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It Sure Looks Like Mitch McConnell Is About to Become the Next Kevin McCarthy

Senate Republicans are turning against Mitch McConnell after his failed border deal.

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Senate Republicans are starting to turn on their leader Mitch McConnell over his support of the bipartisan border deal, a situation that echoes the October ouster of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

McConnell has urged his fellow GOP senators in recent days to support the bipartisan measure, but he has been met with resistance. Some Republicans think that any deal brokered with Democrats is an automatic nonstarter, and some are following Donald Trump’s orders—but whatever the case, enough oppose the border bill that McConnell was forced to finally admit Tuesday that the measure has “no real chance” of passing.

Senator Ted Cruz pointed to McConnell’s stance on the bill Tuesday when he called for the minority leader to step down. When asked at a press conference whether it was time for McConnell “to go,” Cruz replied, “I think it is.”

I think a Republican leader should actually lead this conference and should advance the priorities of Republicans,” Cruz said.

While Cruz has long opposed McConnell’s power, even voting against him for Senate minority leader in 2022, he’s not alone this time. Shortly after the bill was unveiled on Sunday, Senator Mike Lee took to X (formerly Twitter) to blast the measure as “an unmitigated disaster.”

“I cannot understand how any Republican would think this was a good idea—or anything other than an unmitigated disaster,” Lee wrote. “WE NEED NEW LEADERSHIP—NOW.”

Many other Senate Republicans have been privately and publicly lambasting McConnell’s negotiation over the deal, even though it contains a lot of the border policies Republicans have been demanding for months.

The calls for McConnell to resign over his support for a bipartisan deal are reminiscent of the House ousting McCarthy after he helped broker a deal with Democrats on the debt ceiling. It’s unclear whether Republican senators are moving to oust McConnell from his leadership position, or if they would even succeed at doing so.

But McConnell’s power in Congress has slowly started to wane. Some Republicans started to grow frustrated with him at the end of 2022 over his support for continued U.S. aid to Ukraine (another element of the bipartisan bill). And last summer, he froze up during two different public appearances, prompting demands he resign due to flagging mental capabilities.

More on McConnell’s plight ahead:

House Republicans Have Total Meltdown After Trump’s Immunity Loss

House Republicans are desperately trying to defend Donald Trump from claims of insurrection.

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Hours after a federal appeals court unanimously voted against all three of Donald Trump’s presidential immunity arguments in his January 6 case, the former president’s biggest fans in Congress decided to introduce a nonbinding resolution that Trump “did not engage in insurrection or rebellion against the United States.”

One after another, a hurried collection of MAGA House Republicans made their case for the former president.

“We are here today to authoritatively express that President Trump did not commit an insurrection, and we believe Congress has a unique role in making that declaration,” Representative Matt Gaetz said. “It’s not the job of the states and especially not the job of some bureaucrats in Colorado to make this assessment and interfere with the right of voters to cast their vote for the candidate of their choice.”

“Is there a practical implication if this passes; would this help Trump legally in court, or is this just a symbolic thing?” asked one reporter.

“I think it would be incredibly helpful, legally, if we were to adopt this provision. You know, I’ve been the victim of federal crimes,” added Gaetz, who is currently under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for allegedly paying $900 to a sex trafficker for sex with a minor. “If we’re the purported victim, in Congress, and we’re saying this was not an insurrection, I think that would hold a great deal of weight.”

Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene seemed equally keen for Trump’s favor when she took the podium, completely flipping the script by claiming that President Joe Biden’s actual inauguration was an insurrection.

“When they came to Washington and protested, all of you called it an insurrection,” Greene said, referring to more than 2,000 rioters who forcefully entered and devastated the Capitol building—of which 749 have received criminal sentences.

“And then when Joe Biden was inaugurated and this entire Capitol complex was surrounded with 30,000 National Guard troops, none of you stood there and called that an insurrection,” she continued. “Oh no, you all stayed silent.”

New York Republican Elise Stefanik, who along with Gaetz is rumored to be on Trump’s short list for his vice presidential pick, also chimed in during the press conference to decry the legal effort to hold the former president accountable for attempting to thwart the transfer of power.

“As President Donald Trump continues to dominate in the polls, extreme Democrats will stop at nothing in an attempt to prevent President Donald Trump from returning to the White House,” Stefanik said.

It’s unclear if the one-page resolution, which was co-signed by 60 Republican members of the House, would have any sway in an actual court of law—especially when the Colorado Supreme Court already set a precedent for the language, ruling in December that Trump was ineligible to appear on the state’s GOP primary ballot on the basis that he had taken part in an insurrection and violated the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment.

Of Course Tucker Carlson Is in Russia to Interview Putin

The former Fox News host has spent years expressing his love of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Tucker Carlson, seated, wears a suit and laughs before a mic
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Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson announced Tuesday that he is in Russia for the worst reason possible: He is going to interview Vladimir Putin.

Carlson has been in Moscow over the past few days, gleefully fueling speculation that he would interview the Russian president. Neither he nor the Kremlin would explicitly confirm or deny anything until Carlson posted a video on X (formerly Twitter).

Carlson said he was interviewing Putin so that Americans would finally know the truth about the war in Ukraine.

American “media outlets are corrupt,” he said in the video. “They lie to their readers and viewers, and they do that mostly by omission.”

He cited the multiple interviews Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has given to U.S. outlets. “The interviews he’s already done in the United States are not traditional interviews,” Carlson said. “They are fawning pep sessions specifically designed to amplify Zelenskiy’s demands.”

“That is not journalism. It is government propaganda.”

Carlson did not acknowledge that he himself has held multiple “fawning pep sessions” for a politician. Both while he was at Fox News and after he was unceremoniously fired, Carlson has repeatedly parroted Donald Trump’s talking points and invited the former president on air to spew falsehoods unchecked.

Meanwhile, Carlson claimed, no Western outlets have interviewed Putin, meaning most Americans don’t know “why Putin invaded Ukraine, or what his goals are now.”

Putin has actually made it pretty clear why he invaded Ukraine: He wants to force the country to rejoin Russia, in an effort to reestablish the Soviet Union. But if there is a lack of coverage about the Russian side of the invasion, it’s because Putin has cracked down on journalism.

Since the war broke out, the Kremlin has rushed to silence reporting on the military conflict. Two American journalists, Evan Gershkovich and Alsu Kurmasheva, are currently imprisoned in Russia for covering the war.

It’s likely that Putin only accepted Carlson’s request for an interview because Carlson, while at Fox, repeatedly expressed support for Putin on air and echoed Kremlin talking points. He has vehemently opposed U.S. military aid for Ukraine and blamed Western nations for Russia’s invasion because they supported letting Ukraine join NATO.

More on the fall of Tucker:

If This Email Is Any Proof, the Verdict in Trump’s Fraud Trial Is Gonna Hurt

A new email from Judge Arthur Engoron demands answers on possible perjury from a key witness in the case.

New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron smiles at the camera while seated in court
Spencer Platt/Getty Images/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s wallet is in for a new world of pain, according to a new letter by the judge in his $370 million New York bank fraud case.

That’s thanks to Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, who is reportedly negotiating a plea deal with Manhattan prosecutors that would require he admit he lied on the stand during the trial, according to The New York Times.

In an email on Monday sent to attorneys for Trump, Weisselberg, the Trump Organization, as well as counsel for New York Attorney General Letitia James’s office, New York Justice Arthur Engoron explained he wanted answers before issuing his verdict.

“As the presiding magistrate, the trier of fact, and the judge of credibility, I of course want to know whether Mr. Weisselberg is now changing his tune, and whether he is admitting he lied under oath in my courtroom at this trial,” Engoron wrote.

“I do not want to ignore anything in a case of this magnitude,” Engoron added.

Engoron has asked the legal teams to respond by 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Ultimately, Engoron noted, he might use the news as reason to invoke “falsus in uno”—which would discount the credibility of Weiselberg’s entire testimony.

“If you’re going to issue a ruling and if it turns out Weisselberg lied, that’s going to harm the Trump Organization when it comes time for the verdict,” former federal prosecutor Elie Honig told CNN on Thursday.

Weisselberg was a key witness out of the 40 odd people who took the stand during the bank fraud trial, in which Trump is accused of massively overinflating his net worth in order to broker better (and fraudulent) deals with banks and insurance companies.

The Times reported that prosecutors seemed particularly focused on claims Weisselberg had made on October 10 about Trump’s penthouse at Trump Tower, which had been overvalued on his financial statements by inaccurately reporting it as three times its actual size.

Engoron ruled prior to the start of the trial that James had proved that Trump committed fraud. What remains to be seen in Engoron’s verdict is just how much dough Trump will have to cough up as recompense for his scheme, which was likened by the judge to Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. The court has also floated the possibility of stripping the Trump Organization’s licenses to do business in the state.

Dozens of Public Housing Officials Arrested in Record Corruption Bust

A New York corruption scandal has led to the largest number of federal bribery changes in a single day.

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United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams

More than a third of New York’s crumbling public housing buildings were just implicated in a massive corruption scandal.

Federal prosecutors are charging 70 current and former employees of the New York City Housing Authority on corruption and bribery charges—a single-day record for the Department of Justice.

The no-bid contracts allowed superintendents and their assistants to hire workers directly without going through the bidding process, which is overseen by the city government. The public housing employees would then refuse to sign off on payments to the contractors unless they got a kickback, according to the attorney general’s office.

The employees, who included superintendents and assistant superintendents, allegedly demanded more than $2 million in corrupt payments from contractors in exchange for awarding over $13 million in no-bid contracts.

The corruption impacted vital infrastructure repairs, including plumbing and window repairs, at NYCHA locations across the city—many of which already struggle with supplying the basics, including cooking gas, running water, and mold-free apartments.

“The corruption we’ve alleged infected every corner of the city. As the charges show, superintendents accepting and extorting bribes from contractors had become business as usual, occurring at almost 100 NYCHA buildings across all five boroughs. That’s nearly a third of all NYCHA buildings,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams.

Sixty-six of the offenders were arrested Tuesday morning, according to a DOJ press release. All of the charged employees have been suspended immediately, according to NYCHA leadership.

“NYCHA has zero tolerance for wrongful and illegal activity,” said NYCHA Chief Executive Officer Lisa Bova-Hiatt in a statement to TheCity. “The individuals allegedly involved in these acts put their greed first and violated the trust of our residents, their fellow NYCHA colleagues and all New Yorkers. These actions are counter to everything we stand for as public servants and will not be tolerated in any form.”

The bribes pose just another monetary loss for an essential housing system that has been woefully underfunded for decades. According to a 2018 NYCHA assessment, federal capital funding has met only a fraction of capital needs since 2006. In the agency’s 2017 physical needs assessment, a five-year financial trajectory for improvements, NYCHA determined that it’s short $31.8 billion to return its campuses to a “state of good repair.” Failing remediation, by 2023 that number had shot up by 73 percent, with the agency declaring it needed a new 20-year capital investment of $78.3 billion.

Meanwhile, the city is in the thrall of a housing crisis, woefully failing to produce enough homes for its growing population. According to Governor Kathy Hochul’s office, the state will need an investment of 800,000 new homes over the next 10 years—double the rate of production—in order to “make up for decades of underproduction.”

After killing Hochul’s Housing Compact in April, a cohort of progressives within the state legislature are refocusing their attention from rent control and eviction bans to the dire housing need. A new bill, set to be introduced on Thursday, would create a new agency that would build housing using its own money or money raised in the bond market. The shift in conversation is an “acknowledgment from the left that solving the housing crisis will inevitably mean building more homes,” per The New York Times.

Judge in Abortion Pill Case Cited Study So Bogus It Was Just Retracted

A study used as justification to ban the abortion pill was just retracted by the journal that published it.

Combipack misoprostol and mifepristone tablets
Soumyabrata Roy/NurPhoto/Getty Images

An academic publisher has retracted three studies about the adverse effects of the abortion pill mifepristone, two of which are central to the ongoing lawsuit to ban the medication nationwide.

Sage Publishing announced its decision Monday to pull the studies after they were revealed to have been funded and produced by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the powerful anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. The studies were published in 2019, 2021, and 2022. Sage began reviewing the 2021 study last year after a pharmaceutical sciences professor raised concerns about how it was cited in the mifepristone case.

Ultraconservative Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, who presided over the initial mifepristone trial in Texas, used the 2021 study to justify his ruling invalidating the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone. Another one of the studies, also since retracted, was used by the anti-abortion plaintiffs in the case.

The Sage investigation found that all but one of the study authors, including the lead author on each study, were affiliated with at least one of the anti-abortion associations Charlotte Lozier Institute, Elliot Institute, and American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The AAPLOG is listed as a plaintiff in the mifepristone lawsuit. One of the peer reviewers was also associated with Charlotte Lozier. None of the authors or the reviewer disclosed these affiliations.

Since all three studies had the same lead author, Sage carried out an independent post-publication peer review of the data in all three studies. Two subject matter experts determined that the 2021 and 2022 articles, which use the same dataset, had “fundamental problems with the study design and methodology, unjustified or incorrect factual assumptions, material errors in the authors’ analysis of the data, and misleading presentations of the data.”

These issues “demonstrate a lack of scientific rigor and invalidate the authors’ conclusions in whole or in part,” according to the experts.

Similarly, the 2019 study, which used a different dataset, included “unsupported assumptions and misleading presentations of the findings that … demonstrate a lack of scientific rigor and render the authors’ conclusion unreliable.”

Kacsmaryk ruled in April that mifepristone had been improperly approved and should be yanked from the U.S. market. The Department of Justice appealed the decision, first to the Fifth Circuit Court, which only partially stayed the ruling. The Justice Department then appealed the case to the Supreme Court, which issued a temporary stay while the lawsuit plays out. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case next month.

Kacsmaryk’s initial ruling hinged on several heavily biased “studies.” In addition to the faulty Charlotte Lozier article, he cited another study that claimed to find most people who had medication abortions reported negative effects. The sample size was 98 blog posts from an anti-abortion website. The study authors only analyzed 54 posts and then just cherry-picked quotes from the rest.

Medication abortions make up more than half of all abortions performed in the United States. These drugs can be ordered online and delivered via mail, making them a key resource for people who live in states that have cracked down on abortion access since Roe v. Wade was overturned.

A bigger issue at play, in this case, is that nonelected judges who do not have medical backgrounds are now making decisions about medication. When the lawsuit first began to play out, Rachel Rebouché, the dean of Temple University’s law school, told The New Republic, “The question for appellate courts is not just about abortion but about deference to a federal agency’s expertise.”

The Texas case “undermined” the FDA’s authority, she said. “To take seriously that it ignored risks, risks unsupported by any credible evidence, suggests questions as to what federal courts might decide about other federal agencies’ decisions.”

Brutal Immunity Decision Quotes Brett Kavanaugh Against Trump

A federal appeals court struck down Donald Trump’s immunity claim—and used a ruling from Trump appointee Brett Kavanaugh to do it.

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A Washington, D.C., appeals court issued a blistering takedown Tuesday of Donald Trump’s arguments that he has “presidential immunity” against criminal proceedings—including a savage citation from Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Trump has repeatedly insisted that he cannot be prosecuted for trying to change the 2020 election results because he has presidential immunity. One of his arguments is that the separation of powers prevents state and federal officials from judging official presidential acts. He claims that the 1803 Supreme Court case Marbury v. Madison established this precedent.

But “former President Trump misreads Marbury and its progeny,” the three-judge panel said in its ruling. “Properly understood, the separation of powers doctrine may immunize lawful discretionary acts but does not bar the federal criminal prosecution of a former President for every official act.”

The judges then quoted one of those progeny cases, the 1882 ruling in United States v. Lee. The majority opinion in that case stated, “No man in this country is so high that he is above the law. No officer of the law may set that law at defiance with impunity. All the officers of the government, from the highest to the lowest, are creatures of the law and are bound to obey it.”

What’s more, “that principle applies, of course, to a president,” the judges wrote, citing Kavanaugh’s concurring opinion in the 2020 case Trump v. Vance, in which the Supreme Court ruled that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance could access Trump’s tax records as part of his investigation into alleged hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels.

The judges’ decision to cite Kavanaugh, even fleetingly, is both clever and devastating. Trump and his legal team have previously hinted that the justice, a Trump appointee, owes the former president some sort of loyalty. But the appeals court ruling shows that Kavanaugh operates independently from Trump.

Trump is expected to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court. He has until Monday to do so. If the high court takes up the question of his immunity, it is starting to look increasingly likely that the justices will concur with the lower courts.

Trump Is Going Absolutely Bonkers After Losing Presidential Immunity Claim

Donald Trump is having a proper meltdown after that brutal court ruling.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Moments after a federal appeals court unanimously voted against all three of Donald Trump’s presidential immunity arguments in his January 6 case, the former president was back on TruthSocial, insisting that he was going to win the upcoming election.

In a flurry of back-to-back posts, Trump wordlessly reshared polls indicating that he was leading President Joe Biden in their 2024 rematch. One screenshot captured Trump’s odds on Polymarket, an online betting platform, which saw traders banking on the GOP front-runner holding a 17 percent edge over Biden.

Despite the digital diversion, it’s clear where Trump’s head was shortly before he went to sleep. In the late hours of Monday night, the felony-charged pol took one last stab at his immunity claim.


After the ruling on Tuesday, Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung echoed essentially the same sentiment.

“If immunity is not granted to a President, every future President who leaves office will be immediately indicted by the opposing party,” Cheung said. “Without complete immunity, a President of the United States would not be able to properly function! Deranged Jack Smith’s prosecution of President Trump for his Presidential, official acts is unconstitutional under the doctrine of Presidential Immunity and the Separation of Powers.”

Trump has not clarified why he thinks overturning an election is within the realm of his presidential duties.

Trump’s legal team has until February 13 to seek a Supreme Court review of the decision—otherwise the mandate will be sent back to Judge Tanya Chutkan, per the court.

The January 6 trial was initially removed from the docket, as Chutkan was awaiting the immunity decision. It’s not yet clear when it will resume, but the Supreme Court could kick it back to her as soon as the end of the month.

Busted: Dem Makes House GOPer Eat His Own Words on Impeachment

Representative Mark Green was caught arguing against his own op-ed, in a telling exchange on the Biden impeachment farce.

Representative Mark Green sitting in a hearing, holding his hand to his forehead and looking down.
Kent Nishimura/Getty Images
Homeland Security Committee Chair Mark Green

Democratic Representative Joe Neguse went for the jugular on Monday, forcing the Homeland Security Committee’s Republican chairman to eat crow on his impeachment stance.

During a Monday committee hearing on the impeachment resolution to oust Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Neguse had questions for Representative Mark Green about an op-ed from five years ago.

“I’m going to enter it into the record. The title is, ‘Americans are the Victims of the Impeachment Inquiry,’” Neguse said. “The subtitle … is, ‘A lot of bipartisan legislation that enjoys support sits gathering dust while Congress focuses on the impeachment inquiry.’”

“I assume you disagree with this?” Neguse prodded.

“I do,” Green replied.

But that turned out to be the wrong answer, trapping Green in a web of his own making.

“This is an editorial that you wrote five years ago during the debate about the impeachment of former President Trump,” Neguse went on, referring to the November 2019 piece by Green that ran in The Tennessean.

Neguse then attacked Green for attempting to unseat Mayorkas for his own political gain, referring to a New York Times article from last April that stated Green had “promised donors this month that he would produce an impeachment case against” Mayorkas.

“This is before your committee has heard from Secretary Mayorkas,” Neguse said. “It’s before you’ve had the witnesses that have apparently come before your committee. It’s before you’ve had any meaningful debate. You decide a year ago?”

Later that night, the House Rules Committee voted 8–4 along party lines to send impeachment articles to the House floor. It’s unclear how the final vote will play out—the divided Republican caucus currently holds a razor-thin majority in the lower chamber.

Trump Just Lost His “Presidential Immunity” Argument. Thoughts, Prayers.

Trump can protest all he wants, but he’s not immune from prosecution over his efforts to overthrow the 2020 election, a federal court has ruled.

Donald Trump

A Washington, D.C., appeals court ruled Tuesday that Donald Trump most certainly does not have “presidential immunity” in the indictment against him for trying to overthrow the 2020 presidential election.

Trump has repeatedly insisted that he cannot be prosecuted for trying to change the election results because he has presidential immunity against criminal proceedings. His lawyers argued his case to a panel of three appellate judges in Washington in early January.

The judges, however, ruled unanimously that Trump is wrong.

“For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant. But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution,” the judges said in the ruling.

“We have balanced former President Trump’s asserted interests in executive immunity against the vital public interests that favor allowing this prosecution to proceed,” they wrote. “We conclude that ‘Concerns of public policy, especially as illuminated by our history and the structure of our government’ compel the rejection of his claim of immunity in this case.”

“We also have considered his contention that he is entitled to categorical immunity from criminal liability for any assertedly ‘official’ action that he took as President—a contention that is unsupported by precedent, history or the text and structure of the Constitution. Finally, we are unpersuaded by his argument that this prosecution is barred by ‘double jeopardy principles.’”

Trump will likely appeal the ruling, meaning the case will head to the Supreme Court. This will delay Trump’s trial, which was originally set to begin on March 4, the day before Super Tuesday. The judge presiding over that trial, Tanya Chutkan, called off the March 4 start date last week and said she would set a new schedule once the appeals court ruled on Trump’s immunity.

Now that the court has ruled, it is not clear when the trial could resume. Chutkan has previously kept things moving fairly quickly, but she predicted Monday that the trial could be delayed until much later in the year. If that is the case, then the next trial Trump faces will be in his indictment for his role in hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels. That trial is set to begin March 16.

Trump was indicted in August for his role in the January 6, 2021, insurrection and other attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. He faces one count each of conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to corruptly obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against the right to vote.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges and has insisted the case should be dismissed altogether. He argues that former presidents can’t be criminally charged for actions related to their official responsibilities. He did not explain how overturning an election was related to official presidential duties.

While many critics say Trump’s immunity claim is a desperate attempt to avoid accountability, it could also be an attempt to ease his path toward increased power. As Greg Sargent wrote for The New Republic, “If he wins on this front, he’d be largely unshackled in a second presidential term, free to pursue all manner of corrupt designs with little fear of legal consequences after leaving office again.”

Trump’s own lawyer accidentally revealed as much while arguing why the former president should have immunity. During the hearing, Judge Florence Pan asked if a president would be immune from criminal prosecution if he had ordered Seal Team 6 to assassinate a political rival. She noted that an order to Seal Team 6 would be an official act. Trump’s lawyer John Sauer said the president could be prosecuted, but only if he had been impeached and convicted first—essentially saying that presidents should be able to order political assassinations in certain circumstances.

This article has been updated.