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Doh! Looks Like Now We Ought to Be Rooting for RFK Jr.

A new poll shows Robert F. Kennedy Jr. running actually helps Joe Biden’s chances in 2024.

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Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

It turns out that Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s independent presidential campaign might be a good thing after all. A new poll shows his running actually increases the likelihood of a Joe Biden victory.

Polling from Quinnipiac University shows that the 2024 election will be a tight one, no matter what. Registered voters are almost evenly split between Biden and Donald Trump, the respective Democratic and Republican front-runners.

Quinnipiac polled 1,610 voters during the last week of October and found that in a general election between just Biden and Trump, 47 percent of voters would back Biden while 46 percent would vote for Trump. The university said that this number has held steady since August.

But when the general field is expanded to include Kennedy in a three-way race, Biden’s lead widens. The incumbent president would win 39 percent of voters, while Trump would take a close but clear second with 36 percent support. Kennedy would get only 22 percent of voters.

Quinnipiac’s findings mirror that of another major national poll, which came out in mid-October. A survey by NPR, PBS NewsHour, and Maris found that Kennedy’s run would actually give Biden a seven-percentage-point advantage over Trump.

Kennedy holds significant sway among independent voters, but he also has a huge draw for Republicans. Previously, he had been embraced by the far right for things such as his opposition to vaccines and belief in conspiracy theories.

Kennedy’s embrace of far-right talking points is expected to woo voters away from Trump—and that has angered previously friendly conservative news outlets. Kennedy seemed genuinely shocked when Fox News’s Sean Hannity turned on him during an early October interview.

Independent candidates historically perform poorly in the general election. They are more often viewed as spoilers who strip just enough votes away from one major candidate to tip the election toward the other. It’s unlikely Kennedy will pull a lot of voters away from Trump, but it’s looking increasingly likely that he could pull just enough to turn the election decisively for Biden.

House Fails to Expel Man Who Scammed His Way to Congress

George Santos lives to see another day.

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New York Representative George Santos

The House failed Wednesday night to expel serial fabulist George Santos from Congress, marking just another bump in a career plagued by scandal.

Representatives voted 179–213 against the resolution to remove Santos (with 19 members voting “present”). Only 24 Republicans joined the majority of Democrats in voting against the freshman congressman, not nearly anywhere close to the two-thirds majority needed to expel him from the House.

The New York representative has caused nothing but controversy since he took office in January. He fabricated the vast majority of his personal and professional background and has been federally indicted for financial fraud and identity theft.

In addition to apparently lying about his employment history, Santos 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.

But none of that was enough for the House to push for his expulsion.

Six freshman Republicans from New York—Representatives Anthony D’Esposito, Nick LaLota, Mike Lawler, Marc Molinaro, Nick Langworthy, and Brandon Williams—co-sponsored the resolution to expel Santos. The six lawmakers were some of the first Republicans to call publicly for Santos to resign once his lies were revealed. All of them except Langworthy won in districts that voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, making them more vulnerable to being voted out in 2024.

Many Republicans have resisted calling on Santos to resign due to their narrow majority in the House. With just a nine-seat GOP majority, Santos is a necessary vote. Several Republicans had called to hold off on the expulsion vote until after the House Ethics Committee finished an investigation into Santos. The committee opened the probe in March and announced Tuesday that it would complete its investigation on or before November 17.

Santos has been federally charged with 23 counts of various types of financial fraud. He pleaded not guilty to the initial 13 in May, and he has denied the additional 10 that were filed Tuesday night in a superseding indictment. Earlier this year, he also agreed to a deal with Brazilian authorities investigating him for financial fraud so that he could avoid prosecution.

Republican Senator Blocks Judicial Nominations Because … Trump?

J.D. Vance is stooping to a new low in sucking up to Donald Trump.

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Senator J.D. Vance

GOP Senator J.D. Vance is blocking multiple judicial nominations, in an apparent retaliation for the federal indictments of Donald Trump.

According to Vance, the Justice Department’s pursuit of, well, justice is enough to constitute a “banana republic.”

“I object to this because we are living in a banana republic where the president is using his Department of Justice to go after his chief political rival, the person he will appear on the ballot with, in about a year,” Vance said on Wednesday.

At stake are the nominations of Rebecca Lutzko to the Northern District of Vance’s home state of Ohio and April Perry to the Northern District of Illinois—both of whom Vance thinks are worthy sacrifices for an opportunity to kowtow to Trump.

“If the Department of Justice will use these nominations for law instead of politics, I am happy to end this whole policy,” Vance added.

Trump is currently facing 91 felony charges in four criminal trials. On the federal level, he is facing two indictments for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and allegedly stealing a trove of classified documents from the White House.

It’s not clear what exactly Vance thinks he will achieve in these cases by blocking unrelated nominations for U.S. attorneys.

Republican Representative Directly Compares All Palestinians to Nazis

Representative Brian Mast made a shocking, dehumanizing remark about Palestinians on the House floor.

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Republican Representative Brian Mast

Republican Representative Brian Mast horrifyingly compared Palestinian civilians to Nazis on Wednesday and implied that they are all guilty for Hamas’s atrocities.

The House was debating the Hamas International Financing Prevention Act, a measure that would impose sanctions on people who support groups, such as Hamas, that the bill deems “terrorist organizations.” The measure was originally introduced in January, but an amended version with no humanitarian considerations is on the floor now, partially in light of Hamas’s violent attack on Israel in early October. In the nearly one month since, Israel’s retaliation has killed more than 8,000 civilians, mostly women and children.

But Mast refused to accept that fact. “I would encourage the other side to not so lightly throw around the idea of ‘innocent Palestinian civilians,’ as is frequently said,” the Florida Republican said on the House floor.

“I don’t think we would so lightly throw around the term ‘innocent Nazi civilians’ during World War II.”

Mast’s comments, though horrific, should come as no surprise. When the Foreign Affairs Committee began debating the bill two weeks ago, Mast revealed he had amended the measure to strip out a humanitarian provision that would have allowed aid into Gaza. That aid would include food, medicine, and medical devices for civilians.

Mast said his goal was to deliberately slow the flow of aid into Palestine. “I would challenge anybody in here to point to me which Palestinian is Hamas and which one is an innocent civilian,” Mast said, implying that even children were complicit.

“It should absolutely be every effort made to slow down any perceived assistance that is going there.”

What the Hell Is Indicted Bob Menendez Doing at a Classified Briefing?

The New Jersey senator brushed off concerns about his presence at the security briefing.

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Senator Bob Menendez was spotted at a classified briefing on Ukraine on Wednesday, despite having been indicted on multiple bribery charges and accused of acting as an agent to a foreign government.

When asked to explain his presence at the meeting, Menendez brushed off the felony charges.

“Bottom line is, I’m a United States senator. I have my security credentials. And an accusation is just that. It’s not proof of anything,” Menendez told CNN’s Manu Raju.

Menendez has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him and has refused calls for his resignation—even going so far as to suggest he may run for reelection in 2024. He was, however, forced to resign as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee under Senate Democrats’ bylaws, which forbids members from serving in leadership roles if they’re charged with felonies.

He was also notably absent from a classified briefing on Israel last month after some of his colleagues expressed national security concerns regarding his presence, reported The Washington Post.

The New Jersey Democrat and his wife stand accused of acting as a foreign agent for Egypt, taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, gold bars, and other flashy gifts in exchange for his “power and influence to protect and enrich” the businessmen and government of Egypt.

It’s the latest in a seeming history of corruption charges for Menendez. In 2017, another corruption case involving the senator and a wealthy eye doctor convicted of Medicare fraud ended in a mistrial after jurors failed to reach a verdict on whether Menendez had traded political favors in exchange for trips on a private jet and lavish vacations.

Altogether, Menendez faces the possibility of up to 45 years in prison on combined conspiracy charges brought against him in September, according to a DOJ indictment, with the possibility of an additional two years, according to a law cited in the October indictment.

Here’s Exactly How Much House Republicans’ Israel Bill Would Cost

The Congressional Budget Office is warning about what Republicans’ proposed bill would do the deficit.

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The House GOP’s quest to trade $14.3 billion in IRS cuts for $14.3 billion in emergency aid to Israel has an updated price tag, and surprise, surprise: It’s much steeper than it anticipated.

Instead of decreasing the deficit, the multibillion-dollar slash to the IRS proposed by newly minted House Speaker Mike Johnson would actually cost the government more than $26 billion in lost revenue by 2033, according to a Congressional Budget Office report issued Wednesday. The result would add nearly $12.5 billion to the national deficit over the next 10 years, the CBO predicted.

Some officials estimate that the true number could be even higher.

IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel believes the damages may be more to the tune of $90 billion in lost revenue over the next decade and that the cuts would reduce the government’s ability to audit large corporations and the wealthy, reported The Washington Post.

“All of those funds go to increased scrutiny on tax evasion going on at the highest wealth, and that is millionaires and billionaires and large corporations and large complex corporations,” Werfel told the Post. “When you reduce those audits, you reduce the amount of money that we can collect and return to the Treasury for other priorities.”

Ultimately, Republicans’ plan to “offset” funding for Israel with cuts to the IRS would backfire quite badly.

At stake is an already-approved $80 billion expansion to the IRS that is projected to cut the deficit by more than $100 billion by way of improved tax collections, operations support, free filing for taxpayers, an office of tax policy, and tax court. The Congressional Budget Office has repeatedly warned that cutting IRS funding will encourage tax cheating and increase the deficit, though that didn’t stop Johnson from attempting to chip some money off the arrangement.

“If you put this to the American people, and they weigh the two needs, I think they are going to say standing with Israel and protecting the innocent is in our national interest, and a more immediate need than IRS agents,” Johnson told Fox News on Tuesday.

Lindsey Graham Appears to Greenlight Mass Murder of Palestinians

The Republican senator minimized Palestinian civilian deaths in a horrific new interview.

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Lindsey Graham doesn’t care how many innocent Palestinians die; he doesn’t think the U.S. should call for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

On Tuesday night, Graham was a guest on CNN’s NewsNight with Abby Phillip, where he was asked what it would take for the U.S. to ask for a cease-fire in Palestine.

“Is there a threshold for you, and do you think there should be one for the United States government in which the U.S. would say let’s hold off for a second in terms of civilian casualties?” Phillip asked.

“No,” Graham said, shaking his head.

“Somebody asked us after World War II, ‘Is there a limit to what you would do to make sure that Japan and Germany don’t conquer the world? Is there any limit to what Israel should do to the people who are trying to slaughter the Jews?’ The answer is no, there is no limit.”

He went on to say that we should attempt to limit civilian casualties and give humanitarian aid in “areas that protect the innocent.” On Tuesday, the Israeli military conducted an airstrike on the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza, killing at least 50 people. On Wednesday, there were reports of a second strike on the same camp, allegedly injuring and killing dozens.

“Hamas is creating these casualties, not Israel,” Graham said. Palestinian health officials estimate Israeli airstrikes have killed 8,525 Palestinians in Gaza, 40 percent of whom were children.

Trump’s Old Lawyers Aren’t Extreme Enough for Him Anymore. That’s Terrifying.

Donald Trump is reportedly looking for an entirely new breed of lawyers to push his far-right agenda in a second term.

Donald Trump
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The hard-line conservative Federalist Society attorneys who worked for Donald Trump are apparently no longer extreme enough for the former president.

Trump allies have been working overtime to stock Trump’s potential second term with staff even further right on the political spectrum, reported The New York Times. The effort is intended to stifle any political dissent amongst Trump’s top legal aides, who at times objected to harsher immigration policies or the former president’s desire for a tighter grip on the Justice Department, according to the outlet.

Leading the effort are Stephen Miller and John McEntee, both of whom advised Trump during his last presidency and are expected to play key roles should Trump reclaim the Oval Office. McEntee, in particular, has prior experience rooting out obstructive staffers—in 2020, he was appointed to sniff out those working against Trump’s agenda, as Trump’s personnel chief.

Trump’s administration turned to the Federalist Society to staff executive branch legal roles in the opening days of his presidency—but that will no longer be the case. Instead, his allies are looking for a new style of lawyer to serve as executive branch gatekeepers, turning to different recruitment pipelines to supply Trump with more radical voices should he win a second term.

The Federalist Society, a conservative standby baked into the crust of D.C., was infamously behind the Supreme Court’s hard-right turn. Five of the high court’s current justices were part of the organization, with its co-chairman, Leonard Leo, behind the nomination and confirmation of Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. Other members include Senators Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Todd Young.

Leo is also under investigation by the D.C. attorney general for transferring funds to the tune of $73 million from his nonprofit groups to one of his for-profit companies.

What Is Happening With Mike Johnson’s Money?

A new report reveals House Speaker Mike Johnson doesn’t have a single bank account. So where the hell is his money?

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House Speaker Mike Johnson makes hundreds of thousands of dollars a year but apparently does not have a bank account, a new report revealed Wednesday.

Johnson was first elected in 2016 and has served on the Hill ever since. In all seven financial disclosure forms he submitted for those years, he has not mentioned holding a single bank account, The Daily Beast reported.

The House Ethics Committee requires members of Congress to disclose all of their household’s bank accounts if the accounts each hold at least $1,000 and have a combined value of more than $5,000. Johnson has made at least $174,000 per year from the combination of his representative salary and any additional payments he received, such as from a teaching appearance. Johnson’s wife has two streams of income, from two different employers.

But on his financial disclosures, Johnson has listed only one asset: a retirement account. In 2016, he listed a state government Fidelity account valued between $1,000 and $15,000. He transferred those savings to a Thrift Savings plan, a federal program, the following year. Johnson appears to have cashed out the entire account in 2021, because he lists no assets at all on his 2022 form.

Johnson’s disclosure forms are remarkably sparse. He lists almost no travel reimbursements or gifts, and relatively little external income.

But Johnson does owe a lot of money. Every year, he has listed a mortgage on which he owes hundreds of thousands of dollars and a personal loan on which he owes tens of thousands. In 2019, he opened up a home equity line of credit, also worth tens of thousands of dollars.

It is, of course, possible that Johnson really has no bank accounts and just keeps all his money in sacks of cash hidden under his mattress. Another explanation could be that he has selective amnesia and has forgotten to disclose his assets for seven years. But several ethics experts offered another reason: Johnson is terrible at managing the money he makes and may be in massive debt.

“He owes hundreds of thousands of dollars between a mortgage, personal loan, and home equity line of credit, so where did that money go?” Jordan Libowitz, the communications director for the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told The Daily Beast. “If he truly has no bank account and no assets, it raises questions about his personal financial wellbeing.”

Uh, WTF? Michigan Republican Awards Two Men Acquitted in Whitmer Kidnapping Plot

A Michigan Republican lawmaker seems to be encouraging political violence with this tribute.

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Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer

A Republican Michigan state representative has given a legislative tribute honoring the “courage” of two men who were acquitted in the failed attempt to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Brothers William and Michael Null were two of 14 men who tried to kidnap Whitmer in 2020, in opposition to her Covid-19 safety policies. The brothers were acquitted in mid-September on a weapons charge and charges of allegedly supporting a terrorist act.

State Representative Rachelle Smit gave a legislative tribute to the Nulls and their lawyers on Friday. Michael Null’s attorney Tom Siver posted a photo of the brothers’ awards on Facebook.

The certificates said the men were being “honored for [their] courage, unflagging spirit, and dedication to our State and the founding principles of our beloved Nation.”

Smit’s tribute accused the state government of unjustly imprisoning the Nulls, as well as the dozen other men who were charged with trying to kidnap the governor. The tribute also accused Whitmer of weaponizing the government’s “secret police,” as well as of corruption and tyranny.

The Null twins are among five men who were acquitted of the kidnap plot. The other nine were convicted or accepted plea deals.

Whitmer’s office slammed Smit’s tribute as “disturbing.”

“This goes beyond the pale,” spokeswoman Stacey LaRouche said. “These types of actions normalize and incite violence against our political figures, and only serve to shake our faith in our values and our institutions.”

“This tribute will further encourage and embolden radical extremists trying to sow discord and harm public officials or law enforcement.”

There have been increasing attacks on political officials, many of which can be linked directly back to violent rhetoric from Donald Trump and his allies. Targets often include politicians who either embrace progressive causes or appear to oppose Trump in some way.

In addition to the kidnapping plot, Whitmer also appeared on the hit list of a gunman who is accused of fatally shooting a retired Wisconsin county judge. The list featured Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, and Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell.