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“Mental Health Incompetence”: Republicans Demand Mitch McConnell Resign

The resignation calls are growing louder after McConnell’s second freezing incident.

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Several Republican figures have spoken out against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell since his second freezing episode while addressing reporters on Wednesday.

The 81-year-old senator was left speechless in the middle of a press conference. The first time this happened was a little over a month ago. In both instances, his aides had to intervene, as he was unable to answer the reporter’s questions.

And Republicans seem to be finally turning on McConnell.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has been the most outspoken member of the House to address McConnell’s episode, saying on Wednesday that he is unfit for office. 

“Severe aging health issues and/or mental health incompetence in our nation’s leaders MUST be addressed,” Greene wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Representative Matt Gaetz commented “Yikes” when reposting the video of McConnell freezing.

Conservative activist Ned Ryun went on Fox News and said McConnell is “very much expendable.” He predicts that Senator John Thune could replace him.

“Great for [McConnell] blocking Garland, but that only worked because Donald Trump won,” Ryun told Laura Ingraham on Fox, referring to McConnell’s blocking of a Supreme Court justice during the Obama administration.

Political commentator Bill O’Reilly is also pushing for McConnell’s resignation.

“It looks like he’s gonna have a stroke,” O’Reilly told News Nation’s Chris Cuomo. “Every American should email Senator McConnell’s office tomorrow, every American and say, ‘Please, please resign for the sake of your health.’”

Democrats Demand Subpoena on Jared Kushner’s Shady Saudi Connections

House Oversight Democrats are demanding a subpoena of Jared Kushner’s Saudi-backed private equity fund.

Jared Kushner
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Democrats are pushing for a subpoena of Jared Kushner’s Saudi-backed investment firm.

Representative Jamie Raskin, ranking member on the House Oversight Committee, on Thursday sent a letter to Chairman James Comer about Kushner, former President Trump’s son-in-law, and his work with Affinity Partners. Kushner founded the firm six months after leaving the White House, thanks in large part to hefty investments from the Saudi government and other Gulf nations.

The whole thing reeks so badly of corruption that even Comer earlier this month said Kushner “crossed the line of ethics” by accepting $2 billion from Saudi’s sovereign wealth fund, which is chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Raskin is demanding Affinity Partners be subpoenaed for records that committee Democrats have been after for more than a year. And he’s reminding Comer about his own skepticism of what Kushner has done.

“I am encouraged by your recent acknowledgment that ‘what Kushner did crossed the line of ethics’ and your repeated assertions that our Committee is ‘investigating foreign nationals’ attempts to target and coerce high-ranking U.S. officials’ family members by providing money or other benefits in exchange for certain actions,’” Raskin wrote in his letter. “In light of these concerns, I urge you to pursue a serious and objective investigation by issuing a subpoena to Affinity.”

Raskin noted his February request to Affinity for documents “regarding its receipt of billions of dollars from Gulf monarchies shortly after Mr. Kushner left a senior White House position he used to reshape U.S. foreign policy towards Saudi Arabia and the Middle East in Saudi Arabia’s favor—a request you have thus far allowed Mr. Kushner to ignore and defy.”

There’s already plenty of evidence about why Kushner’s work is so troubling.

A report from The Intercept during the Trump years found that MBS bragged about having Kushner “in his pocket.” Kushner was also deeply involved in a $110 billion weapons sale to Saudi Arabia in 2017, according to reporting from The New York Times. And, of course, his father-in-law is the Republican Party’s front-runner for 2024—meaning Kushner could be making similar deals again soon.

While a lot of Raskin’s letter is focused on Saudi Arabia, other Gulf Nations are also closely involved with Kushner’s private equity firm. The United Arab Emirates and Qatar invested about $200 million each in Affinity.

Ron DeSantis Issues Deranged Hurricane Warning: “You Loot, We Shoot”

The Florida governor made the warning just days after a mass shooting in his state.

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has a stark warning to potential looters post–Hurricane Idalia: “You loot, we shoot.”

DeSantis made the statement—just days after a mass shooting in his state—during a press conference Wednesday, in response to reports of looting in the town of Steinhatchee on Florida’s Gulf Coast, after the Category 4 hurricane made landfall.

“People have a right to defend their property,” he said. “This part of Florida, you got a lot of advocates and proponents of the Second Amendment, and I’ve seen signs in different people’s yards in the past after these disasters, and I would say it’s probably here—‘You loot, we shoot.’” 

“You never know what’s behind that door if you go break into somebody’s house and you’re trying to loot; these are people that are going to be able to defend themselves and their families,” DeSantis added. “We are going to hold you accountable from a law enforcement perspective at a minimum, and it could even be worse than that depending on what’s behind that door.”

DeSantis made the comment just five days after a racist mass shooting in Jacksonville, where three Black people were fatally shot. The Florida governor was later booed while speaking at a vigil for the victims.

Trump Inflated Net Worth by $2.2 Billion Before He Ran for President: NY AG

The New York attorney general says Trump regularly overstated his net worth to financial institutions.

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The New York attorney general’s office says there is “no shred of doubt” that former President Donald Trump inflated his net worth—by as much as $2 billion in one year.

New York Attorney General Letitia James made the claims in court filings public on Wednesday, related to the multimillion-dollar civil suit against Trump, the Trump Organization, and Trump’s adult children for defrauding insurers and other entities.

The attorney general’s office had evaluated over 10 years’ worth of Trump’s financial statements.

“Mr. Trump’s net worth in any year between 2011 and 2021 would be no more than $2.6 billion, rather than the stated net worth of up to $6.1 billion, and likely considerably less if his properties were actually valued in full blown professional appraisals,” the attorney general’s office said.

Trump’s corrected financial statement “reduces Mr. Trump’s net worth by between 17-39% in each year, or between $812 million to $2.2 billion, depending on the year.”

The $2.2 billion disparity happened in 2014, one year before Trump announced his bid for president.

Trump has denied any intent to defraud insurers and lenders. Also in court filings made public Wednesday, Trump claimed he was too busy trying to avert a nuclear holocaust to do any business fraud.

“I think you would have nuclear holocaust if I didn’t deal with North Korea. I think you would have a nuclear war, if I weren’t elected,” Trump said in an April deposition.

The former president stated during the same deposition that he had “virtually” no role in his company since running for office in 2015 and that his son, Eric Trump, was more involved.

“If you look at Biden, he certainly does business and politics at the same time. But I felt I wanted to be a legitimate president,” Trump said.

DeSantis Rejected $350 Million in Climate Funding Before Hurricane Idalia

The Florida governor rejected millions in climate funding. Now his state is suffering from a storm fueled by climate change.

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis rejected $350 million in federal funds meant to help tackle climate change—just months before Hurricane Idalia flooded his state.

DeSantis used a line-item veto in June to reject a $5 million federal grant to set up a rebate program for Floridians who retrofit their homes with energy efficient appliances. This in turn meant that Florida couldn’t access the $341 million the Inflation Reduction Act allotted to fund the program. The Sunshine State has until August 2024 to reapply for the money.

The governor also rejected an additional $3 million in IRA funds to help fight pollution, as well as the Solar for All program that helps low-income people get solar panels. The IRA is a major part of Biden’s overall climate agenda and the largest investment to address climate change in U.S. history.

DeSantis’s decision to reject the funds came just before the start of hurricane season, which took a devastating turn Wednesday when Hurricane Idalia made landfall in Florida. The storm has already knocked out power for nearly 500,000 people in northern Florida and Georgia, according to the tracker website

Idalia has unleashed disastrous flooding and storm surge onto Florida. The sheriff of Citrus County, located in the center of the state’s west coast, told CNN that flooding could be six feet deep once the tide comes in.

The storm also grew quickly, with its wind speeds nearly doubling to 130 miles per hour from 75 mph in the 24 hours before making landfall. Idalia is now one of just 10 storms since 1950 to speed up by at least 40 mph in the 24 hours before touching down in the U.S.

The intensifying storm can be directly attributed to climate change. Hurricanes strengthen over warm ocean waters, and warmer air holds more moisture that can add to storms. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned Monday that areas off Florida’s coast are more than four degrees hotter than the usual average in August.

To make matters worse, DeSantis hasn’t just blocked his state from accessing clearly necessary climate funding. His terrible climate-related policies have also chased multiple insurance carriers out of Florida. Floridians have seen their insurance costs skyrocket as the state gets hammered by climate change. A longer and stronger hurricane season has flooded the Sunshine State and destroyed homes and businesses. It’s quickly getting too expensive for insurance companies to keep reimbursing people for damages.

Biden Labor Department Moves to Give 3.6 Million Workers Overtime Pay

It’s not a minimum-wage increase, but for many it would have a comparable effect.

Biden and Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su
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Biden and Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su

The Labor Department on Wednesday proposed to extend overtime protection to 3.6 million salaried workers.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, virtually all nonsupervisory salaried workers earning below a designated annual ceiling are entitled to time-and-a-half pay whenever they work in excess of 40 hours. For decades after the FLSA was enacted in 1938, the Labor Department kept that ceiling high enough that most salaried workers—as recently as the 1970s, 65 percentqualified for overtime pay.

But the Reagan administration, as part of its quiet repeal of the New Deal, stopped raising the ceiling, and as inflation accumulated, overtime coverage eventually applied to below 10 percent of Americans. Where once overtime protection was enjoyed by the middle class, it is now reserved only for the poor.

In 2016, the Obama administration enacted a regulation that more than doubled the cutoff to $47,476, bringing the limit within shouting distance of median household income. But a hard-right federal judge in Texas threw that out. President Donald Trump raised the ceiling to a still-stingy $35,308. That was allowed to stand.

Now the Biden administration proposes raising the ceiling to $55,000, with inflation adjustments every three years. That’s still well below median household income (about $71,000), but it’s a start. Whether the proposed regulation will pass muster in federal court is anybody’s guess.

Poll: Majority of Americans Support Unions and Support Strikes

A new Gallup poll shows Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of labor unions.

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A new poll from Gallup shows the vast majority of Americans approve of labor unions.

Gallup found that 67 percent of Americans approve of unions nationwide, in a poll conducted earlier this month. This is the fifth consecutive year that the number has surpassed the longtime average of 62 percent and is a dramatic increase since the all-time low of 48 percent approval in 2009, after the Great Recession.

Approval has taken a slight, four-percentage-point dip since last year. One reason why this may have happened could be the drop in Republican approval. In 2022, 56 percent of Republicans approved of labor unions, and in 2023, that number dropped to 47 percent.

The numbers from Gallup match previous polls that say the same thing: Americans like unions. An AFL-CIO poll published Tuesday found that 71 percent of Americans support labor unions. That number increases to 88 percent for Americans under the age of 30.

The poll also has inspiring numbers for workers currently on strike, or those threatening to do so.

United Auto Workers last week voted to authorize union strikes against General Motors, Ford Motor, and Stellantis. Gallup found that 75 percent of Americans side with UAW members, compared to just 19 percent who side with the auto companies. Seventy-two percent of Americans also side with television and film writers, and 67 percent side with television and film actors over Hollywood.

The number of strikes and striking workers has dramatically increased over the last three years. This year, 119,000 workers went on strike from January to May—nearly the same number as in all of 2022. This has been a hot strike summer. The Writers Guild of America has been striking for over 115 days, since the beginning of May. We’ve also seen strikes from actors, hotel workers, and nurses.

What Just Happened to Mitch McConnell in This Press Conference (Again)?

A new video shows the Republican senator, 81 years old, frozen and unable to respond to a reporter’s question.

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On Wednesday, Republican Senator Mitch McConnell froze midway through a press conference, requiring aides to escort him from the scene after he was seemingly unable to respond.

The incident happened after a reporter asked the 81-year-old Senate minority leader about his plans for reelection.

McConnell stared off into space, before an aide asked him, “Did you hear the question, senator? Running for reelection in 2026?”

The aide then escorted McConnell away from the lectern.

A McConnell spokesman later said the senator “felt momentarily lightheaded.”

The incident is a near copycat of what happened last month, when McConnell appeared to simply have shut down in the middle of a press conference at the Capitol. In that instance, McConnell trailed off midsentence, and as several of his colleagues asked if he was all right, he turned away and stepped to the side.

McConnell has made no recent indication that he plans on retiring, even as concerns about his health continue to mount. After last month’s incident, The New Republic’s Pablo Manriquez asked the senator whether he had someone in mind to replace him. McConnell glared at him, then smiled and walked away. McConnell did not explain what happened to him during the press conference.

This is the second-oldest U.S. Senate in history—and McConnell’s health has been an area of specific concern.

In March, McConnell tripped and fell, suffering a concussion and cracked rib as a result; these injuries forced him to forgo his duties for nearly six weeks before he was finally able to return to Congress. His injury is a common one among older people, as an estimated 800,000 seniors per year are hospitalized for injuries from falling. After last month’s incident, reporters revealed that McConnell has fallen multiple times this year and has taken to using a wheelchair in airports to avoid future accidents.

Even McConnell’s Republican colleagues are worried, with some suggesting that he should step down. One senator anonymously told Politico that “the next leadership election is well underway.” Another told NBC that McConnell is “just not processing.”

“I’d hate to see it forced on him,” the senator said, referring to McConnell’s resignation. “You can do these things with dignity, or it becomes less dignified. And I hope he does it in a dignified way—for his own legacy and reputation.”

Trump County in Iowa Ousts Conspiracy Theorist, Elects Democrat Instead

The election in Iowa’s Warren County offers major lessons for Democrats organizing in other red states.

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Voters in a small pro-Trump county in Iowa have voted out an election auditor who repeatedly shared conspiracy theories, including about QAnon and the 2020 election. Then they replaced him with a Democrat.

Warren County voted 57.3 percent for Donald Trump in 2020, slightly higher than the overall state outcome. The county’s all-Republican board of supervisors appointed David Whipple as county auditor in June. Iowa’s county auditors oversee elections.

Whipple’s appointment quickly sparked outrage after his social media activity came to light. After the 2020 election, Whipple made multiple posts on Facebook insisting that the vote had been fraudulent, despite widespread evidence disproving that claim. He also shared conspiracy theories from QAnon and about the 9/11 attacks.

In the two weeks following Whipple’s appointment, county Democrats petitioned to force a special election. They gathered 3,400 signatures, about 1,000 more than they needed. Democratic deputy auditor Kimberly Sheets announced she would run against Whipple—so he placed her on leave.

Sheets handily defeated Whipple on Tuesday, winning 66.5 percent of the vote. Whipple walked away with just 33.4 percent.

Sheets’s victory is an unusual plot twist in Iowa, which has been moving decidedly rightward in recent election cycles. But it reflects a larger trend that was seen during the 2022 midterms. Voters rejected conspiracy theorists across the country, resulting in major local Democratic wins.

Broke Rudy Giuliani Ordered to Pay Damages to Georgia Election Workers He Defamed

Rudy Giuliani is facing at least a six-figure fine in a defamation case brought by Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss.

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A judge issued a default judgment against Rudy Giuliani Wednesday in a defamation lawsuit brought by two women who worked during the Georgia 2020 election.

Judge Beryl Howell sanctioned Giuliani for failing to provide discovery documents and other evidence requested by lawyers for Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss. Howell ordered him to pay $133,000 in sanctions and gave the two sides until September 20 to set up a trial date to determine how much Giuliani also owes the women in compensatory and punitive damages. If he fails to comply, Giuliani will face further sanctions.

“Just as taking shortcuts to win an election carries risks—even potential criminal liability—bypassing the discovery process carries serious sanctions,” Howell said in her ruling. She slammed Giuliani for complaining about the plaintiffs’ efforts to make him comply with the discovery process, which he called “punishment by process.”

“Donning a cloak of victimization may play well on a public stage to certain audiences, but in a court of law this performance has served only to subvert the normal process of discovery in a straightforward defamation case,” Howell said.

Giuliani denied any wrongdoing in a statement and called for Howell’s ruling to be overturned. He described it as “the weaponization of the justice system,” a popular Republican dog whistle.

Giuliani, then acting as former President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, for months accused Freeman and 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’s and Giuliani’s actions.

Giuliani finally conceded in July that he had made “false” statements about Freeman and Moss, but he worded his admission in a way to meet the barest-minimum level of accountability. He insisted that he only made the concession to move the lawsuit along and that he believed he still had legal defenses he could pursue.

Just two weeks later, Giuliani was indicted alongside Trump and 17 other co-defendants and charged with felony racketeering for their role in efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia.

This article has been updated.