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Republicans Are Approaching an Absurd Number of 2024 Candidates

The 2024 Republican field is getting more crowded by the day.

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Former Texas Representative Will Hurd announced Thursday that he is running for president, bringing the Republican primary ticket to an insane high.

Hurd is the fourteenth candidate to join the field, which is still overwhelmingly dominated by Donald Trump, despite the former president’s recent federal indictment. For comparison, 17 Republicans ran in 2016, although several dropped out before the primaries.

Some people warn that a crowded field will benefit Trump, as it did in 2016, because no one will be able to unify behind one other candidate. But this time around, Trump has already been indicted twice, with two more potentially on the way, which could finally turn people against him.

Here is the list of every Republican currently running for president:

Republicans Resurrect National Abortion Ban in Time for Dobbs Anniversary

Republicans seem to no longer care about the “states’ rights” argument.

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Representative Elise Stefanik

Almost exactly a year after celebrating abortion law being returned to the states, Republicans are once again embracing the idea of a national ban on abortion.

When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022, Republicans hailed the decision as a step in the right direction. Many GOP lawmakers argued that abortion rights are a state issue, not a federal one.

But on Tuesday, Representative Elise Stefanik indicated that she and her colleagues will introduce a bill banning abortion nationwide after 15 weeks. “The people are the most important voices” on abortion, Stefanik said, apparently not seeing the irony of her words.

Speaking at an event to mark the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling, hosted by the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, Stefanik argued that the federal government does have a role in abortion legislation, particularly in “building consensus” nationally on the topic.

“We should embrace this debate,” Stefanik said.

Stefanik’s announcement takes Republicans’ war on abortion rights to the next level. Last year, when Senator Lindsey Graham introduced a federal 15-week abortion ban just before the midterms, many of his colleagues slammed the move. The bill never made it to the Senate floor. But Stefanik is signaling that more Republicans are ready to embrace a national ban.

Except there is already a national consensus on abortion rights. An overwhelming majority of Americans—62 percent, to be exact—still think abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to the Pew Research Center. What’s more, people consistently vote in favor of increasing abortion rights protections.

And yet Republicans have the gall not only to consistently override the will of the people but also to pretend that a 15- or 20-week ban is somehow a compromise.

Abortion saves lives, and abortion wins elections. The GOP may be about to find that out the hard way.

House Republicans Censure Adam Schiff in Complete Waste of Everyone’s Time

Republicans decided that this bill, which has no chance of moving forward, should be a priority.

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House Republicans voted Wednesday to censure Adam Schiff for accusing Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign of colluding with Russia, in a massive waste of time for everyone.

The House had already voted last week to table a similar measure, with 20 Republicans joining Democrats to vote it down. Both resolutions, sponsored by Florida Representative Anna Paulina Luna, allege that Schiff “spread false accusations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia” and abused his access to classified information. The measures also accuse Schiff of acting “dishonestly and dishonorably on many other occasions.”

The resolution last week also sought to fine Schiff $16 million. That penalty has been removed from the current measure.

The final vote on Wednesday was 213–209. The measure has no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Luna, a member of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, had said that most of the Republicans who previously broke ranks would change their vote this time around. Her accusations stem from Schiff’s criticisms of Trump over the special investigation by Robert Mueller. Mueller found that Russians had contacted officials for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and that the officials were willing to accept Moscow’s help to win.

Schiff, who is running to replace Dianne Feinstein in the Senate, sarcastically thanked Republicans just before the vote. “You honor me with your enmity. You flatter me with this falsehood,” Schiff said. “You who are the authors of a big lie about the last election must condemn the truth tellers, and I stand proudly before you.”

Last week, he slammed Republicans for using the vote as a way to distract people from Trump’s federal indictment. “The fact that Speaker [Kevin] McCarthy would take up this MAGA resolution when we have so many pressing challenges before the country is really a terrible abuse of House resources,” Schiff told CNN.

Voting to censure Schiff is also a bold, and potentially disastrous, move for certain Republicans, 18 of whom go up for reelection next year in districts that went for President Joe Biden. The resolution against Schiff is pointless and could cost them their seats. The fact that Republicans forged ahead with the censure vote is a sign of how willing they are to eat their own in order to accomplish petty goals.

MTG Is So Pissed at Lauren Boebert She Called Her a Bitch on the House Floor

The two Republican representatives are in the absolute pettiest of fights.

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Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert

Republicans are not happy with Representative Lauren Boebert, who moved to force a vote this week to impeach President Joe Biden. But her former work bestie Marjorie Taylor Greene is absolutely livid.

Boebert introduced articles of impeachment Tuesday under a privileged resolution, meaning there has to be a vote on the measure within two days. The move surprised and frustrated many of her colleagues. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said the measure was premature and urged Republicans to oppose it. He also warned it could hurt their bogus investigation into Biden. Representative Don Bacon called Boebert’s resolution “frivolous” and said she had made the impeachment into “playground games.”

Greene, on the other hand, was upset for a very different playground explanation. She tore into Boebert on the House floor Wednesday afternoon for copying her articles of impeachment.

Greene introduced articles of impeachment against Biden in May, over his handling of immigration at the southern border. Those articles have yet to go anywhere.

I’ve donated to you, I’ve defended you. But you’ve been nothing but a little bitch to me,” Greene told Boebert in the middle of the House floor, according to The Daily Beast, citing an anonymous source who witnessed the exchange. “And you copied my articles of impeachment after I asked you to cosponsor them.”

Boebert, who claimed she had never read her colleague’s articles, replied, “OK, Marjorie, we’re through.”

“We were never together,” Greene shot back.

Earlier Wednesday, Greene had publicly shaded Boebert for copying her work and then skipping steps to get all the attention. I had already introduced articles of impeachment on Joe Biden for the border, asked her to co-sponsor mine, she didn’t,” Greene said. “She basically copied my articles and then introduced them and then changed them to a privileged resolution.”

The Georgia Republican told The Hill Wednesday that she would convert her articles, and others she has drawn up against other members of the Biden administration, to privileged resolutions she can introduce whenever she feels like.

When asked if she would support Boebert’s resolution, Greene replied, “Of course I support ’em because they’re identical to mine.

“They’re basically a copycat,” she added.

Greene and Boebert seemed to be good friends when they both first arrived on Capitol Hill, but they have since ruptured pretty spectacularly. They first began to diverge over continuing aid for Ukraine: Boebert supported it, while Greene was opposed.

Greene has also ingratiated herself with establishment Republicans, although both women still embrace far-right beliefs. Things came to a head during the interminable vote for speaker of the House in January. The pair reportedly got into a massive argument in a Capitol bathroom, when Greene accused Boebert of taking money from McCarthy for her reelection campaign but then refusing to vote for him for speaker.

The Daily Beast, citing an anonymous source, said Boebert replied, “Don’t be ugly” and then “ran out like a little schoolgirl.”

So safe to say, the fact that Boebert swooped in and got to impeach Biden first is not going down well.

This article has been updated.

RFK Jr. Gives Away the Game With Decision to Speak at Moms for Liberty Summit

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. finally reveals who he has been all along.

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Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Democratic presidential candidate and rabid anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has decided to take his 2024 campaign to new, extremist levels.

Kennedy will be a guest speaker at a Moms for Liberty gathering in Philadelphia next week, an event dubbed the “Joyful Warriors National Summit,” the nonprofit announced Tuesday.

Moms for Liberty has been labeled an extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, or SPLC, for disguising its attacks on schools, teachers, and the LGBTQ community as “parental rights.” The group is especially famous for pushing bans on books that discuss identity issues, including race, gender, and sexuality, or have sexual content; chapters of the group have run (sometimes successful) campaigns in schools across the country. It’s a broad ambush, “seeking to undermine public education holistically and to divide communities,” the SPLC’s Rachel Carroll Rivas told NPR earlier this month.

So why is Kennedy, who purports to care about issues of censorship, speaking at the summit? Perhaps because he’s running on the wrong ballot.

Other guest speakers at the Moms for Liberty summit include some of the top 2024 Republican candidates: twice-impeached and twice-indicted former President Donald Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and anti-woke multimillionaire Vivek Ramaswamy. In fact, Kennedy appears to be the only Democrat on the list of guest speakers, which also includes far-right conspiracy theorists and the president of the right-wing think tank Heritage Foundation.

This isn’t a total shock for anyone who has familiarized themselves with Kennedy’s actual political views. The candidate has a long history of spreading conspiracy theories—including before Covid-19 saw a resurgence in anti-vaxxers—and his fringe ideas often come with a racist or homophobic twist.

In the last week alone, RFK Jr. has made news for comparing Covid-19 mask mandates to Nazi experiments, saying chemicals in our water are making frogs gay and kids transgender, and claiming Wi-Fi causes cancer. He appeared on the conservative network Newsmax and accused China of developing “ethnic bioweapons” designed to go after specific races of people. And he promised to, if elected, gut funding for federal health agencies that recommend vaccine schedules for children. That includes agencies like the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Earlier this month, Kennedy spent an hour sucking up to Elon Musk in a Twitter space, praising the then CEO for his dedication to free speech. Musk, meanwhile, has let Nazis return to Twitter, effectively forced out the executive overseeing the site’s safety and content moderation, and haphazardly enforced hate speech policies to target trans people.

OceanGate CEO Missing in Titanic Sub Had History of Donating to GOP Candidates

Here’s who OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush has donated to.

Ocean Gate/Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Public campaign finance records indicate that Stockton Rush, the CEO of OceanGate currently stuck on the missing Titan submersible that was running a tourist expedition of the Titanic wreck, has been a consistent Republican donor over the years.

Now a point of caveat here: According to these public finance records, Rush was not a Republican megadonor, but his donations over the years leaned heavily toward Republican candidates.

Federal Election Commission campaign finance filings show a Stockton Rush of Washington state employed by OceanGate giving $1,500 to Culberson for Congress, the principal campaign committee for now-former Republican Congressman John Culberson who represented Texas’s 7th district from 2001 to 2019. Culberson had a 100 percent scorecard rating from the conservative Family Research Council, a 92 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union, and a 4 percent lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters. Not exactly a RINO.

The FEC also lists donations from Stockton R. Rush III, Stockton R. Rush Jr., and Stockton R. Rush. While the home addresses for these donations are all the same, it’s not clear if these are close relatives or the same Stockton Rush (the employers for these donations vary depending on the specific donation and include “Remote Control Technology, Inc.,” “investor,” and “Mr Oil & Gas Company”). But altogether, those donations are consistently Republican and include George Bush for President in 1979, the Illinois Republican State Central Committee in 1980, Citizens to Elect Rick Larsen in 2022, and friends of Mike McGavick in both 2000 and 2005.

Separately, OpenSecrets filings show Stockton R. Rush donating to Dino J. Rossi, a perennial Republican candidate in Washington state who ran unsuccessfully for governor, United States Senate, and the House of Representatives. Rossi served in the state Senate from 2016 to 2017.

Washington state Democratic consultants told The New Republic they don’t regard these donations as a sign that Rush is anything like a GOP megadonor, just that he leans to the right.

As national attention has shifted to the missing submersible, there has been increasing scrutiny on OceanGate and its top executives. As I reported yesterday, according to court filings, a former employee at OceanGate voiced safety concerns about the Titan submarine that is now missing. The CEO reportedly knew about these safety concerns, and the employee voicing them was fired. That case was settled in court.

Ob-Gyns Say More People Are Dying Since Dobbs Overturned Right to Abortion

A new KFF poll finds health professionals are incredibly concerned about the restrictions on abortion.

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A doctor at a clinic in San Antonio, Texas, informs a patient that he can no longer provide abortion services since the Supreme Court just overturned Roe v. Wade, June 24, 2022.

Health professionals say that maternal mortality has skyrocketed in the year since Roe v. Wade was overturned, a new survey from KFF found, a sign of how harmful abortion bans are.

The Supreme Court rattled the country when it rolled back the nationwide right to abortion on June 24, 2022. In the year since then, Republican-led states have cracked down on abortion access, imposing confusing restrictions or outright bans on the procedure. Many in the GOP argue that they are not limiting access to medically necessary procedures, but instead are saving lives.

KFF surveyed nearly 600 ob-gyns nationwide from March to May, and found that 68 percent say the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision worsened their ability to respond to pregnancy-related emergencies. The survey also found that 64 percent of ob-gyns “believe that the Dobbs decision has worsened pregnancy-related mortality” and 70 percent believe the ruling increased racial and ethnic inequities in maternal health.

Part of this could be due to the fact that all of the new laws surrounding abortion have left doctors confused about what they’re even allowed to do. Only 45 percent of ob-gyns in states with abortion restrictions say they understand the circumstances under which abortion is legal.

Many doctors also feel that their hands are tied. In states where abortion is limited, 59 percent of ob-gyns say they are worried about the legal risk when making “decisions about patient care and the necessity of abortion.” In states where abortion is banned, that number jumps to 61 percent.

The United States already has the worst maternal mortality rate among developed nations, and health experts have long warned that abortion restrictions would only cause it to rise. A study released in November by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder found that if abortion is banned nationwide, maternal mortality will rise 24 percent. Maternal mortality among Black people will shoot up 39 percent.

Samuel Alito’s Tacky Defense on Why He Ruled on Case From Billionaire Fishing Pal

The Supreme Court justice accepted a luxury vacation from a Republican megadonor, didn’t disclose it, and then ruled on one of his cases.

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Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito

Samuel Alito is the latest Supreme Court justice to come under fire for allegedly questionable ethics decisions, and his reasoning behind them is truly awful.

Alito was gifted a luxury vacation in 2008 that included flying on Republican billionaire megadonor Paul Singer’s private jet to Alaska, where they stayed in a fishing lodge that cost $1,000 a night, ProPublica reported late Tuesday. Right-wing activist (and then-head of the Federalist Society) Leonard Leo helped organize the trip, and also attended. Alito did not list the vacation on his annual financial disclosure statement.

The year before, Singer’s hedge fund had submitted its first request that the Supreme Court intervene in a business lawsuit. In 2001, the fund had purchased Argentina’s federal debt at a steep discount. Years later, after Argentina recovered from an economic crash, the hedge fund wanted the Argentine government to pay it back in full.

Singer first asked the Supreme Court to weigh in in 2007, the year before he took Alito on vacation. After the trip, the fund came before the court at least 10 times for the same case. Singer’s involvement was heavily documented in the press. The high court agreed to resolve the issue in 2014. Alito did not recuse himself, instead joining the 7–1 majority in Singer’s favor, earning the hedge fund a $2.4 billion payout.

And Alito himself confirmed everything.

Seeking to preempt outcry, Alito published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday—just hours before ProPublica published its report. His explanation for why he neither recused himself nor reported the trip was essentially, “I didn’t know I had to.”

I had no obligation to recuse in any of the cases that ProPublica cites. First, even if I had been aware of Mr. Singer’s connection to the entities involved in those cases, recusal would not have been required or appropriate,” Alito wrote, arguing that he and Singer were not personally close, and so he could be considered unbiased.

But beyond that, “when I reviewed the cases in question to determine whether I was required to recuse, I was not aware and had no good reason to be aware that Mr. Singer had an interest in any party.” Again, Singer’s involvement was widely reported.

Alito said he did not report the Alaska trip because “until a few months ago,” justices did not report accommodations or transportation for social events. (This is not true. ProPublica found at least six other examples of justices disclosing gifts of travel on private jets.)

Alito also said that he was really doing the government a favor by taking Singer’s private jet. The trip had already been planned before Alito was invited, and “I was asked whether I would like to fly there in a seat that, as far as I am aware, would have otherwise been vacant,” Alito said. “Had I taken commercial flights, that would have imposed a substantial cost and inconvenience on the deputy U.S. Marshals who would have been required for security reasons to assist me.”

Not only is this terrible logic all around, but Alito also fails to mention the reason that financial disclosure rules changed a few months ago: ProPublica began releasing reports on Justice Clarence Thomas’s relationship with another Republican megadonor, Harlan Crow.

Thomas has received hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of gifts from the Nazi memorabilia–collecting billionaire. These include luxurious island-hopping vacations, tuition payments for Thomas’s grandnephew’s private school education, and even the purchase of Thomas’s family property, where the justice’s mother still lives.

If Alito’s shoddy defense of “we didn’t have to report it” is to be believed, we can expect more reports like this soon.

The Supreme Court has operated since its creation without a formal code of ethics, and largely without supervision. As more reports of shady dealings come to light, it’s no wonder that public trust in the institution is waning fast.

Republicans Suddenly Claim Trump-Appointed Prosecutor Is Evil Deep Stater

House Republicans now want to question U.S. Attorney David Weiss about Hunter Biden’s “sweetheart deal.”

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Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan

In the wake of Hunter Biden’s plea deal in Delaware, House Republicans are blind with rage that after all the buildup, the president’s son isn’t even going to be spending a single night in jail. And more than that, What—nothing about those alleged Burisma bribes? Joe Biden’s mysterious $10 million in unreported 2017 income? On Fox News and in the New York Post, the Daily Mail, and other outlets, they already had Hunter Biden—and for that matter, Joe Biden too—tried and convicted for what Fox’s Maria Bartiromo called “the biggest political scandal any of us has ever seen.”

The air shot out of that balloon in a big way Tuesday, with the plea deal. And now House Republicans want to call on the carpet the U.S. attorney in Delaware who accepted the deal, David Weiss. House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer wants Weiss to come in for a “briefing.” Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan said the House should wait until the plea is formally entered. “If there’s a plea entered and it’s done and then the investigation is over, then certainly we’re going to want to talk to him,” Jordan was quoted as saying.

The thread Jordan is hanging onto in that quote is the question of whether this investigation is truly over. Weiss introduced some ambiguity on this matter in his post-deal statement that the probe “is ongoing.” He did not elaborate. Did he mean simply that it’s ongoing in the sense that it’s still on until the plea is officially entered? Or did he mean, as Bill Barr suggested last week, that he’s still looking into the Burisma angle?

It’s the key thing to watch here. It would seem pretty weird for a U.S. attorney to close an investigation into an individual while still probing other charges against that individual. But a lot of weird stuff is happening in America these days.

Bear in mind: Weiss was appointed to his position by Trump. When he became president, Biden left Weiss in the post specifically so he could continue the investigation into his own son—because he saw, rightly, that installing his own person would be seen as a banana-republic-perversion-of-justice kind of move. So he left the fate of his own son to a potentially hostile federal prosecutor. Think Donald Trump would have done that?

And if this is really the end of Huntergate? Well, to most of us, it will prove that the right was overhyping this from jump street. In Wingnuttia, it will merely prove that the deep state is so pervasive, so many-tentacled, that it swallows even Republican prosecutors in its embrace. There’s always an excuse.

Donald Trump Could’ve Gotten the Hunter Biden Deal

The former president thinks his successor’s son got off with a “traffic ticket.” He could have too—if he had listened to his lawyers.

Photo by ALON SKUY/AFP/Getty Images
Donald Trump speaking in 2022

Donald Trump is predictably furious after Hunter Biden agreed to plead guilty on two misdemeanor charges of tax evasion and participate in a pretrial program for a gun offense in a deal that means the son of the current president will avoid jail time. “Wow! The corrupt Biden DOJ just cleared up hundreds of years of criminal liability by giving Hunter Biden a mere ‘traffic ticket.’ Our system is BROKEN!” Trump wrote on Truth Social, his bespoke, decrepit social network. “No crime, no case. Election Interference!” he continued.

This is an extension of the line Trump has repeatedly deployed about the dozens of federal charges he faces regarding his alleged mishandling of sensitive classified material related to U.S. national security. Trump has claimed, again and again, that he is facing a political witch hunt, that the charges he faces are a smokescreen intended to remove him from the 2024 presidential race, and that the real criminals—Joe Biden and his family—are getting off scot-free.

There are several problems with this. Setting aside the dubious nature of the allegations against the Bidens, the biggest issue is probably that Trump has all but admitted to refusing to hand back the classified documents for months after leaving office. But there’s another issue as well. Donald Trump could very well have gotten the same deal—and probably even a lighter one—if he had just listened to his lawyers’ advice. One of Trump’s attorneys reportedly tried to get him to return the documents after the Department of Justice’s investigation had begun. Had Trump done this—or if he had returned them months earlier, when the National Archives asked for them back—it is highly unlikely that he would have been charged at all.

If he took a plea deal like the one Hunter Biden agreed to on Tuesday, he would have also likely received a “slap on the wrist” or even less—the Justice Department really, really did not want to bring charges against a former president. He chose not to. The decision to refuse to return documents he had unlawfully retained and then, after an investigation had been opened, to refuse to even try to negotiate a settlement with the Department of Justice directly led to the dozens of charges he was hit with earlier this month.

Donald Trump could have gotten off with a traffic ticket too. The only person he has to blame for the legal predicament in which he now finds himself is Donald Trump.