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What the Hell Just Happened to Mitch McConnell in This Press Conference?

The Senate minority leader appears to have just shut down.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was escorted away from the cameras during a news conference Wednesday, after he froze and appeared unable to continue speaking.

McConnell began the press conference but soon trailed off mid-sentence and stood frozen at the podium. Eventually, Senator Joni Ernst put her hand on McConnell’s shoulder and asked, “Are you good? Mitch?”

Senator John Barrasso also approached and quietly asked, “Are you OK, Mitch? Anything else you want to say, or should we just go back to your office?”

McConnell did not respond verbally, only turning and walking off to the side. Senator John Thune then stepped up to the podium to continue the briefing.

When McConnell returned to the podium a little later, CNN reporter Manu Raju asked him if his freezing up was “related to your injury from earlier this year, when you suffered a concussion?”

“No, I’m fine,” McConnell replied.

Raju was referring to March 8, when McConnell tripped and fell after an event in Washington. He was hospitalized with a concussion and discharged on March 13. McConnell then spent more than a week in a physical rehabilitation facility.

If his freezing up is related to that injury, then that’s perfectly normal. McConnell is 81 years old and suffered terrible physical harm—and his injury is common for many older Americans. It’s understandable that he might still be dealing with negative effects.

What is not understandable is his apparent decision to cling to power after suffering incapacitating physical harm. When asked during the press conference by The New Republic’s Pablo Manríquez whether he had someone in mind to replace him if (let’s be real, when) he steps down as Republican leader, McConnell glared, then smiled and walked away.

The situation is starting to look like that of Dianne Feinstein, who has refused to step down despite growing concerns that she is no longer mentally capable of governing. Both politicians are looking less and less able to keep up with the demands of their job—again, understandable!—but simply cannot bring themselves to walk away.

Republicans Eagerly Celebrate Hunter Biden’s Tax Plea Deal Falling Apart

Republicans’ obsession with Hunter Biden continues.

Hunter Biden
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Hunter Biden

Republicans on Wednesday are eagerly celebrating the last-minute collapse of Hunter Biden’s plea deal on tax evasion.

Biden agreed in June with Delaware federal prosecutors that he would plead guilty to two misdemeanors of tax evasion and admit to a gun violation. Under the terms, he would likely avoid jail if he stayed drug-free for two years. Since the announcement of the plea agreement, Republicans have complained that the deal is too soft.

Biden arrived at the Wilmington, Delaware, courthouse Wednesday to formally plead guilty, but Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika refused to accept the plea deal, saying that she would not “just rubber-stamp the agreement.”

As a result, Hunter Biden is pleading not guilty for the time being to the two tax misdemeanor charges.

The plea deal has not been outright rejected, but Noreika asked both sides to file additional briefs to further explain the agreement’s legal structure.

Still, Republicans have been quick to celebrate Biden’s downfall. “His attorneys shouldn’t have lied to the clerk of the court,” tweeted Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is so desperate to prove Biden committed tax fraud that she waved his nude photos around a congressional hearing.

Representative Mayra Flores tweeted simply:

Others on the right accused the entire Biden family of acting as foreign agents and failing to register as such under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA. “The Biden Family cannot take CASH & DIAMONDS from China, Russia, and Ukraine without registering as foreign agents under FARA!” tweeted Representative Mary Miller.

Right-wing influencers like Jack Posobiec, Ian Miles Cheong, and Catturd all also celebrated the collapse of the deal.

This story has been updated.

Tommy Tuberville Takes Time Out From Wrecking the Military to Lie About Dad’s Military Record

The Republican senator threatening the military’s readiness has regularly lied about his father’s service during World War II.

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Senator Tommy Tuberville

When he’s not working to endanger national security, Tommy Tuberville is apparently lying about details of his dad’s military record.

The Alabama Republican has long praised his father’s record serving in World War II. But a new analysis by The Washington Post shows that the Senator may have made false claims about the extent of his father’s service.

Tuberville says his father lied about his birthday to enlist at age 16 and then went on to become a tank commander who earned five Bronze Stars, landed at Normandy Beach on D-Day, and drove a tank through Paris when U.S. forces freed the city from Nazi control. While there is no question that Tuberville’s father served in WWII, it is unlikely—and in some cases impossible—that he achieved everything else Tuberville brags about.

Charles Tuberville was born on July 16, 1925. His draft registration card shows he submitted it on July 16, 1943—his eighteenth birthday. His tombstone lists his highest rank as technician fifth grade (TEC 5). This rank indicates technical skills, not combat leadership. He reportedly was only a corporal, not a sergeant (the minimum rank to be a tank commander). While it is possible he could have filled in for a tank commander, it is unlikely that he was regularly in that position.

Charles Tuberville also did not earn five Bronze Stars. No after-action reports mention that he earned the award given for “heroic or meritorious achievement or service” in combat, nor is it mentioned on his tombstone or in his widow’s obituary. A photo of him shows that he earned five Bronze Service Stars, which show that a soldier was physically present during a particular military campaign.

It is also impossible for Charles Tuberville to have driven a tank through Paris on the day it was liberated. After-action reports for his tank battalion show they were about 90 miles away from the city at the time.

While it is possible that Charles Tuberville participated in D-Day, it’s unclear whether he actually did. He is only reported to have been overseas starting the day after D-Day, something that Tommy Tuberville has said himself.

It’s not surprising that Tommy Tuberville misrepresented parts of his father’s service record, because it makes the senator look more heroic by association. It also helps distract from his ongoing efforts to wreck the military’s readiness.

Tuberville has blocked hundreds of military promotions since March, in objection to the Defense Department’s policy of reimbursing travel costs for service members who need to travel for an abortion. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has warned that Tuberville’s blockade “harms America’s national security” and poses a “clear risk” to the military’s readiness.

Tuberville has actually done very little to support the military, despite his purported passion for the institution. During his campaign for Senate, Tuberville promised to donate “every dime I make when I’m in Washington, D.C.” to veterans in his home state. He has yet to do so.

He has also said that white nationalists are not racist and should be allowed to serve in the military, despite the fact that the very definition of white nationalism involves being racist and the Department of Defense has made great efforts to eradicate extremism from the ranks.

Vivek Ramaswamy Was Once a Libertarian Rapper

Here’s the (very embarrassing) footage.

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Before Vivek Ramaswamy wanted to become president of the United States, he wanted to become … a libertarian rapper.

Politico reported Wednesday that Ramaswamy, while an undergrad student at Harvard, had a side gig as “a libertarian-minded rap artist who went by the stage name ‘Da Vek.’”

The “anti-woke” candidate was especially inspired by Eminem, whose hit song “Lose Yourself” came out in 2002, just before Ramaswamy started at Harvard.

A friend provided footage of Ramaswamy’s performance of the song—and it is almost as bad as his presidential campaign.

Ramaswamy appears out of breath and raps offbeat for much of the cringey clip, which you can watch for yourself here, if you dare:

Ramaswamy regularly performed at Harvard open mics, and frequently chose to sing “Lose Yourself.” He also often tried out lyrics with “libertarian themes” in his performances.

“I saw myself, honestly, making it big through American capitalism, and that’s why the Eminem story spoke to me,” Ramaswamy told Politico.

He described finding inspiration in Eminem’s success, given his background.

“He’s growing up in the trailers, with a single mom, and he wants to make it. He’s going to use the moment to do it. He feels like he’s going to use the moment to do it, he seizes it and then he makes it happen, and I thought it was a pretty cool story,” said Ramaswamy, who is of Indian descent.

“I didn’t grow up in a trailer,” he added, “but I also didn’t grow up in the same circumstances that most of my peers at Harvard did, either. I aspired to achieve what many of their parents did. It kind of spoke to me, I would say.”

Ramaswamy conveniently ignored that Eminem has railed against Donald Trump’s politics, racism, and general morals. In a 2017 freestyle rap, Eminem made his views quite clear:

The rest of America stand up,

We love our military, and we love our country,

But we f---ing hate Trump.

Ramaswamy instead has gone in the opposite direction from his role model, sucking up to Trump every chance he gets, even while running against him. Ramaswamy has promised to pardon his 2024 rival and dismissed Trump’s encouragement of the January 6 attack as “not a crime.”

Giuliani Admits to Spewing Lies About Georgia Election Workers

The workers were targeted as part of a larger scheme to overthrow the presidential election.

Rudy Giuliani
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Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani has finally conceded to making “false” statements about two Georgia election workers, part of efforts to overturn the state’s presidential election results in 2020.

Giuliani, then acting as former President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, for months accused election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss of election fraud. The man once known as “America’s mayor” insisted that security footage of the pair proved that thousands of ballots in Georgia were mishandled or sabotaged.

His claims have been widely and repeatedly disproven by both state and federal investigators, but Trump and his allies have held up Giuliani’s statements as evidence the 2020 election was rigged. Freeman and Moss sued Giuliani for defamation and told the House January 6 investigative committee that they have faced threats and experienced damage to their livelihoods as a result of Trump and Giuliani’s actions.

But in a Tuesday night court filing in the defamation case, Giuliani at long last conceded that his claims were “false”—although he worded his admission in a way to meet the barest minimum level of accountability.

“Defendant Giuliani made the statements of and concerning Plaintiffs … and he does not dispute for the purposes of this litigation, that the statements carry meaning that is defamatory,” the filing said.

“Defendant Giuliani, for the purposes of this litigation only, does not contest that, to the extent the statements were statements of fact and other wise actionable, such actionable factual statements were false.”

Giuliani seems to be slipping in his stance on the 2020 election. In addition to this concession, he also met in June with special counsel Jack Smith, who is investigating Trump for mishandling classified documents and trying to overturn the election. The fact that the slavishly loyal Giuliani agreed to meet with Smith could be a sign he is about to—or has already—flipped on Trump. (Giuliani has denied flipping thus far.)

But Giuliani insisted in Tuesday’s filing that he only made the concession to move the lawsuit along and that he believes he still has legal defenses in the case that he intends to pursue. His adviser Ted Goodman said in a statement, “This is a legal issue, not a factual issue. Those out to smear the mayor are ignoring the fact that this stipulation is designed to get to the legal issues of the case.”

Giuliani is already under fire on multiple fronts, including in this defamation case. The presiding judge, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell, threatened to sanction him over claims that he failed to preserve evidence related to the case.

Separately, Giuliani has been accused of promising to pay a woman a $1 million annual salary to be his aide but instead raping and abusing her for years. His accuser also alleges that Giuliani plotted to sell pardons to criminals. And earlier this month, a court panel called for Giuliani to be disbarred for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Right-Wingers ID Newest Biden Crime Family Member: His Dog

Here’s who’s behind the right’s latest obsession with the Biden family dog.

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Commander, President Joe Biden’s German shepherd

Hunter Biden will plead guilty today to tax evasion charges in a federal courthouse in Wilmington, Delaware. The right wing will go through its usual convulsions, but in the meantime, the intrepid Clouseaus of the American right have identified a new and even more feral member of “the Biden crime family”: their dog.

Here’s the cover of today’s New York Post:

Let’s give them half a style point for the cover language. It’s … funny. Sort of. But let’s also go over the backstory on why we know this isn’t.

First, the facts. Commander, Joe Biden’s 2-year-old German shepherd, has bitten several Secret Service agents since he took up residence at 1600 in December 2021. According to Politico: “Six incidents were significant bites that sometimes resulted in medical attention, two were aggressive incidents that did not result in a bite and another two were described as ‘playful’ or ‘friendly’ bites that did not require medical attention.”

That’s … troubling, we guess. And it is sort of weird that Commander is the second Biden German shepherd who has proven to be overly snappish: The first one, Major, bit enough people that he had to be shipped out of the White House to another residence.

So, as “news” is defined these days—sure, this is news. It involves the president of the United States.

But let’s ask: Why do we know this? We know it because of a Freedom of Information Act request by Judicial Watch. A FOIA request—about a dog! 

If you don’t know Judicial Watch, it’s the organization that, going back to the 1990s, FOIA’d every aspect of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s lives and filed lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit. Just before the  2016 election, The New York Times reported that Judicial Watch had 20 suits pending against Hillary Clinton. “The vast majority” of the group’s suits, wrote the Times, had been dismissed. The group’s founder, Larry Klayman, once sued his mother.

And now Judicial Watch has gone to the dogs. Maybe Commander should be transferred to the more capacious and less stressful atmosphere of Camp David or someplace. But at least Biden has a dog. Donald Trump, it is well known, hates them. No doubt Judicial Watch and its ideological brethren will turn that into a plus.

McCarthy Compares Biden to Nixon (!) in Doubling Down on Impeachment Call

One of these things is not like the other.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy speaks at a podium
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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy

Republicans have accused Joe Biden of corruption for months, despite having yet to produce a shred of evidence. But House Speaker Kevin McCarthy just escalated the bogus investigation by putting impeachment on the table.

And his justification? Biden is basically like Richard Nixon.

McCarthy accused the Biden administration of using “government much like Richard Nixon used [it] by denying us to get the information that we need.”

The GOP says Biden and his son Hunter are guilty of influence peddling and accepting bribes—but again, there has been zero proof of this. Unable to come up with any evidence, Republicans also accuse the president of weaponizing federal agencies to cover up his family’s crimes.

“All I’m saying is … where’s the truth? You’ve got to get to the bottom of the truth,” McCarthy told reporters Tuesday. “And the only way Congress can do that is go to impeachment inquiry that gives Republicans and Democrats the ability to get all the information.”

When asked if he was caving to the far-right wing of the GOP by entertaining talk of impeachment, McCarthy insisted, “I have nothing to do about who in the party [sic]. This is about America.”

Other Republicans have tried to impeach Biden before. Both Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert introduced articles of impeachment over Biden’s handling of immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border—a sore point that led to Greene calling Boebert a “little bitch” on the House floor.

When Boebert introduced her articles in June, McCarthy called the move premature and urged his fellow Republicans to oppose it. He reportedly told lawmakers that impeachment ”strengthens Biden and weakens us.”

But it seems, now, the House majority leader has simply fallen in line with the rest of his party.

DeSantis Campaign Unemployment Rate Skyrockets More Than 33 Percent

Ron DeSantis has laid off more than a third of his campaign staff, as he struggles to make headway in the race.

Ron DeSantis
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Ron DeSantis

Things are not looking good for Team Ron DeSantis.

New reports indicate that the unemployment rate within the DeSantis campaign has skyrocketed by roughly 40 percent. Thirty-eight people, across different departments, have been let go, Politico reported Monday, as DeSantis tries to reboot an effort that has struggled desperately to make headway against his chief rival, former President Donald Trump, in the polls.

Those who’ve been sent their walking papers include the two senior-level advisers who left the campaign earlier this month, as well as roughly 10 other individuals cut from the event-planning team.

The DeSantis campaign had swelled to more than 90 staff members in its first two months—meaning these recent cuts amount to more than a third of the total head count.

The layoffs come as the campaign said it would be rebooting to a “leaner-meaner” operation to right its flailing takeoff.

DeSantis had originally sought to position himself as the most viable Republican alternative who could take on Donald Trump in 2024, even as the field of candidates kept growing.

But his numbers just haven’t matched the claim that he offered the GOP base a younger and more electable Trump. Additionally, the DeSantis team has struggled to meet its fundraising expectations. Though the campaign raised $20 million in the last quarter, $3 million of that was dedicated for the general election, and small-donor Republicans just aren’t contributing very much to his coffers. The campaign has also burned through nearly 40 percent of the amount it had previously raised, to the tune of about $1.5 million per week.

There’s not much to show for all that money: DeSantis is still nowhere close to catching up to Trump in the polls.

A Monmouth University poll released Tuesday found that nearly seven in 10 Republican voters say Trump is either “definitely” (45 percent) or “probably” (24 percent) the strongest Republican candidate against President Joe Biden. And nearly half of Republican voters say DeSantis would be a weaker candidate than Trump. 

Even Trump’s two indictments (which don’t include two more that are potentially on the way) aren’t enough to make DeSantis rise in the polls.

Meanwhile, the DeSantis campaign keeps creating controversies for itself. Just this past weekend, a top campaign staffer reshared a video with an image of DeSantis, a Nazi symbol interposed over the Florida flag, and soldiers on the march. Earlier this month, the campaign created another bizarre and rabidly homophobic video—then tried to plant it in a fan account to make it look like it came from the outside.

And last week, the Florida governor defended his state’s right to require middle schools to teach that slavery was of “personal benefit” to some enslaved people.

When he’s not attacking public schools, LGBTQ people, or abortion rights, the Florida governor spends his time trying to find some other way to wage his war on woke.  But none of this has paid off: not with donors, not in poll numbers. And now, his own campaign has finally been forced to reckon with it.

Ohio Republicans’ Rotten Anti-Abortion Plan Just Suffered a Major Setback

Abortion rights advocates have officially made it on the ballot this November.

Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post/Getty Images
A student voting in Columbus, Ohio

Abortion rights advocates in Ohio have officially secured enough signatures to put an amendment protecting abortion on the ballot in November.

Republicans are doing everything they can to prevent Ohioans from enshrining the right to abortion in the state constitution, but reproductive rights advocates cleared one hurdle on Tuesday. They were required to submit 413,487 signatures from 44 counties to ensure the measure would be on the ballot.

They officially submitted 495,938 signatures from 55 counties, certifying that the measure will go up for a vote in November.

Abortion is currently legal in Ohio until about 22 weeks, although not for lack of GOP efforts. After Roe v. Wade was overturned, a trigger law went into effect in Ohio that banned abortion after six weeks, before people even know they are pregnant. That law has been temporarily blocked.

The constitutional amendment would allow people to decide for themselves about all reproductive health, including contraception, fertility treatments, continuing or terminating a pregnancy, and miscarriage treatment. The state could only restrict abortion access after a doctor determines the fetus is viable, or could survive outside the uterus. And even then, abortions can be performed if the patient’s health or life is at risk.

Ohio currently requires only a simple majority of votes to amend the constitution. But Republicans have decided to pull out all the stops in their attempt to block the abortion amendment. So first, Ohioans will vote in August on a measure that would raise the threshold for constitutional amendments to a 60 percent vote.

Although GOP lawmakers insist the move is not about abortion, Secretary of State Frank LaRose gave the game away in June, saying, “This is 100 percent about keeping a radical pro-abortion amendment out of our constitution.”

But all their work may still fall short. A USA Today Network/Suffolk University poll released last week found that only 26 percent of Ohio voters support increasing the amount of votes needed to amend the constitution, while 57 percent oppose it.

Another poll, released Monday by the same organizations, found that 58 percent of Ohioans support the amendment to guarantee access to reproductive services, while just 32 percent oppose it. The support crosses party lines, with a third of Republicans backing the amendment, as well as 85 percent of independent women—a crucial demographic.

This is unsurprising for anyone who has actually been paying attention. Every time abortion rights are on the ballot, people vote to increase protections, not take them away. And despite Republicans’ best efforts, abortion rights keep winning.

UPS and Teamsters Reach “Most Historic” Labor Deal Ever, Likely Averting Strike

“I have never seen a national contract that levels the playing field for workers so dramatically as this one.”


The Teamsters union reached a “historic” tentative contract agreement on behalf of UPS on Tuesday, securing major wins for workers and likely averting a strike at the last minute that would have crippled shipping nationwide.

Negotiations for UPS workers broke down earlier this month, and a strike looked increasingly likely with every passing day. But Teamsters resumed talks Tuesday and managed to get “the most historic tentative agreement for workers in the history of UPS,” the union said in an announcement. The new benefits and protections will affect more than 340,000 UPS employees.

“In my more than 40 years in Louisville representing members … I have never seen a national contract that levels the playing field for workers so dramatically as this one,” said Fred Zuckerman, the Teamsters’ general secretary-treasurer,  in the statement.

The new benefits include massive wage increases that will see full-time workers earn up to $49 per hour (the highest salary for delivery drivers in the country) and part-time workers earn up to $23 per hour. The contract also eliminates a two-tier wage system that caused anger over pay inequalities.

The agreement improves health and safety conditions, including improved air conditioning in the cabs and ventilation in the cargo hold. (Recall that just last month, a postal worker in Texas collapsed and died while working, due to the excessive heat.) Employees will get Martin Luther King Jr. Day off for the first time, and they can no longer be forced to work overtime on their days off. The contract will also create thousands of new jobs so part-time workers can transition to full-time.

The union will vote to ratify the deal, likely next week. Until they approve it, the threat of a strike still looms in the background. If UPS goes on strike, it will be the largest single-employer strike in U.S. history. Experts warn that a 10-day strike could cost the economy $7 billion, and the shifted flow of packages would be more than other carriers such as FedEx and the U.S. postal service can manage.

But leaders are confident that the deal delivers for their members.

“Rank-and-file UPS Teamsters sacrificed everything to get this country through a pandemic and enabled UPS to reap record-setting profits,” union president Sean O’Brien said in the statement. “The union went into this fight committed to winning for our members. We demanded the best contract in the history of UPS, and we got it.

“We’ve changed the game. This contract sets a new standard in the labor movement and raises the bar for all workers.”