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Republican Congressman Melts Down Asking What His Party’s Even Doing

Representative Chip Roy began yelling at members of his own party during a House hearing.

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Representative Chip Roy went scorched earth on his Republican colleagues on Wednesday, haranguing them for years wasted on inaction and chaos as opposed to doing their jobs.

The Texas Republican and Freedom Caucus member spent his time on the House floor on Wednesday shouting and wildly gesticulating at his caucus, condemning them for capitulating on promises by working with Democrats and lamenting the party’s transparently vacuous approach to building a border wall.

“One thing. I want my Republican colleagues to give me one thing. One. That I can go campaign on and say we did,” Roy said. “One!”

“Anybody sitting in the complex, if you want to come down to the floor and come explain to me one material, meaningful, significant thing the Republican majority has done besides well, ‘I guess it’s not as bad as the Democrats,’” Roy lamented.

The House GOP finally passed a stopgap spending solution on Tuesday, after months spent ousting their own speaker and bickering over who to replace him with. That bill is now headed to the U.S. Senate, where it will face another round of criticism, just two days ahead of a potential government shutdown.

On Tuesday, Roy argued that the latest bill is “precisely” what got former Speaker Kevin McCarthy booted from the job.

“I am sick and tired of it. I didn’t come here for second place. I didn’t come here for more excuses. I didn’t come here for the speaker of the House to assume the position, and in 17 days, pass a continuing resolution on the floor of this House through suspension of the rules,” Roy fumed during his speech on the House floor.

He then took a jab at Donald Trump, criticizing conservatives for failing to meet their policy goals even when the party had the majority in the House, Senate, and White House during Trump’s presidency.

“With all due respect to former President Trump, they sure as hell didn’t get border security done when we had the White House and the House and the Senate,” Roy said. “Nothing!”

“Talked a big game about building a wall and having Mexico pay for it. Ain’t no wall and Mexico didn’t pay for it, and we didn’t pass any border security,” he added.

Republicans Have a New January 6 Conspiracy Theory: Deep State “Ghost Buses”

During a House hearing, Representative Clay Higgins wouldn’t stop talking about the “nefarious” ghost buses.

Representative Clay Higgins
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Representative Clay Higgins on Wednesday resurrected the conspiracy theory that the FBI was behind the January 6 attack, but he added a fun new twist: “ghost buses.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray appeared before the House Homeland Security Committee to testify about global threats. During the hearing, Higgins brought up the conspiracy theory that the January 6 insurrection was started by FBI agents posing as Donald Trump supporters.

Although Wray said that was “emphatically not” the case, Higgins kept pushing.

“Do you know what a ‘ghost vehicle’ is, Director? You’re director of the FBI, you certainly should. You know what a ‘ghost bus’ is?” the Louisiana Republican asked.

When Wray said he didn’t, Higgins explained: “It’s a vehicle that’s used for secret purposes. It’s painted over,” he said, showing a photo of buses parked at Union Station in Washington, D.C., the night before the attack.

Higgins insisted that two of the buses had their windows completely painted over and were therefore ghost buses.

“These buses are nefarious in nature and were filled with FBI informants dressed as Trump supporters, deployed onto our capital on January 6,” he said. “Your day is coming, Mr. Wray.”

Republicans have repeatedly insisted that FBI agents and informants were secretly behind the insurrection, so that they don’t have to admit that Trump and his supporters were responsible. This claim has been repeatedly debunked by the FBI and by people arrested in connection with the riot.

Hundreds of people arrested for participating in the January 6 attack said they went to Washington because they felt Trump had personally told them to. Others who were smeared as FBI agents, such as Capitol rioter Ray Epps, have testified that they were not connected to any law enforcement agencies.

Dissent Is Growing: Five More Congressmen Demand Cease-Fire in Gaza

Dozens of members of Congress are calling on Joe Biden to push for a cease-fire amid Israel’s war on Gaza.

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Demonstrators rally to demand a cease-fire near the Capitol on October 18 in a rally organized by Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow.

Slowly but surely, the calls in Congress for a cease-fire are growing, as five more representatives on Wednesday urged an end to fighting in Gaza.

Representative Don Beyer released a statement calling for a cease-fire. Shortly after, Representatives Raul Grijalva, Henry Johnson, Mark Pocan, and Mary Gay Scanlon added their names to a joint letter to President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, also calling for peace.

“Without an immediate cessation of hostilities and the establishment of a robust bilateral ceasefire, this war will lead to a further loss of civilian life and risk dragging the United States into dangerous and unwise conflict with armed groups across the Middle East,” the letter urged.

A total of 31 lawmakers have now called for a cease-fire. Beyer, Grijalva, Johnson, Pocan, and Scanlon join 26 other representatives and just one senator, Dick Durbin.

Congress has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of public support for a cease-fire. Democrats reportedly are telling their staff to let calls from voters go to voicemail while the party forms an official opinion.

Biden has so far resisted calls for a cease-fire, though, telling reporters last week that there was “no possibility” of one. Israel has agreed to a daily four-hour “humanitarian pause,” which Tel Aviv seems to think is enough time for civilians to flee bombs on foot.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also participated in a March for Israel rally on Tuesday. One of the speakers was far-right evangelical Pastor John Hagee, a known antisemite who once claimed Jews were responsible for the Holocaust. Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who last month suggested that civilians in Gaza are legitimate targets, also attended the rally.

More than 11,100 Palestinian civilians, more than half of them children, have been killed in Israel’s ongoing retaliation to Hamas’s October 7 attack. The fighting has also killed at least 39 journalists and other media workers and more than 100 United Nations employees.

Markwayne Mullin Threatens to Bite His Next Victim

The Oklahoma senator is making no apologies for threatening to fight the Teamsters president in the middle of a hearing.

Senator Markwayne Mullin
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Senator Markwayne Mullin is apparently out for blood in his ongoing feud with a union boss.

The freshman congressman has taken to conservative political talk shows, refusing to give up a fight he had sparked with International Brotherhood of Teamsters President Sean O’Brien, a Senate committee witness, during a Tuesday hearing.

On one show, Mullin claimed that he “wasn’t afraid of biting” O’Brien if the moment called for it.

“I’ll bite 100 percent. In a fight, I’m gonna bite. I’ll do anything. I’m not above it. And I don’t care where I bite by the way,” Mullin, a former mixed martial arts fighter, told podcast host Kyle Thompson on Wednesday’s episode of Undaunted.Life.

From Mullin’s perspective, these altercations are a part of representing the people of Oklahoma. In an interview with Fox’s Hannity on Tuesday evening, Mullin claimed his constituents would be “pretty upset” with him for failing to represent “Oklahoma values.”

While consensual fighting, also known as mutual combat, is a legal pathway for conflict resolution in some areas of the country like Texas and Washington state, it’s not in D.C., where Mullin and O’Brien would more likely be charged with assault and battery. It’s also a strange method of conflict resolution in the middle of a Senate hearing.

Mullin hasn’t given up hope that there might still be precedent on Capitol Hill, however.

“We looked into the rules. You used to be able to cane. You gotta remember, President Andrew Jackson challenged nine guys to a duel and won nine times,” Mullin told Newsmax’s Carl Higbie.

“And so at the end of the day, there is presence [sic] for it, if that’s what someone wants to do,” Mullin added.

The fight began Tuesday during a Senate committee hearing, when Mullin read aloud social media posts that O’Brien had made about the Oklahoma Republican online, including snubbing him as a “clown” and a “fraud,” though the initial confrontation ended abruptly after Senator Bernie Sanders scolded the pair.

Texas House Passes One of the Most Hard-Line Immigration Bills in the Country

Among other things, the bill would empower Texas to order undocumented immigrants back to Mexico (no matter where they’re from).

Jordan Vonderhaar/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Layers of razor wire along the Rio Grande River in Eagle Pass, Texas

The Texas House of Representatives approved a set of the most extreme anti-immigration bills in the nation on Tuesday, so extreme in fact that they could potentially lead to an international dispute with Mexico.

The first bill, Senate Bill 3, appropriates $1.5 billion in border funding and would effectively make crossing the Texas-Mexico border a state crime.

The second bill, Senate Bill 4, creates a new state misdemeanor for immigrants who enter or reenter the state illegally, with violations of the new crimes punishable by up to two years.

But that’s not the only controversial part of the bill, which, if signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott, will give local and state police the authority to arrest immigrants who they suspect of having unlawfully crossed into the state, rather than federal agencies. Officers would also be allowed to transport immigrants to U.S. ports of entry for compliance. Should immigrants fail to comply, they could be slapped with a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison, according to the bill.

S.B. 4 will also allow judges the ability to order undocumented immigrants to return to Mexico in lieu of prosecution, regardless of the country they are actually from.

The bill additionally includes financial provisions to send state troopers to patrol a housing development near Houston that far-right media has lambasted as a haven for undocumented immigrants, reported The Texas Tribune.

In an effort to dampen the blow of the extreme legislation, Democrats proposed dozens of amendments to the bill, including language that would exclude immigrant children, human trafficking victims, and sexual assault victims, reported the outlet. None of those amendments were adopted.

Opponents to the bill, which emerged as part of a fourth round of a special immigration-focused legislative session ordered by the governor, have criticized S.B. 4 and its proponents as racist.

“There is no U.S. federal analog to a lone officer in their own discretion escorting someone to the border and saying get out,” David Donatti, a senior staff attorney with the Texas ACLU, told ABC News. “That is a very scary prospect that is categorically different from what the federal government does. In addition to that, in the federal system people would be able to present their claims to an immigration officer and an immigration judge.”

The bill is now on its way to Abbott’s desk, where it will almost undoubtedly be signed into law.

Trump’s Desperate Legal Team Files for Mistrial in Fraud Case

When all else fails ...

Jabin Botsford/Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s New York business fraud case is going so badly for him that the former president is now throwing any strategy at the wall to see what sticks.

Trump’s lawyers requested a mistrial on Wednesday, accusing presiding Judge Arthur Engoron and his law clerk of behavior that undermines the trial’s fairness.

“This appearance of bias threatens both Defendants’ rights and the integrity of the judiciary as an institution,” the filing said. “Only the grant of a mistrial can salvage what is left of the rule of law.”

Trump’s attorneys took particular issue with Allison Greenfield, the law clerk who has repeatedly blocked Trump’s attempt to slow the trial. They said she had been given an inappropriately prominent role in the trial, despite the fact that Greenfield is a trained lawyer. Law clerks also usually do most of the research for a trial and draft court orders, which the judge then signs.

Trump’s lawyers also accused Engoron of sharing newspaper stories about the case in a newsletter linked to the high school where he graduated.

It will be up to Engoron to decide whether to grant a mistrial, which seems highly unlikely. The judge has made clear he intends to suffer no fools during this trial. He has already slapped Trump and Trump’s lawyers with multiple gag orders, after they repeatedly attacked Engoron and Greenfield both in court and on social media.

The ongoing trial is really just to set damages. The New York attorney general accused Trump, his sons Don Jr. and Eric, the Trump Organization, and other company executives of fraudulently inflating the value of various real estate assets to get more favorable terms on bank loans. Engoron determined in September that Trump committed fraud.

Engoron ordered that all Trump’s New York business certificates be canceled, making it nearly impossible to do business in the state and effectively killing the Trump Organization.

This article has been updated.

Mike Johnson’s New Chief of Staff Has Ties to a Dangerous Far-Right Group

Ruth Ward, the new House speaker’s chief of staff, may be more extreme than her boss.

Mike Johnson
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House Speaker Mike Johnson has hired a new chief of staff, and she’s just as extreme as he is.

Ruth Ward worked with Johnson from 2017 to the end of 2022, first as his director of scheduling and then as his director of operations. She left his office in December and joined the conservative Christian lobbying group Family Policy Alliance as its director of government affairs.

Ward was at FPA for more than nine months when Johnson called her back to be his chief of staff. But even in her relatively short time there, she pushed multiple false and dangerous conservative talking points.

In mid-October, Ward wrote a statement for FPA opposing the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s new proposed policy to require that people be addressed by their preferred pronouns in the workplace. Ward somehow accused the EEOC of making it easier for people to sexually harass their colleagues with the policy.

“Harassment should be taken seriously in the workplace. But this proposal only distracts from these goals and puts women, minors in the workplace, and people of conviction and faith at risk,” Ward said in the statement.

Ward also hosted a podcast episode during which her guest said that being asked to call someone by their preferred pronouns “poses some significant problems with respect to the First Amendment of the Constitution.”

“The First Amendment says you have a right to free speech, and that means you cannot be compelled to speak official government orthodoxy with your own lips,” Roger Severino, the vice president of domestic policy at the conservative Heritage Foundation, told Ward.

Ward has accused the government of “trans-ing children,” or forcing kids to transition. She has insisted that babies can be “born alive” during abortions, which is not true and medically inaccurate. She has also urged pharmacies not to dispense the abortion medication mifepristone, saying it was a “health and safety threat to women and their children.” There have been hundreds of studies proving mifepristone is safe to take. Ward also called pregnancy resource centers an “irreplaceable part of our community.” In reality, crisis pregnancy centers are clinics set up to pressure people not to get abortions.

The New Republic contacted Johnson’s office for comment, but they had not responded by the time of publication.

It’s unsurprising that Johnson called Ward back to lead his team. They appear to share many of the same values: Johnson opposes abortion and openly espouses Christian nationalist beliefs. Johnson also blatantly rejects expressions of LGBTQ gender identity. Before entering politics, he worked with a group that promotes conversion therapy and the criminalization of gay sex, and Johnson even blamed sexual orientation for the fall of the Roman Empire.

When Johnson tapped Ward for his new chief of staff, the FPA congratulated her in a statement.

We look forward to working with her and Speaker Johnson in the days ahead to advance social conservative values in this Congress,” FPA President Craig DeRoche said.

The FPA actively promotes conversion therapy, which it describes as “basic talk therapy to resolve unwanted same-sex attraction.” The organization insists that conversion therapy is “nothing more than traditional counseling methods,” and has warned the government will take your child away just because you tried to help them get rid of these unwanted feelings.

In reality, conversion therapy is a dangerous practice that can involve “violent role play, reenactment of past abuses, and exercises involving nudity and intimate touching,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. It has been “discredited by virtually all major American medical, psychiatric, psychological, and professional counseling organizations.”

The FPA has helped successfully block bans on conversion therapy in nearly half the country.

Now that Ward leads his staff, groups such as the FPA will have a direct line to Johnson. And given Johnson’s own background, it’s highly likely that he will be only too happy to listen.

Meta Is About to Royally Screw Up The Next Election

A new report shows Meta is already helping spread election lies on Facebook and Instagram.

Mark Zuckeberg
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

Facebook parent company Meta is allowing political ads on its platforms that promote the false belief that the 2020 election was rigged, a move that could destroy the upcoming vote in 2024.

A Wall Street Journal report on Wednesday revealed that Meta actually made the change in 2022. Facebook and Instagram will now allow political ads that say past elections were “rigged” or “stolen,” although they are not allowed to claim that ongoing or upcoming elections are fraudulent.

Meta executives “made the decision based on free-speech considerations after weighing past U.S. elections in which the results might have been contested by a portion of the electorate,” the Journal reported, citing anonymous sources familiar with the move.

The main vote in question is the 2020 election, which former President Donald Trump insists he won. The problem, of course, is that while a portion of the electorate may have contested the vote, there was absolutely no fraud found whatsoever.

Trump and his allies repeatedly contested the 2020 results, filing legal challenges and demanding recounts in battleground states. Every lawsuit was ultimately dismissed, and none of the recounts found any issues with the results.

Meta’s decision means that politicians will be able to straight-up lie to voters on two of the most popular social media platforms. Trump has already taken advantage of the policy change. In August, he ran a campaign ad on Facebook that claimed, “We won in 2016. We had a rigged election in 2020 but got more votes than any sitting president.”

Both of his claims in the second sentence have been disproven multiple times. But this ad was in line with Meta’s new policy.

It should go without saying that Meta’s decision is dangerous. Hiding behind the justification of “free speech” does not change that. Completely unmoderated free speech causes a rush of disinformation, which many people are only too happy to believe.

That disinformation can lead to very real offline consequences, from politically motivated violence to the installation of an authoritarian government. And Meta is apparently willing to help contribute to that.

Marjorie Taylor Greene Gets Awkward Civics Lesson on House Floor

Representative Rosa DeLauro gave the Georgia representative what she called a “basic lesson in civics.”

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Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene

It’s never too late to learn civics—even if you’re antagonizing other members of Congress on the House floor, apparently. Shortly after a vote on the House’s stopgap spending bill, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene got another awkward lesson about the U.S. political system.

“My Democratic colleague across the aisle who is 80 years old and has been here over 30 years just said we’re on the verge of a shutdown,” Greene said, taking a jab at Connecticut Representative Rosa DeLauro.

“She probably just forgot that a few hours ago she voted for the continuing resolution that will extend the budget, and we are not on the verge of a shutdown,” Greene added.

But DeLauro didn’t take the provocation lying down, instead taking the opportunity to educate the Georgia lawmaker that there is another half of Congress that will exercise its own judgment over the stopgap bill—with just three days before the government is scheduled to shut down.

“It may be that the gentlelady doesn’t know that there is another body attached to the U.S. Congress called the United States Senate, and they have to vote on the continuing resolution,” DeLauro whipped back. “And when they vote on it, we’ll find out what it is that they do with regard to this continuing resolution passed by the House, which quite frankly is flawed to a fare thee well.”

House Republicans spent the better part of October ousting their own speaker and subsequently wasting weeks trying to find a replacement, rather than working to prevent the looming government shutdown.

DeLauro then went on to argue the current spending bill, proposed by the House GOP, fails to meet U.S. obligations “both domestic and international.”

“And by the way, there isn’t a law of the land until the president of the United States signs it. That may be a basic lesson in civics. There is the House, there is the Senate, and there is the president,” DeLauro quipped.

Greene was also fact-checked earlier this month when she lumped Confederate General Robert E. Lee into her defense of a bill that would prevent the removal of federal statues and monuments depicting the Founding Fathers.

Uh-Oh: Giuliani’s “Biden Sources” Charged With Being Putin Agents

The Ukrainian officials Rudy Giuliani used to investigate Joe Biden were just charged with treason.

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Ukraine’s Security Service notified Rudy Giuliani’s top Ukrainian allies on Monday that they are suspects of treason, citing evidence that the officials participated in activities aiding Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A Ukrainian member of parliament, Oleksandr Dubinsky, ex-Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Derkach, and ex-prosecutor Kostyantyn Kulyk are suspected of joining an organization founded by chief members of Russia’s Military Intelligence while Giuliani worked to dig up dirt on President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden in 2019, according to a statement.

The organization received more than $10 million from the Russian Federation to “discredit” Ukraine on the international stage.

“It is established that on the instructions of the Russian special services, it organized events to discredit the image of Ukraine in the international arena in order to worsen diplomatic relations with the United States and complicate Ukraine’s accession to the European Union and NATO,” the State Investigative Bureau said in a statement.

Dubinsky, who is also suspected of spreading misinformation about Ukraine’s political leadership, will be detained for 60 days, or until January 12, 2024, reported Reuters. Dubinsky was not named in the charging document but was identified as the subject of the remand by other lawmakers, according to the outlet.

Giuliani met with Dubinsky and Derkach in Kyiv in December 2019 as part of his “documentary series” with One America News Network on election meddling, hoping to discredit the presidential election results.

A former Ukrainian presidential adviser, Igor Novikov, told Time in 2021 that he believed “Mayor Giuliani’s actions in Ukraine threatened our national security” and that the country should not allow efforts to “drag our country into our allies’ domestic politics” to go “unpunished.”

Giuliani and Trump have both pleaded not guilty in the criminal trial charging them and 16 others with attempting to overturn the 2020 election.