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House Republicans Make History by Kicking Out Their Own Speaker

Goodbye to Kevin McCarthy.

Kevin McCarthy
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Kevin McCarthy lost a bruising vote on Tuesday to remove him as speaker of the House, sending the chamber into turmoil.

The House voted 216–210 to strip McCarthy of the gavel. Republicans Andy Biggs, Ken Buck, Tim Burchett, Eli Crane, Matt Gaetz, Bob Good, Nancy Mace, and Matt Rosendale voted against him.

This is the first time in 113 years that the House voted on whether to eject the speaker—and the first time in U.S. history that the House speaker has lost the vote. A new vote will now be held to replace McCarthy, but it’s unclear who among Republicans will step up or how long it will take to find a new replacement.

Replacing McCarthy now will be terrible timing for the House, which needs to start passing appropriations bills. But Republicans are in such disarray that the chamber has struggled to approve anything. The GOP nearly forced a government shutdown over the weekend because they couldn’t agree on anything.

Representative Matt Gaetz introduced the motion to vacate late Monday, following weeks of trading increasingly heated barbs with McCarthy over spending bills. Gaetz revealed earlier Tuesday that he had no plan for who will replace McCarthy now that he has lost.

The natural successor to McCarthy would be House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who is out getting treatment for multiple myeloma. Majority Whip Tom Emmer and conference chair Elise Stefanik would also be obvious choices, but they both took themselves out of the running.

Ultimately, McCarthy has no one to blame but himself for Gaetz’s motion. McCarthy won the speakership in January only after 15 rounds of votes and ceding most of his power to the farthest-right wing of his party. Gaetz has been threatening to file a motion to vacate for months.

But Gaetz may be in hot water now too. Ousting McCarthy and plunging the House further into shambles is unlikely to boost his standing among fellow Republicans. The House GOP is already planning to expel him, depending on whether the Ethics Committee finds him guilty of sexual misconduct and illegal drug use, among other things.

Trump’s Big Mouth Just Cost Him at New York Fraud Trial

Donald Trump tried to bully a courtroom clerk, and the judge was not having it.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The judge overseeing Donald Trump’s fraud trial in New York issued a gag order on people involved in the case Tuesday after the former president tried to bully a court clerk.

Trump has leveled attacks against New York Attorney General Letitia James, who has accused him and his associates of fraudulently inflating the value of their real estate assets, and presiding Judge Arthur Engoron. But on Tuesday, he took his vitriol to the next level, attacking court clerk Alison Greenfield and sharing her personal information.

“Schumer’s girlfriend, Alison R. Greenfield, is running this case against me. How disgraceful! This case should be dismissed immediately!!” Trump said in a now-deleted Truth Social post. He also shared a link to Greenfield’s personal instagram, which has her full name and photo.

Trump was sharing a false conspiracy started by a far-right user on X (formerly Twitter) who claimed Senator Chuck Schumer was dating, or at least “palling around” with Greenfield. There is no evidence that Schumer is having an affair with Greenfield. He has been married to his wife for 40 years.

Trump’s post was deleted within a few hours, and Engoron issued a gag order Tuesday afternoon.

Consider this statement a gag order forbidding all parties from posting, emailing, or speaking publicly about any of my staff,” he said, revealing he had ordered Trump’s post deleted.

“Personal attacks on members of my court staff are unacceptable, inappropriate and I will not tolerate them in any circumstances.”

Serial Scammer George Santos Delivered the Perfect House Speaker Joke

Unfortunately, you have to hand it to him.

George Santos
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Representative George Santos

Representative George Santos made a frustratingly good joke Tuesday about the ongoing drama to kick Kevin McCarthy out as speaker of the House.

The House will vote Tuesday on whether to keep McCarthy in the speakership. Democrats are united in their conviction to vote against McCarthy, but Republicans are divided.

Ahead of the vote, Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin joked to his colleague Jared Moskowitz that things were never this bad when Santos was speaker. Moskowitz then brought Santos in on the joke.

Santos then doubled down on the joke on X (formerly Twitter).

While the joke is excellent, it’s also frustrating to see Santos making light of his past fabricating the bulk of his professional and educational résumé. He has falsely claimed that his grandparents were Holocaust survivors, his mother died in the 9/11 attacks, and four of his employees were killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting. He also lied about founding an animal rescue charity and producing the disastrous Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.

Santos has been federally charged with 13 counts of various types of financial fraud, to which he has pleaded not guilty. He also agreed to a deal with Brazilian authorities investigating him for financial fraud, so that he could avoid prosecution.

Democrats introduced a motion to censure Santos over the summer but have temporarily shelved it, despite bipartisan support. He is under investigation from the House Ethics Committee, but nothing has emerged yet.

So despite the fact that his colleagues, including Republicans, and his constituents are demanding he retire, Santos is able to sit in Congress, vote on laws, and joke about his fraudulent past.

Blabbering Donald Trump Essentially Admits to Fraud in New York Trial

Trump thinks “it’s not my fault” is a real legal defense in the trial.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Donald Trump kicked off the second day of his fraud trial in New York on Tuesday by essentially admitting to the crimes.

New York Attorney General Letitia James sued Trump in September 2022 for fraud, accusing him and his associates of gaining more than $100 million by fraudulently inflating the value of their real estate assets. State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron issued a partial summary judgment last week, ruling that Trump committed business fraud and ordering all his New York business certificates to be canceled, a move that could effectively kill the Trump Organization as it exists today. The trial, which began Monday, is to determine how much Trump and his co-defendants owe in damages.

Trump insisted Tuesday that his organization’s financial documents were not the least bit fraudulent—but even if they were, he couldn’t be held responsible because it was up to the lenders and insurers to fact-check that.

“Many, many warnings. Page one, page two, and many pages, it says, ‘Please, you must understand that you have to do your own due diligence.… Do not rely on anything, do not rely on the financial statements,’” he told reporters at midday.

“Also, the financial statements are very strong in terms of cash, liquidity, and everything else. This case is a scam,” Trump continued. “There can’t be fraud when you’ve told institutions to do their own work.”

One jokester on X (formerly Twitter) compared Trump’s comments to saying, “Hey, if [your] bank doesn’t have good security, it’s all legal and cool to rob it.”

James’s lawsuit alleges that Trump claimed his Trump Tower apartment in Manhattan was three times its actual size and worth $327 million. No New York City apartment has ever sold for that much. He also valued Mar-a-Lago at $739 million, about 10 times its actual worth.

Trump has responded by accusing James, who is Black, of being racist against him, and Engoron of being a Democratic political operative.

Kevin McCarthy Can’t Count on Democrats to Save Him. Here’s Who Could.

Things are not looking good for the House speaker right now, but a handful of lawmakers could bail him out.

Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Kevin McCarthy’s hold on the House speaker’s gavel may soon be coming to an end.

The House is planning to begin first votes on the motion to vacate McCarthy as speaker at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The vote brings the monthslong drama between the House speaker and the furthest-right Republicans, including Matt Gaetz, who filed the motion on Monday evening, to a head.

By all indications, McCarthy lacks the votes to remain in power. But these things are never over until they’re over. McCarthy will have to hope against hope that a handful of the Republicans who are currently allied with Gaetz’s bid to oust the speaker develop cold feet as the moment to do the deed draws nigh, and change their minds.

At the moment, that handful of Republicans McCarthy needs to keep in his pocket have indicated they want McCarthy gone. In addition to Gaetz, Representatives Bob Good, Eli Crane, and Matt Rosendale have all said they’ll vote to remove McCarthy as speaker.

Representative Andy Biggs told CNN he’s “favorably disposed” to the same, and Representative Tim Burchett said his “conscience” is telling him to vote McCarthy out but he’s still “praying about” what to do.

Depending on how many people show up for the final vote, McCarthy can only afford to lose between four to six Republicans. So McCarthy’s best bet is to win over some of the aforementioned lawmakers. Burchett is the only Republican on this list who didn’t repeatedly block McCarthy’s bid for House speaker back in January, so he may be the easiest to sway.

Democrats could have swooped in to save McCarthy, but on Tuesday, the caucus unified against doing so. CNN’s Manu Raju reported that “every Democrat I’ve spoken with has come out of the meeting ready to sink McCarthy.” One Democratic lawmaker told Axios that there were “surprising” members who spoke out against saving McCarthy, including many moderates. Even Representative Jared Golden, of the infamous “Blue Dog Democrats,” confirmed he saw “no reason” to save McCarthy.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the burden is on Republicans, not Democrats, to figure out what to do with their speakership drama, which he referred to as the “House Republican Civil War.”

“We are not voting in any way that would help Speaker McCarthy,” progressive Representative Pramila Jayapal said a bit more bluntly. “Nobody trusts Kevin McCarthy, and why should we?”

This story has been updated.

Matt Gaetz Has No Idea What He’ll Do After Expelling Kevin McCarthy

The far-right representative admitted he doesn’t know what happens to the House speaker position next.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

After months of threatening, Representative Matt Gaetz finally filed a motion to vacate Kevin McCarthy as House speaker. But Gaetz has no clue what happens next.

Gaetz introduced the resolution late Monday, following weeks of trading increasingly heated barbs with McCarthy over spending bills. The House is expected to vote Tuesday on the motion.

But when asked Tuesday by his fellow Republicans what his plan is and who would replace McCarthy, Gaetz had no answer, CNN’s Melanie Zanona reported. “Gaetz said there’d need to be a new speaker’s election that plays out and didn’t name anyone he had in mind for the job.”

If Gaetz does manage to force a new vote for speaker, his not having a candidate in mind could drag things out even longer, sending the House spiraling further into chaos than it already is. The natural successor to McCarthy would be House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who is out getting treatment for multiple myeloma. Majority Whip Tom Emmer and conference chair Elise Stefanik would also be obvious choices, but they have both taken themselves out of the running.

Still, Gaetz is no stranger to forcing Congress (and the rest of us) to sit through round after round of agonizing votes for House speaker. He was one of the last holdouts in January, resulting in 15 votes before McCarthy finally won the gavel.

It’s unclear if Republicans will band together to save McCarthy. He has grown increasingly unpopular among the farthest-right flank of his party, particularly due to the repeated deals he struck with Democrats on the federal budget.

But Republicans are definitely starting to sour on Gaetz. House Republicans are reportedly planning a motion to expel him from the chamber, depending on whether the Ethics Committee finds him guilty of sexual misconduct and illegal drug use, among other things.

John Kelly Confirms Trump’s Most Vile Comments About the Military

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly has verified all the horrid things Donald Trump said about veterans and service members.

Donald Trump
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly has confirmed that Donald Trump called disabled veterans “suckers” and “losers.”

The Atlantic published a story in 2020 recounting Trump’s visit to France two years earlier to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the end of World War I. Several senior staff members told the magazine that Trump refused to visit the graves of American soldiers buried near Paris because the cemetery is “filled with losers.” Trump also said that 1,800 U.S. Marines who died in the Belleau Wood were “suckers” for getting killed.

The White House denied the story at the time, but Kelly confirmed the details in a Monday evening interview with CNN. “What can I add that has not already been said?” he said, when asked if he wanted to comment on his former boss.

“A person that thinks those who defend their country in uniform, or are shot down or seriously wounded in combat, or spend years being tortured as POWs are all ‘suckers’ because ‘there is nothing in it for them.’ A person that did not want to be seen in the presence of military amputees because ‘it doesn’t look good for me.’ A person who demonstrated open contempt for a Gold Star family—for all Gold Star families—on TV during the 2016 campaign, and rants that our most precious heroes who gave their lives in America’s defense are ‘losers’ and wouldn’t visit their graves in France.”

Kelly’s comments also confirm other stories that the Trump White House previously denied. One story is that during a visit to Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day 2017, amid the graves of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, Trump asked Kelly, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?”

They were standing in front of Kelly’s son’s grave at the time.

Kelly’s statement on CNN also confirms the story that, during a 2017 visit to France, Trump said he didn’t want any wounded veterans in a military parade he was trying to have planned for himself. “It doesn’t look good for me,” he said.

Kelly decried Trump’s recent attacks on newly retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley. Kelly was furious that Trump suggested that Milley “should lose his life for treason—in expectation that someone will take action.”

Trump is “a person that has no idea what America stands for and has no idea what America is all about.… A person that has nothing but contempt for our democratic institutions, our Constitution, and the rule of law,” Kelly said. “There is nothing more that can be said.”

“God help us.”

Cornered Trump Launches Panicked, Racist Attack as $100 Million Fraud Trial Begins

Donald Trump is absolutely losing it.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s fraud trial began Monday in New York, and the former president is handling it about as well as can be expected—which is to say, terribly.

New York Attorney General Letitia James sued Trump and the Trump Organization in September 2022 for business fraud. She accused him and his associates of gaining more than $100 million by fraudulently inflating the value of their real estate assets, and is seeking a penalty of $250 million. State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron issued a partial summary judgment last week ruling that Trump committed business fraud and ordering all his New York business certificates be canceled. This makes it nearly impossible to do business in New York and could effectively kill the Trump Organization as it exists today.

Monday’s trial is to determine how much Trump owes New York in damages. He has spent the whole day accusing James, who is Black, of being racist against him and accusing Engoron of being a Democratic operative.


Speaking to reporters before entering the courtroom, Trump said, “They’re trying to damage me so I don’t do as well as I’m doing in the election. Our country has gone to hell.”

He also repeated that the trial is “the single greatest witch hunt of all time,” one of his favorite phrases, and one that he used multiple times on Truth Social throughout the day, as well.

At midday, Trump accused Engoron of having “already made up his mind.”

“It’s ridiculous,” Trump said. “He’s a Democrat judge, he’s an operative, and it’s ridiculous.”

The lawsuit alleges that Trump claimed his Trump Tower apartment in Manhattan was three times its actual size and worth $327 million. No New York City apartment has ever sold for that much, James said.

He also valued Mar-a-Lago at $739 million. In reality, it’s worth about a tenth of that amount. Trump’s valuation was based on the property’s potential for residential development, but the terms of its deed prevent the land from ever being used that way.

Michigan Republicans’ Plan to Overturn Voting Rights Is Sinister

Michigan Republicans are moving to gut voting rights in the state, before the next election.

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
A man votes in the 2022 midterm election in Lansing, Michigan.

Michigan Republicans have filed a lawsuit trying to overturn two major voting rights measures passed by voters, directly overruling the will of their constituents.

Great Lakes State residents voted in 2018 and 2022 to approve constitutional amendments that would dramatically expand voting access, guaranteeing same-day voter registration, nine days of early voting, and absentee voting, among other rights. Both measures passed with at least 60 percent support, and the state legislature has since passed laws to implement the new policies.

But 11 Republicans—two senators and nine representatives—sued Thursday to overturn those policies. The lawsuit also wants to permanently prohibit future citizen-led petition initiatives from being used to affect state election laws.

The lawmakers’ argument is based on the “independent state legislature theory,” a right-wing theory. At its most extreme, the theory would give legislatures unreviewable authority, blocking state courts, state constitutions, and governors from intervening regarding election law. “Granting this claim would nullify democratic guarantees embedded in virtually all state constitutions since the founding era, and never questioned until the past few years,” Simon Lazarus wrote for The New Republic in November.

The Michigan Republicans argued that the citizen-led petitions unconstitutionally impinge on the state government’s ability to set election laws. Donald Trump and his allies also relied on the independent state legislature theory in their effort to overturn the 2020 election. But the Supreme Court ruled against the theory in June, determining that state legislatures cannot have virtually unchecked power over federal elections.

However, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion that state courts do not have “free rein” that exceeds “the ordinary bounds of judicial review,” meaning state courts could interpret the ruling differently.

UCLA law professor Richard Hasen warned that Roberts’s words were “going to create mischief” by giving people an opening to seek favorable rulings from lower court judges.

“This is a time bomb waiting to explode,” he told NPR.

Republicans Are Really Trying to Compare Jamaal Bowman to January 6 Rioters

Republicans’ latest attack on Jamaal Bowman is insane, even for them.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Representative Jamaal Bowman

Republicans are continuing their campaign to downplay the January 6 insurrection, this time by comparing the violent riot to Representative Jamaal Bowman pulling a fire alarm.

On Saturday, while Congress was in session and moving to a vote on a bill that would prevent a government shutdown, Bowman pulled the fire alarm in Cannon House, an office building connected to the Capitol building by a tunnel. Bowman has since apologized and said it was an accident.

But still, Republicans have pounced—accusing the New York representative of basically committing an insurrection.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy called for Bowman to be punished like the January 6 insurrectionists, and remarked on the precedent of “how other people were treated when they come in and wanted to change the course of what was happening in the building.”

Donald Trump also called for Bowman to be jailed for his “egregious act” of pulling the alarm. In a post on Truth Social, the former president said that Bowman should be charged with “‘Obstruction of an Official Proceeding,’ the same as used against our J-6 prisoners.”

“Actually,” Trump wrote, “his act may have been worse.”

The comparison seems distinctly detached from reality. Trump faces the same charge as many of the rioters he called to the Capitol on January 6: obstruction of an official proceeding. (That doesn’t include the other 90 criminal counts Trump is facing.)

Republican Representative Nicole Malliotakis also took to X, formerly known as Twitter, on Saturday afternoon to say she planned to introduce a resolution to expel Bowman. “This is the United States Congress, not a New York City high school,” she said in a post.

Fox News has eagerly fomented an entire news cycle about the incident, speaking to multiple Republican lawmakers about it.

“It’s not just the act of pulling a fire alarm,” Malliotakis said on Fox. “It was during an official proceeding. That is the same thing that they have gone after those individuals who walked into the Capitol on January 6th.”

Republican Representative Mike Lawler told Fox News that the event was “absolutely outrageous” and “potentially criminal.” He went so far as to say that Bowman should “strongly consider resigning.”

But despite Republicans’ best efforts to push this new attack, the two cases are extremely different.

For one, Bowman has apologized and insisted that he accidentally pulled the alarm when a door that normally opened was suddenly locked.

“I am embarrassed to admit that I activated the fire alarm, mistakenly thinking it would open the door. I regret this and sincerely apologize for any confusion this caused,” Bowman said.

But more importantly, a fire alarm is nowhere near the same as an armed insurrection.