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George Santos Is Right About One Thing

He’s (probably) here to stay.


The American people will never be rid of George Santos—at least not according to him.

In a one-on-one interview with comedian Ziwe on Monday, the indicted former Long Island representative said that he would one day return to Congress after outliving the members who voted to expel him, claiming he’ll have plenty of time since he’s only 35 years old.

It’s not the first time that Santos has threatened his return to the House’s lower chamber.

“I’m not done with public service. I want to go back to Congress,” Santos told radio host Frank Morano on Wednesday, just two weeks after he stormed out of Congress claiming he was done with politics. “I’m not saying today. I’m not saying tomorrow.”

“I have a lot of things I need to take care of first,” he said on the program. “I think we all know, but I do have hopes of trying to regain the trust of the American people and going there, because I will continue to expose and root out the rot in our federal government.”

Whether or not Santos returns to Congress, it’s unlikely we’ll get him entirely out of our system. The Republican is reportedly making more than $80,000 per day for bespoke videos on the mid-tier celebrity messaging platform Cameo—significantly more than his $174,000 congressional salary during his nine-month term.

According to Santos, the only way we’ll stop seeing him is if comedians, producers, and interviewers “stop inviting [him] to your gigs.”

“But you can’t because you want the content,” he quipped.

In another dystopian twist in the interview, Santos rapped Nicki Minaj’s verse from Kanye West’s “Monster” after failing to identify Marsha P. Johnson, James Baldwin, and Harvey Milk.

The confrontational comedian also got down to brass tacks with Santos over the baby debacle, in which the politician emerged holding a mysterious baby mid-meltdown while feuding with a Palestinian activist just weeks before his expulsion.

The Real Reason Why Clarence Thomas Started Accepting Gifts From Billionaires

The Supreme Court justice was broke.


Clarence Thomas was in so much debt two decades ago that he tried to get Supreme Court justice salaries raised across the board. Within months, Republican billionaires began giving him extravagant gifts.

Thomas spoke at a conservative conference in January 2000, according to a new ProPublica report. In what we now know to be classic Thomas style, he did not report that trip on his financial disclosure forms.

On the way home, he sat next to Republican Representative Cliff Stearns. During the flight, Thomas complained bitterly that his salary—then $173,600—was insufficient. He even hinted that multiple justices could resign in the next year if they weren’t given a pay raise.

Thomas’s words sparked a rush of attempts on Capitol Hill to significantly raise the justices’ salaries or at least ensure their pay kept pace with inflation. Specifically, Republicans wanted to make sure that Thomas and his fellow staunch conservative Antonin Scalia did not leave the bench.

Thomas also petitioned then–Chief Justice William Rehnquist to lift a ban on justices giving paid speeches. Ultimately, the attempts to give justices more money all failed. But soon after, a group of Republican billionaire megadonors began lavishing Thomas and his family with a steady stream of gifts.

It is still unclear what exactly prompted the gift-giving, or if it was directly tied to Thomas’s money complaints. But certainly, many of those gifts have alleviated the justice’s financial concerns.

One of those generous souls is billionaire Harlan Crow, who has been friends with Thomas for more than two decades. In that time, Crow—a Nazi memorabilia collector—has repeatedly lavished Thomas with expensive gifts. These include island-hopping yacht vacations, private school tuition for Thomas’s nephew, and buying and renovating a Thomas family property, where Thomas’s mother still lives.

Crow has also regularly brought Thomas as his guest to the Bohemian Grove, which ProPublica has previously described as a “secretive all-men’s retreat in Northern California” that attracts major corporate and political players.

By 2003, Thomas’s wife, Ginni, had begun working at the Heritage Foundation and was making a salary in the low six figures. The Heritage Foundation is part of the Koch brothers’ network. By at least 2010, Clarence Thomas began secretly participating in Koch donor network events, which put him in touch with wealthy and influential conservatives.

Looking at Thomas’s finances, though, it would seem that keeping pace with inflation wasn’t the main issue. When he was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1991, he still had student loans from law school. But during the early 1990s, he made at least two big purchases: a Corvette and a house in Virginia with five acres of land. Thomas and his wife bought the house for $522,000 in 1992. They were able to pay $8,000 out of pocket and had to borrow the rest, according to property records.

The couple borrowed huge sums of money throughout the next decade, including a consumer loan of $50,000 and a $100,000 line of credit on their house. In 1998, Thomas became his grandnephew’s legal guardian and began sending him to pricey private schools.

The month before Thomas complained about his salary to Stearns, he had borrowed $267,000 from a friend to buy a luxury R.V. That purchase partially paid off, though: In 2001, Thomas took his R.V. to get serviced outside Tampa. While there, he met Earl Dixon, the owner of a Florida pest control company, who ended up giving Thomas $5,000 for his grandnephew’s tuition.

By 2019, Thomas began singing a decidedly different tune. Justices’ pay was by then keeping up with inflation, but it hadn’t increased significantly. But in June, when asked about the court’s salaries, Thomas said, “Oh goodness, I think it’s plenty.”

“My wife and I are doing fine. We don’t live extravagantly, but we are fine.”

A few weeks later, Crow took the Thomases on a yacht vacation.

Donald Trump’s Rhetoric About Immigrants Has Somehow Gotten Even More Fascistic

The former president called the situation at the southern border a “military invasion” on Sunday, a day after saying that immigrants were “poisoning the blood of our country.”

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Donald Trump at a rally in Reno on Sunday

GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump continued to escalate immigration rhetoric on Sunday, promising to divert federal law enforcement funds to battle what he called a “military invasion” at the border.

“This is an invasion. This is like a military invasion,” Trump said. “Drugs, criminals, gang members, and terrorists are pouring into our country at record levels. We’ve never seen anything like it. They’re taking over our cities.”

To a crowd of cheers, Trump swore to “shift massive portions of federal law enforcement to immigration enforcement, including parts of the DEA, ATF, FBI, and DHS.”

“And I will make clear that we must use any and all resources needed to stop the invasion of our country, including moving thousands of troops currently stationed overseas in countries that don’t like us,” he added.

That wasn’t all the indicted former president had to say on the matter. In a speech a day earlier, Trump continued to channel the language of Adolf Hitler, warning that immigrants are “poisoning the blood of our country” while lionizing some of his icons, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un.

“Not just in South America, not just the three or four countries that we think about, but all over the world they are coming into our country, from Africa, from Asia, all over the world. They’re pouring into our country, nobody’s even looking at them,” he said.

It’s the latest bout of dehumanizing vitriol out of Trump’s mouth. On Veteran’s Day, Trump made some eyebrow-raising public remarks that took his often callous approach to politics to an ugly new level: “We pledge to you that we will root out the Communists, Marxists, fascists and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country that lie and steal and cheat on elections,” Trump said at the time. “They’ll do anything, whether legally or illegally, to destroy America and to destroy the American dream.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article suggested that Trump’s comments about an “invasion” and his statement about immigrants “poisoning the blood of our country” occurred during the same speeches. Trump made these statements in two separate speeches over the weekend.

How a Supreme Court Leak Helped Conservative Justices Unite to Overturn Roe

A new report details how a leak of the Dobbs decision shut down disagreement among the court’s conservative justices—and destroyed the right to an abortion.

Samuel Alito
Alex Wong/Getty Images

The leak of Justice Samuel Alito’s draft decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Clinic actually solidified the court’s opinion amid a flurry of behind-the-scenes negotiations, a new report indicates.

An investigation by The New York Times illustrates that the premature opinion, distributed to Politico by an unknown source two months before the court revealed it had ruled to overturn abortion access at a national level, thwarted efforts by Chief Justice John Roberts and liberal Justice Steven Breyer to find a middle ground.

The majority of Supreme Court justices did not want the court to take up Dobbs, according to the Times, including Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who Trump explicitly appointed to the bench to clinch the abortion decision as a longtime goal of the religious right. A fragile minority of the court, four male justices, decided to move forward without her.

But the court waited months to announce that they had decided to weigh in on the seismic case, hoping to distance the whiplash decision from the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a longtime champion of abortion as a bastion for gender equality, the Times noted.

Roberts and Breyer actively worked to curtail the Supreme Court’s landmark decision, attempting to limit the outcome of Alito’s opinion and, by Breyer’s hand, even eroding it entirely in an effort to save most of Roe. But the leak ended that whole compromise effort, helping Alito.

The report also depicts an effort by Alito to force the other conservative justices to help him overturn Roe after Ginsburg passed—including by secretly sharing a draft opinion with conservative allies.

Once Alito circulated his draft opinion among the members of the bench in February 2022, opinions rolled in almost immediately. Within minutes, Justice Neil Gorsuch said he would sign on to the opinion with zero changes. The next morning, Justice Clarence Thomas said the same. Then came ​​Justice Amy Coney Barrett and Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, all, unusually, with no alterations in mind.

In Dobbs, the court tested the boundaries of how that case, and subsequently all future ones, would be decided. Apart from the shocking leak, the justices also allowed Mississippi to expand its focus in the case, switching its stance from a narrower attempt to curtail abortion access to an outright assault on Roe, the Times wrote.

On Wednesday, the court picked up its next high-stakes abortion access case: a challenge to the 2000 Food and Drug Administration approval of a drug called mifepristone that comprises one-half of what’s more commonly known as the “abortion pill.” Since abortion has become a losing issue for Republicans across the country since the high court’s decision to overturn Roe, several GOP officials have come out publicly slamming the court’s decision to weigh in, predicting a prohibitive outcome.

By and large, most Americans support abortion access. In a 2023 Gallup poll, just 13 percent of surveyed Americans said that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. Meanwhile, 34 percent said it should be legal under any circumstances, and an additional 13 percent said it should be legal in most circumstances.

Read more at The New York Times.

Broke Giuliani Must Pay Up $148 Million for Defaming Georgia Election Workers

A jury has decided the former Trump lawyer must make serious amends after ruining the lives of two Georgia election workers.

Rudy Giuliani
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

Former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani was ordered to pay nearly $150 million in damages on Friday to a pair of Georgia poll workers he defamed.

America’s mayor had already been found liable in August for defaming election workers Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Shaye Moss, after he accused the duo of manipulating ballots—claims that transformed into months of harassment, death threats, and protesters at their doorsteps.

The pair originally sought $24 million each in damages. Instead, the jury decided they deserve far more.

In total, the mother-daughter duo received $16 million each in damages for defamation, $20 million each for emotional distress, and another $75 million in punitive damages.

This week’s court appearances saw a flurry of drama after Giuliani continued to repeat election lies that he had previously admitted were untrue, resulting in a wrist slap by U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell, who noted that it could result in more defamation charges for the broke fixer. Giuliani also refused to take the stand in his own defense after spending weeks claiming that his testimony would make “definitively clear” that what he said about the pair of workers was true.

The judgment adds to a seismic fall from grace for the once beloved New York mayor, who is staring down a storm of legal and financial woes for shopping Trump’s 2020 election conspiracy theories, landing him several charges that have all but bankrupted him.

After this expensive trial, Giuliani will be one of 19 co-defendants in the Fulton County election interference case, in which he stands accused of orchestrating a “criminal enterprise” in Georgia that pressured state officials to reverse Trump’s election loss.

It’s not clear how Giuliani will pay off this new judgment or any others in the future—the former attorney is almost certainly penniless.

In September, the criminal defendant was sued by his own legal representation for failing to pay his bills, allegedly only dishing out $214,000 of nearly $1.6 million in legal expenses, after he claimed he was stiffed by his favorite client, Trump, to the tune of millions of dollars.

That resulted in an embarrassing show in which Giuliani had no other option than to beg Trump for help settling his seven-figure legal fees, to which the stingy developer refused but offered to throw a couple of fundraisers for him instead.

Now Giuliani faces a weighty nine-figure legal consequence. At this rate, there may be many more fundraisers down the line.

This story has been updated.

A Shocking Number of Republicans Are Signing Florida’s Abortion Petition

Republican voters are helping Florida put abortion on the ballot next year.

A woman outside holds a sign reading "BANS OFF OUR BODIES"
Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images

Even many Republicans in Florida don’t want the state’s restrictive abortion ban, with thousands of conservative voters signing on in support of a constitutional amendment that would enshrine the right to abortion in the Sunshine State.

The petition proposes ensuring abortion access until the point of viability—roughly 24 weeks into pregnancy. That’s four and a half months longer than the state’s impending six-week abortion ban. So far, the petition has garnered 753,305 valid signatures, according to the Florida Division of Elections website, up from 687,000 last week. And more than 150,000 of those signatures come from Republicans.

The measure must receive at least 891,523 valid signatures within the state before a February 1 deadline to get on the November 2024 ballot.

“The vast majority of Floridians don’t support an abortion ban,” Anna Hochkammer, executive director of the bipartisan Florida Women’s Freedom Coalition, told The Guardian. “In the past, we’ve been protected by the explicit right to privacy contained in the state constitution, but we want specific language in the constitution that prohibits government interference with access to abortion.”

The Amendment to Limit Government Interference With Abortion reads, in part, that “no law shall prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict abortion before viability or when necessary to protect the patient’s health, as determined by the patient’s healthcare provider.”

“How can my party be so vigorous in its defense of the right to bear arms yet not defend a woman’s right to make decisions about her own health care?” one Florida Republican, Carlos Lacasa, told the outlet. “I believe in small government, and morality cannot be legislated without an overwhelming consensus of the governed—and there is no such consensus on this issue.”

It’s another sign that Republican officials are out of touch with their bases. On Thursday, several Republican legislators slammed the Supreme Court for picking up a case threatening access to a drug called mifepristone, which comprises one-half of the abortion pill, fearing that a prohibitive ruling could put them at risk in the next election.

John Fetterman Finally Announces He’s Not the Progressive He Pretended to Be

The Pennsylvania senator spent years claiming to be building a progressive movement. Now he’s taking it all back.

John Fetterman
Nathan Howard/Getty Images

From the perspective of his supporters, Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman entered Congress as a staunch progressive. He curried the endorsement of one of the leaders of the contemporary progressive movement, Senator Bernie Sanders, and stacked his own staff with former Bernie aides. Fetterman also championed progressive causes, including shifts toward renewable energy, implementing wealth taxes, single-payer health care, and raising the federal minimum wage.

But on Friday, Fetterman officially divorced himself from the progressive movement.

“I’m not a progressive,” Fetterman told NBC News. “I just think I’m a Democrat that is very committed to choice and other things. But with Israel, I’m going to be on the right side of that. And immigration is something near and dear to me, and I think we do have to effectively address it as well.”

The announcement comes after weeks spent disagreeing with other congressional progressives like the Squad over his unwavering support for Israel in its conflict with Hamas and his calls for tougher immigration laws.

But if you asked Fetterman during the campaign season where he stood, his words were more than a little different.

After losing his first Senate run in 2016, Fetterman touted that he had started a progressive movement in the Coal State.

“It’s not going away. We’re not going away. This isn’t over. This is not how our story ends,” he added in an additional post.

Two years later, Fetterman was still using the label to ask for donations during his run for lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania.

“Chip in whatever you can to help us take this progressive momentum all the way to the ballot box on May 15,” Fetterman posted.

“Progressive. Simple. Sacred. The union way of life,” Fetterman said in another.

“Progressive values have been the heart of my campaign,” Fetterman wrote in a 2018 post aligning himself with Sanders.

And despite emerging rhetoric from the senator claiming that the United States needs harsher immigration reform, one of Fetterman’s recurring campaign mantras on the issue circles back to his wife, who lived in the U.S. “undocumented for years” after escaping violence in Brazil. Time and time again, Fetterman has insisted that “immigration makes America, America.”

A Binder on Highly Classified Russian Intel Went Missing Under Trump

Intelligence officials are sounding the alarms about the unredacted missing documents.

Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

A 10-inch-thick binder of highly classified raw data regarding Russian election interference went missing in the final days of the Trump administration, a new report reveals.

The loss of the massive binder, which has yet to be found two years after it was first reported missing, included details on Russian agents that informed the government’s assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin had worked to help Trump win the 2016 election, according to a sprawling CNN investigation.

The information inside was so sensitive that lawmakers and congressional aides looking to review the materials had to do so under top secret security clearances and only inside a locked safe at CIA headquarters.

The binder included a GOP report on Russian intelligence, foreign intelligence surveillance warrants on a Trump campaign adviser from 2017, interview notes with Trump-Russia dossier author Christopher Steele, internal FBI and DOJ communications, and FBI reports from a confidential source related to FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation, among other documents, according to the outlet.

It was last seen at the White House.

In the waning hours of the administration, Trump ordered a host of documents, including the binder, to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for mass declassification in a scheme to prove that the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation into his 2016 campaign ties was a hoax.

Republican aides spent days scrubbing the binder, redacting the most sensitive details so that an abridged version could be released to the public, even against the behest of other top Trump administration officials who repeatedly attempted to block the former president from releasing its contents, according to the outlet.

A day before his term was set to end, Trump issued an order to preemptively declassify most of the binder’s contents well before it was ready and regardless of some of the redactions. Multiple copies of the redacted version had been created inside the White House, with plans to hand them off to Republicans and right-wing journalists. But that’s not what happened. Instead, White House lawyers scrambled, forcing an immediate retrieval of some documents that had already been sent off, and demanding that the documents be stripped down more.

“The Crossfire Hurricane binders are a complete disaster. They’re still full of classified information,” White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson recalled a White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, telling her. “Those binders need to come back to the White House. Like, now.”

With minutes to spare before Joe Biden’s inauguration, Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows hand-delivered a redacted copy of the binder to the Justice Department for a final review.

“I personally went through every page, to make sure that the President’s declassification would not inadvertently disclose sources and methods,” he wrote in his book detailing his time as Trump’s chief.

Meanwhile, the original, unredacted version had gone missing.

But Hutchinson believed she had a clue as to its location. In a closed-door testimony before the January 6 committee, Hutchinson pointed a finger directly at her old boss in relation to the possible whereabouts of the original binder.

“I am almost positive it went home with Mr. Meadows,” Hutchinson said, according to transcripts.

Meadows’s legal team has vehemently denied that he mishandled any classified or sensitive documents.

Apart from Meadows, there seem to be no obvious leads for the location of the binder, which could expose some of America’s most closely guarded national security secrets. Somehow, it was not one of the 11,000 documents discovered at Trump’s Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago.

Trump Co-Defendants Offer One-Line Apology for Trying to Overthrow Election

The apology letters from the former Trump lawyers were so short they barely made any mention of the crimes at all.

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

Donald Trump’s former lawyers and co-defendants in the Fulton County, Georgia, case wrote single-sentence letters apologizing to Georgia voters for their role in trying to overthrow the 2020 election.

As part of their plea agreements in the 2020 election interference case, bail bondsman Scott Hall as well as ex-Trump lawyers Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell were required to write letters, as Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis demanded that “there needs to be real contrition.”

However, the one-line apology letters failed to walk back any of the baseless conspiracies spouted and did not include any acknowledgment of President Biden’s win in the state. In fact, they barely mentioned the crimes they were charged with at all.

“I apologize to the citizens of the State of Georgia and of Fulton County for my involvement in Count 15 of the indictment,” was all Chesebro wrote in his apology letter, obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Sidney Powell also kept it insanely brief. “I apologize for my actions in connection with the events in Coffee County,” she wrote in her October 19 letter.

Hall, the bail bondsman, issued the longest apology of the three—and still, it was only eight sentences.

While Willis said the apology would not have to be long, she expects some level of sincerity.

“It doesn’t have to be pages and pages,” she told the Constitution earlier this week. “Sometimes you just need ‘I’m sorry.’ And if you get ‘I’m sorry,’ then we can move on and move past (it) if it’s a sincere apology.”

Republicans Have a Replacement for George Santos—and She’s a Doozy

Republicans have rallied behind Mazi Melesa Pilip, a local legislator who previously served in the Israeli Defense Forces.

Screenshot CBS New York/YouTube

Republicans believe that their pick to replace recently expelled Representative George Santos could be a rising star on the national stage, despite her thin political résumé.

Mazi Melesa Pilip, a local legislator who was born in Ethiopia and served in the Israel Defense Forces, was tapped in a secret meeting on Thursday to run as the Republican candidate for New York’s 3rd congressional district. So far, she’s curried the favor of the traditionally white Long Island Republican caucus and the endorsement of another former Long Island representative and 2016 GOP presidential candidate who once claimed there were “too many mosques in this country”—Peter King.

“She is the American success story,” King told The New York Times. “Some people have superstar capacity. She walks into the room, people notice her, they listen to her.”

In many ways, Pilip is an unlikely candidate for the Long Island seat. She is a 44-year-old mother of seven who first ran for office just two years ago. According to the Times, she has almost no experience raising money and has yet to foster relationships with the national party. She also lacks a strong platform, having yet to weigh in on issues that have decided other races, including abortion rights, gun laws, and Donald Trump’s numerous criminal trials.

This all makes Pilip a pretty bold pick, given that Democrats already have a very good chance of retaking the House seat. Santos was one of 18 Republicans representing districts that voted for Joe Biden in 2020.

It remains to be seen if voters in the Queens-Nassau County district have been turned off the GOP. After all, it’s thanks to the local Republican officials that Santos was pushed through inauguration, even after several bombshell reports revealed that the fabulist congressman had lied about everything from his résumé to his lineage, resulting in the third expulsion in U.S. history in the post–Civil War period.

She’ll be pitted against the Democrats’ pick, former Representative Tom Suozzi, in a special election scheduled to take place February 13.