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What?! New York Earthquake Epicenter Is at a Trump Golf Course

Of course Trump is somehow related to the earthquake that jolted the Northeastern U.S.

The sign for the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey
Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

At around 10:23 a.m. Friday morning, a magnitude-4.8 earthquake rattled the Northeastern United States from Maine to Virginia, including wide swaths of New Jersey and New York City.

But perhaps more surprising than the earthquake was the precise location of the epicenter: Tewskbury, New Jersey, less than six miles from Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

And soon, the internet was all shaken up. Some commenters pointed out that Donald Trump’s late first wife, Ivana, was buried at the club in July 2022.

It gets weirder: One poster even discovered that Chubb Insurance, which backed Trump’s bond in his defamation case, has an executive office in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, also within a six-mile radius of the epicenter and the golf club. Alina Habba, one of Trump’s attorneys, also has offices nearby.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene saw religious and political significance behind the earthquake.

There’s no word on what she thinks of Trump being so closely tied to the epicenter.

Raskin Shreds Biden Impeachment as “Foreign Disinformation” Campaign

The Maryland Democrat warned that efforts to impeach Joe Biden don’t seem to be based on facts.

Jamie Raskin speaks into a microphone
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Representative Jamie Raskin’s office slammed House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer on Friday, demanding that he explain why the leaders of the impeachment probe are failing to share evidence with other members of the committee.

Two weeks ago, Comer and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan accused the CIA of obstructing a criminal investigation by “intervening” in an interview with Hunter Biden’s attorney, Kevin Morris, conducted by the Department of Justice—but according to Raskin, the two lawmakers are refusing to share details.

“Your March 21 letter looks like yet another episode in the Committee’s gullible campaign to amplify the vacuous claims of shadowy Trump World figures and foreign disinformation and propaganda operators,” Raskin wrote in a letter obtained by The New Republic.

What’s more, “you have completely ignored my staff’s requests to be allowed to review the information that you say prompted your letter and upon which your letter is putatively and entirely based. This refusal to share Committee material with the Minority creates the unavoidable implication that this information—like so many self-collapsing precursor tips in this Sisyphean quest for a scandal—cannot withstand even the most cursory scrutiny by the Committee’s Democratic Members,” Raskin said, arguing that the claims “directly collide” with the testimony of an Internal Revenue Service special agent and Morris himself, both of whom said the attorney cooperated with authorities.

But Comer’s troublingly opaque accusation earned more suspicion when Russian state media scooped up the claim—the second such instance of Russian intelligence involving itself with the GOP’s impeachment inquiry.

Raskin noted that the “perfectly punctual and unquestioning” article published in Sputnik, a Russian-owned outlet, included statements supporting the dying impeachment inquiry from “two discredited Trump World figures”—Rudy Giuliani associate Bradley Birkenfeld and former psychiatrist and Fox News contributor Keith Ablow.

“One can only regard with amazement how quickly Sputnik identified these Trump World commentators to support this new story!” Raskin said.

Comer, meanwhile, has already admitted that the impeachment was a dud. Last week, the Oversight chair confessed that criminal referrals were the most accountability that the meritless, wayward probe was going to achieve. That is, of course, a far cry from its original goal, which was to remove Joe Biden from office.

“It’s clear that Democrats will choose their party over their country and the truth at every turn. They should be ashamed of themselves,” Comer wrote in a fundraising email in March. “That’s why I am preparing criminal referrals as the culmination of my investigation.”

So far, Republicans have failed to provide any witnesses or concrete evidence that prove criminal wrongdoing by the president. The committee’s former star witness, Alexander Smirnov, served as the singular source for claims that Biden had profited millions off of his son’s connection to Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company. But that angle, which House Republicans had believed was their best bet at nabbing Biden, completely blew up in their face in February when Smirnov was indicted by the Department of Justice for lying to the FBI. Since then, Smirnov has reportedly admitted to law enforcement that top Russian intelligence officials were involved in the smear campaign against the sitting president.

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.

Israeli Spy Chief Accidentally Blows Cover with Amazon Self-Publishing

Yossi Sariel has revealed himself as the head of the IDF’s Unit 8200 and the mastermind behind A.I. strategy.

An Amazon Prime shipping box
Kena Betancur/VIEWpress/Getty Images

With social media, location services, tracking cookies, and all kinds of personal identifiers on the internet these days, it can be hard to protect your privacy. But you’d think a national security professional would know better. As it turns out, one of Israel’s top spy chiefs does not.

Yossi Sariel has accidentally revealed himself as the commander of Israel’s Unit 8200, one of the most sensitive roles in the country’s military, heading up a powerful surveillance agency. He left his identity exposed online thanks to publishing a book on Amazon, The Guardian reported.

When publishing the book, Sariel accidentally tied it to a private Google account in his name. The Google account came with a unique ID, as well as links to calendar profiles and maps.

In its report, The Guardian was able to confirm with multiple sources that Sariel wrote The Human Machine Team, which is about the use of artificial intelligence in military operations. Sariel had published the book using the pen name “Brigadier General YS.”

The book, released in 2021, discusses the A.I. systems currently in use by the Israel Defense Forces in their brutal war in Gaza. The system was described in November by one former intelligence officer as creating a “mass assassination factory,” and a more recent report detailed a lack of oversight and lax protections against casualties.

It’s more bad news of late for Unit 8200, which has been compared to Britain’s GCHQ and America’s National Security Agency. The organization was criticized for failing to predict and thwart Hamas’s October 7 attacks on southern Israel, which killed nearly 1,200 Israelis and led to 240 hostages being taken. Since then, Israel has conducted a full-scale massacre of Palestinians in Gaza, killing more than 33,000 people, including 13,000 children, and has come under recent criticism for its bombing of a World Central Kitchen convoy that killed seven aid workers.

New York Earthquake Is a Reminder of Eric Adams’s Shaky Mayoral Record

New Yorkers seized on the earthquake as a chance to roast Mayor Eric Adams.

Eric Adams frowns
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A rare, 4.8 magnitude earthquake struck New Jersey on Friday, rattling denizens all the way from the Garden State to Massachusetts. But shortly after the tremors settled, New Yorkers had just one thing on their minds: What the hell was Mayor Eric Adams going to say about this?

“The first thing I thought of was how scary it is that Eric Adams is the Mayor while there was an earthquake. Because if we need that man to put together a plan or a response or anything we are all doomed,” wrote PodSavethePeople host DeRay Mckesson.

A screenshot of a tweet

Other New Yorkers used the opportunity to rag on their mayor for his reliance on hiring more cops as a supposed answer to all of the city’s problems.

“Eric Adams about to send 500,000 cops to the earth’s core,” posted Maysles Documentary Center’s guest programmer, Kazembe Balagun.

“Eric Adams sending 1,000,000 more cops to the subway stations to deal with this earthquake as we speak,” wrote comedian Otto Fernandez.

Or for his tangential and repetitive speeches that have recently turned to using the same proverbial crutch of comparing the city to … pretty much anywhere else that’s suffering.

“Eric Adams is like New York City is the San Andreas Fault of America,” wrote Politico’s Jeff Coltin.

Screenshot of a tweet

“Stowing myself for what our insane mayor will say about the earthquake,” posted journalist Rebecca Fishbein. “Eric Adams: ‘That’s what I love about New York. You wake up every day and a new small business could open or the magic crystals underneath us could get angry and shake the whole city.’”

Or for his reported nightlife habit.

“Eric Adams still at the club, thought the earthquake was heavy bass,” wrote entertainment editor Marlow Stern.

Screenshot of a tweet

In actuality, the city issued a delayed response, notifying New Yorkers that little damage had occurred inside the city during the historic geological event.

Screenshot of a tweet

“Our preliminary reports do not indicate major life safety or infrastructure issues from the earthquake. We are performing thorough inspections of critical areas,” Adams posted to his personal account more than an hour after the quake occurred, warning New Yorkers about the effects of aftershocks—after the period in which they’re most likely to happen ended.

The Bonkers Reason Why Lara Trump Thinks Trump and Biden Should Debate

The new RNC co-chair had some interesting thoughts on a potential presidential debate.

Lara Trump speaks at a podium
Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

At his Wisconsin rally on Tuesday, Donald Trump taunted President Joe Biden with an empty lectern on stage, claiming he’s been “trying to get him to debate.” But his allies don’t seem to have a very good idea of what Trump could actually attack him on.

In a Newsmax interview on Thursday, Trump’s daughter-in-law and co-chair of the Republican National Committee, Lara Trump, decided the best way to conjure Biden for another one-on-one with Trump would be to levy such a wildly vague accusation that she said … pretty much nothing.

“Joe Biden needs to be asked multiple questions about a whole host of different things going on in this country and around the world. He has a lot of answers to give the American people,” Trump said on Newsmax Thursday. “I can only assume he doesn’t have the answers to the questions that he will be asked.”

Donald Trump has so far refused to participate in any debates this election cycle. In fact, he often tried to upstage Republican primary debates with counterprogramming of his own.

Trump hand-picked Lara Trump and former North Carolina GOP Chairman Michael Whatley to replace former RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel last month. The pair have proven the final nail in the coffin for a GOP MAGA makeover.

And their help comes at a critical juncture for the Republican presidential nominee, who is struggling to pay for a legal comeuppance that so far includes more than half a billion dollars in judgments and mountains of cash for his four upcoming criminal trials.

Donald Trump’s Big Mouth Could Cost Him Even More on Truth Social

Did Donald Trump violate SEC rules?

Donald Trump frowns
Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

Even after bragging about his assets and businesses got him in legal trouble, Donald Trump just can’t stop.

After a rough week for his new social media venture, Trump Media & Technology Group, or TMTG, the former president ranted on his Truth Social account Thursday about how great the platform is doing—at least, in his opinion. But Trump may have broken some Securities and Exchange Commission rules in the process.

SEC laws prohibit the use of “manipulative and deceptive devices” to pump up stocks. Trump’s bragging in the face of heavy losses by his company could fall under that category, Trump critic George Conway tweeted Thursday afternoon.

The Truth Social posts in question could be seen as the former president trying to talk up his company to increase its stock price after a rough week. Trump Media’s initial public offering started strong last week, reaching a high of $79.38 per share. But then, SEC filings released on Monday showed that the company had losses in 2023 of a whopping $58 million, with just $4.1 million of revenue. Then, on Wednesday, two of the company’s top investors pleaded guilty to using the company’s private information to engage in insider trading.

As a result, TMTG’s stock price has dropped rapidly. It currently sits at just under $43 a share. To make matters worse, stock traders are short-selling the company, betting its share prices will plummet even further.

Trump has a long history of bragging about his finances, and ended up in legal trouble when a New York judge ruled that he committed bank fraud and issued a final judgment of a $350 million fine for inflating his net worth and lying about the value of his various real estate assets. His recent posts about one of his newest business ventures would seem to fit that pattern. Trump certainly can’t afford any new legal cases right now, especially when he has enough trouble paying the legal bills for the cases he already has.

That Guy Who Backed Trump’s Bond? He May Not Have the Money

New York Attorney General Letitia James doesn’t trust Don Hankey.

Letitia James speaks into a podium microphone
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

New York Attorney General Letitia James has some questions about Donald Trump’s $175 million bond insurer—mainly, if it can even guarantee the full amount if push comes to shove.

In a court filing on Thursday, Knight Speciality Insurance Company revealed that its liquid assets don’t meet the needs of Trump’s already minimized bond. According to a financial assessment, the company, owned by billionaire Don Hankey, has just $138 million in “surplus.” Knight would therefore need to spend 127 percent of its reserves in order to cover Trump’s bond—far more than the 10 percent of a state-regulated suretor’s surplus that’s allowed by New York law.

Lawyers for the attorney general’s office also noted that the insurance company was trying to operate “without a certificate of qualification” in the state.

But that was, apparently, the plan all along, according to Knight’s president, Amit Shah.

“Knight Specialty Insurance Company is not a New York domestic insurer, and New York surplus lines insurance laws do not regulate the solvency of non-New York excess lines insurers,” Shah told CBS.

Shah also claimed that his company had more than $1 billion in equity, despite financial statements—which were only obtained after New York court clerks rejected the company’s original bond posting and ordered it to refile—indicating the firm only held $26 million in “cash and bank deposits,” with $483 million in stocks and bonds.

James’s office has given Trump and his new financial bedfellows 10 days to “justify the surety.”

“At this venture, with so much at stake, to make these kinds of mistakes, it’s almost unthinkable. And it amps it up with the missing financial statement. That adds all the drama,” an attorney for Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer, told The Daily Beast.

Yet Another One of Trump’s 2020 Attorneys Could Be Disbarred

Jeffrey Clark was found to have broken legal ethics rules.

Jeffrey Clark speaks
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Donald Trump’s lawyers, legal appointees, and advisers are finally having to face the music. Former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark was found Thursday to have violated legal ethics rules, becoming the latest Trump legal aid to face consequences this week.

A disciplinary panel in Washington, D.C., found that Clark, who ​​was assistant attorney general for the Civil Division of the Justice Department in the Trump administration’s final days, broke ethics rules for lawyers. Clark had tried to pressure other leaders in the Justice Department to help prevent the transfer of power to Joe Biden after Trump lost the 2020 presidential election.

This ruling clears the way for steps toward suspending or even permanently removing Clark’s law license. Investigators who brought the charges forward say that is the course of action they intend to pursue, Politico reported.

Earlier in the disciplinary process, Clark slipped up in a hearing and admitted that he was thinking of Trump when he asserted attorney-client privilege while refusing to answer questions, prompting his attorney to urge him to plead the Fifth in an attempt to avoid further self-incrimination.

Clark also faces charges in Georgia for allegedly conspiring to overturn that state’s 2020 presidential election along with Trump, Giuliani, and more than a dozen others.

Clark’s legal career has been that of an elite Republican lawyer happy to do his part for the conservative movement’s work to reshape the legal system. He spent years working with other right-wing legal stalwarts at the same places that produced Kenneth Starr, John R. Bolton, Brett Kavanaugh, John Eastman, and many others. He had no problem working with Trump after the 2016 election, which eventually led him down the legally questionable path to where he finds himself today.

He is the latest Trump attorney to face repercussions for his actions after the 2020 election. Earlier this week, John Eastman was recommended for disbarment in California and can no longer practice law. Rudy Giuliani is also facing disbarment, and Sidney Powell could be kicked out of the legal profession too.

No Labels Pulls Out of 2024 Election for the Funniest Reason Ever

No Labels? More like No Candidates!

Shadows of several individuals cast on an orange background that reads "No Labels"
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Less than a month after confirming it would run a third-party candidate and potentially spoil the presidential election, the centrist group No Labels has decided not to run a third-party “unity ticket” after all, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. Why? The group can’t find any credible candidates to run. 

No Labels founder CEO Nancy Jacobson told allies this week that the group planned to announce the news Monday, the Journal wrote, citing anonymous sources familiar with the plans. 

The news comes after Georgia’s former lieutenant governor, Republican Geoff Duncan, turned down the group’s offer to run for president on their ticket, saying he is “focused on healing and improving the Republican Party with a GOP 2.0 so we can elect more commonsense conservative candidates in the future.”

Failing to recruit the former lieutenant governor of Georgia left No Labels scraping the bottom of the barrel of potential candidates. Audio of a No Labels delegate vote leaked to The New Republic last month showed that the organization was clueless about how to move forward and didn’t know if it would find candidates. Regardless, the delegates still voted at the time to press ahead with their harebrained idea.

The group has faced constant criticism from Democrats and Democratic-aligned groups such as the Third Way and MoveOn, not just for potentially tipping the election to Donald Trump but also for the help No Labels was receiving from right-wing consultants and donors. Even some of its own donors expressed their frustration at the group’s third-party chicanery by filing a lawsuit in January. 

So farewell to what could have been a major spoiler in the 2024 elections. For those who are disappointed, there’s still Robert F. Kennedy Jr.  

Judge Cannon Promises She’ll Take Her Sweet Time With This Trump Case

The judge refused to dismiss the classified documents case.

Donald Trump looks forward
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Donald Trump got some good news and some bad news in his classified documents trial on Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon rejected Trump’s effort to dismiss the case outright. Trump had claimed in a motion that the trove of national security secrets found at Mar-a-Lago during an FBI raid were actually his under the Presidential Records Act. But that is not adequate, Cannon said, noting that the “Presidential Records Act does not provide a pre-trial basis to dismiss.”

But Cannon also used the decision to hit back at special counsel Jack Smith, who effectively requested that she hurry up and make a decision on a motion that was presented last month.

“Separately, to the extent the Special Counsel demands an anticipatory finalization of jury instructions prior to trial, prior to a charge conference, and prior to the presentation of trial defenses and evidence, the Court declines that demand as unprecedented and unjust,” Cannon wrote. “The Court’s Order soliciting preliminary draft instructions on certain counts should not be misconstrued as declaring a final definition on any essential element or asserted defense in this case. Nor should it be interpreted as anything other than what it was: a genuine attempt, in the context of the upcoming trial, to better understand the parties’ competing positions and the questions to be submitted to the jury in this complex case of first impression.”

Legal analysts have worried that a strategy of continual delays could be the Trump-appointed judge’s way of surreptitiously dismissing the trial altogether.

Last month, Trump tried twice to get the case dismissed, arguing in separate motions that it wasn’t clear at the time he took the sensitive material if doing so was illegal and that the classified documents could be considered “personal materials” rather than presidential under the Presidential Records Act. The latter defense was roundly rejected by Smith’s office, which pointed to a transcript of Trump’s own words in which the former president acknowledged the records definitely were not personal.

“This totally wins my case, you know. Except it is, like, highly confidential. Secret. This is secret information,” Trump said in a 2021 recording.

Smith’s office also claimed that Trump’s “personal records” argument was suggestive that the GOP presidential nominee believes he’s beyond reproach and above the law.

“Trump’s claims rest on three fundamental errors, all of which reflect his view that, as a former President, the Nation’s laws and principles of accountability that govern every other citizen do not apply to him,” federal prosecutors wrote in a filing last month.

Trump seems to know this is the case. In a July 2021 recording, Trump confessed the obvious: that he actually couldn’t have declassified the “secret” documents as he said he did because he wasn’t president. And in a June interview with Fox News’s Bret Baier, Trump claimed he was too “busy” to give the boxes back to the federal government.

Trump has also taken to outright confessing that he took the sensitive records. In a prerecorded interview on Newsmax, Trump claimed point blank that he actually did take the classified documents, describing the process of shamelessly packing them away while leaving office.

“I took ’em very legally,” Trump said. “And I wasn’t hiding them.”