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Here’s the Recording of Vivek Ramaswamy Implying 9/11 Was an Inside Job

If you’re going to lie about something you said, at least make sure there isn’t a recording first.

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Vivek Ramaswamy is desperately trying to walk back his comments that the U.S. government was involved in the 9/11 attack. But The Atlantic has the receipts.

Ramaswamy is under fire over a profile published Monday in The Atlantic, in which he spouts conspiracy theories about January 6 and 9/11, including wondering how many federal agents “were on the planes that hit the Twin Towers.” He later doubled down on the comments during an interview with CNN.

The presidential hopeful has spent all of Monday and Tuesday denying he made the comments and accusing The Atlantic of taking his words out of context. So The Atlantic released the audio recording of Ramaswamy’s interview with reporter John Hendrickson. And the quotes that the magazine decided not to include are even worse.

At one point, Ramaswamy says government agents incited the January 6 insurrection, which is not true. “Why can the government not be transparent about something that we’re using? Terrorists, or the kind of tactics used to fight terrorists,” he said.

“There’s very little evidence of people being arrested for being armed that day. Most of the people who were armed, I assume the federal officers who were out there were armed,” he said shortly after. This is also false: At least 13 people arrested in connection with the riot were charged with illegal gun possession. Several people have admitted they were carrying a firearm on Capitol property.

Later, Hendrickson pointed out that the country is generally united in its opinion on 9/11. Ramaswamy replied, “I would take the truth about 9/11. I mean, I am not questioning what we—this is not something I’m staking anything out on. But I want the truth about 9/11.”

Even with the truth staring him in the face, Ramaswamy has continued to spread conspiracies about his own conspiracy theories. “As you probably have experienced with the left-wing media as well, The Atlantic’s purposefully really scripted out something that was taken in a very different context,” he told Fox News.

Ramaswamy is no stranger to spreading conspiracies. Last week, he blamed the tragic wildfire in Hawaii on diversity, equity, and inclusion programs. His other major talking points include battling “wokeness,” taking away rights, and, apparently, caving to Russia and China.

Trump “Jokes” About Fleeing to Russia After $200,000 Bond in Georgia

Donald Trump is joking about being a flight risk after being charged with trying to overturn an election.

Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Donald Trump is joking about fleeing to Russia after receiving a $200,000 bond for his release from Fulton County Jail, following charges of trying to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results.

Trump took to Truth Social on Monday night to argue the steep price set for his release was because law enforcement feared he would share a “gold domed suite” with Vladimir Putin.

“The failed District Attorney of Fulton County (Atlanta), Fani Willis, insisted on a $200,000 Bond from me. I assume, therefore, that she thought I was a “flight” risk,” Trump wrote. “I’d fly far away, maybe to Russia, Russia, Russia, Russia, share a gold domed suite with Vladimir, never to be seen or heard from again.”

The former president’s love for the Russian authoritarian autocrat is no secret, so the post comes across more as longing than anything else.

Maybe what Trump’s really upset about is the stipulations attached to the bond agreement. His bond agreement warns Trump not to use social media to intimidate any co-defendants or witnesses in the case. That includes “direct or indirect threats.” This may be hard for Trump, who regularly posts tirades on Truth Social.

Trump has already agreed to turn himself in on Thursday. It is unclear as yet whether he will put up the cash or raise money through one of his political fundraising committees.

Also on Tuesday, Trump’s co-defendant former lawyer John Eastman officially surrendered to authorities in Georgia for allegedly trying to overturn the 2020 election.

Dark Brandon Unveils Student Loan Repayment Plan That Includes Forgiveness

The Biden administration has launched a new student loan repayment program, after the Supreme Court rejected the last initiative.

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The Biden administration on Tuesday officially launched a new income-driven student loan repayment program, just months after the Supreme Court struck down its student loan forgiveness initiative. The White House is billing it as the “most affordable student loan plan ever.”

The Saving on a Valuable Education plan allows for millions of borrowers to have their monthly payments reduced based on income and family size, caps interest accrual, and forgives leftover balances after a number of years.

Many borrowers, such as a single person who earns less than $32,800 a year or a family of four earning $67,500 or less per year, could even qualify for $0 monthly payments.

“This will allow them to focus on food, rent, and other basic needs instead of loan payments,” the White House said in a statement.

“Borrowers will see their total payments per dollar borrowed fall by 40%. Borrowers with the lowest projected lifetime earnings will see payments per dollar borrowed fall by 83%, while those in the top would only see a 5% reduction,” the White House added.

A four-year public university graduate can save up to $2,000 per year, according to White House estimates.

The program does not deliver student loan forgiveness at once, as Biden initially sought in his initial plan. The hope for the new repayment program is that some student loan debt can be forgiven more slowly but without interest getting out of hand.

Borrowers can enroll now on StudentAid.gov/SAVE. More benefits of the program are to be launched in July 2024.

John Eastman’s Disbarment Was Delayed—So He Surrendered to Arrest Instead

Trump’s former lawyer has officially surrendered to authorities on charges of trying to overthrow Georgia’s 2020 election.

John Eastman
Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s former lawyer John Eastman was granted a delay to his disbarment trial in California—but only so he could surrender to authorities in Georgia for allegedly trying to overturn the 2020 election.

Eastman surrendered to Georgia state authorities Tuesday morning, as his legal issues continue to pile up.

The California bar association opened disbarment proceedings against Eastman in January, for helping Trump spread election fraud falsehoods, including at the January 6, 2021, rally in Washington, D.C., that turned into the insurrection at the Capitol. His trial was set to begin Tuesday. But State Bar Court Judge Yvette Roland announced she would reschedule Tuesday and Wednesday’s court sessions.

The court is willing to make certain changes in this week’s trial schedule in order to accommodate Dr. Eastman’s surrender in Fulton County, Georgia,” she wrote in a new ruling late Monday.

Eastman is one of 18 co-defendants charged alongside Trump in Georgia for trying to subvert the state’s election results. When he surrendered on Tuesday, he claimed in a statement that the indictment “should never have been brought” and was actually targeting “attorneys for their zealous advocacy on behalf of their clients.”

As if Eastman didn’t have enough legal troubles, he had previously asked the bar court to delay his trial because he believed he would be criminally charged by special counsel Jack Smith. Eastman ultimately was not charged, but he has been identified as one of the unnamed co-conspirators in Smith’s indictment against Trump for trying to overturn the 2020 election.

Eastman helped lead Trump’s legal efforts to undermine the election results and prevent certification of the votes, including by appealing directly to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. He also helped try to implement the plan to create slates of fake pro-Trump electors in states that Joe Biden had won.

DeSantis Wants to Get Rid of Disney Employee Discounts, as Inane War Continues

DeSantis is so petty he’s coming after Disney employees’ discounts and free passes.

Ron DeSantis
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Ron DeSantis knows he can’t beat Disney, so he’s going after the company’s employees instead.

The DeSantis-appointed board that oversees Disney World’s governing district submitted a complaint Monday to the state inspector general about employee perks. The board argued that employee benefits, including free season passes and discounts on Disney hotels, merchandise, and food, are unethical and cost Florida millions of dollars.

The board’s complaint is unlikely to stick. The discounts are simply employee benefits, a pretty standard policy for a lot of organizations, instead of a deliberate tax scam, Richard Foglesong, a Rollins College professor emeritus who wrote a history of Disney World’s self-governance, told Fortune.

Still, this new attack is an escalation in DeSantis’s bizarre, yearlong war with Disney World. When the company’s then chairman condemned DeSantis’s “Don’t Say Gay” law last year, DeSantis retaliated by stripping the park of its autonomous governing powers and installing a leadership board of allies.

Disney sued DeSantis in April, alleging that he and his administration carried out a “relentless campaign to weaponize government power” against the company’s free speech rights—and they have the receipts. Court documents cite extensively from DeSantis’s own memoir, as well as myriad quotes from DeSantis allies blatantly stating that the bill dissolving Disney’s autonomous district was in direct response to the company opposing the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

DeSantis tried to backtrack last week, telling CNBC that he and his administration have “basically moved on” from the legal fight with Disney. He also insisted that Disney is “going to lose that lawsuit,” so it should just drop it.

Disney, however, is refusing to budge. Not only has it not dropped its original lawsuit, but company attorneys filed counterclaims on Thursday against DeSantis’s handpicked board of supervisors. Disney is accusing the board of breach of contract, and is seeking damages and an order to force compliance over certain development contracts.

Vivek Ramaswamy Tries to Back Off 9/11 Comments—Then Doubles Down on Them

A Republican presidential candidate is spreading conspiracy theories about September 11.

Ivan Apfel/Getty Images

Another day, another terrible take from Vivek Ramaswamy. This time, the Republican presidential candidate insists that 9/11 was an inside job.

Ramaswamy is under fire over a profile published Monday in The Atlantic. When reporter John Hendrickson asked him what the “truth” about the January 6 riot is, Ramaswamy quickly spiraled into conspiracy theories about the 9/11 attack, including wondering how many federal agents “were on the planes that hit the Twin Towers.” When Hendrickson pressed further, he said he was really talking about January 6.

But Ramaswamy doubled down on his comments Monday night. “Our government, for 20 years, lied to the American people about it. That is hard fact, actually,” he told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.

Collins pointed out that the official 9/11 commission published a report on the attack in 2004—which distinctly found zero evidence of a U.S. government plot.

“Yes, and it lied. And it was false,” Ramaswamy said.

He also insisted he is “speaking truth, grounded in fact.”

Ramaswamy is, of course, not speaking the truth, but instead is spreading dangerous and harmful conspiracy theories. In the Atlantic profile, when asked about the truth of January 6, Ramaswamy said, “I don’t know, but we can handle it.… How many government agents were in the field?” (No federal agents were involved in inciting the riot.)

As for 9/11, he said, “I think it is legitimate to say how many police, how many federal agents, were on the planes that hit the Twin Towers. Maybe the answer is zero.… But if we’re doing a comprehensive assessment of what happened on 9/11, we have a 9/11 commission, absolutely that should be an answer the public knows the answer to.” (Again, no federal agents were involved in orchestrating the tragedy.)

Ramaswamy is no stranger to spreading conspiracies. Last week, he blamed the tragic wildfire in Hawaii on diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.

His other major talking points include battling “wokeness,” taking away rights, and, apparently, caving to Russia and China.

Alabama Judges Use Abortion Ban Logic to Block Care for Trans Minors

We’re beginning to see the appalling legal consequences of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision.

Christa White (L) and her daughter protest anti-LGBTQ legislation outside the Alabama State House
Julie Bennett/Getty Images
Christa White (left) and her daughter protest anti-LGBTQ legislation outside the Alabama State House in Montgomery in 2021.

A trio of appeals court judges on Monday allowed Alabama’s ban on gender-affirming care for minors to go into effect—and they justified the ruling by citing the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.

Alabama passed a law in April 2022 that made it a felony to provide gender-affirming care to transgender teenagers under the age of 19. This applied to puberty blockers, hormones, and medical procedures. A federal judge blocked the law the following month, ruling that parents have “a fundamental right to direct the medical care of their children,” including “transitioning medications subject to medically accepted standards.”

The state appealed the ruling in November, and on Monday the three-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit Court—all of whom were appointed by Donald Trump—overturned the injunction, arguing that the right to transition is not a fundamental one.

Citing Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, the landmark Supreme Court case that rolled back the nationwide right to abortion, the appeals court said that the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees people the rights listed in the Constitution, as well as some “fundamental rights” that are not mentioned in the document. It then quoted Dobbs directly:

To determine whether a right at issue is one of the substantive rights guaranteed by the Due Process Clause, courts must look to whether the right is “deeply rooted in [our] history and tradition” and “essential to our Nation’s ‘scheme of ordered liberty.’” … Although there are records of transgender or otherwise gender nonconforming individuals from various points in history, the earliest-recorded uses of puberty blocking medication and cross-sex hormone treatment for the purposes of treating the discordance between an individual’s biological sex and sense of gender identity did not occur until well into the twentieth century.

Essentially, because modern medicine has progressed, people do not have the right to bodily autonomy. It’s also unclear how far back something has to go to be considered “history.” Puberty blockers were first used in the 1980s, which apparently is not far back enough for gender-affirming care to be considered tradition. But abortion was first recorded in 1550 BCE, and it would seem that doesn’t count either.

The Eleventh Circuit’s ruling shows just how dangerous Dobbs is. It doesn’t only affect abortion. Other courts can use its twisted logic to deny other rights.

Fox News Blames Tropical Storm Hilary on Joe Biden

This is what passes for humor on the network.

A partially submerged vehicle in Cathedral City, California
Mario Tama/Getty Images
A partially submerged vehicle in Cathedral City, California, on Monday

There’s only one thing to blame for the tropical storm that battered California over the weekend, according to Fox News. No, not climate change. It’s Joe Biden.

Tropical Storm Hilary unleashed record-breaking rainfall in Southern California on Sunday, causing floods, mudslides, and rockslides. The storm has begun to dissipate, but weather forecasters warned Hilary could still cause “life-threatening” flooding across the Southwest. Such extreme rain is unusual for California, particularly this time of year, and can be attributed to the effects of climate change.

But Fox News has an alternate theory. Hilary “made landfall in Mexico several hours ago, but they let it right into the country because it’s Biden’s America,” one of the hosts of The Big Weekend Show said Sunday.

It’s likely the hosts were trying to make a joke about Biden’s immigration policies, but maybe the Fox News hosts would prefer a president who thinks you can stop a storm by dropping nukes in it.

As if Hilary wasn’t enough of a crisis for California, a 5.1-magnitude earthquake rocked part of Southern California as the storm was rolling through. For actress Candace Cameron Bure, a Christian conservative known for her roles on the Hallmark channel and Full House, neither Biden nor climate change was to blame for the so-called hurriquake.

Latest From Politics

Far-Right Republicans Pledge to Shut Down Government Over “Cancerous Woke Policies”

The GOP’s Freedom Caucus will do anything to hurt Biden—even destroy the U.S. economy.

Rep. Jim Jordan
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Representative Jim Jordan is vice chair of the House Freedom Caucus.

The House Freedom Caucus announced Monday that it will block attempts to pass a government funding bill unless its chosen policies are included.

Congress has not passed all the necessary appropriations bills, and it is unlikely to do so by its September 30 deadline. Party leaders on both sides have suggested passing a continuing resolution to keep funds flowing until all the bills have passed. If Congress fails to pass the stopgap measure, the government is at risk of a shutdown.

But the Freedom Caucus, a group of far-right House Republicans, said it would not support a stopgap. “We refuse to support any such measure that continues Democrats’ bloated COVID-era spending and simultaneously fails to force the Biden Administration to follow the law and fulfill its most basic responsibilities,” the caucus said in a statement.

The group demanded that any funding measures include policies to rein in immigration at the southern border “address the unprecedented weaponization of the Justice Department and FBI” and “end the Left’s cancerous woke policies in the Pentagon undermining our military’s core warfighting mission.”

The latter two points refer, respectively, to the indictments against former President Donald Trump and a Defense Department policy of refunding travel costs for service members who have to travel for an abortion. The caucus also said they would oppose short-term funding extensions and a “blank check” for Ukraine aid.

The Freedom Caucus has made similar demands before, such as when they tried to block the debt ceiling deal. That didn’t work out as planned. A deal was struck, and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy—whom the caucus keeps trying to undermine—somehow came out looking fine.

It’s possible, though, that the caucus has a different goal: tanking the economy. The government shutdown in 2018 cost the United States $11 billion, including $3 billion in economic activity that will never be recovered, the Congressional Budget Office said at the start of the following year.

With a presidential election on the horizon, the Freedom Caucus could be looking for ways to undermine Biden any way it can. Destroying the economy he’s helping to recover would do just that.

Latest From Politics

Report: Elon Musk Has Been Chatting Up Putin While Aiding Ukraine

Reporting for The New Yorker, Ronan Farrow finds a concerned Pentagon at the center of the terminally online mogul and the battlefield resources under his control.

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Elon Musk has made himself a major player in the Ukraine war by providing the Ukrainian military with internet service. But his help comes at a cost.

Musk became involved with the war shortly after Russia invaded in February 2022. But according to a new profile from Ronan Farrow published Monday in The New Yorker, he repeatedly threatens to cut off Ukraine’s access to a tool that has become crucial to its military’s success. He also has mentioned several times that he is in contact with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and many of Musk’s moves seem geared toward the benefit of Moscow.

“Elon desperately wants the world to be saved. But only if he can be the one to save it,” OpenAI CEO Sam Altman told Farrow, perfectly—and perhaps inadvertently—capturing Musk’s narcissistic savior complex.

Musk agreed to set up a nationwide network of mobile internet terminals, called Starlink, throughout Ukraine. This would help protect against Russian cyberattacks and allow the Ukrainian military to maintain constant contact while on the battlefield. Nobody thought twice about the fact that Musk could also turn off access anytime he felt like it.

At first, Musk’s company SpaceX provided Starlink for free. But as the war dragged on, Musk began to press the Pentagon to start paying for the internet service. Around the same time, he began to express increasing support for Putin’s position.

He advocated for the United States to negotiate with the Russian leader and tweeted a “peace plan” he claimed to have invented. That plan involved ceding swathes of Ukraine to Russian control. Reid Hoffman, who co-founded PayPal with Musk, said his former colleague seemed to have “bought what Putin was selling, hook, line, and sinker.”

Meanwhile, in Ukraine, soldiers began losing connection on the battlefield, forcing battalions to retreat or commanders to drive into battle just to be in radio range. U.S. and Ukrainian officials told The New Yorker they believed SpaceX had cut off the internet terminals in certain areas, including major battlefields—including Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv, and Donetsk.

During a call in October 2022 with Colin Kahl, at the time the under-secretary of defense for policy at the Pentagon, Musk said he could see the “entire war unfolding” through Starlink activity. “This was, like, three minutes before he said, ‘Well, I had this great conversation with Putin.’” Kahl told The New Yorker. “And we were, like, ‘Oh, dear, this is not good.’”

Musk eventually agreed to keep Starlink going for free, and in June, the Defense Department announced it had reached a deal with SpaceX. Although Musk has repeatedly said his ultimate goal is peace, his actions belie that claim. It seems instead that he wants to be the center of attention, and maybe make a few bucks along the way.