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Why Top Democrats Are Turning on Chuck Schumer

House Democrats—including former Speaker Nancy Pelosi— are furious about a planned visit from Benjamin Netanyahu.

Nancy Pelosi, wearing a blue pantsuit and pearls, smiles and looks off into the distance in front of an American flag.
Zach Gibson/Getty Images
Nancy Pelosi in mid-October

House Democrats are coming out against a plan to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a joint session of Congress, with some of the party’s top brass joining the choir.

House Speaker Mike Johnson is pushing Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to sign on to a formal invitation to the Israeli leader, with the two leaders currently negotiating over an invitation. That has been complicated by a half-dozen Democratic lawmakers openly condemning the oddly timed speech, calling it a “political gesture.”

Minnesota Representative Dean Phillips told Axios that Netanyahu is “dividing this country … in a similar way he’s divided Israel, and I think that’s awfully dangerous.”

“I can only imagine the personal and political conflict facing Leader Schumer,” Phillips added.

Those who have spoken out against the invitation include Phillips, as well as Representatives Dan Kildee and Scott Peters. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had previously called on Netanyahu to resign, simply said “no” to the prospect of Schumer extending a personal invitation to the Israeli leader.

House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Jim Himes felt that Netanyahu’s attention would be better used elsewhere, telling Axios that Bibi “should be focused on freeing hostages, not on charming legislators.”

The open call to bring Netanyahu to the U.S. Capitol comes mere days after the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for him, charging the Israeli prime minister and three Hamas leaders with “crimes against humanity” committed in Gaza. Those charges have stood out for several lawmakers, even though the United States is not a member of the ICC.

“I think it’s a strange time to invite Netanyahu; it’s a really divisive kind of move,” Peters told Axios.

Kildee also alluded to the charges, telling the publication that he didn’t believe it was a “good time” to bring Netanyahu.

“Let’s not complicate an already complicated situation,” Kildee said.

MAGA Supreme Court Votes to Make Gerrymandering Much Worse

Meanwhile, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was caught with a second insurrectionist flag.

Samuel Alito
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Insurrectionist flag addict Samuel Alito and five other conservative justices delivered a long-awaited Supreme Court opinion about racial gerrymandering on Thursday, determining that a racially gerrymandered redistricting map in South Carolina is actually not about race at all.

The Supreme Court has typically rejected districts drawn with race as a predominant factor—but according to the majority’s decision, written by Alito, that’s not the case with the South Carolina district the ACLU previously depicted as a two-headed dragon that cut across multiple neighborhoods using 2020 census data to minimize the impact of the Black vote.

A federal court agreed with the ACLU in January 2023, ordering South Carolina to redraw its 2021 enacted congressional map. South Carolina appealed the decision, kicking it up to the conservative-controlled Supreme Court.

The 2023 federal decision unanimously agreed that state legislators “may not use partisanship as a proxy for race.” The decision handed down by the Supreme Court Wednesday nuked that opinion by essentially deciding everything is partisan, thereby negating the issue of race entirely: “Where race and politics are highly correlated, a map that has been gerrymandered to achieve a partisan end can look very similar to a racially gerrymandered map,” the absurd decision reads.

The decision further claims that because the ACLU didn’t provide a hypothetical “rational” map to show what non–racially gerrymandered redistricting would look like, it failed to prove that the racist gerrymandering was not done in “good faith”—a new precedent for racial gerrymandering cases that the Supreme Court has never required before.

All liberal justices dissented, with Kagan apparently sneaking a reference to an inverted flag flown outside Alito’s home in January 2021 into her dissent.

Twitter screenshot

Nikki Haley Savagely Dragged Over Her Trump Endorsement

Haley says she’ll vote for Trump in November. And everyone is rightfully calling her out for it.

Nikki Haley looks off camera
Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Nikki Haley once warned that Trump becoming the Republican presidential nominee would be “suicide for our country” and that “everything Trump touches turns to chaos.” But on Wednesday, she forgot all of her own dire warnings and stated she plans to vote for him in November. Unfortunately for her, the internet never forgets.

Speaking at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think-tank she chairs, Haley said, “Trump has not been perfect on these policies, but Biden has been a catastrophe. So I will be voting for Trump.”

“As a voter, I put my priorities on a president who’s going to have the backs of our allies and hold our enemies to account, who would secure the border, who would support capitalism and freedom, who understands we need less debt not more debt,” Haley said, while stopping short of a full-throated endorsement.

“That’s not Donald Trump. That’s not his record in office,” former Trump national security adviser John Bolton shot back at Haley’s explanation during an appearance on CNN.

The internet did what the internet does and resurfaced clips of criticisms Haley previously made against Trump in response to her announcement.

Many decried her heel turn as an act of cowardice, adding hers to the ranks of similar pivots from Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. While some speculated Haley’s vote was an effort to nab a vice presidential spot, Trump reportedly released an email Wednesday night announcing, “Nikki Haley not under VP consideration! But, I wish her well …”

“There goes her reputation, permanently,” one user posted in response to news of Haley’s vote.

“Nikki Haley’s transformation is almost complete. The only thing left to do is shoot a puppy,” another mused.

Haley’s choice to kiss the ring angered her supporters, many of whom rallied behind her in protest against Trump’s extreme agenda.

“Stop with the bullsh!t,” wrote former RNC chairman Michael Steele. “You could have said this on the day you suspended your campaign. Continue to support you?! The people who voted for you will not be voting for Trump. That was the point. I wish I could say I am disappointed. I am not even surprised.”

The Biden campaign renewed its invitation to Haley voters to join their campaign, which Biden first issued in March after Haley announced the end of her presidential campaign.

“Nikki Haley voters, Donald Trump doesn’t want your vote. I want to be clear: There is a place for you in my campaign,” Biden wrote at the time.

Watch: Ted Cruz Loses It When Asked if He’ll Accept Election Results

Notably, the Republican senator refused to answer the question.

Ted Cruz at a lectern speaks and gestures as if he is angry about something.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Senator Ted Cruz won’t admit whether he’ll accept election results that show Joe Biden winning in November.

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins asked Cruz the question point-blank Wednesday night.

“You were the first senator to object to the votes. In 2024 will you certify the election results? Do you plan to object or will you accept the results regardless of who wins the election?” Collins asked.

Cruz immediately tried to dodge.

“So, Kaitlan, I gotta say, I think that’s actually a ridiculous question,” the Texas senator replied. The exchange then became a long back-and-forth, in which Cruz denied that the question was yes-or-no, and asked whether Collins had ever asked a Democrat that question. Collins mentioned how Trump refused to allow a peaceful transfer of power, and Cruz even glossed over the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot, claiming, “We did have a peaceful transfer of power. I was there on January 20. I was there on the swearing-in.”

“Barely,” replied Collins.

Cruz still refused to commit to accepting the results, claiming that there could be voter fraud.

“Look, if the Democrats win, I will accept the result, but I’m not gonna ignore fraud,” Cruz said, again adding a giant caveat to his answer.

The segment ended with a pointed remark from Collins. “Senator Ted Cruz—no answer to that question. Thank you very much.”

Watch the entire exchange here:

Cruz faces a tough reelection campaign against Democratic Representative Colin Allred, a former football player, but is probably worried about drawing the ire of Trump and the Republican base. Republicans are repeatedly dodging the question of accepting a Biden win in November, especially those who are in the running for vice president. Some Republican candidates have even alluded to supporting violence.

Are You Serious?! Samuel Alito Flew Yet Another January 6 Flag

The “Appeal to Heaven” flag was spotted last summer at his vacation home in New Jersey.

Samuel Alito
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Samuel Alito in 2019

It turns out that the upside-down flag flown at Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s Virginia home after the January 6 insurrection wasn’t the only time one of his properties nodded to the election denialism of Donald Trump’s supporters.

The “Appeal to Heaven” flag flew last summer at Alito’s vacation home in New Jersey, according to The New York Times. Also known as the Pine Tree flag, it originated as a symbol of the American Revolution but became a symbol of Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” movement—including one carried by rioters at the Capitol building.

Several photos acquired by the Times showed the flag hanging outside of Alito’s residence on Long Beach Island on four separate dates between July and September 2023.

The revelations cast further doubt on Alito’s excuse for flying an upside-down American flag at his home in Alexandria, Virginia, on January 17, 2021: He blamed his wife, telling Fox News that she had hung it upside down “for a short time” after an anti-Trump neighbor hurled insults at her.

Democrats have since called for Alito to recuse himself from cases related to the 2020 election, and introduced a resolution Tuesday to censure the “shameless” justice for what they call “beyond poor judgment,” arguing that Alito had violated the court’s ethics and invited questions about the court’s impartiality.

“Pro-White,” Nazi-Saluting Gov. Candidate Will Be on Missouri Ballot

Well, this is awkward for the Republican Party.

The Old Courthouse and Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri

A white supremacist candidate will remain on the Missouri GOP’s ballot for governor, according to a state judge who rejected a lawsuit brought by the Missouri Republican Party.

The state GOP had attempted to boot Darrell Leon McClanahan III from the August election after photos resurfaced in February of McClanahan giving a Nazi salute while posing with a hooded Ku Klux Klan member. But the action was too little too late to keep his name from appearing on the ballot beside the likes of Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe, and state Senator Bill Eigel. Instead, it will be up to Republican voters in Missouri to decide if they want a “pro-White” candidate leading the “Show-Me” state.

“The Plaintiff did not present to the Court any evidence that having McClanahan on a primary election ballot would cause it any injury,” wrote circuit court Judge Cotton Walker in his ruling Friday. “McClanahan’s presence on the primary election ballot is not necessarily an endorsement of the candidate by the party.”

Still, McClanahan’s blatantly racist views weren’t exactly a secret before he filed to run—nor was it the Missouri GOP’s first time accepting filing fees and candidacy paperwork from him in a local election. The known white supremacist had a failed run for U.S. Senate in 2022, when he placed fifteenth in a group of 21 candidates, pulling more than 1,100 votes.

McClanahan has not rejected his ties to white supremacist groups but has instead tried to downplay them, saying he is just an “honorary” member rather than a formal member of the Knight’s Party Ku Klux Klan. He identifies with the racist religious sect Christian Identity and has attended several events hosted by the Arkansas-based Christian Identity Klan, including a cross burning, which he attempted to brush off by describing the event as “religious Christian Identity Cross lighting ceremony.”

McClanahan also attended the 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protest—an experience that he wrote positively about for the Knights Party’s newsletter, The Torch, cataloging his descent into far-right, race-based radicalization.

McClanahan’s attorney, Dave Roland, celebrated the outcome, telling the Columbia Missourian that the ruling will keep party leaders from having “almost unlimited discretion to choose who’s going to be allowed on a primary ballot.”

“I’m not sure they ever actually intended to win this case,” Roland told the publication. “I think the case got filed because the Republican Party wanted to make a very big public show that they don’t want to be associated with racism or antisemitism. And the best way that they could do that was filing a case that they knew was almost certain to lose.”

Judge Cannon Hearing on Trump Classified Docs Case Goes off the Rails

Apparently nothing in this classified documents case is normal.

Judge Aileen Cannon headshot (looks like a yearbook photo, blue background)
United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida

Judge Aileen Cannon held an unusual hearing on Wednesday to consider arguments to throw charges against one of Donald Trump’s co-defendants, his former valet Walt Nauta, in the classified documents case. But it didn’t take much for proceedings to quickly devolve into a shouting match.

Nauta’s concerns were overshadowed in the Ft. Pierce, Florida, courtroom by a disagreement between his lawyer, Stanley Woodward, and prosecutor Jay Bratt. Woodward claimed that Bratt pressured Nauta to cooperate with the prosecution by threatening to hold up Woodward’s nomination to a judgeship. Nauta argued that his lack of cooperation with the Justice Department’s probe into Trump’s mishandling of classified documents was the reason he was charged.

“I had been recommended for a judgeship, that’s beyond dispute,” said Woodward. “There was a folder about defense counsel on the table” during Nauta’s meeting with Bratt, he said, adding that Bratt directly referenced the judicial nomination.

“I think the implication was that I was to travel and convince Mr. Nauta to cooperate with the investigation, and if I didn’t [do] that, there would be consequences,” Woodward added.

Prosecutor David Harbach didn’t take kindly to this account and accusation.

“Mr Woodward’s story of what happened at that meeting is a fantasy,” Harbach said, banging the lectern. “It did not happen.”

“This is a lawyer whose allegations amount basically to him being extorted,” Harbach added, waving his arms before Cannon told him to calm down.

Cannon asked the prosecutor why there wasn’t any evidence gathered of the 2022 conversation, saying, “Why do those comments [about Woodward] have to be made?”

“That is not true, and I didn’t say that,” Harbach shouted, saying that there wasn’t a recording of the conversation between Bratt and Woodward, but that special counsel Jack Smith’s team preserved records of the meeting.

In response, Woodward ran back up to the lectern, saying  “I’m here” and offering to testify under oath about his recollection of the meeting.

This hearing was the first in-person proceeding in the Republican presidential nominee’s classified documents case in over a month. On May 7, Cannon announced that the case would be indefinitely delayed to unresolved pretrial motions, fueling ongoing accusations that the judge, a Trump appointee, is deliberately slowing down the case so that it won’t hurt Trump’s election prospects. 

But, new evidence has come to light in recently unsealed documents showing that Trump hoarded classified documents even after the 2022 search at Mar-a-Lago. Moreover, after the federal government subpoenaed security footage from his Mar-a-Lago estate, the former president ordered his staffers to avoid security cameras when moving boxes around. Trump faces 42 felony charges in the case related to illegally retaining national security documents and conspiracy to obstruct justice, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

Are Ohio Republicans Seriously Going to Keep Biden Off the Ballot?

Ohio’s Republican secretary of state is warning Joe Biden.

Joe Biden speaks at a lectern
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Joe Biden may not appear on the Ohio ballot in November, according to a letter sent from Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose warning the state’s Democratic Party of the electoral quagmire. LaRose notes Ohio state law requires presidential nominations be confirmed 90 days before the general election—and the DNC, where Biden would be officially nominated, falls two weeks later.

“As it stands today, the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee will not be on the Ohio ballot,” LaRose said when releasing his letter to the Ohio Democratic Party on Tuesday. “That is not my choice. It’s due to a conflict in the law created by the party, and the party has so far offered no legally acceptable remedy.”

Frank LaRose tweet screenshot

While Biden’s campaign previously said they were “monitoring the situation” the last time this hiccup was presented to them, LaRose’s warning doesn’t bode well.  It’s up to the GOP-controlled state legislature to decide whether they’ll waive the deadline requirement, and there’s no indication they feel like doing that. Per Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens in comment to the Ohio Capital Journal, “There’s just not the will to do that from the legislature.”

“We’ve seen the dysfunction here in this place,” Ohio House Minority Leader Allison Russo, a Democrat, told press on Tuesday. “I think at this point, you’re probably going to see either, you know, some sort of inner party effects or perhaps court action.”

At this point in the primaries, Biden has already secured nearly double the delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination, yet continues to lag in the polls. Trump won the Buckeye State against Biden in 2020 with 53.3 percent and in 2016 with 51.7 percent of the vote. It’s unclear what, if anything, Biden’s campaign plans to do, but one thing’s clear: The DNC should fire their event scheduler.

House Democrat Banned From Speaking After Surreal Fight Over Trump

Democratic Representative Jim McGovern dared mention Trump’s many legal issues—and then the entire chamber shut down.

Representative Jim McGovern (profile shot)
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

On Wednesday, Democratic Representative Jim McGovern was banned from speaking the rest of the day after a surreal fight where Republicans lost it over his mention of Trump’s many criminal charges and legal issues.

McGovern pointed out that a Republican had called Trump’s hush-money trial “a sham trial” without any reproach from the chair at the time.

Tweet screenshot to full quote

But as McGovern was stating the president’s various charges in full, Republican Representative Erin Houchin interrupted him and moved to have his words stricken from the congressional record for “engaging in personalities.”

Later, McGovern posted on X (formerly Twitter) that he was banned from speaking on the House floor for the rest of the day merely because he stated Trump’s charges, even though other representatives have called the trial a sham on previous occasions.

Tweet screenshot

It’s the latest example of the Republican-controlled House taking action against Democrats for the same words and actions that they allow from their own party. Last week, Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene attacked the appearance of Democratic Representative Jasmine Crockett and refused to apologize, drawing a sharp retort from Crockett that quickly became a meme and a trademark.

If Republicans are going to prohibit mentioning the Republican presidential nominee’s criminal charges, it makes little sense. Trump became a private citizen when Joe Biden was sworn in as president, and they could conceivably extend this excessive privilege to any private citizen they want, arbitrarily. If mentioning his charges is so offensive, they should save their energy, because while Trump’s hush-money trial is nearing its closing stages, his classified documents trial, his election interference trial in Georgia, and his election interference trial in Washington, D.C. are all still ongoing.

One Incriminating Footnote in Bombshell Trump Classified Docs Report

A new report says Donald Trump was still hoarding classified documents months after the Mar-a-Lago raid—and one footnote reveals exactly what was done with them.

Donald Trump yells and spreads his arms out as if in exasperatin. He holds a stack of papers in one hand, and his lawyer Todd Blance stands next to him looking angry.
Justin Lane/Pool/Getty Images

A bombshell buried in a footnote midway through an 87-page opinion, freshly unsealed Tuesday, spells further trouble for Trump in the classified documents case.

The 2023 opinion from U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell reveals that an unnamed witness scanned and saved confidential documents onto a laptop owned by Save America PAC, a political action committee formed by Trump in 2020. The detail sheds new light on the depths to which Trump consciously violated federal law.

The explosive footnote, found on page 37 of the 2023 opinion, states that in 2021:

WITNESS scanned the contents of the box … onto a laptop in her possession owned by the Save America Political Action Committee (“PAC”), a PAC formed by the former president in 2020.

On January 6, 2023—two years later—Trump’s lawyer notified the government of what this unnamed witness had done and provided a thumb drive of the files to the government. This revelation came four months after the FBI had already executed a search warrant on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate to retrieve classified materials Trump had illegally kept.

The opinion by Howell, who presided over the case in 2023, also revealed that the FBI discovered more classified documents in Trump’s bedroom months after the Mar-a-Lago raid that turned up boxes of classified materials stored in his bathroom.

Unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials is a violation of federal law with penalties up to $250,000 or up to five years in prison. That an aide associated with Trump’s PAC copied classified documents is damning for Trump—who so far has avoided trial thanks to Judge Aileen Cannon granting motions to indefinitely delay the case.

Trump is charged with 40 felonies of alleged unlawful retention of classified documents and obstruction of the investigation into his super-illegal hoarder antics.