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GOP Lawmaker Has Unbelievable Reaction to Baltimore Bridge Collapse

Representative Dan Meuser isn’t all that bothered by the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

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

Representative Dan Meuser had an unusual take on the collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge: It’s not the government’s job to fix it.

During an interview on Fox Business on Thursday, the Pennsylvania Republican slammed President Joe Biden for daring to say the multibillion-dollar reconstruction job is a responsibility of the federal government.

“Is Congress going to need to pony up more money, or is there enough money in the infrastructure package?” asked host Maria Bartiromo.

“Yea, it was kind of outrageous immediately for Biden to express in this tragedy the idea that he’s going to use federal funds to pay for the—in the entirety,” Meuser responded, suggesting instead that Biden use the money set aside for electric vehicle infrastructure to fund the collapsed bridge. “You know, he doesn’t refer to it as the American taxpayer dollars on anything. You know, the first reaction, in fact the only reaction, tends to be to spend.”

But Meuser’s comments completely overlook the role the federal government has to play in repairing federal property. The Key Bridge was a section of Interstate 695, an alternative route passing Baltimore on Interstate 95—both of which are a part of the federal highway system, funded by the national government by as much as 90 percent, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

On Wednesday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that the federal government has approximately $950 million set aside in an emergency fund that could be used to reconstruct the bridge—though that may only cover part of the bill, which federal officials estimate could cost as much as $2 billion.

All the while, Baltimore is bleeding approximately $15 million a day in economic activity as the major artery, and the Port of Baltimore, remains closed “until further notice.”

But maintaining critical infrastructure might not be that important to Meuser. In 2021, the GOP lawmaker joined several dozen other Republicans in voting against a $1 trillion infrastructure package that promised to fix outdated roads, bridges, and other transit systems—though it passed without their help.

Scamming FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried Hit With 25 Years in Prison

The serial scammer was hit with a sentence far less than what was recommended.

Sam Bankman-Fried walks as cameras surround him
Yuki Iwamura/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Former billionaire and tech wunderkind Sam Bankman-Fried was sentenced to 25 years on Thursday for defrauding clients around the world out of billions of dollars via his crypto exchange, FTX.

Once a poster boy for the emerging virtual market, Bankman-Fried was found guilty on all charges in November, including seven federal counts of fraud and conspiracy for stealing as much as $10 billion in customer funds, transferring them to another one of his companies, Alameda Research.

The sentencing was significantly less than the one recommended by federal prosecutors, who suggested the 32-year-old be put away for upward of 40 years, or by the Probation Department, which recommended a maximum sentence of 105 years.

“I know a lot of people felt very let down, and they were very let down. I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry about what happened at every stage—things I should have done and said and things I shouldn’t have,” Bankman-Fried told the court moments before his sentencing. “I failed everyone I care about and everything I cared about too.”

In his closing words, Judge Lewis Kaplan noted that Bankman-Fried “knew it was wrong.”

A man willing to flip a coin as to the continued existence of life on earth. Mr. Bankman-Fried knew that Alameda was spending customer funds on risky investments, political contributions, and Bahamas real estate,” said Kaplan. “The funds were not his to use.”

“People need to feel it’s fair, or we’re back to trial by combat, folks, or something like it,” Kaplan continued. “So punishment must fit the seriousness of the crime. And this … was a serious crime.”

The Worst Person You Know Considers a Return to Team Trump

Kellyanne Conway wants back in Trumpworld.

Kellyanne Conway
Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, who coined the phrase “alternative facts,” may soon rejoin Team Trump.

Conway is considering an offer to join Trump’s team again, Axios reported Thursday, citing an anonymous person close to Conway. The source would not specify who had offered her a position or what the role even was.

Senior Trump advisers denied that an offer had been made. But Conway, now a Fox News commentator, has recently been front and center, speaking out about multiple contentious issues, including TikTok, abortion, and race. Many Republicans see this as an attempt to make herself relevant and ingratiate herself to Trump, according to Axios.

There is no denying Conway’s ability to deliver a message. Once Trump was elected, she became one of his primary spokespeople and demonstrated a terrifying skill for spinning reality to try to make it seem more favorable to Trump.

“She is the go-to messenger when it comes to hot-button issues,” one source, speaking anonymously, told Axios. “Anytime she talks about a topic, Republicans and Trump’s orbit take it very seriously.”

But that line to Trump’s ear means that even some people who like her don’t want to publicly associate with her, Axios reported.

In recent months, Conway has tried to help the GOP rebrand on abortion, advocating for a 15-week abortion ban as a compromise. Trump later backed this position.

Conway wrote an essay in The New York Times last month decrying “identity politics” but urging Trump to pick a person of color as his running mate. Trump is reportedly considering Senators Tim Scott and Marco Rubio, and former House and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson. He also briefly considered Vivek Ramaswamy.

Conway works for the conservative super PAC Club for Growth, lobbying against the bipartisan bill in Congress to ban TikTok. She recently urged Trump to highlight the app’s usefulness to his supporters, according to Axios. Trump has come out against the bill.

Conway was one of the few people who left Trump’s White House by choice, not because he fired them. She stepped down in 2020 after she and her husband, George Conway, made the country watch their opposing political ideologies battle it out on social media for years. (They divorced last year.) Conway said at the time that her resignation was prompted by a desire to focus on her family.

“In time, I will announce future plans. For now, and for my beloved children, it will be less drama, more mama,” she said, in what may be the cringiest resignation announcement ever.

Man Accusing Matt Schlapp of Sexual Assault Was Paid to Drop Lawsuit

Schlapp’s accuser was paid a boatload of money to end his lawsuit against the CPAC head.

Matt Schlapp stands in front of a huge CPAC logo
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Matt Schlapp

On Tuesday, conservative leader and Trump ally Matt Schlapp claimed that the sexual battery case against him had been dropped, and that it hadn’t cost the American Conservative Union a dime. But that’s not the whole story.

Sources familiar with the situation that spoke to CNN confirmed that a $480,000 settlement was paid to Carlton Huffman, a former staffer for the 2022 Herschel Walker Senate campaign, through an insurance policy. In the days following the end of Walker’s campaign, Huffman alleged that Schlapp had “pummeled” his crotch while he chauffeured the conservative icon back to his hotel in Atlanta and that his wife had defamed him in an attempt to swipe away the allegations. Huffman originally sought $9.4 million in damages. The workaround settlement got Schlapp the best of both worlds—his accuser’s bought silence and the wiggle room to tell the press that he was off scot-free. But not entirely.

Since the lawsuit was dropped, Schlapp has claimed online that he was “exonerated” and “cleared” of wrongdoing, and that Huffman had “apologized”—a detail that went too far and threatened to breach the agreement’s nondisparagement clause, resulting in a warning from Huffman’s legal counsel and the subsequent removal of those posts from Schlapp’s social media feeds, according to The Daily Beast.

“It’s not exoneration,” a source told CNN, “if you paid the guy off.”

When reached out for a statement by CNN, Schlapp passed along not just his own words but also Huffman’s, the language of which had been coordinated via a private agreement between the two parties.

“From the beginning, I asserted my innocence,” Schlapp told the outlet. “Our family was attacked, especially by a left-wing media that is focused on the destruction of conservatives regardless of the truth and the facts.”

Huffman’s subsequent statement chalked up his initial allegations to a “complete misunderstanding” that he said he regrets. “Neither the Schlapps nor the ACU paid me anything to dismiss my claims against them,” he added.

Ex-Giuliani Associate Shares Video “Republicans Don’t Want You to See”

Lev Parnas has just destroyed Republicans’ Biden impeachment crusade with one video.

Lev Parnas walks in a Capitol room. One hand is on his suit jacket and he is pointing in the air to something off camera with the other.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Lev Parnas

Lev Parnas, a former associate of Rudy Giuliani, has delivered perhaps the most damning blow yet to Republicans’ effort to impeach Joe Biden: a video of Giuliani being told the president is not guilty of corruption.

Parnas, a Ukrainian American businessman, has become one of the most outspoken critics of the Biden impeachment inquiry. Parnas helped Giuliani get in touch with Ukrainian officials during the latter’s efforts to find incriminating evidence on Biden and his son Hunter. One of those officials was former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

Parnas shared a video on social media Wednesday night that showed him and Giuliani speaking on the phone. Parnas, who dubbed the clip “THE VIDEO THE REPUBLICANS DONT WANT YOU TO SEE,” identifies the man on the phone as Shokin.

“Was there any specific act that any of these people performed?” Giuliani asks. “Did they get a kickback? Did they get a bribe?”

“No,” Shokin replies.

Shokin was fired in 2016 for corruption. Three years later, Donald Trump and Giuliani started a conspiracy theory that the Biden family accepted a $10 million bribe to remove Shokin to stop a probe into Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company that Hunter was working with at the time. Republicans have also repeatedly claimed that Biden, while serving as vice president, said the United States would withhold aid money to Ukraine unless Kyiv fired Shokin. Both these claims have been repeatedly debunked by U.S. intelligence, the former Ukrainian president, and the owner of Burisma.

But that hasn’t stopped Republicans, including Giuliani, from continuing to accuse the Bidens of corruption. That allegation forms the entire basis of the impeachment inquiry.

Parnas has repeatedly said there is nothing to those allegations, a statement further bolstered by the video he shared Wednesday night. In fact, according to Parnas, the impeachment effort is really based on Russian disinformation.

Parnas’s accusation is backed up by the arrest of former FBI informant Alexander Smirnov. Smirnov alleged that Biden and his son accepted bribes from a Ukrainian oligarch, sparking the impeachment investigation. When the Justice Department charged Smirnov with providing false information to the FBI, he reportedly admitted that his story had been fed to him by a Russian intelligence operative.

Jeffrey Clark Screws Over Donald Trump Big-Time in 2020 Election Case

The former Justice Department official who helped Trump with his efforts to overthrow the 2020 election just gave a damning testimony in court.

Jeffrey Clark sits at a table during a congressional hearing, a mic in front of him.
Michael A. McCoy/Getty Images

Former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark made a major slip-up on Wednesday, admitting during a disciplinary hearing to save his law license that he had one client in mind while dodging questions on the basis of attorney-client privilege: former President Donald Trump.

“Mr. Clark, you asserted a number of times attorney-client privilege,” prompted a committeewoman for the D.C. bar, Patricia Matthews. “For whom were you the attorney?”

“For President Trump, the head of the executive branch, the sole head, the unitary head of Article Two, the executive branch of the United States government,” Clark replied.

That was, however, more than Clark’s attorney expected him to share, thereafter urging his client to plead the Fifth in an attempt to avoid incriminating himself further.

“I would respectfully request my client to invoke questions about the basis for attorney-client privilege because those answers would be intimidating to them as well,” said Harry MacDougald, Clark’s attorney. “So respectfully, I would ask him to invoke.”

But the singular defense only made Clark more combative as the hearing went on. At one point, he accused the hearing’s lead investigator, Hamilton Fox, of attempting to humiliate him, reported Politico.

Clark stands accused of attempting to engage in dishonest conduct on behalf of Trump in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election. That included Clark’s suggestion to send a letter to Georgia officials, underlining a DOJ investigation into the voting process in the state and suggesting that they should void President Joe Biden’s win. Clark also held multiple meetings with Trump that violated proper DOJ procedure, actions that the lead investigator described on Tuesday as “essentially a coup attempt at the Department of Justice.”

Clark is charged alongside Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and more than a dozen others in an alleged racketeering conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia. He has also been identified—but not charged—by federal prosecutors in Trump’s D.C. trial as part of a larger scheme to help Trump retain power.

MTG: If Republicans Lose House Speakership, It’s Totally Not My Fault

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene says she won’t take the blame if House Republicans lose the speaker’s gavel. She probably should.

Marjorie Taylor Greene walks as two men (probably reporters) follow her
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene is attempting to stave off criticism of her recent effort to oust House Speaker Mike Johnson, declaring that she wouldn’t be accepting any of the blame if the move ends in a legislative power flip between the two parties, with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries claiming the seat. (Sneak peek: She will most definitely be handed most of the blame.)

Instead, Greene is trying to steer attention toward her Republican colleagues who have been resigning en masse over the last few months, citing complaints of Republican infighting and lack of competency. That includes Wisconsin Representative Mike Gallagher and Colorado Representative Ken Buck, whose dual resignations this month have left the conservative party with a scant one-seat majority.

“It’s just a simple math. The more Republicans, like Mike Gallagher, that resign and leave early—guess what, that means we have less Republicans in the House,” Greene said Tuesday on Real America’s Voice. “So, every time a Mike Gallagher or a Ken Buck leaves early, that brings our numbers down and brings us dangerously closer to being in the minority.”

“It’s not Marjorie Taylor Greene that is saying the inconvenient truth and forcing everyone to wake up and realize that Republican voters are done with us doing this kind of crap that we did last week, and they are fed up with speakers of the House and Republicans … go out and campaign and make all these promises, and then turn around and stab their voters in the back,” Greene continued, slamming Johnson for finally following through on a core component of his job on Friday: passing a government spending package.

“I am not going to be responsible for Hakeem Jeffries being speaker of the House, I am not going to be responsible for a Democrat majority taking over our Republican majority. That lies squarely on the shoulders of these Republicans that are leaving early because they don’t have the intestinal fortitude to handle the real fight and the responsibility that comes with leadership at the end of our republic, when our country is nearly destroyed, and when our Constitution is being rammed through a paper shredder,” she added.

Greene then reiterated that she saw the motion to oust Johnson as little more than a “pink slip”—even though she admitted on Friday, shortly after filing it, that she will force a vote.

Reminder about the last time we went through this:

Trump Loves That RFK Jr. Is Running for President—and Helping Him Win

Donald Trump is openly celebrating Robert F. Kennedy Jr. running for president.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks, holding a mic with one hand and making a hand gesture with the other
John Nacion/Getty Images

Donald Trump praised Robert Kennedy Jr. on Wednesday for potentially siphoning votes away from Joe Biden in the 2024 presidential election—one day after Kennedy himself bragged about running a “spoiler” campaign.

RFK Jr. is the most Radical Left Candidate in the race, by far. He’s a big fan of the Green New Scam, and other economy killing disasters,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “I guess this would mean he is going to be taking votes from Crooked Joe Biden, which would be a great service to America.”

“It’s great for MAGA, but the Communists will make it very hard for him to get on the Ballot,” Trump continued. “He is Crooked Joe Biden’s Political Opponent, not mine. I love that he is running!”

The day before, as Kennedy announced he had picked Silicon Valley lawyer Nicole Shanahan as his running mate, he himself admitted his independent campaign could throw a wrench in 2024 voting.

Our campaign is a spoiler,” Kennedy said to cheers from the crowd. “I agree with that.”

Independent candidates historically perform poorly in the general election. They are more often viewed as spoilers who strip just enough votes away from one major candidate to tip the election toward the other. But it’s unclear whether Kennedy will pull more votes away from Trump or from Biden.

Kennedy has expressed some beliefs in the past that are more Democratic, but he’s courting a current donor base and staff roster that are extremely Republican. He has been embraced by the far right for things such as his opposition to vaccines and his belief in conspiracy theories. But he also holds significant sway among independent voters, particularly as Biden’s popularity plummets over his response to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.

So while it remains to be seen which way Kennedy tips the scales, or even if he affects them at all, the fact remains that Kennedy knows he’s only causing problems. He doesn’t seem to have an issue with that—and in the meantime, Trump is celebrating.

James Comer Pushes Unbelievable Conspiracy on Biden Impeachment Flop

Anything to avoid admitting he failed

James Comer stands in profile in front of a crowd
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Representative James Comer has found a new scapegoat for his impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden going up in flames: It’s all the deep state’s fault.

Comer made the wild claim during a Monday appearance on the Fox News radio show Fox Across America With Jimmy Failla. The House Oversight Committee chair insisted that Attorney General Merrick Garland was conspiring with the “deep state” to sabotage the impeachment investigation.

“Garland’s working with the deep state, who’s working with the liberal mainstream media to try to indoctrinate into people’s minds that there’s no evidence,” Comer said.

Comer then insisted that multiple members of the Biden family had received payments from foreign businesses. “This all revolves around Joe because not only have we proven Joe got $250,000, a quarter of $1 million of that money, but Joe met with all the people that were wiring the Bidens money,” Comer said.

The $250,000 that Comer mentioned has already been proven to be from Biden’s brother Jim, who was repaying the president for a loan in 2018. As for Biden meeting with foreign businesspeople, there is no evidence that he ever had more than a passing encounter with any of them.

Despite what Comer says, the “deep state” doesn’t need to convince people that there’s no evidence of Biden’s wrongdoing. There simply is no evidence of Biden’s wrongdoing. Almost all of the Republicans’ supposed star witnesses have said that Biden was not involved in his son Hunter’s business dealings.

During a disastrous Oversight Committee hearing last week, Hunter’s onetime business partner Tony Bobulinski insisted that the president was guilty of corruption but could provide no examples of times he had actually witnessed such crimes. Meanwhile, former Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas said that the impeachment effort was based on Russian disinformation.

Parnas’s accusation is backed up by the arrest of former FBI informant Alexander Smirnov. Smirnov alleged that Biden and his son accepted bribes from a Ukrainian oligarch, sparking the impeachment investigation. When the Justice Department charged Smirnov with providing false information to the FBI, he admitted that his story had been fed to him by a Russian intelligence operative.

Slowly, Republican lawmakers have begun to back away from the impeachment inquiry, grudgingly admitting that there is no proof to their claims. Comer himself changed his tune earlier this week, saying he intends to make nonbinding criminal referrals against Biden to the Justice Department.

Trump Launches Fresh Attack on Judge’s Daughter After Gag Order

It’s only a matter of time until Trump gets fined for violating the gag order in his first criminal trial.

Donald Trump yells
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Less than 24 hours after Donald Trump got hit with a gag order in his hush-money trial, he launched a fresh attack on the judge and his family.

In posts on Truth Social Wednesday morning, Trump blasted Judge Juan Merchan and his family, singling out his daughter while seemingly spitting on the idea of a gag order altogether.

“Judge Juan Merchan, who is suffering from an acute case of Trump Derangement Syndrome (whose daughter represents Crooked Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Adam ‘Shifty’ Schiff, and other Radical Liberals, has just posted a picture of me behind bars, her obvious goal, and makes it completely impossible for me to get a fair trial) has now issued another illegal, un-American, unConstitutional ‘order,’ as he continues to try and take away my Rights,” Trump said, accusing the state of depriving him of his First Amendment right to speak out against “Crooked Joe Biden”—even though it definitely did not.

“So, let me get this straight, the Judge’s daughter is allowed to post pictures of her ‘dream’ of putting me in jail, the Manhattan D.A. is able to say whatever lies about me he wants, the Judge can violate our Laws and Constitution at every turn, but I am not allowed to talk about the attacks against me, and the Lunatics trying to destroy my life, and prevent me from winning the 2024 Presidential Election, which I am dominating?” Trump wrote in a second post, continuing to push past the reality of his situation. “Maybe the Judge is such a hater because his daughter makes money by working to ‘Get Trump,’ and when he rules against me over and over again, he is making her company, and her, richer and richer. How can this be allowed?”

Trump’s posts just barely skirt the gag order he was hit with on Tuesday. The partial gag order forbade Trump from speaking publicly about courtroom staff, prosecutors, or any of their family members. Comments about jurors were also prohibited, as well as comments about witnesses—but wiggle room still existed within the order that would allow Trump to attack Merchan or Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

Still it’s a clear intimidation tactic aimed at the judge overseeing his first criminal trial.

Trump should be no stranger to the legality of gag orders—so far, he’s been hit with them in two of his other legal trials. In October, Judge Arthur Engoron silenced the former president after he ushered a scourge of far-right vitriol onto Engoron’s chief law clerk. Trump was later fined $15,000 for violating the order. Judge Tanya Chutkan also imposed a gag order on the former president in his election interference trial.

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