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Kevin McCarthy’s Explanation for Trump’s Third Indictment? He’s So Popular!

The House speaker is bending over backward to try to defend Trump as he faces yet another criminal indictment.

Kevin McCarthy
Alex Wong/Getty Images

According to Kevin McCarthy, the only reason Donald Trump faces criminal consequences is because he polls so well.

McCarthy’s suggestion comes while the twice-impeached, twice-indicted, and liable-for-sexual-abuse former president is now facing a possible third indictment for helping incite a riot on the nation’s Capitol.

Trump announced on Tuesday that he has been notified that he is a target in the Justice Department’s investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election, a sign that he may be charged soon.

This could prove to be a moment of conservatives turning more forcefully against the man who led the party to defeat in 2020, helped it fizzle away high expectations in 2022 and lose special election after special election. But not for McCarthy.

The House speaker wasted no time falling on the sword for the loser and serial criminal.

“Well, I guess under a Biden administration, Biden America, you’d expect this. If you noticed recently, President Trump went up in the polls and was actually surpassing President Biden for reelection,” McCarthy said. “So what do they do now? Weaponize government to go after their number one opponent. It’s time and time again. I think the American public is tired of this. They want to have, see equal justice and the idea that they utilize this to go after those who politically disagree with him is wrong.”

The American public is tired of something, but it might have more to do with Trump’s crimes—and Republicans’ mealy-mouthed defenses of them—and less about Trump actually being held accountable.

It’s not as if McCarthy has no idea what stance he could take instead. In January 2021, for instance, McCarthy sang a different tune, saying the attack on the Capitol “was undemocratic, un-American, and criminal” and that “the president bears responsibility.”

DeSantis Screams at Someone With Pride Flag to Stop “Indoctrinating” Kids

Ron DeSantis is easily triggered.

Ron DeSantis
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Ron DeSantis

Someone held up a Pride flag at a DeSantis campaign event—and promptly triggered the Republican presidential candidate into an unhinged rant about indoctrination.

One of the main planks in Ron DeSantis’s presidential campaign platform is his battle against “wokeness,” particularly anything that has to do with the LGBTQ community. DeSantis regularly spouts the popular right-wing smear that LGBTQ people are pedophiles, and he often points to the extreme laws he signed in Florida curbing human rights.

During an event in Tega Cay, South Carolina, on Monday night, DeSantis drilled down on this point. He accused President Joe Biden of ignoring his seventh grandchild but taking too much interest in Republicans’ children.

While DeSantis was speaking, a protester stood up and held up a rainbow Pride flag. Event security quickly descended on the protester and began escorting them out.

“They shouldn’t be worrying about our children, either,” DeSantis shouted after the protester. “We don’t want you indoctrinating our children! Leave our kids alone!”

DeSantis has been struggling since he launched his campaign. Current support for him sits at about 20 percent, far behind front-runner Donald Trump. The Florida governor seems to think that doubling down on anti-wokeness is the key to winning.

But instead of helping his case, it just serves to make him look even more glitchy and out of touch.

It Never Ends: Trump Took Precious Israeli Antiquities to Mar-a-Lago

Israel has been struggling to get back the antiquities after they were lent to the U.S. during the Trump administration.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Trump’s Mar-a-Lago bathrooms and ballrooms were not just filled with top secret government documents. He apparently has also been hoarding temporarily loaned Israeli antiquities there for four years.

Haaretz reports that Israel lent the Trump White House antiquities, including ancient ceramic lamps from its national treasures collection, for a Hanukkah candle-lighting event in 2019. Israel Hasson, the then-director of the Israeli Antiquities Authority, approved the loan of the antiquities so long as they were returned within weeks.

Hasson told Haaretz that “we wanted our man to go and bring it back, but then Covid broke out, and everything got stuck.” So Hasson’s agency had asked Saul Fox, a major Jewish-American donor to the Antiquities Authority, to keep the items in tow until they could be brought back to Israel. But, Haaretz reports, Israeli authorities discovered several months ago that the antiquites instead ended up at Mar-a-Lago, “where they still remain.”

Eli Eskozido, the new Antiquities Authority head, has asked the Israeli government and Trump’s former U.S. ambassador to Israel to coordinate a return of the antiquities, but to no avail. One source told Haaretz that he wouldn’t be surprised if “the items Israel seeks are also eventually found in some bathroom.”

Republicans have bent over backward to show their inextinguishable support for Israel, but it’s unclear whether they will question why Trump has been harboring Israeli antiquities. After all, they had barely any criticism for his stealing of U.S. national security documents.

Jesse Watters’s Democratic Mom Warns Him on Air to Stop Spreading Conspiracies

His mom phoned in to his Fox News prime-time debut.

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Jesse Watters

Fox News host Jesse Watters made his 8 p.m. debut, and his first show featured a very special guest: his mom.

Mrs. Watters is a Democrat, and she called in to the show Monday night to give her son some advice on how to avoid a lawsuit. She had some pretty good advice, but it’s unlikely Watters—who has a long history of racism, sexism, conspiracy theory peddling, and general grossness—will listen.

“Do not tumble into any conspiracy rabbit holes. We do not want to lose you, and we want no lawsuits,” Watters’s mom said. “In keeping with the Hippocratic oath, do no harm.”

“Use your voice responsibly to promote conversation that maintains a narrative thread. There really has been enough Biden-bashing, and the laptop is old,” she added, referring to Republicans’ fruitless investigation into the Biden family.

“Perhaps you could suggest that your people take less interest, for example, in other people’s bodies, and talk about that,” she continued.

“We’re trying to keep other people’s interest away from children’s bodies!” Watters protested, bringing up a favorite right-wing smear that all LGBTQ people are pedophiles.

His mom didn’t push back, but went on with her list of advice. “I want you to seek solutions, versus fanning the flames,” she said. “You could encourage that Bedminster friend of yours to return to his earlier career on television. Everyone in his audience could wear a red hat. And I’m sure the ratings would soar.”

Let’s hope that not just Watters, but all of Fox News, starts listening to his mom.

Democrats Locked in Stupidest Fight About Whether Israel Is Racist

Democrats love to attack their own members who dare speak out on Israel.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

A Democrat criticizes Israel for its human rights abuses against Palestinians, and the political establishment in both parties jumps on them like sharks.

Sound familiar?

Representative Pramila Jayapal was the latest victim of the pattern after she called Israel—a state that has committed decades of human rights abuses, engaged in land dispossession and home demolition, upheld separate systems of law, and maintained a militarized police state against Palestinians—a “racist state.”

Jayapal made the comments over the weekend, at the progressive Netroots Nation conference in Chicago, ahead of Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s expected address to Congress on Wednesday. Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Cori Bush had already said they would boycott Herzog’s address, while Jamaal Bowman had said he would “probably not” attend, either.

“The Palestinian people deserve self-determination and autonomy,” Jayapal said to a group of activists at the conference, which set off the outrage machine in Washington.

Republicans have gone on an unsurprising full-throated offensive against Jayapal and her progressive colleagues (while ignoring vile antisemitism among their ranks). But Democrats too have cynically jumped in on attacking one of their own for echoing what an array of human rights organizations have already said.

Jayapal felt forced to walk back her statement on Sunday, while still calling out Israel’s “extreme right-wing government,” which “has engaged in discriminatory and outright racist policies.” Even then, top Democrats were hungry to show how sensitive they are to bad-faith right-wing attacks and how completely insensitive they are to Palestinian rights.

“Israel is not a racist state,” House Democratic leaders Hakeem Jeffries, Katherine Clark, Pete Aguilar, and Ted Lieu insisted in a joint statement Sunday. “Certainly, there are individual members of the current Israeli governing coalition with whom we strongly disagree. That is also the case with respect to some on the other side of the aisle who we serve with in the United States Congress.”

Jeffries has called twice-impeached and twice-indicted former President Donald Trump a “racial arsonist” and the “grand wizard of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.” With statements like these, Democrats have posed far-right conservatism as a fundamental threat to America’s status as a democracy. But when it comes to the same issues in Israel, tone-policing seems to be their main concern.

And it was not just leadership. Representative Ritchie Torres—who like Jeffries has collected troves of donations from pro-Israel groups like AIPAC, which has deliberately worked to tank Democratic candidates and support election denialists—insisted that Israel is a “multiracial democracy” that affords people “equal protection under the laws.”

Torres made the insistence in an 865-character tweet, which can only be tweeted by paying $8 to billionaire Elon Musk, who has helped contribute to the rise of antisemitism online.

The Israeli government itself has said its main guiding policy is that “the Jewish people have an exclusive and indisputable right to all areas of the Land of Israel”—something one may call state-sponsored discrimination or, indeed, racism.

Organizations from Human Rights Watch to Amnesty International have condemned Israel for its racism, human rights abuses, and systems of apartheid. The kinds of organizations the mainstream press and political establishment routinely extol. And yet, when it comes to Israel, any politician who frankly echoes such concerns is immediately attacked.

The saga mirrors Representative Rashia Tlaib being viciously attacked earlier this year for supporting an event raising awareness about the Nakba, the series of events beginning in 1948 that led to the mass displacement of Palestinians, and the occupation of Palestine that continues today. Or the party’s constant attacks on Ilhan Omar for her criticism of Israel, which paved the way for Republicans to boot her from the Foreign Affairs Committee when they retook the House.

With Jayapal, Democrats are once again attacking one of their own for calling out human rights abuses and racism, something the party typically prides itself on.

“We look forward to welcoming Israeli President Isaac Herzog,” the Democratic leadership assured.

Smirky Jesse Watters Takes Tucker’s Slot Tonight, and Here’s Why It’s Going to Suck

Fox is swapping one radical, bigoted news anchor for another.

Steven Ferdman/Getty Images
Jesse Watters

Fox News anchor Jesse Watters, who has a long history of racism, sexism, and general grossness, makes his debut Monday night hosting the coveted 8 p.m. slot.

Fox has been looking to revitalize the prized evening slot, which has seen viewer numbers nose-dive after the network unceremoniously fired its star Tucker Carlson. Watters isn’t exactly an upgrade though. Both men peddle conspiracy theories, stoke outrage, and push general bigotry.

Here’s a look back at some of Watters’s worst moments.

1. He called unhoused people an “invasive species.”

Watters has repeatedly attacked unhoused people for … not having a home. “Being that our studio is here in New York, we’re witnessing a major problem, something all cities are dealing with: the deranged and dangerous homeless,” he said in September. “West Coast cities are so bad, you don’t even know whether you’re in Fallujah or L.A. In Portland, the homeless have become an invasive species.”

He has also called for unhoused people to be institutionalized, and even encouraged people to get rid of squatters by burning down the buildings they were taking shelter in.

2. He pushed the “great replacement theory” on air.

Watters accused President Joe Biden of using Covid-19 as part of the “great replacement,” which the Southern Poverty Law Center defines as a “racist conspiracy narrative [that] falsely asserts there is an active, ongoing, and covert effort to replace white populations in current white-majority countries.”

“We had a million Americans die from Covid-19, and Joe Biden just brought in a million illegal aliens to take their place,” Watters said in June.

3. He mocked Asian people in a racist segment in New York’s Chinatown.

During the presidential debate in October 2016, Donald Trump criticized China multiple times. In response, Watters headed to New York’s Chinatown to interview people on how they felt about it.

Watters’s interviews, if you can call them that, were packed with Asian stereotypes. He nonsensically combined different Asian cultures and implicitly mocked people for seemingly not speaking English. He later apologized by saying the segment was meant to be “tongue-in-cheek,” but only after he faced intense backlash for the racist tropes.

4. He rarely includes context or actual facts in his coverage.

Watters regularly excludes key context from stories he covers. In October, he shared a clip of Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asking White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre about oil companies. In Watters’s clip, Jean-Pierre appears to give a confused and vague response. “We wanted to show you the rest of her answer, but she didn’t make any sense,” Watters said.

But the full clip shows Jean-Pierre giving Doocy a complete answer and even pointing out that he has already asked her that question.

Watters also spread disinformation about the case of the 10-year-old girl from Ohio who had to travel out of state for an abortion. When his claims were debunked, Watters then falsely insisted that the girl hadn’t needed to travel out of Ohio.

5. He let the air out of a colleague’s tires so he could drive her home and hit on her.

Watters has openly boasted about the time he flirted with a colleague by vandalizing her car. In April 2022, he bragged on air about letting the air out of a Fox news associate producer’s tires, forcing her to accept a ride home from him. Watters, who is now 45, was 39 and married at the time. The producer was 25.

But it’s OK, because he and the producer are now married.

While not a direct comment on his journalistic abilities, it’s a pretty clear comment on Watters’s character.

McCarthy Brazenly Defends RFK Jr. After Racist Covid Conspiracy Theory

The House speaker blasted Democrats for criticizing Israel, and then excused RFK Jr.’s antisemitism.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy
Samuel Corum/Getty Images
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy

Kevin McCarthy thinks that speaking out even remotely against a state that is committing apartheid is morally objectionable—and even worth censure. He also thinks RFK Jr. saying Covid-19 was specifically designed not to harm Jews is tolerable. Got it?

The speaker of the House made his stance clear on Monday while answering questions from the press.

McCarthy called out the Democrats, telling the party to “take action” against members like Representative Pramila Jayapal, who called Israel a “racist state.” Then, in the next beat, McCarthy defended inviting to Congress a presidential candidate who has spread antisemitic conspiracy theories.

As a reminder, last week, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. claimed that Covid-19 was “targeted to attack Caucasians and Black people,” while sparing those who are “Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese.”

Conversely, as a reminder, Israel has committed decades of human rights abuses, engaged in land dispossession and home demolition, upheld separate systems of law, and maintained a militarized police state against Palestinians.

McCarthy finds criticism of the latter deplorable, but apparently it’s still OK to welcome RFK Jr., a Republican pawn spreading antisemitism, to a House committee meeting next week on the federal government’s role in censorship.

“I don’t think censoring somebody is actually the answer here,” said the House speaker behind the successful Republican-led effort to remove Representative Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee for the high crime of speaking out against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

The episode comes as a few Democrats speak out against the U.S. Congress rolling out the red carpet for Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who once called Jewish intermarriage “a plague.”

Herzog is set to deliver a speech to a joint session of Congress Wednesday, where he will stand in front of Vice President Kamala Harris, who, as Palestinian-American writer and political scientist Yousef Munayyer pointed out, is married to a Jewish man.

Wagons Circle Around No Labels as Big-Name Group Forms Super PAC

Dick Gephardt–led group will raise money to block No Labels from helping Donald Trump.

Dick Gephardt
Lorenzo Bevilaqua/WireImage
Dick Gephardt

The bipartisan group of prominent Democrats and Republicans formed recently to fight the outside group No Labels’ efforts to prop up a third-party presidential ticket has taken a big step in showing it’s ready to go to war: It created a new super PAC to raise money to stop No Labels.

The super PAC, called Citizens to Save Our Republic, also announced new polling results on Monday, the same day Senator Joe Manchin is in New Hampshire for an event with former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman. The event is part of No Labels’ rollout of a set of moderate policy positions on hot-button topics like abortion.

Citizens to Save Our Republic’s polling of 5,700 registered voters nationwide showed that in a three-way race among Joe Biden, Donald Trump, and a No Labels ticket, Trump would win with 40 percent of the vote while Biden got 39 percent of the vote, with the No Labels candidate getting about 21 percent of the vote.

No Labels has maintained that its work to prop up a “Unity Ticket” is not meant to scuttle Biden’s chances of winning a second term, but polling—except that done by No Labels—has consistently shown that such a ticket would effectively only boost Trump.

Citizens to Save Our Republic is led by former House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt. It also announced that it has recruited some big names to its cause, like former Defense Secretaries Chuck Hagel and Bill Cohen and former senator and presidential candidate Bill Bradley. The letter in which the polling results were released was signed by more than a dozen Democrats and Republicans, including Stuart Stevens, Joe Trippi, Matt Bennett, Sam Brown, Howard Gutman, and Bill Kristol.

The super PAC’s formation is yet another sign of just how serious the prospect of a No Labels ticket is to the outcome of the 2024 election. Other groups, like the center-left Third Way and the progressive, have been eyeing No Labels’ move to set up a third-party ticket. Thus far, No Labels has not landed a candidate, but Manchin’s decision to headline a No Labels event in New Hampshire is a clear sign that he’s toying with the idea of running for president on the No Labels ticket rather than running for reelection in West Virginia, where he trailed GOP Governor Jim Justice by more than 20 points in a late May poll.

Democrats Plan to Force Republicans to Vote on Serial Liar George Santos

A new resolution goes after the New York congressman for his serial lies.

George Santos
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Democrats are forcing Republicans’ hand on George Santos after introducing a resolution on Monday to censure the embattled freshman congressman.

The resolution, introduced by Representative Richie Torres, is privileged, meaning it has to be acted on. If Torres calls for a vote on the measure, then a vote must be held within 48 hours. This is the second time Democrats have introduced a privileged resolution on Santos over his many, many lies, moving in May to expel him from Congress. Republicans managed to refer that resolution to the House Ethics Committee.

I have a message to House Republicans who, for too long, have been protecting Mr. Santos, who has disgraced the United States Congress,” Torres said when announcing the censure resolution on Twitter. “Stop treating Mr. Santos as untouchable. The time has come for Congress to hold him accountable.”

The resolution lists more than a dozen of Santos’s many lies, such as his fabricating the bulk of his professional and educational résumé—including that he received a volleyball scholarship for college. The resolution also calls out Santos’s lies that his grandparents were Holocaust survivors, his mother died in the 9/11 attack, and four of his employees were killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting. He also lied about founding an animal rescue charity and producing the disastrous Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.

Santos has been federally charged with 13 counts of various types of financial fraud, to which he has pleaded not guilty. He agreed to a deal with Brazilian authorities investigating him for financial fraud, and he is still under investigation by the House Ethics Committee.

Republicans, who have stood staunchly by Santos, were able to squash the previous resolution against him by arguing that the Ethics Committee probe hadn’t yet concluded. But the motion to censure has no effect on the Ethics Committee’s work, so it will be harder to argue down.

Santos could well be censured, as many of his fellow Republicans have called on him to resign over his falsehoods. This vote could actually prove important for Republican representatives, particularly from New York, who won in districts that went for President Joe Biden in 2020.

The majority of Santos’s constituents and New York voters in general want him out. New York Republicans who don’t vote against him could face a reckoning next November.

RFK Jr. Sure Has a Lot of Skeezy GOP Donors for Someone Running as a Democrat

The right loves Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

John Lamparski/Getty Images
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Robert Kennedy Jr. made a lot of people scratch their heads when he announced he was running for president as a Democrat. But even more bizarre is his list of donors, who are almost entirely Republican.

The bulk of Kennedy Jr.’s donors have previously given only to Republican candidates, according to the investigative newsletter Popular Information. Despite the conspiracy theorist and anti-vaxxer running on the Democratic ticket, less than a quarter of his donors have a history of donating blue.

Kennedy Jr.’s campaign received the maximum donation of $6,600 from 96 individuals through the end of June. Among those donors, 37 previously have only given to Republican federal candidates, according to a Popular Information analysis of Kennedy Jr.’s Federal Election Commission filings. Thirty have no history of political donations, and only 19 of those donors are Democratic.

Popular Information

One donor is Mark Dickson, an aerospace businessman who has donated more than $450,000 to the GOP since 2015. A hefty $400,000 went to Donald Trump’s committee Trump Victory alone. Another donor is Keith Sheldon, a car dealership executive who donated to Trump in 2016 and 2020, as well as to Trump-endorsed candidate Herschel Walker in 2022.

Kennedy Jr. has also received donations from Purple Good Government, a PAC controlled by David Sacks. Sacks moderated the bizarre Twitter Space between Kennedy Jr. and Sacks’s good friend Elon Musk, and he has publicly backed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s presidential bid.

It’s actually no surprise that the right loves Kennedy Jr. He has openly embraced many of their talking points, such as that vaccines cause autism and that Covid-19 is the fault of Chinese people and Jewish people. He also initially agreed to speak at the far-right Moms for Liberty summit, although he ultimately backed out.