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Netanyahu Is Now Begging Biden to Work With Republicans to Save Him

This relationship is getting toxic.

Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu sit in front of U.S. and Israeli flags. Netanyahu is reading from his notes and sitting up straight, while Biden is leaning forward and frowning at his notes sadly. There is a table with a small U.S. and Israeli flag between them.
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems to be openly bullying President Joe Biden after the latter rejected a Republican effort to sanction the International Criminal Court.

Netanyahu told the Sirius XM radio program The Morgan Ortagus Show in an interview set to air Sunday that he was “surprised and disappointed” that Biden would not be supporting sanctions against the ICC, according to Politico. The publication obtained a clip of the interview, which took place on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the White House said it would reject the GOP-led effort in Congress to reprimand the ICC after its chief prosecutor filed warrants for Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and top Hamas leaders—a startling reversal of previous statements from Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“The United States said that they would, in fact, back the sanctions bill,” Netanyahu said. “I thought that was still the American position because there was bipartisan consensus just a few days ago.”

“Now you say there’s a question mark, and frankly I’m surprised and disappointed,” Netanyahu told host Morgan Ortagus, a former State Department spokesperson under Donald Trump.

While Biden previously called the ICC’s move “outrageous,” White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that “sanctions on the ICC are not an effective or appropriate tool to address U.S. concerns.”

Netanyahu and the rest of Israel’s leadership have little to gripe about, as the country has enjoyed nearly unceasing diplomatic and military support from the Biden administration since its brutal assault on Gaza began in October, after a Hamas invasion of southern Israel. Israel’s latest assault on displaced Palestinians in Rafah hasn’t resulted in any policy changes, despite gruesome images of charred and burned civilians—and a new report that the bombs used were made in the United States.

While shocking, Israel’s new offensive is a continuation of what experts have described as war crimes from Netanyahu and the rest of Israel’s leaders, who recently said that their war could last another seven months. If Netanyahu and co. aren’t getting the message from the ICC or international protests to stop adding to the conservative estimate of more than 36,000 Palestinians killed, perhaps Biden needs to stand up to Netanyahu’s humiliation and take a more concrete step: ending weapons shipments to Israel.

Far-Right Activist Connected to Ron DeSantis Indicted for January 6

Barbara Balmaseda has ties to several Republican politicians in Florida—and she was just indicted.

Barbara Balmaseda smiles with sunglasses and a Trump 2020 hat. A man beside her grimaces.
Justice Department

Barbara “Barby” Balmaseda’s career as a Republican operative finally hit a new despicable milestone: The former intern for Marco Rubio, volunteer for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign, and ex-director of the Miami Young Republicans was indicted by a grand jury last week for participating in the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot, according to newly available court documents.

A D.C. grand jury convened earlier this month indicted Balmaseda on all five charges presented to them, which include felony and misdemeanor charges of obstruction of an official proceeding (the certification of the 2020 election) and entering restricted grounds.

“We look forward to presenting a vigorous defense on her behalf as we have entered a plea of not guilty,” said Balmaseda’s attorney, Nayib Hassan, in a statement to the Miami New Times. Hassan also represented Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, who was sentenced to a whopping 22 years in federal prison—the longest sentence related to the Capitol riot to date.

Balmaseda was arrested in December, days after an FBI warrant was requested for her arrest—which came nearly two years after internet sleuths identified her inside the Capitol on January 6 alongside Proud Boys—and after a Vice City Proud Boy who attended the Capitol riot confirmed anonymously to the Miami New Times that “Barby was there.”

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The subsequent FBI investigation into Proud Boys who attended the Capitol turned up texts from Balmaseda on the phone of convicted Proud Boy and Miami-Dade GOP committee member Gabriel Garcia, including a text sent two days after the Capitol riot where Balmaseda allegedly texted Garcia, “Hey! Good morning! You left a hat and a gas mask in Adolfo’s car, I also have your sunglasses in my purse and you have my taser.”

Three years after the January 6 Capitol riot, more than 1,230 people have been charged with federal crimes, according to AP, as sleuths and the federal government continue to identify participants. Balmaseda’s long-awaited indictment is a reminder that the wheels of justice turn slowly but grind exceedingly fine.

Team Trump Lashes Out After New Stormy Daniels Revelations

As Donald Trump awaits his verdict in the hush-money trial, a new report casts further doubt on one of his main claims about Stormy Daniels.

Charly Triballeau/Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s representatives are not happy about a new report from The Daily Beast of Trump allegedly bragging about sleeping with adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

On Tuesday, an unnamed celebrity athlete told the publication that Trump was boasting about his affair with Daniels during the 2006 celebrity golf tournament in which Daniels and Trump met.

The athlete said that those who heard Trump’s boasts could hear him saying he had slept with Daniels, according to the article.

“It was clear to me and everyone who heard him that he was talking about Stormy,” the athlete said, and added that Trump encouraged other celebs to try to have sex with Daniels, which the athlete described as “crass,” “gross,” and “stupid.”

Perhaps even more damning, the anonymous athlete also said he received phone calls from strangers asking him about the tournament shortly before the 2016 elections—around the time that Daniels’s hush-money payment was being determined.

The Daily Beast reached out to the Trump campaign for comment, who blamed President Biden.

“The Biden campaign is in freakout mode and will try anything to cling to power,” said Trump campaign communications director Steven Cheung. “Crooked Joe Biden is a failed president trying to distract from his disastrous tenure. Publishing lies, rumors and innuendos are the hallmarks of losing campaigns and desperate failing media outlets trying to stay afloat. It’s time to Make America Great Again and re-elect President Trump.”

Every political campaign will say that it’s important to stay on message, but blaming the Biden campaign for this type of bad news doesn’t refute the allegations at all. Trump has denied ever having sex with Daniels and didn’t testify himself, possibly because he couldn’t refute any of the accounts from the defense’s witnesses while under oath, making the campaign’s statement seem even more hollow. Besides bragging about sex with Daniels, Trump was also cheating while playing golf, according to the anonymous athlete—a claim that surely irked Trump just as much.

Trump is on trial for allegedly paying off Daniels to cover up their affair before the 2016 election, and is awaiting a verdict from the jury after closing arguments concluded Wednesday. He faces 34 felony charges for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime.

Louisiana Republicans Just Made Covering Police Brutality a Crime

Police in the state can now arrest people who don’t stand more than 25 feet away from them while they are on duty.

Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry squints as he speaks into microphones
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry

Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry signed a law on Wednesday that has the potential to limit the ability to observe and record police activity.

Louisiana House Bill 173 will create a 25-foot buffer zone between civilians and police officers who are “lawfully engaged in the execution of [their] official duties,” stripping away possible accountability measures in the event of police brutality.

“No person shall knowingly or intentionally approach within [25] feet of a peace officer who is lawfully engaged in the execution of his official duties after the peace officer has ordered the person to stop approaching or to retreat,” the law reads.

While the distance may not seem unreasonable, human rights organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union argue that the law is a massive breach of the U.S. Constitution and the public’s First Amendment rights.

Similar, less restrictive laws have been struck down in other states. In 2022, a legal challenge brought by 10 media organizations and the ACLU against Arizona House Bill 2319 effectively ended a law requiring an eight-foot buffer zone between observers and police, with a federal court noting that it “fails to see how the presence of a person recording a video near an officer interferes with the officer’s activities.” The ACLU also sued Indiana last year for enacting a nearly identical law, which the organization argued had criminalized the “public’s most effective tool for shining a light on police misconduct.”

But restricting police transparency wasn’t the only right-wing policy win in the slew of bills Landry signed Tuesday. The governor also signed into law Senate Bill 276, reclassifying abortion drugs such as misoprostol and mifepristone as Schedule IV drugs under the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act. Despite calls from doctors who argued the anti-abortion law would make prescribing the drugs more difficult in critical health emergencies, Landry insisted that the policy would serve as a “protective measure” to ensure the safety of the women of Louisiana, reported The Advocate.

Trump Is Plotting a Key Role for Elon Musk if He Wins the Election

The worst people you know are teaming up to make this nightmare timeline even worse.

Donald Trump and Elon Musk splitscreen
Getty x2

Trump is taking advice from the world’s dumbest smart person, Elon Musk, and is potentially considering an adviser role for the racist conspiracy theoryaddicted billionaire, according to an exclusive report from The Wall Street Journal.

Musk has reportedly been in frequent contact with Trump as the election draws near, and angling for a formal role to influence Trump’s policies on the border and the economy. Equally troubling, according to The Wall Street Journal, Musk and fellow racist billionaire Nelson Peltz are working out a plan to invest in a “data-driven project to prevent voter fraud,” with the nightmare duo hosting “an influence campaign in elite circles” to “convince them not to support President Biden’s re-election campaign.”

Discussion of the voter fraud plan as well as a possible adviser role for Musk reportedly occurred in March at a soiree hosted by Peltz at his estate in Florida. The trio discussed Musk’s companies and an adviser role like that of former Marvel executive Isaac Perlmutter, who was positioned at the Department of Veterans Affairs during the Trump administration, The Wall Street Journal reports. During Trump’s first term, Musk was placed on a business advisory board but resigned in 2017 over disagreement with Trump removing the United States from the Paris climate accord.

Musk and Trump have since butted heads: In 2022, Musk backed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s white nationalist–fueled presidential campaign and claimed Trump was too old to be president, saying, “It’s time for Trump to hang up his hat & sail into the sunset.” This provoked a response from Trump, who slammed the grifter with claims Musk begged him for government subsidies as president, writing on Truth Social, “I could have said, “drop to your knees and beg,” and he would have done it.” Trump also referred to Musk as a “bullshit artist” for telling Trump he voted for him after having claimed to have never voted for a Republican before.

The battle of dimwits cooled in March as Trump’s campaign steadily led Republican primaries, with Trump reportedly taking interest in Musk’s deep pockets. Musk stated he wouldn’t be contributing any money to the 2024 election cycle—instead trying to use his clout among racist edgelords to influence billionaire voters away from Biden. While Trump continues to lag behind Biden’s fundraising, he did manage to out-raise Biden in April for the first time in the election cycle—though it’s unclear if Musk’s influence campaign played a factor.

Washington Post columnist Phillip Bump recently assessed that Musk’s frequent contact with Trump and efforts to help the would-be dictator win the White House is simply a ploy to build his own power—a tactic that practically guarantees future tongue lashings from Trump the second Musk stops producing results.

Alito’s Pathetic Defense for Refusing to Recuse Himself Over Flags

The Supreme Court justice blamed his wife for the January 6–related flags seen flying outside two of his houses.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito looks down
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito on Wednesday rejected a congressional call to recuse himself from lawsuits relating to the 2020 presidential election—specifically, Trump v. United States.

In a letter to Senators Dick Durbin and Sheldon Whitehouse, Alito argued that his impartiality had not “reasonably” come into question and he therefore would not sit out from the immunity case that branched off of Donald Trump’s election interference trial.

Alito was accused of compromising the court’s impartiality after controversial, January 6–affiliated flags were spotted flying at two of his countryside homes: a “Stop the Steal” upside-down U.S. flag at his house in Arlington, Virginia, and an “Appeal to Heaven” flag—a Revolutionary War symbol adopted by Christian nationalists—at the judge’s New Jersey vacation home.

But the details of the flags and their meanings don’t matter at all, according to Alito, simply because he didn’t know about them.

“As I have stated publicly, I had nothing whatsoever to do with the flying of that flag,” Alito wrote. “I was not even aware of the upside-down flag until it was called to my attention. As soon as I saw it, I asked my wife to take it down, but for several days, she refused.”

Both instances, according to Alito, can be chalked up to having a wife who is “fond of flying flags”—regardless of her political leanings or his affiliation to her, her “reasons for flying the flag are not relevant” to his ability to weigh in on the immunity case, he claimed.

“She did not fly it to associate herself with that or any other group, and the use of an old historic flag by a new group does not necessarily drain that flag of all other meanings,” Alito argued. “A reasonable person who is not motivated by political or ideological considerations or a desire to affect the outcome of Supreme Court cases would conclude that this event does not meet the applicable standard for recusal. I am therefore duty-bound to reject your recusal request.”

It remains to be seen what further actions might be taken against the conservative justice, but it’s not the only formal reprimand on the table for Alito. Last week, Representative Steve Cohen introduced the censure resolution against the Supreme Court justice for “knowingly violating the Federal recusal statute and binding ethics standards and calling the impartiality of the Supreme Court of the United States into question.”

Trump Dragged for Idiotic Mother Teresa Comparison as Jury Weighs Fate

This man is straight up losing it.

Donald Trump speaking
Curtis Means/Pool/Getty Images)

Outside of his hush-money trial as the jury weighed his fate Wednesday, Donald Trump felt the need to compare himself to the late humanitarian Mother Teresa.

“I would say, in listening to the charges from the judge, who’s, as you know, very conflicted, and corrupt, because of the confliction, very very corrupt, Mother Teresa could not beat these charges,” Trump said.

The statement from the Republican presidential nominee immediately drew mockery and scorn, especially since Trump’s statement could be interpreted as admitting there’s a strong case against him.

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Of course, Mother Teresa wouldn’t have been in a situation like Trump’s: to have an affair with an adult film actress like Stormy Daniels and then see a need to pay her to cover it up.

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In another absurd comparison in April, Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, compared him to Nelson Mandela in a Fox News interview. At least in that case, Mandela had spent time in a South African prison. Perhaps on Wednesday, after closing arguments, Trump was consumed with worry about being found guilty of one or more of the 34 felony charges in the case for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime.

The Sick Reason Texas Teachers Are Suing for Right to Punish Students

Professors want to mark students who miss class to get an abortion as having an unexcused absence.

People hold up pro-abortion rights protest signs
Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Professors at the University of Texas at Austin are joining in on Texas’s anti-abortion legal efforts, this time pressing back on federal privacy mandates so that they can punish students who have undergone the medical procedure.

In an amended complaint released earlier this month, university professors Daniel Bonevac and John Hatfield claim that the federal government’s Title IX policies—which protect against sexual or gender-based discrimination in education—are “flawed from top to bottom” and overstep the state’s “sovereign interest.” According to the filing, that includes limiting schools’ abilities to punish students who take time off to get an abortion, even if that abortion is performed out of state, and therefore infringing on the state’s abortion prohibitions.

“Plaintiffs Hatfield and Bonevac do not intend to accommodate student absences from class to obtain abortions—including illegal abortions and purely elective abortions that are not medically required. Nor will Plaintiffs Hatfield and Bonevac hire a teaching assistant who has violated the abortion laws of Texas or the federal-law prohibitions on the shipment or receipt of abortion pills and abortion-related paraphernalia,” the complaint reads.

The professors also bemoaned the requirement that schools treat abortions as “any other temporary medical condition” or else forgo their federal funding.

The lawsuit was originally filed in April by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and America First Legal, a Trump-aligned nonprofit led by former Donald Trump adviser Stephen Miller. But the anti-abortion details were crammed into a sprawling 66-page complaint that spends far more time framing Title IX as a pronoun-fueled bathroom battle, with Miller claiming that the rule would “force girls in every public school in America to share restrooms, locker rooms, and private facilities with men.”

“Texas is asking the court to put an immediate stop to Biden’s outrageous, unlawful assault on women’s rights,” Paxton said in a statement. “Biden cannot violate the Constitution to subvert Title IX protections for women in his effort to accommodate the fringe demands of ‘transgender’ movement activists.”

Texas has enacted some of the strictest abortion laws in the nation since Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022, banning all abortions except in the event of a severe medical emergency—though even that exception isn’t a given. Last year, Dallas mother Kate Cox sued the state over its post-Roe emergency clause after learning that her fetus had a fatal genetic condition that would have jeopardized her health and future fertility if carried to term. But despite qualifying for the procedure under Texas law, a district judge’s ruling allowing her to receive an abortion was effectively overridden by Paxton, who not only called for the Supreme Court to intervene in the case but also promised to convict abortion providers with felony charges, even if the procedure was court-ordered.

Judge Cannon Humiliated Over Basic Law Lesson in Court

Judge Aileen Cannon received an embarrassing lesson as she was was hearing the latest in Trump’s classified documents case.

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

The judge presiding over Donald Trump’s classified documents trial, Judge Aileen Cannon, seems to have a record of stumbling over her cases and failing to understand proceedings.

That’s the picture painted in a New York Times article published Wednesday.

The article pointed to an instance in the trial last week where a prosecutor in Trump’s case said that the Pinkerton rule, which states that all members of a conspiracy can be held accountable for any crimes committed by their co-conspirators, would apply to two of Trump’s co-defendants in the case, Mar-a-Lago employees Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira.

This seemed to confuse Cannon, a former federal prosecutor and graduate of the University of Michigan’s law school. She asked the prosecutor, Jay Bratt, what authority the Pinkerton rule would be applied on, leading to Bratt having to explain the rule to her.

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In other instances, the Trump-appointed judge seemed to require elaborate explanations regarding simple statements or requests from attorneys on both sides of the case.

For example, Nauta’s lawyer, Stanley Woodward Jr., made a request for all of the internal messages from the prosecution that mentioned his name so he could try to prove that the case against his client was vindictive. The judge asked him what he wanted, and then asked a second time, saying to give it to her “slowly.”

When he repeated his request to her, she still seemed confused, per the Times article.

“All right,” she said. “So I understand your request. It’s, quote, ‘All documents, communications concerning Mr. Woodward.’”

Following that, one of the prosecutors, David Harbach, nearly shouted at Cannon when she seemed to fail to grasp the point he was making: that Woodward’s claims were without merit and that he wasn’t legally allowed to see the government’s private messages. Cannon, in turn, asked Harbach if the government didn’t have the messages, causing him to get frustrated and repeat his explanation multiple times. Eventually, Cannon told Harbach he needed to “calm down.”

All of this is more fodder for Cannon’s critics, who not only include opponents of Trump, but even some former allies. One of Trump’s former lawyers, Ty Cobb, has accused Cannon of “incompetence” after she ruled to postpone the classified documents case indefinitely, fueling accusations that she is deliberately slowing down the case so that it won’t hurt Trump’s election prospects. 

After special prosecutor Jack Smith asked for a gag order due to Trump’s repeated comments, Cannon on Tuesday denied the request because it was “wholly lacking in substance and professional courtesy.” This move could help Smith build a case to get her replaced, according to legal experts.

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.

Amy Coney Barrett’s Husband Has a New Client—and It’s Disturbing

A new report raises serious questions about the Supreme Court justice’s conflicts of interest.

Amy Coney Barrett smiles and holds hands with her husband, who looks at her. In the background are the steps in front of the Supreme Court building.
Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

According to an exclusive report from Rolling Stone, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s husband, Jesse Barrett, is now repping Fox Corporation in a $3 million defamation suit, raising questions about conflicts of interest and personal enrichment enjoyed by conservative Supreme Court justices.

As Rolling Stone points out, the case is notable because Fox Corporation—the parent company of Fox News—is directly paying the family of a Supreme Court justice, which neither Barrett nor her husband are required to disclose. Barrett’s husband is a managing partner at SouthBank Legal, which opened its D.C. office—led by Barrett—after his wife joined the Supreme Court. Jesse Barrett’s list of anonymized cases on the SouthBank Legal website now includes “represented a prominent media company in a lawsuit alleging defamation.” That addition joins an already lengthy list of white-collar cases on his company profile, tucked between defending a Berkshire Hathaway company in an employment discrimination suit and defending an event promoter from fraud claims.

The defamation lawsuit Jesse Barrett has taken on alleges that Fox 32—a Chicago-area local station for Fox—ran a hit piece about Lavell Redmond who in 2021 was hired by the mayor of Dolton, Illinois, to work as a building code enforcement officer. The Fox report centers Redmond’s conviction for aggravated sexual assault of a minor, for which he pleaded guilty and served 24 years in prison, as the crux of the story while claiming Redmond was hired to enter “into Dolton homes and businesses to inspect them.” Redmond disputes this claim in his suit, according to Rolling Stone, noting that his work entailed inspecting building exteriors, not entering people’s homes.

The outlet later followed up on its reporting with news that Redmond had been arrested and may face new charges for violating the conditions of the sex offender registry—an accusation Redmond alleges is the direct result of Fox’s earlier misleading reporting on his job duties.

Barrett, representing Fox, filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, according to Rolling Stone. The motion to dismiss claims the suit was filed too late and that the corporation didn’t commit defamation because the “gist” of the reporting was “indisputably true” and characterized the central outrage of Redmond’s hiring—that a sex offender was entering people’s homes, which resulted in his arrest—as “immaterial details.”

While the relationship between conservative justices and right-wingers continuously raises ethical concerns, constitutional law professor Anthony Michael Kreis noted the odds of Fox Corporation’s case being kicked up to the conservative-held Supreme Court are slim given that Barrett would have to recuse herself from the case, winnowing the number of Fox News–brained justices on the court.

“You don’t hire the spouse of a Supreme Court justice to represent you in major litigation unless (1) you think they’re competent to do so and (2) you don’t foresee going to the Supreme Court where the spouse would have to recuse and you might really want/need their vote,” Kreis wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

Regardless, it’s entirely too convenient that the husband of a conservative Supreme Court justice is representing a conservative media company, and poses curious questions as to why Barrett, who is based in D.C., was tapped to represent the media company based in New York City for a lawsuit filed by a man in Illinois.

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