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“Kill ’Em All,” Republican Congressman Says of Palestinians in Gaza

Republican Representative Andy Ogles really does not care if even more kids are killed in Gaza.

Representative Andy Ogles yells and points a finger
Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

Representative Andy Ogles is making headlines over flippant remarks he made regarding the harrowing conflict in Palestine, saying in a recently released clip that America should help “kill ’em all.”

On Thursday, the far-right Tennessean got into a fiery spat with an activist, who pressed Ogles on his position regarding Israel’s atrocities in Gaza and America’s never-ending distribution of munitions to the cause.

“Do you know there’s a genocide happening right now in Palestine?” the activist asked. “Over 300 health care workers have been killed. Have you called for a cease-fire?

“Let’s be clear. Hamas raped and murdered babies,” Ogles started. “I’ve seen the footage, and you haven’t.”

“I’ve seen the footage of shredded children’s bodies,” the activist responded. “That’s my taxpayer dollars that are going to bomb those kids.”

But Ogles had no mercy for the plighted people, ruthlessly advocating for the complete extermination of Palestine.

“You know what? So, I think we should kill ’em all, if that makes you feel better,” Ogles, a self-described Christian, spat back. “Everybody in Hamas.”

“Do you have a heart? Do you have a family?” the activist responded, flabbergasted.

“Hamas and the Palestinians have been attacking Israel for 20 years. And It’s time to pay the piper,” the lawmaker continued.

Other prompts jumped out at the Republican after a small flock had gathered around him, with activists decrying Israel as an “occupier” that has spent decades attacking Palestine.

“Your naïveté doesn’t make it true,” Ogles said, adding, “Death to Hamas” before descending further into the Capitol.

The blatant cruelty is maybe not as shocking given that Ogles seemingly doesn’t care about dead children in his home state either, allegedly pocketing tens of thousands of dollars donated to build a child graveyard in Tennessee.

On Tuesday, the White House vetoed a resolution at the United Nations Security Council for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza proposed by Algeria, claiming it would  “jeopardize” talks to end the war. 

“Examine your conscience; how will history judge you?” said Amar Bendjama, Algeria’s U.N. diplomat.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday that Israel is bringing more than two million Palestinians to the brink of death—especially for those living in the northern section of the enclave.

“Israel’s prevention of aid trucks from entering and its occasional targeting of the few allowed in is already resulting in the death of children, elderly, and patients due to hunger,” the ministry said in a statement to Al Jazeera.

“The sight of thousands of children holding empty pots and standing in long lines waiting for any meal or food rations dominates life in northern Gaza.”

New York Attorney General Threatens to Take Action if Trump Doesn’t Pay Up

New York Attorney General Letitia James is vowing to make Donald Trump pay that massive fraud judgment, one way or another.

Letitia James speaks at a mic. A U.S. flag is in the background.
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

New York real estate mogul Donald Trump could soon be without any New York real estate, as the state attorney general has warned that she is prepared to seize his buildings if he doesn’t pay his $354 million penalty for financial fraud.

A judge fined Trump the whopping amount on Friday for committing real estate–related financial fraud in New York state. Trump can appeal the ruling, but he would first have to pay the entire amount plus interest, which could add as much as an additional $100 million.

The penalty could prove too much for Trump’s personal coffers to bear. But New York Attorney General Letitia James, who initially sued Trump for fraud, has a plan.

“If he does not have funds to pay off the judgment, then we will seek judgment enforcement mechanisms in court, and we will ask the judge to seize his assets,” James told ABC on Tuesday.

“We are prepared to make sure that the judgment is paid to New Yorkers, and yes, I look at 40 Wall Street each and every day,” she said, referring to one of Trump’s iconic Wall Street skyscrapers.

James 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. Presiding Judge Arthur Engoron determined in September that Trump committed fraud and last week delivered the final judgment.

In addition to Trump’s massive penalty, his two adult sons have been fined $4 million each. Trump has been banned from serving as an officer in any New York company for three years, while his sons have been banned for a period of two years.

James had originally sued for $250 million, but the penalty went up significantly after Trump repeatedly bragged about his alleged net worth during his deposition.

“Their complete lack of contrition and remorse borders on pathological,” Engoron wrote in his ruling. “They are accused only of inflating asset values to make more money. The documents prove this over and over again.”

(Unfortunately) More on Trump:

Jim Jordan Spirals When Asked About Losing His Star Biden Witness

House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan is desperately trying to spin the damning news on ex–FBI informant Alexander Smirnov.

Jim Jordan stands in front of a mic, looks distressed
Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Representative Jim Jordan seems to be struggling with the realization that Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden appears to be founded on a bed of lies peddled by the Russian government.

On Wednesday, the Ohio Republican got caught up in his own words, insisting that the inquiry still had merit, despite the Justice Department indictment against its primary witness, Alexander Smirnov.

“You said the 1023 is the most corroborating piece of information you have,” CNN’s Manu Raju prompted the Freedom Caucus politician on Wednesday, referring to the FBI’s FD-1023 form that documents Smirnov’s claims, which he is now accused of completely making up. In December, Jordan claimed the 1023 form constituted the “key” impeachable offense.

“It corroborates but it doesn’t change the fundamental facts,” Jordan responded, trying to flip the script and maintain that Biden was still involved in his son’s business dealings during his vice presidency.

But, of course, those facts are untrue. On Tuesday, the Justice Department revealed that Smirnov admitted to prosecutors that “officials associated with Russian intelligence were involved” in developing the Hunter Biden narrative.

According to a new court filing, Smirnov told investigators he was in contact with “four different [top] Russian officials,” two of whom were the “heads of the entities they represent.”

Ultimately, Smirnov’s testimony—and the GOP’s ongoing turmoil to save the impeachment probe against the president—serves as just another staining example of how effectively the Russian government is capable of infiltrating and undermining U.S. elections.

“It targeted the presumptive nominee of one of the two major political parties in the United States. The effects of Smirnov’s false statements and fabricated information continue to be felt to this day,” prosecutors wrote.

On Thursday, special counsel David Weiss announced the indictment of Smirnov on one count of making a false statement and one count of creating a false record, related to what he told the FBI in 2020 about alleged corruption by the Biden family and its connection to Ukrainian-owned Burisma Holdings.

Republicans had spent months building up the hype around Smirnov as a witness, isolating his allegation that Biden had pocketed millions of dollars from the Ukrainian company as the centerpiece of their probe.

On Tuesday, attorneys for the president’s son, Hunter Biden, argued that the “Smirnov allegations infected this case,” and that the special counsel threw out Biden’s plea deal while following Smirnov “down his rabbit hole of lies.”

Meanwhile, legal experts are predicting an unpretty ending for Jordan and other GOP representatives hawking the conspiracy.

“Jim Jordan, Chuck Grassley, and James Comer were either duped by Smirnov and the Kremlin—or they were in on it,” Tristan Snell, a lawyer and former assistant attorney general for New York state, argued on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “Either way, DOJ must subpoena every single communication Jordan, Grassley, and Comer had with or about Smirnov and anything related.”

“Either way—because either they are material witnesses—or they’re co-conspirators,” Snell added. “They have ZERO grounds to quash the subpoenas.”

Republicans Rush to Scrub Mention of FBI Informant in Impeachment Letter

House Republicans are quietly trying to remove traces of indicted ex–FBI informant Alexander Smirnov in their Biden impeachment quest.

Jim Jordan and James Comer standing in front of a mic
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

House Republicans quietly deleted a reference to their epic fail of an FBI informant in a letter to a potential witness in the somehow-still-ongoing impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden.

Republicans have hinged their Biden investigation on accusations from a supposedly credible but confidential FBI source that Biden and his son Hunter accepted bribes from a Ukrainian oligarch. But the Justice Department has since charged that source, former FBI informant Alexander Smirnov, with making false statements and revealed his accusation may have been Russian disinformation.

As a result, House Republicans have begun to scrub mentions of Smirnov from their imploding investigation. Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan and Oversight Chair James Comer, who have spearheaded the probe, sent a letter Tuesday to former State Department official Amos Hochstein requesting an interview. The GOP has accused Hochstein of advising Hunter Biden when the latter served on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

The original letter, which was obtained by The New Republic, included a section explaining the reason for the Biden investigation, with a paragraph that described a credible, confidential source’s accusation that a Ukrainian gas company executive had bribed the president. This background information has been standard for Republicans’ interview request letters during the impeachment inquiry thus far.

But an hour later, Republicans sent out a second version of the letter, also obtained by TNR. This time, the entire paragraph about the informant had been deleted.

Republican leadership has recently been forced to acknowledge that their impeachment efforts are a total bust. Comer said just last week that the inquiry is highly unlikely to result in an impeachment vote. He told Spectrum News that the “math keeps getting worse,” both in terms of his party’s shrinking House majority and growing skepticism about the impeachment.

Removing the reference to Smirnov from the interview request letter is the GOP’s latest admission of how badly things are going. With Smirnov’s initial allegation completely discredited, it’s unclear how the investigation can actually continue.

Smirnov, a longtime FBI informant with ties to Ukraine, had claimed to have proof of Biden and his son Hunter accepting $5 million bribes each from a Ukrainian oligarch. Republicans repeatedly touted Smirnov’s claims in their quest to impeach the president. But last week, the Justice Department announced that it was charging Smirnov with making a false statement and creating a false record related to the bribery allegation.

On Tuesday, the department revealed Smirnov actually confessed that Russian intelligence officers helped him smear Hunter Biden. In fact, department prosecutors warned that Smirnov was still “actively peddling new lies that could impact U.S. elections after meeting with Russian intelligence officials in November.”

The memo notes that Smirnov himself reported several meetings with Russian officials as recently as December 2023.

This article has been updated.

Blabbering Donald Trump Hands Jack Smith a Key Piece of Evidence

Trump said something he probably shouldn’t have in that Fox News town hall.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Special counsel Jack Smith

Donald Trump must really believe he’s above the law, because he continues to essentially admit to wrongdoing in the classified documents lawsuit against him.

Special counsel Jack Smith indicted Trump in June for hoarding classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. During a Fox News town hall on Tuesday night, host Laura Ingraham asked Trump why he hadn’t simply returned the material when the government asked him to do so.

“First of all, I didn’t have to hand them over,” Trump said bluntly. “But second of all, I would have done that. We were talking, and then all of a sudden they raided Mar-a-Lago.”

The FBI raided Mar-a-Lago in August 2022 after the federal government—and even Trump’s own lawyers—tried for months to get Trump to return hundreds of classified documents that he took with him when he left the White House. And FBI agents may not have even found all of the documents hidden at the resort.

The former president faces 41 criminal counts for willful retention of national defense information, making false statements, and conspiracy to obstruct justice, among other things. He has repeatedly insisted that he had every right to keep the documents. He does not.

Trump has also claimed, despite knowing otherwise, that all the material he brought to Florida was already declassified. Trump said that being president enabled him to declassify documents at will, including “just by thinking about it.” This is not true.

And now Trump has given Smith even more proof that the former president had wrongfully kept classified documents. Trump’s trial for hoarding classified documents is set to begin in May.

Rapist Who Wanted Vice President Dead Compares Self to Navalny

Donald Trump used a Fox News town hall to claim he’s basically the same as Putin critic Alexei Navalny, who was found dead in a Russian prison.

Donald Trump speaking
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Donald Trump thinks he has a lot in common with Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, likening his own legal comeuppance for fraud and rape to the plight of the Russian opposition leader, who died in one of Russia’s harshest penal colonies on Friday.

“It is a form of Navalny. It is a form of communism or fascism,” Trump said at a Fox News town hall on Tuesday evening, referring to his recent court judgments, which are expected to top nearly $540 million.

That stems from losing just two cases: a defamation case brought by writer E. Jean Carroll, whom a jury determined had been sexually abused by the former game show host, and Trump’s New York fraud trial, in which Judge Arthur Engoron ruled that Trump’s lack of contrition and remorse “borders on pathological.”

But using Navalny to make himself a martyr can only go so far for Trump, who won the 2016 general election in part due to Russian election interference that his campaign welcomed, per the 2020 report by the GOP-led Senate Intelligence Committee, and who consistently kowtowed to Russian President Vladimir Putin during his presidency.

Instead of condemning Putin for Navalny’s death—like President Joe Biden, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya—Trump instead opted to simply refer to it as a “horrible thing.”

“People thought that could happen, and it did happen,” Trump said, vaguely referring to Navalny’s death before quickly turning the spotlight back on himself.

“It’s happening here,” he continued, claiming that his indictments are “all because of the fact that I’m in politics.”

Earlier on Fox, Haley took a stronger stance against the Kremlin, describing Navalany as a “a hero who challenged Putin” and “lost his life because of it.”

“This is on the heels of Trump saying that he would encourage Putin to invade any NATO countries that didn’t pull their weight,” she said, keeping the heat on Trump rather than the Russian dictator.

“He’s gonna compare himself to Navalny, and the victim that he is in his court cases?” she added.

Oklahoma Republicans Passed a Bathroom Bill. Now a Trans Kid Is Dead.

Nonbinary teen Nex Benedict died after being violently attacked in their school bathroom.

Candles are set on top of the nonbinary and pride flags
Gerardo Vieyra/NurPhoto/Getty Images

One day after a transgender Oklahoman teen hit their head on the floor while getting attacked in their school bathroom, they were dead.

Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old from Owasso, Oklahoma, was the victim of transphobic torment from school bullies that started at the beginning of the 2023 school year, just a handful of months after the state signed into law a transgender bathroom ban, mandating that students use restrooms that match the sex listed on their birth certificates.

The bullying reached an apex on February 7, according to Benedict’s family, when three older girls beat Benedict and another transgender student in the girls’ bathroom. The fighting left Nex bruised, with wounds on their face and eyes and scratches on the back of their head, reported The Independent.

Benedict’s mother, Sue Benedict, told the publication that she was furious the school didn’t call an ambulance or the police. To add insult to injury, the school then informed her that the bloodied teen—a straight-A student who enjoyed drawing, reading, and taking care of the family cat—would be suspended for the next two weeks.

Instead, Benedict collapsed on their family’s living room floor the following day. When EMTs arrived, they discovered that Benedict had stopped breathing. They were declared dead that evening.

Tragically, it’s not the first time that Owasso has punished one of its LGBTQ+ members. In April 2022, one of Benedict’s teachers at Owasso High School, Tyler Wrynn, was featured in a video by Libs of TikTok, a far-right account run by professional agitator Chaya Raichik whose other posts have led to multiple bomb threats across Oklahoma. In the clip, Wrynn told his students that he was proud of them and encouraged them to love themselves despite outside pressures, adding that “if your parents don’t accept you for who you are, fuck them.” Following Raichik’s post, Wrynn became the subject of harassment and death threats and, after fiery local backlash, resigned from the district—much to the disappointment of Benedict.

“Nex was very angry about it,” their mother told The Independent.

Oklahoma is one of 11 states in the nation that have legislation on the books regulating bathroom access, which conservatives have framed as a student safety issue. But that flies in the face of the data. More than three-quarters of transgender students across the country—76 percent—reported that they felt unsafe at school because of their gender, according to a 2021 GLSEN report. They were also five times more likely to be threatened or attacked while at school than their peers, according to data from The Trevor Project.

LGBTQ+ advocates within the state have made no qualms about placing the blame for Benedict’s death on Raichik’s inflammatory and hateful posts and Oklahoma’s lawmakers.

“We want to be clear, whether Nex died as a direct result of injuries sustained in the brutal hate-motivated attack at school or not, Nex’s death is a result of being the target of physical and emotional harm because of who Nex was,” wrote Freedom Oklahoma in a statement.

Meanwhile, Raichik’s influence will only continue to grow in the state. In January, the provocateur found a new role of authority within Oklahoma, landing herself a cushy government position supervising school libraries and deciding which books students in the state will be allowed to read.

Republicans’ Star Hunter Biden Witness Is an Epic Disaster

As if it wasn’t bad enough already, a new Justice Department memo says ex-FBI informant Alexander Smirnov confessed that he has ties to Russian intelligence.

Kent Nishimura/Getty Images
House Oversight Chair James Comer

Republicans’ main witness in their efforts to impeach Joe Biden has already been charged with lying to the FBI. Now he has also admitted to having ties to Russian intelligence officers.

Alexander Smirnov, a longtime FBI informant with ties to Ukraine, had claimed to have proof of Biden and his son Hunter accepting bribes from a Ukrainian oligarch. Republicans repeatedly touted Smirnov’s claims in their quest to impeach the president. But last week, the Justice Department announced that it was charging Smirnov with making a false statement and creating a false record related to the bribery allegation.

Now, in a detention memo filed Tuesday, the Justice Department revealed that Smirnov confessed that Russian intelligence officers helped him smear Hunter Biden.

“During his custodial interview on February 14, Smirnov admitted that officials associated with Russian intelligence were involved in passing a story about” the younger Biden, the filing said.

Smirnov also told the FBI that he had had repeated contact with a Russian official who, as Smirnov told it, was “the son of a former high-ranking Russian government official, someone who purportedly controls two groups of individuals tasked with carrying out assassination efforts in a third-party country, a Russian representative to another country, and … someone with ties to a particular Russian intelligence service.”

Smrinov initially tried to spread the Biden Ukrainian corruption story just before the 2020 election, but Justice Department prosecutors are warning that Smirnov’s “misinformation” goes far beyond that.

“He is actively peddling new lies that could impact U.S. elections after meeting with Russian intelligence officials in November,” they said in the filing.

The memo notes that Smirnov himself reported several meetings with Russian officials as recently as December 2023.

The charges against Smirnov are the latest major fail in Republicans’ attempts to impeach Biden, which has been nothing but a comedy of errors. For almost a year, the GOP has insisted that Biden and his son are guilty of corruption. Republicans have not produced a shred of concrete evidence of their claims, but they have repeatedly upheld accusations from a supposedly credible but confidential FBI source (whom we now know is Smirnov) as reason enough to keep investigating the president.

Last July, Senator Chuck Grassley released the FBI materials, over the bureau’s objections, related to the bribery accusations. But the documents showed nothing.

Meanwhile, all of the other witnesses that Republicans have called, claiming that their testimony will blow the case wide open, have instead debunked every single accusation against the Biden family.

Hunter Biden Slams Special Prosecutor for Confusing Sawdust With Cocaine

Well, this is more than awkward.

Hunter Biden speaks outside at a lecturn with several mics
Tierney L. Cross/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Hunter Biden’s attorneys argued on Tuesday that U.S. Attorney David Weiss’s investigation into their client included some major factual errors, including mistaking a pile of sawdust for cocaine.

In a court filing, the law team challenged that what the Department of Justice’s discovery revealed cannot be taken “at face value.”

In previous filings, Weiss had accused the president’s son of taking a picture of several lines of cocaine. But Biden’s team says otherwise, claiming that Biden not only didn’t take the photograph, but that the picture doesn’t depict cocaine at all.

Instead, the picture shows three lines of sawdust, jokingly propped by a carpenter who took the photograph and sent it to Biden’s then psychiatrist, Dr. Keith Ablow, who in turn sent it to the junior Biden.

“Mistaking sawdust for cocaine sounds more like a storyline from one of the 1980s Police Academy comedies than what should be expected in a high-profile prosecution by the U.S. Department of Justice,” the team wrote in its retort.

A court document sharing the image also included the texts from Ablow, who wrote, “This one in my office is of lines of sawdust sent to me by a master carpenter who was a coke addict. I told him that, ultimately, he would have to choose between his art and his drug. He sent me the photo and a message that said, ‘Made my choice.’”

“Hope you do, too,” Ablow added.

Photo of three lines of sawdust arranged up in an M

The new documents also accuse the special counsel of being swayed by Alexander Smirnov, whose entire testimony about the Biden family’s connection to Ukrainian company Burisma Holdings was blown up last week when he was indicted by the DOJ for lying to prosecutors.

“The Smirnov allegations infected this case,” Hunter’s lawyers wrote, arguing that the special counsel threw out Biden’s plea deal while following Smirnov “down his rabbit hole of lies.”

“Lo and behold, some seven months later, the Special Counsel finally figured out that Mr. Smirnov was lying—which should have been obvious to everyone, certainly by August 2020 when DOJ closed the investigation,” they wrote.

MAGA Candidate Says Women Need Help With Strollers, Not Abortion

Ohio’s Bernie Moreno has outdone himself in his latest comments.

Joe Maiorana/AP Photo

A Republican candidate for Ohio senator believes that women don’t actually need abortions, just someone to lift heavy things such as strollers for them.

Entrepreneur Bernie Moreno is one of three men running to face off against Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown in the fall. During a discussion with all Republican primary candidates Monday night, the moderator asked the men for their stance on abortion and reproductive rights.

Moreno said his daughter had recently flown home after visiting him. “Mom carrying what looks like an F1 team-worth of equipment,” Moreno said. “People helped her on that plane. Helped put the stroller away, helped her with her seat.”

“Those are the kinds of things that we can do,” he said. “Let’s be a pro-mom, pro-family policy.”

So apparently, Moreno has just volunteered to personally help every parent lift heavy strollers and navigate logistically complicated situations.

In all seriousness, Moreno is technically not wrong. If Republicans are going to force people to have children, then lawmakers need to put systems in place to help care for those children. Unfortunately, the GOP seems dead set on making childrearing harder.

Republicans nationwide are cutting back on free school lunch programs for lower-income families. And Moreno’s fellow Ohio Republicans have banned gender-affirming care for transgender and nonbinary teenagers, despite the fact that those treatments help reduce depression and suicidality in LGBTQ children.

Moreno may also find that his opposition to abortion is pretty unpopular with Ohio voters. In November, people overwhelmingly voted to enshrine abortion protections in the state constitution. The result was a massive blow to Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who had championed the anti-abortion side of the referendum and who is running against Moreno for the Republican Senate nomination.