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MAGA Candidate’s Photo of Racially Diverse Friends Wasn’t What It Seemed

The Republican candidate first claimed the women in the photo were her supporters. Then she changed her story.

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Franklin, Tennessee

A MAGA Republican candidate for mayor of Franklin, Tennessee, used other people’s social media posts to pretend they were her supporters, a new investigation has revealed.

The city of Franklin votes for mayor on October 24. Gabrielle Hanson, an alderman, is running against incumbent Mayor Ken Moore. Both of them are Republicans.

Hanson posted two photos to her campaign’s social media accounts last month, one of a large crowd at an event she described as a “meet and greet” and another of a group of women in a restaurant. Both photos show racially diverse groups of people.

But neither photo is from a campaign event. In fact, neither photo was even taken this year, NewsChannel5 reported Tuesday.

Both photos were taken in Chicago in 2016. The photo of the crowd has since been deleted, but the picture of the group of women is still up on Hanson’s Facebook page (with a new caption). NewsChannel5 tracked down some of the women in the photo, and all of them were outraged that Hanson had used the image without their permission.

One woman, speaking anonymously, said she was “appalled, absolutely appalled.”

Another woman, identified as April, said she does not support Hanson. “I actually do not know who that is,” she told NewsChannel5.

April explained the women in the photo had been chosen for an ad campaign with the clothing brand The Limited, and they had all gone to brunch afterward. Some of the women said Hanson may have been part of the campaign too, but she wasn’t at the brunch.

Hanson, however, doubled down on her claim in a phone interview with NewsChannel5. She refused to answer any of reporter Phil Williams’s questions, instead insisting that the women were her supporters or friends who live all over the country and threatening Williams with legal action.

But the women in the photo maintained that Hanson is lying.

“I am appalled at the misuse of this photograph and the inaccurate representation of what is happening in it,” a third woman, speaking anonymously, said in a statement to NewsChannel5.

“Such blatant falsehoods being published exemplify the character of a candidate. As I’ve learned more about Gabrielle Hanson and her views, such an egregious attempt to show diverse female support is disgusting.”

Hanson voted in June to block Franklin’s Pride celebrations. She tried to pressure sponsors to stop funding a Juneteenth celebration, and she opposed building remembrance monuments at spots where lynchings occurred.

Republicans Prepare Attack on Loudest Anti-Impeachment Voice in Their Party

Republicans are reportedly planning to launch a primary challenge against the vocal critic of Biden impeachment.

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Congressman Ken Buck

Republicans are turning on Ken Buck, the Colorado representative who is one of the most outspoken GOP critics of the plan to launch an impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy will reportedly tell fellow Republicans this week that he will open the inquiry. Buck has been vocal in his opposition to the plan, accusing McCarthy of using impeachment talk to distract from government spending bills.

Republicans have begun to speak out against Buck, and there is even an effort to find a candidate who can launch a primary challenge against Buck, CNN reported Tuesday.

“Everyone on Capitol Hill knows that Ken Buck has given up on his work with the Freedom Caucus, the Foreign Affairs Committee, and the Judiciary Committee so that he can try out for jobs with TV networks or the Biden administration,” a Republican source familiar with the internal discussions, speaking anonymously, told CNN. “He’s totally abandoned all principles to try and make a name for himself. It’s sad that such a formerly great member would do so.”

A Republican lawmaker, also speaking anonymously, said, “We call him ‘Buckle.’”

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has made several pointed digs at Buck in recent days, after he called out her impeachment enthusiasm.

“Marjorie filed articles of impeachment on President Biden before he was sworn into office … so the idea that she is now the expert on impeachment or that she is someone who should set the timing on impeachment is absurd,” Buck told MSNBC on Sunday.

Greene hit back, tweeting, “When is Ken Buck going to announce he’s a Democrat? The amount of shilling for Joe Biden is astounding.

Separately, she told CNN, “I really don’t see how we can have a member on Judiciary that is flat out refusing to impeach.… It seems like, can he even be trusted to do his job at this point?”

Despite the heat coming his way, Buck seems unwilling to bend. And he’s not alone: Some moderate Republicans also oppose launching an impeachment inquiry. Given the razor-thin majority that Republicans hold in the House, it’s unclear if McCarthy’s bid will work.

McCarthy Launches Biden Impeachment Inquiry—With Zero Evidence

The House speaker does not even have the full support of his own party on this.

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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday launched an impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden, despite having zero evidence of wrongdoing by the president and not enough support from his own party.

The GOP has insisted for months that Biden is guilty of corruption and influence peddling overseas, although they have yet to provide any actual proof. McCarthy ordered House Republicans to proceed with the inquiry, despite promising less than two weeks ago that he would not open the probe without a vote.

McCarthy has previously said that an impeachment inquiry will help Republicans access more information and witnesses, which will supposedly lead them to evidence of Biden’s crimes. This is, of course, a bass-ackward way of going about things. As CNN’s Kaitlan Collins asked Representative Nancy Mace Monday night, “Isn’t it supposed to be the evidence that leads you to pursue an impeachment inquiry?”

McCarthy opted to order the inquiry because he doesn’t have the united support of his party. The move is incredibly hypocritical, as he had criticized then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi for impeaching Donald Trump the first time without first holding a vote. The House voted to formalize the impeachment a month later. It is unlikely that would happen this time around, since multiple Republicans are not on board with McCarthy’s plan.

House Republicans, led by the Oversight Committee, have conducted a months-long investigation into Biden. In that time, 60 administration officials have testified at committee hearings, and another eight have sat for transcribed interviews.

High-level officials in the FBI and Secret Service have briefed committee members. The Treasury provided more than 2,000 pages of suspicious activity reports to the committee, and the FBI even gave Oversight the now-infamous FD-1023 form, despite serious misgivings about security issues.

Even Oversight Chair James Comer has admitted that he’s been able to access everything he wanted. “Every subpoena that I’ve signed as chairman of the House Oversight Committee over the last five months, we’ve gotten 100% of what we’ve requested,” he told Fox Business in June. “Whether it’s with the FBI or with banks or with Treasury.”

In comparison, Donald Trump swore in 2019 that he would be “fighting all the subpoenas” for investigations into his actions. His administration refused to provide information for more than 100 congressional investigations, and Trump even sued his own accounting firm to try to block it from giving his tax records to Congress.

Republicans seem to have exhausted all other means of uncovering Biden’s supposed wrongdoing and are now launching a desperate final bid. But if they’ve come this far and still found nothing, that would seem to imply that there is nothing to be found.

This article has been updated.

Matt Gaetz Is Begging Democrats for Help to Kick Out Kevin McCarthy

The far-right Republican representative wants Democrats to vote with him to get rid of the House speaker.

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Representative Matt Gaetz appears to be launching a weird bid to whip up Democratic votes to remove Kevin McCarthy as speaker of the House.

The House returns from recess on Tuesday, and one of the first orders of business will be to pass an appropriations bill. Some of the farthest-right representatives are threatening to block the bill—and risk shutting down the government—unless some of their demands are met. These demands include opening an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.

Gaetz tweeted last week that he wanted single-subject appropriations bills instead of one big spending package, a subpoena for first son Hunter Biden to testify before Congress, and impeachment proceedings against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell then accused Gaetz of folding “like a cheap card table” to McCarthy and never following through on his threats to hold the speaker accountable.

Gaetz hit back Sunday evening. “Hi, Eric,” he said on Twitter. “If I make a motion to remove Kevin, how [many] democrat votes can I count on?”

Gaetz then appeared to try to goad Swalwell into a response, pointing out that he had co-sponsored a bill with progressive Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to ban members of Congress from owning stocks.

The Florida Republican was one of the last holdouts during the interminable rounds of votes for House speaker in January. Gaetz finally switched his vote to “present,” handing the gavel to McCarthy.

But Gaetz and other members of the far-right Freedom Caucus had won multiple concessions from McCarthy in the process, including restoring the motion to vacate. This rule would allow any single member of the House to call for a vote to remove McCarthy. Freedom Caucus members have previously hinted they would make such a motion, but they have yet to make good on that threat.

Republicans Are Mad Biden Is Spending 9/11 in Alaska. Anyone Remember What Trump Did?

Note to Republicans: Joe Biden is not the first president to commemorate the 9/11 attacks outside of New York City.

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President Joe Biden is marking the  9/11 anniversary in Alaska—and Republicans are fomenting an entire news cycle over it.

Biden, who is en route to Washington from his trip to India and Vietnam, will attend a ceremony on a military base in Anchorage, Alaska, on Monday, where he is expected to deliver remarks to more than 1,000 service members. Vice President Kamala Harris attended the commemoration ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial Plaza in New York.

Right-wing media outlets have chosen to commemorate the worst terrorist attacks on American soil by inciting faux outrage over Biden’s absence from the ceremony in New York City.

On Monday morning, Fox & Friends aired a map showing exactly how far away Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska is from each of the 9/11 crash sites, highlighted op-eds railing against Biden’s absence, and invited comments chastising Biden from people who lost loved ones in the attacks.

Fox & Friends anchor Ainsley Earhardt claimed that “every president since 9/11 has been at one of these sites,” and that Biden’s trip to Alaska constitutes a “huge break from tradition.”

While Biden will be the first president to commemorate the 9/11 attacks from the West Coast, Earhardt’s claim is patently false.

Biden is not the first president to mark the anniversary of 9/11 from somewhere other than Ground Zero, or one of the other sites that were attacked. Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama both commemorated the day from the White House lawn at different times. In 2021, Trump went to New York City but opted out of the official Ground Zero ceremony.

Fox also reached out to Republican presidential candidates to gain their insights on the president’s scheduling.

Republican candidate Nikki Haley said that she believed Biden should “absolutely” have attended the ceremonies in New York City. Former Vice President Mike Pence also weighed in on the imagined controversy. “I would urge President Biden, as I would any president, to honor the memory of heroes forged that day,” Pence said, ignoring that Biden did exactly that.

For right-wing media, it seems, none of the outrage is actually real, just a way to score some cheap political points and try to remain relevant to the scores of still mourning Americans looking for someone to blame.

Republican Rep. Slams Marjorie Taylor Greene’s “Absurd” Biden Impeachment Quest

Representative Ken Buck called out how wild it is that MTG is the one trying to impeach Joe Biden.

Representative Ken Buck
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Republican Representative Ken Buck slammed his colleague Marjorie Taylor Greene for urging Congress to open an impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden.

The GOP has insisted for months that Biden is guilty of corruption and influence peddling overseas, despite producing no actual evidence. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has indicated he intends to open an impeachment inquiry into the president when the House returns this week. Theoretically, doing so will help Republicans access more information and witnesses, which will supposedly lead them to the truth.

Greene has threatened to hold up government funding unless the House votes to open the impeachment inquiry, although she walked back her enthusiasm a little over the weekend. In a lengthy tweet, she insisted that “our country deserves for Congress to vote for an impeachment inquiry for very important reasons, not a rush impeachment vote.”

When asked Sunday about Greene’s marginally more reserved stance, Buck said, “Well, Marjorie filed articles of impeachment on President Biden before he was sworn into office … so the idea that she is now the expert on impeachment or that she is someone who should set the timing on impeachment is absurd.”

“The time for impeachment is the time when there’s evidence linking President Biden—if there’s evidence—linking President Biden to a high crime or misdemeanor,” Buck said. “That doesn’t exist right now.”

Buck has been vocal in his opposition to both impeaching Biden and to Greene. He slammed McCarthy in July for using talk of an impeachment inquiry to distract from government spending.

“This is impeachment theater,” the Colorado Republican told CNN’s Dana Bash. “What [McCarthy’s] doing is he’s saying, ‘There’s a shiny object over here, and we’re really going to focus on that. We just need to get all these things done so that we can focus on the shiny object.’”

Buck also gave some of the most critical statements about Greene after she was booted from the far-right House Freedom Caucus in early July. Buck, who is still a caucus member, said Green “consistently attacked other members of the Freedom Caucus in an irresponsible way, and as a result of that she was kicked out of the Freedom Caucus.”

“She should not be a member,” he told NBC.

Oops! Fox Host Demolishes Key Fox Anti-Biden Talking Point

The White House cheekily thanked Fox’s Peter Doocy for his report.

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

A Fox News host accidentally demolished the popular Republican talking point that Joe Biden is too old by admitting how hard the president works.

At age 80, Biden is the oldest president in U.S. history. Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates have repeatedly argued that he is too old and suffering from cognitive decline (while ignoring that their party’s front-runner is just four years his junior). Most recently, the GOP has seized on Biden’s Sunday press conference at the G20 summit in Hanoi, during which he joked he was “going to bed.”

But Fox reporter Peter Doocy inadvertently set the record straight. “He has been basically working all through the night, the equivalent of an all-nighter Eastern time,” he said of Biden. “So he’s probably pretty tired, pretty jet-lagged, but—”

Doocy then stopped mid-sentence as he realized what he had just admitted.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded cheekily to Doocy’s slip.

Republican Investigation Into Biden Is an “Abject Failure”: Watchdog Report

The Congressional Integrity Project slammed Republicans’ Biden impeachment inquiry in a scathing new report.

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House Oversight Chairman James Comer

James Comer’s investigation into President Joe Biden’s alleged corruption has resulted in “eight months of abject failure,” a watchdog group’s new report said.

Republicans have insisted for months, despite producing no actual evidencethat Biden is guilty of corruption and influence peddling overseas. Comer, the House Oversight Committee chairman, has led the charge, constantly claiming that he is one star witness or bank record away from revealing the grisly truth.

“After months of political stunts, dozens of hearings, transcribed interviews, and memos, and despite hours on Fox peddling conspiracy theories, Comer and his MAGA crew have failed to find a single shred of evidence linking President Biden to any of their lurid accusations,” the Congressional Integrity Project, which monitors Republican investigations, said in the report released Monday.

“In fact, Republicans have been forced to walk back claim after claim.”

Republicans are expected to open an impeachment inquiry into Biden to prove that he benefited from his son Hunter’s business dealings overseas. But they have yet to find any evidence that Biden was ever involved in Hunter’s work.

The president’s utter lack of involvement matches testimony from multiple supposed whistleblowers. Republicans have heard testimony from IRS agents, Hunter’s former business partner Devon Archer, and former Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas. None of them was able to provide concrete evidence that Biden was involved in his son’s business. In fact, both Archer and Parnas said nothing could be further from the truth.

Ranking Oversight Member Jamie Raskin on Monday also slammed Republicans for targeting Biden and for even threatening to shut down the government over a potential impeachment inquiry. “Instead of working on legislation to promote the common good or even just keep the government running, House Republicans are weaponizing their offices and exploiting congressional power and resources to promote debunked and outlandish conspiracy theories about President Biden,” Raskin said in a lengthy memo.

The sweeping 14-page release, which was obtained by The New Republic, meticulously documents every single one of the GOP investigation’s failures.

“We can form an obvious judgment on their investigation: it has been a complete and total bust—an epic flop in the history of congressional  investigations,” Raskin wrote.

Republicans have admitted several times that they don’t have any evidence of Biden’s supposed wrongdoing. But they don’t seem to really care. Instead, they have acknowledged they really just want to discredit the president.

Judge Hearing Florida Abortion-Ban Case Has a Huge Conflict of Interest

Florida Supreme Court Justice Charles Canady does not see any reason to recuse himself from the case.

Florida Supreme Court

The Florida Supreme Court heard arguments Friday on a case that will decide the future of abortion rights in the state. And there’s one very big conflict of interest: One of the justices ruling on the case is married to a Republican state representative who co-sponsored the six-week abortion ban.

Since Roe v. Wade was overturned, Florida has allowed abortion up to 15 weeks, making the state a major hub for people seeking abortions in the South. Governor Ron DeSantis signed a new law in April that would ban abortion after six weeks, before most people even know they are pregnant. If the state Supreme Court upholds the 15-week ban and dismisses the legal challenge in the case it is now hearing, then the more radical six-week ban will automatically go into effect.

The seven-justice bench includes five conservatives appointed by DeSantis, who has made his opposition to abortion access clear. It also includes Charles Canady, who refuses to recuse himself from the case.

Canady is married to state Representative Jennifer Canady, who co-sponsored the six-week ban. Again, the Supreme Court’s ruling in this case will directly impact whether the six-week ban is triggered into law.

Prior to serving as a justice, Canady was a Florida representative during the 1990s. While on Capitol Hill, he sponsored multiple bills to ban “partial-birth abortion,” which is not a thing.

Unfortunately, even despite Canady’s refusal to recuse himself, the rest of the court does not offer much more hope.

Another justice, Meredith Sasso, is married to DeSantis loyalist Michael Sasso. DeSantis appointed Michael Sasso as vice chairman of the controversial Disney oversight board. Sasso resigned in May, although he did not explain why. While the Disney case has no bearing on abortion, Justice Sasso’s close link to DeSantis could indicate how she leans on reproductive rights.

Arguments did not get off to a strong start Friday when a third justice, Carlos G. Muniz, suggested that legal abortion violated fetal personhood. Anti-abortion activists argue that humanity begins at conception and thus fetuses should be afforded legal rights. But health experts warn this line of thinking could be used to criminalize doctors who provide lifesaving care.

If the 15-week ban is upheld and the six-week ban allowed to take effect, abortion access will effectively be wiped out throughout the southern United States. North Carolina Republicans recently forced through a law banning abortion at 12 weeks, and South Carolina Republicans passed a law banning the procedure at six. All three states had become abortion havens in the South after the fall of Roe.

Abortion rights advocates in Florida, though, are hopeful they can win back abortion protections. The abortion rights group Floridians Protecting Freedom is working to get an abortion rights referendum on the state’s 2024 ballot. The group says it has collected nearly three-quarters of the 900,000 verified signatures from registered voters required for the ballot initiative.

If it succeeds, then abortion protections would likely be enshrined in the state constitution, overriding any laws the legislature has passed. A February study by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 64 percent of Floridians believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

Alito: Recusing From Cases Involving Friends Would “Disrupt” Supreme Court’s Work

The Supreme Court justice is refusing to recuse from an upcoming case with one of his colleagues.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito
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Justice Samuel Alito refused Friday to recuse himself from an upcoming Supreme Court case, even though one of the attorneys in the suit published fawning profiles of him in The Wall Street Journal.

The reason? Recusing from cases that involve longtime colleagues would “disrupt” the Supreme Court’s work, Alito argued.

Senate Democrats warned Chief Justice John Roberts last month that Alito had violated ethical standards by sitting for two Wall Street Journal interviews with lawyer David Rivkin, because Rivkin was also representing a couple asking the Supreme Court to review a tax case. But Alito pushed back Friday, arguing that recusing himself would actually be detrimental to the high court’s work.

“When Mr. Rivkin participated in and co-authored the articles, he did so as a journalist, not an advocate,” Alito said in a statement.

“We participate in cases in which one or more of the attorneys is a former law clerk, a former colleague, or an individual with whom we have long been acquainted. If we recused in such cases, we would regularly have less than a full bench, and the Court’s work would be substantially disrupted and distorted.”

It’s highly unusual for justices to sit for interviews. But Alito has regularly given preferential treatment to the Journal’s editorial page, which is known for its ultraconservative leaning. In one of the interviews with Rivkin and Journal editorial page features editor James Taranto, Alito argued Congress has no “authority” to require the justices to adopt a formal code of ethics. Both articles were published in the Journal’s opinion section and praised Alito’s work. In yet another op-ed, which Alito wrote himself, he tried to defend accepting luxury vacations from conservative donors.

The justices’ behavior has come under intense scrutiny following the revelations that Alito and Clarence Thomas have accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of vacations and other gifts from Republican donors over the years. Neither justice disclosed any of the gifts.

The Supreme Court has operated since its creation without a formal code of ethics, and largely without supervision. Congress has begun to push for legislation that would require the bench to adopt a formal code, but many of the justices—Alito in particular—have been resistant.