated and ignored by the left, particularly abortion rights advocacy groups.

She wanted “to be the new shiny object in the Republican Party,” said Alston, who often advised Cotham too.

Cotham switching gave Republicans a supermajority in the legislature, allowing them to pass a 12-week abortion ban and later override Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of the measure.

So Cotham single-handedly gutted abortion access in the South, celebrated taking rights away from people, and is now making false claims about abortion. And yet she has the gall to say she’s “still the same person.”