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“Genocide”: Elizabeth Warren Sounds Alarm About the War in Gaza

The Massachusetts senator warned the International Court of Justice will likely find Israel is committing genocide in Gaza.

Elizabeth Warren speaks
Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Senator Elizabeth Warren is warning that Israel’s devastating military campaign in Gaza, which has killed more than 33,000 people, could legally be considered a genocide.

Warren made the comments during an event last week at a Boston-area mosque. Video of her speech began circulating on social media on Monday. The death toll in Gaza, which includes at least 13,000 children, is considered a low estimate due to the difficulty in counting the dead.

“If you want to do it as an application of law, I believe that they’ll find that it is genocide, and they have ample evidence to do so,” Warren said, speaking at the Islamic Center of Boston in Wayland, Massachusetts. She was responding to an audience question about the International Court of Justice ruling that it was “plausible” Israel has committed acts of genocide in Gaza.

Warren noted that, for her, “it is far more important to say what Israel is doing is wrong. And it is wrong.”

“It is wrong to starve children within a civilian population in order to try to bend to your will. It is wrong to drop 2,000-pound bombs, in densely populated civilian areas,” she said.

Warren faced criticism for her stance on the war when she backed Israel after Hamas’s October 7 attacks. As Israel’s war ramped up, along with international criticism of its actions, protesters have shown up outside of Warren’s offices, as well as her home. One Palestinian American even confronted Warren at a restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in November. Warren also voted to send more military aid to Israel in February, part of a bill that defunded the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.

Warren’s new stance is the latest example of Democrats criticizing Israel’s actions. On March 22, Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez warned that the United States was complicit in the humanitarian crisis in the territory, and on March 15, Senator Chuck Schumer gave a speech criticizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conduct in Gaza.

Warren was also among eight Democratic senators who called on President Joe Biden in an open letter in March to suspend military aid to Israel while it blocked U.S. humanitarian aid to Gaza.

More recently, the White House had to cancel its annual iftar banquet with American Muslim leaders last week after invitations were rejected in protest of America’s Israel military campaign. On Monday, the Foreign Press Association issued a statement urging international journalists to be allowed unfettered access into Gaza, which Israel’s government continues to block.

Trump Hush-Money Case Got Two New Witnesses—and It’s Not Looking Good

Trump’s former assistant and former director of Oval Office operations are expected to testify.

Madeleine Westerhout looks at Donald Trump
Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Getty Images
Madeleine Westerhout

Former associates of Donald Trump, look out—the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is lining up witnesses as his hush-money trial is set to begin.

Rhona Graff, Trump’s former assistant, and Madeleine Westerhout, his former director of Oval Office operations, are expected to testify in the trial, ABC News reported Monday, citing anonymous sources. They will join Hope Hicks, the former White House communications director and onetime aide to Trump, who has already testified before a grand jury investigating Trump’s interference in the 2020 election.

In addition, Deborah Tarasoff, a former employee in the Trump Organization’s accounting department, as well Jeffrey McConney, the organization’s onetime controller, will likely be called to testify. They all join the most well-known name on this list: Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer and personal attorney.

The list extends beyond Trump’s ex-employees. David Pecker, a former executive with American Media Inc., will likely testify, as well as National Enquirer editor Dylan Howard. American Media Inc. used to own the tabloid newspaper, and prosecutors say both Howard and Pecker were involved in “catch and kill” methods to keep negative stories about Trump from spreading during his 2016 presidential campaign.

The trial has already gotten off to a rough start from Trump’s perspective. He’s facing an expanded gag order after he repeatedly attacked the daughter of presiding Judge Juan Merchan on Truth Social. Trump has tried to delay the trial numerous times, including by making the claim that there’s too much “pretrial publicity” and by suing Merchan.

The former president faces 34 felony charges for falsifying business records regarding a payment made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election to hide a 2006 affair they had. It’s his first criminal trial, and jury selection is set to begin on April 15.

Mark the Date! Garland’s DOJ Actually Takes a Stand on Something?

The Department of Justice accused Representatives Jim Jordan and James Comer of causing politicized conflict.

James Comer and Jim Jordan talk while seated at the dais
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Despite threats by Representatives James Comer and Jim Jordan to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress, the Department of Justice said Monday it will not turn over the audio of President Joe Biden’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur regarding his storage of classified documents, bringing bad-faith Republican impeachment efforts (or whatever was left of them) to a screeching halt.

In a letter to Jordan and Comer obtained by The New Republic, Assistant Attorney General Carlos Uriarte effectively thwarted Republicans’ meritless effort to impeach Biden. “Neither branch [of Congress] has any constitutionally-based authority to seek conflict for conflict’s sake,” Uriarte wrote, identifying the politically motivated nature of the disastrous impeachment inquiry, which yielded more indictments of the GOP’s own star witnesses than actual evidence of the president’s wrongdoing.

“The Department is concerned that the Committees’ particular focus on continuing to demand information that is cumulative of information we already gave you—what the President and Mr. Hur’s team said in the interview—indicates that the Committees’ interests may not be in receiving information in service of legitimate oversight or investigatory functions, but to serve political purposes that should have no role in the treatment of law enforcement files,” continued Uriarte.

In a February 12 letter to Attorney General Garland, Comer and Jordan requested the audio of Biden’s interview with Hur, which made news when Hur, who did not recommend charges for the president, editorialized in his report, including “gratuitous” details about Biden’s poor memory and inability to recall details about his life. Critics have called the report a “partisan hit job.”

It’s become clear that, in demanding the audio, Comer and Jordan were scrambling at potential ammunition against Biden, who has faced questions about his age since his 2020 victory, to use in the lead-up to the 2024 election. Comer himself has already begun to back away from impeachment in the absence of evidence. Having all but admitted defeat, audio of Biden’s interview might have represented the last chance to squeeze some value out of a smear campaign that never even had enough Republican support to bring to a vote. For once, however, Garland’s Department of Justice did not cave.

Trump’s Idiot Lawyers Plan to Sue Judge in His First Criminal Trial

The former president may be suing the judge in his case.

Donald Trump speaks and gestures with his hands
Brendan McDermid/Pool/Getty Images

It is the eleventh hour for Donald Trump in his bid not to stand trial in his criminal hush-money case. So he’s planning a new, frantic measure: suing the judge.

Trump’s legal team is expected to file a lawsuit against Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, who has reprimanded the former president’s lawyers for their conduct in court. The team’s latest genius move is to file an Article 78 action against Merchan, effectively asking an appeals court to throw out the gag order issued by Merchan against Trump and, crucially, to push a potential trial back until after the 2024 presidential election.

Trump, with the backing of Fox News, has previously attacked Merchan and his daughter. Now he’s attempting to have Merchan removed. The action, described by The New York Times as “unorthodox,” is reportedly unlikely to succeed. The lawsuit is not yet public, but sources familiar with the matter confirmed to the Times that the legal team will likely file on Monday.

The hush-money case is Trump’s first criminal trial on the calendar—expected to begin later this month. The news of the lawsuit comes not long after it was revealed that the surety company backing Trump’s $175 million bond in his civil fraud case does not have the funds to do so, and may not have legally promised to pay the penalty if his appeal is unsuccessful.

RFK Jr. Adviser Makes Shocking Admission about Campaign’s True Goal

The goal isn’t actually to become president.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. looks forward
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has been described as a spoiler candidate for president by supporters of Joe Biden, and even by Kennedy himself. But the Kennedy campaign’s New York director is taking it a step further.

In a meeting with Republicans in the Empire State, Rita Palma said that “our mutual enemy is Biden.”

“The only way that Trump can even, remote possibility of taking New York is if Bobby is on the ballot. If it’s Trump versus Biden, Biden wins. Biden wins six days, seven days a week. With Bobby in the mix, anything can happen,” Palma said on video of the meeting, dated Friday and viewed by CNN.

The video, which was posted to YouTube before being taken down, showed Palma arguing for Kennedy’s candidacy as a way to block Biden from being reelected.

“The only way for him, for Bobby, to shake it up and to get rid of Biden is if he’s on the ballot in every state, including New York,” she said.

Palma even told people to go to Pennsylvania, a swing state, to knock on doors for Trump, saying that she had done so in 2016 and 2020.

She described the scenario of neither Biden nor Trump getting the required 270 electoral votes to win the 2024 election. If that were to happen, the House of Representatives would decide who will be the next president of the United States. Palma argued that Kennedy winning blue states like New York could make that happen.

“Who are they going to pick? If it’s a Republican Congress, they’ll pick Trump. So we’re rid of Biden either way,” she said.

It can be argued Kennedy’s supporter base draws from both the left and right, as many environmentalists, anti-vaxxers, and new age enthusiasts attend his fundraisers. But it remains to be seen if Democrats have anything to worry about at the polls, even as Kennedy continues to produce outrageous sound bites and make dangerous statements.

GOP Rep. Issues Dire Warning About His Party’s Claims on Russia

The head of the House Intelligence Committee had a dire warning about his own party.

Mike Turner sits at the dais
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A rift is emerging in the Republican Party between the pro-Russia right and a group of senior GOP Congress members warning against those pushing Kremlin messaging on the Russia-Ukraine war.

Ohio Representative Mike Turner, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, is one of those Congress members. Speaking with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, Turner railed against members of his own party who oppose funding Ukraine for repeating the Russian line that the invasion of Ukraine is a dispute over NATO expansion.

“We see, directly coming from Russia, attempts to mask communications that are anti-Ukraine and pro-Russia messages, some of which we even hear being uttered on the House floor,” Turner said.

Turner is not the only Republican to criticize Republicans’ parroting of Kremlin propaganda. Last week, Texas Representative and chair of the House Foreign Services Committee Michael McCaul warned that “Russian propaganda has made its way into the United States, unfortunately, and it’s infected a good chunk of my party’s base.”

To whom are McCaul and Turner referring? A faction of Republicans opposed to the passage of any aid for Ukraine, most likely. Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene on Monday described the conflict as a “war on Christianity,” applauding Russia for “protecting” Christianity from supposed Ukrainian attacks. She has also promised to hold aid hostage by threatening to hold a vote to remove House Speaker Mike Johnson from the speakership if a bill sending aid to Ukraine is put on the table.

Senators Ron Johnson and Tommy Tuberville have repeated the “NATO expansion” canard to which Turner made reference, and expressed admiration for Vladimir Putin before voting against a military aid package. Disgraced former Fox News host Tucker Carlson visited Russia for a fawning interview with Putin.

But if Turner and McCaul are looking for the source of this authoritarian apologia, they ought to look at their leader, Donald Trump. The former president, who was impeached for holding promised aid over the head of Ukrainian President Vlodymyr Zelenskiy in exchange for damaging information on then-candidate Joe Biden, has certainly trafficked in the kind of pro-Russian messaging Turner criticized. Trump has also promised to end all aid to Ukraine if he is elected president in 2024.

The rot infecting the GOP, as described by Turner and McCaul, is coming from the top of the party. But will their colleagues give them a hearing? Don’t count on it.

More on the GOP's relationship to Russia:

Press Asks What Israel Doesn’t “Want International Journalists to See”

The Foreign Press Association demanded Israel allow journalists into the war-torn region.

A Palestinian man stands amid rubble in Khan Younis
Yasser Qudaih/Anadolu/Getty Images
A Palestinian man stands amid rubble in Khan Younis.

The Foreign Press Association slammed Israel on Monday for preventing international journalists from accessing Gaza, suggesting that Tel Aviv was trying to prevent the rest of the world from seeing the extent of the destruction.

Israel’s brutal war in Gaza has killed at least 33,175 people in the last six months, including 13,000 children. Images and reports from the territory show vast areas filled with rubble, horrific images of corpses, and bombing survivors nursing grief over their loved ones as well as their own serious injuries.

And that’s with Israel barring any journalists from entering Gaza independently.

“The barring of independent press access to a war zone for this long is unprecedented for Israel,” the Foreign Press Association said in a statement. “It raises questions about what Israel does not want international journalists to see.”

The group is calling for Israel to grant international media “expanded and unfettered access to Gaza.”

Screenshot of a tweet

The gruesome reports the world has seen have come from Gazan journalists on the ground, who have to balance their own safety—as well as that of their families—with the duty of documenting the attacks, atrocities, and daily life as the war continues into its sixth month. A small amount of media has been allowed into the territory under military escort, but it is subject to Israeli military censorship. Gazan journalists, such as Motaz Azaiza, Plestia Alaqad, Bisan Owda, Hind Khodary, and others have had to rely on viral social media posts to get their uncensored reports out.

It stands to reason, then, that foreign journalists would expose even more horrific effects of Israel’s military attacks, as U.S. officials have reportedly said anonymously. Last week, British radio host James O’Brien drew the same conclusion on Leading Britain’s Conversation.

At least 95 journalists and media workers are among the dead as a result of the war to date, according to preliminary investigations from the Committee to Protect Journalists. Not all of the dead are from Gaza, either: Among the confirmed media casualties are 90 Palestinians, two Israelis, and three Lebanese.

In addition, 16 journalists were reported injured, four were reported missing, and 25 were reportedly arrested, according to the CPJ. And that doesn’t include threats and censorship against journalists in the region. For example, Israel’s Knesset passed a law last week giving the country’s senior ministers the ability to shut down any news outlet deemed a security risk, a move that was widely seen as targeting one of the few international outlets with correspondents inside Gaza, Al Jazeera.

The Shady Company Backing Trump’s Bond Somehow Just Got Even Shadier

Knight Specialty Insurance isn’t even licensed in New York, among other issues.

Donald Trump frowns
Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

It’s conventional wisdom that the right wing is dominated, defined, even, by “grifters all the way down.” No big surprise, then, that the insurance company footing the bill for Donald Trump’s fraud case bond is itself unscrupulous.

An investigation by The Daily Beast revealed that Knight Specialty Insurance, the company backing Trump’s $175 million civil fraud penalty payment, is not licensed as a solvent surety firm by the New York Department of Financial Services, and has not been vetted by the state’s Excess Line Association, a board of insurers that provides voluntary audits of other insurer’s finances. The reason for that: The California-based Knight does not appear to have enough money in its coffers to post Trump’s bonds.

According to the Beast, Trump’s bond accounts for a third of the company’s assets and more than its total surplus funds. Maria T. Vullo, a former New York financial regulator, has called the move to post Trump’s bond “incomprehensible for a carrier to underwrite.”

The company, for its part, seems aware of its predicament: The Beast reports that Knight has not legally promised to pay Trump’s penalty if the former president’s appeal is unsuccessful. Instead, the document Knight produced indicates, Trump would still be responsible for paying.

Knight Specialty Insurance is owned by the “king of the subprime car loan,” right-wing billionaire Don Hankey. Hankey appeared to come to Trump’s rescue after the former president loudly struggled to post in his real estate fraud case.

But now, what appeared to be a stroke of luck for Trump may actually be a case of two grifters looking to get one over on one another. If Hankey’s company in fact has not legally agreed to pay the penalty, Trump may ultimately be forced to forfeit assets if he cannot cover the disgorgement himself. New York Attorney General Letitia James has promised to seize Trump properties if he cannot pay.

In dealing with a shady businessman like Hankey, Trump, whose Department of Justice sued Hankey for illegally repossessing the cars of military veterans, might have heeded the words of one of his favorite poems: “You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in.”

More on Knight Specialty Insurance:

Trump Admits He Only Wants White People to Come to the U.S.

The former president wondered why the U.S. doesn’t get more migrants from Denmark, Norway, and Switzerland.

Donald Trump wears a Make America Great Again hat
Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Trump is bringing back his “greatest” hits on immigration in his current presidential campaign.

Remember in 2018, when he referred to immigrants from places such as Haiti as “people from shithole countries” and wondered why more immigrants weren’t coming from places like Norway? Well, at a private fundraiser over the weekend, Trump made a callback to those remarks, once again lamenting where immigrants to America come from.

At a multimillion-dollar event in Palm Beach, Florida, Trump complained that immigrants weren’t coming from “nice” countries “like Denmark,” according to The New York Times, which got an account of the event from one attendee. He even suggested that the wealthy guests at the event, hosted at a mansion owned by billionaire John Paulson, weren’t safe from nearby undocumented immigrants.

“These are people coming in from prisons and jails. They’re coming in from just unbelievable places and countries, countries that are a disaster,” Trump said, the Times reported.

“I said [in 2018], you know, ‘Why can’t we allow people to come in from nice countries, I’m trying to be nice,’” he continued, to reported chuckles from the crowd. “Nice countries, you know like Denmark, Switzerland? Do we have any people coming in from Denmark? How about Switzerland? How about Norway?”

The setting of the event was also interesting: Guests were seated outdoors at white-clothed tables under a white tent, looking out over the body of water that separates wealthy Palm Beach (98.3 percent white, according to census estimates) from the more diverse city of West Palm Beach, where nearly a third of the population is Black and almost a quarter is Hispanic.

“In fact, I don’t think they’re on this island, but I know they’re on that island right there. That’s West Palm,” Trump at one point said during his speech, gesturing across the water. “Congratulations over there. But they’ll be here. Eventually, they’ll be here.”

Trump also mentioned immigrants from the Middle East, noting that immigrants were arriving from Yemen, “where they’re blowing each other up all over the place.”

All of Trump’s rhetoric and policies have been based on racism from the time he began seriously campaigning for president in 2015. Who could forget his first campaign speech, after he descended his golden escalator? He claimed that Mexico was “sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

Trump either fails to realize or refuses to admit that immigrants move to different countries for better lives, For example, his preferred origin for immigrants, Denmark, ranks sixth in the world in the United Nations’ Human Development Index, which is based on factors such as life expectancy, literacy rate, access to electricity, GDP per capita, income inequality, and others. In contrast, the U.S. is ranked twentieth.

You’ll Never Guess Who Trump Pissed Off With His Abortion Announcement

Trump said he will let states decide abortion rights if he is reelected.

Daniel Steinle/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Donald Trump on Monday publicly announced his long-awaited decision on a potential national abortion policy, satisfying no one and leaving both parties up in arms.

In a video posted to Truth Social, Trump boasted about the Supreme Court ending Roe v. Wade during his term, smeared Democrats as “the radical ones on this issue,” erroneously accused the left of supporting “execution after birth,” and finally staked out a position on an issue he’s said little about publicly. The big reveal: The legality of abortion should be left for the states to decide, with supposed exceptions for rape, incest, or to save the patient’s life. This is, of course, more an acknowledgment of the law as it currently exists post-Roe than a position on a potential federal abortion ban. 

Understandably, the announcement enraged abortion rights activists, who argue that Trump’s endorsement of states’ right to outlaw abortion effectively hands red state governments a blank check to pass the most extreme anti-abortion laws in the country, like those already on the books in Texas, Florida, and Idaho. Advocates have rightly argued that the so-called exceptions for rape, incest, or the patient’s health trumpeted by the Republican presidential nominee are effectively toothless window dressing, since the bans have a chilling effect on doctors who fear legal backlash for performing any abortions. As abortion rights activists also pointed out, the video left unsaid whether Trump would sign a national ban if congressional Republicans successfully brought a bill  to his desk.

But the right is also up in arms. The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, or SBA, claimed to be “deeply disappointed” in Trump’s position in a press release. In leaving abortion to the states, President Marjorie Dannenfelser argues, Republicans “[cede] the national debate to Democrats.” Republicans who support anything less than a national ban are in bed with the “abortion industry” and want to popularize exceedingly rare late-term abortions, Dannenfelser said, echoing Trump’s false claim.

Trump had been conspicuously quiet on the abortion debate prior to Monday’s announcement, although he privately floated national 16- and 15-week bans. But even as he demurred from publicly supporting the kind of national prohibition favored by groups such as SBA (and faced criticism from other Republicans for refusing to endorse a federal ban), he has consistently taken credit for the state bans passed in the aftermath of Dobbs v. Jackson

Now, however, with his official position no longer a secret, and with the brutal implications of Dobbs made evident across the country, Trump can no longer play coy on the issue. And outraged though extremist anti-abortion groups may be with Trump at the moment, it’s clear that the right’s assault on abortion rights is just beginning

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