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James Comer’s Biden Impeachment Crusade Finally Ends With a Whimper

The House Oversight Committee made criminal referrals for James and Hunter Biden.

James Comer holds his chin in his hand
Sha Hanting/China News Service/VCG/Getty Images

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again … and make criminal referrals, apparently.

Republican Representatives Jim Comer, Jim Jordan, and Jason Smith have finally concluded their juiceless push to impeach Joe Biden after providing no evidence of wrongdoing by the president and failing to drum up support in their own party. Their final product: referrals for prosecution for James and Hunter Biden for allegedly lying to Congress, a disappointing payoff for Republicans, given the “smoking gun” Comer promised to deliver.

“These false statements implicate Joe Biden’s knowledge of and role in his family’s influence peddling schemes and appear to be a calculated effort to shield Joe Biden from the impeachment inquiry,” a tweet announcing the referrals said.

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The tortured logic on display is representative of the GOP’s half-hearted attempt to impeach Biden, which, after a disastrous House Oversight Committee hearing failed to turn up convincing evidence against the president, culminated in a resigned Comer admitting that Republicans did not have the votes to pass articles of impeachment. In March, Comer, lacking support from his own caucus, announced that he had begun preparing criminal referrals to send to the Department of Justice. Now, the referrals are here—and they represent an embarrassing anticlimax for House Republicans.

As Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, now a convicted felon, faces his own legal troubles, GOP accusations of a “Biden Crime Family” aren’t likely to land.

Republicans Roasted After Using Totally Wrong Photo to Promote RNC

That is definitely not Wisconsin.

Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The Republican National Convention in Milwaukee is just a month away, and a big mistake was made in promoting the event: A photo of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam was used on the convention website instead of the Wisconsin city.

Tweet Screenshot: Sam Brodey

After the blunder was pointed out on X on Tuesday, the Republican National Committee hastily changed the picture to one of Milwaukee, but not before the mistake was archived and Democrats began mocking the Republican Party.

“Maybe if Donald Trump and the RNC actually bothered to have a real campaign operation in Wisconsin, they could tell the difference between Milwaukee and Ho Chi Minh City. We encourage them to continue going all-in to win the voters of Ho Chi Minh City while Democrats earn the votes of Wisconsinites,” Democratic National Committee rapid response director Alex Floyd said in a statement.

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin and its chairperson, Ben Wikler, also got in on the fun.

Tweet Screenshot: Wisconsin Democrats
Tweet Screenshot: Ben Wikler

The Virginia Young Democrats pointed out that Republicans have made this mistake before in their state.

Tweet Screenshot: Virginia Democratic Party

According to an RNC spokesperson, a web developer who no longer works for the convention was responsible for the mistake. But there’s no word on whether the Republican Party plans to do anything about an even bigger mistake: picking a convicted felon as its presidential nominee.

Jared Kushner’s Latest Real Estate Deal Comes With Shocking Condition

Jared Kushner received a massive real estate deal in Serbia—with some interesting fine print.

Jared Kushner smiles weirdly and looks off camera (he looks dead inside)
John Lamparski/Getty Images

Jared Kushner is apparently keenly adept at making choices that piss off everyone: His recent contract with the Serbian government to bulldoze the bombed-out ruins of the Yugoslav Ministry of Defense complex and convert it into a luxury hotel carries with it a fine-print commitment to build a “memorial dedicated to all the victims of NATO aggression”—a direct condemnation of the United States that whitewashes the ethnic cleansing of Albanians in Kosovo, according to intelligence blog SpyTalk.

Retired General Wesley Clark, who served as NATO Supreme Allied Commander during the 1999 bombing campaign, balked at the memorial commitment. Speaking to SpyTalk, Clark decried the proposed memorial as “worse than a reversal” of U.S. policies in the region, calling it “a betrayal of the United States, its policies and the brave diplomats and airmen who did what they could to stop Serb ethnic cleansing.”

In May, Kushner secured a massive $500 million contract with the state of Serbia to build a hotel on the memorialized ruins of a former military base in Belgrade, sparking protests in Belgrade against the deal. The contract is being bankrolled by Kushner’s Saudi-backed investment company, Affinity Partners. In defense of the contract, a Serbian government official described Kushner’s company, primarily funded by foreign interests, as a “reputable American company.”

Prior to approval of the contract, public officials in Serbia heavily opposed the deal for its insensitivity and potential for political manipulation. Serbian politician Borko Stefanovic described the location as “one of the pearls of pre-war architecture” to The Daily Beast, noting, “Most Serbs believe this site should not be desecrated in any way.”

The Yugoslav Ministry of Defense military complex was bombed by NATO forces in 1999 during a U.S.-backed campaign that killed an estimated 2,000 civilians and lasted until the Yugoslav Army retreated from Kosovo during the Kosovo War.

Clark criticized the overall contract between Kushner’s company and the Serbian government in addition to the memorial clause, arguing that the contract is not just an opportunistic gambit but “part of a broader Russian intelligence movement to split, discredit and weaken NATO.” Kushner’s father-in-law and Kremlin ally Donald Trump has long sought to build a hotel on the military complex ruins and has heavily criticized NATO, with looming threats of the U.S. leaving the alliance if he regains the presidency.

Judge Cannon Hands Trump His Second Major Win in 24 Hours

Cannon is delaying Trump’s trial into oblivion.

Donald Trump holds up his fists
James Devaney/GC Images/Getty Images

Hours after granting Donald Trump’s request to allow non-witness parties to weigh in on special counsel Jack Smith’s appointment, Judge Aileen Cannon has thrown another wrench into the former president’s Florida classified documents case.

In her latest round of judicial Calvinball on Wednesday, Cannon postponed key hearings compelling Trump’s attorneys to testify before a grand jury, rescheduling them in order to accommodate new hearings about Smith’s supposed “unlawful appointment,” as well as the gag orders he has requested (and she has denied) against Trump.

As Politico’s Kyle Cheney points out, the hearings—now scheduled for June 21, 24, and 25—will not be covering new ground on the issue of special counsel appointment, which has been resolved in previous cases.

It’s hard to see Cannon’s latest order as anything other than another effort to stall the trial, kicking the judicial can down the road as close to or past the presidential election in November as possible. Cannon, appointed by Trump after serving as a federal prosecutor, has come under fire for her conduct during the trial. She has reportedly been confused by court proceedings, requiring explanations from counsel on both sides, and has, since May 16, inspired more than 1,000 complaints filed against her with the 11th Circuit Judicial Court for delaying rulings.

The rescheduling is likely to bolster allegations that Cannon is not only running out the clock, but gunning to have the case against Trump dismissed entirely. If there’s any consolation, it’s that her actions could be used as ammunition in a potential motion to have Cannon removed from the case.

Mike Johnson Puts Dumbest People You Know on Intel Committee

One of the new members of the House Intelligence Committee is currently suing the FBI.

Ronny Jackson and Scott Perry shake hands
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

House speaker Mike Johnson on Wednesday named Representatives Scott Perry and Ronny Jackson to the House Intelligence Committee, a name that becomes more ironic with every new appointee. 

An avid election denier, Perry has been extensively linked to the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified before Congress that Perry had begged Donald Trump to pardon him for his involvement in the insurrection and later called him “central” to the plan to “shred the Constitution” and keep Trump in power. 

In 2022, Perry sued the Department of Justice after the FBI seized his cell phone as part of special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into the events of January 6, arguing that the phone contained privileged information. In December 2023, a judge ruled that Perry would have to disclose nearly 1,700 items to the Department of Justice, excluding just under 400 from the disclosure. 

Jackson is also a lackluster pick. Trump’s former doctor was demoted by the U.S. Navy in 2022 after the Pentagon inspector general found that he regularly drank on the job, berated his subordinates, and acted inappropriately, according to CNN. Last year, Jackson was filmed unleashing a profanity-laced tirade on a Department of Public Safety officer. 

Under Jackson’s tenure, the Trump White House was reportedly “awash in speed,” with West Wing employees encouraged to take drugs to keep their energy levels up. Of course, none of this has affected his trajectory within the GOP, as he may be tapped to be Trump’s health secretary if he wins in  November.

Perry and Jackson will now be granted oversight of the FBI’s counterintelligence programs, which, among other things, could likely be directed onto pro-Palestinian protesters at the behest of committee Chair Mike Turner. 

In a statement on Wednesday, Perry slung a severely shady comment directed toward the institutions he now oversees. “I look forward to providing not only a fresh perspective, but conducting actual oversight—not blind obedience to some facets of our Intel Community that all too often abuse their powers, resources, and authority to spy on the American People,” Perry said. The so-called fresh perspective Perry offers seems to be that of someone desperately wishing to evade accountability. 

Trump V.P. Contender Byron Donalds Says Jim Crow Wasn’t All That Bad

Byron Donalds is pandering to Donald Trump—and his new comments about Jim Crow are sick.

Representative Byron Donalds looks off camera
Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Representative Byron Donalds, one of Trump’s possible vice presidential picks, seems to believe that Black families were better off under the segregation of the Jim Crow era.

Donalds was speaking Tuesday at a “Congress, Cognac, and Cigars” event at a cigar bar in Philadelphia with Representative Wesley Hunt, which was meant to promote “Black Americans for Trump.”

Sports journalist Michelle Tafoya, who moderated the event, was leading a discussion on the GOP’s outreach to Black Americans when Donalds began claiming that Democratic policies  have eroded Black family values. Specifically, Donalds said that Black voters had embraced those policies after becoming loyal to the Democratic Party when the Civil Rights Act passed.

“You see, during Jim Crow, the Black family was together. During Jim Crow, more Black people were not just conservative—Black people have always been conservative-minded—but more Black people voted conservatively,” Donalds said, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“And then H.E.W., Lyndon Johnson—you go down that road, and now we are where we are,” Donalds added, referring to the former U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries responded to Donalds’s remarks the next day, calling them “factually inaccurate” and an “ignorant observation.”

Connecting desegregation to the decline of the Black family is probably not the best way for the Republicans to win more Black voters, even if the message is coming from a Black conservative like Donalds. Plus, the social programs that Donalds laments were rolled back by Democrats in the 1990s, led by President Bill Clinton.

But it’s only the latest example of Donalds saying something he shouldn’t have. Also on Tuesday, he attempted to criticize Democrats on Newsmax, only to inadvertently describe the GOP’s propensity for gaslighting. He continues to back Trump, even when the Republican presidential nominee and convicted felon spouts outlandish conspiracy theories. And Donalds went as far as to declare that the federal government should not be involved in managing elections.

Is this the kind of devotion Trump is looking for in a vice president, a sycophant who can defend Trump and the Republican Party’s racist history by the virtue of his own identity?

Idiot James Comer Helped Import Chinese Weed

The House Oversight Committee chair has repeatedly hounded the Biden family for business ties to China.

James Comer speaks
Graeme Sloan/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Representative James Comer once accidentally imported Chinese marijuana on behalf of one of his donors. The massive Mary Jane mistake, from a politician who has gone on to decry doing business with the foreign superpower, was never made public—until now.

Correspondence obtained by The Daily Beast from a third-party group through a records request, shows that a shipment of “hemp” Comer acquired nearly a decade ago tested 10 times higher than the legal limits for THC. While the emails suggest there were plans to destroy the gaffed ganja, it’s still unclear what became of the shipment, which the U.S. government would classify as marijuana.

After Comer was elected as Kentucky’s commissioner of agriculture in 2011, he embarked on an industrial hemp pilot program, which he has since touted as one of the triumphs of his career.

As part of the program, Comer worked with Caudill Seed, a company that he’d previously awarded as a “Kentucky Proud Partner in Excellence.” Brothers and company executives COO Sanford “Dan” Caudill and CEO Pat Caudill reportedly only became interested in working with hemp seeds after speaking with Comer when he was running for the office. That year, both brothers donated the maximum to Comer’s campaign, according to the Beast.

Comer was reportedly aware that Caudill Seed had a relationship with Chinese suppliers, and in June 2014, a box labeled “rape seed” arrived at Comer’s office from China. Caudill Seed had pushed Comer’s office to order hemp seeds from China because it did not require an export permit. When Comer’s chief of staff questioned why the box was mislabeled, Caudill Seed employees Lori Thomas and Carl Gering speculated that it was mislabeled “as a decoy.”

The Morehead State University School of Agriculture, which had agreed to test the seeds, planted them shortly after. When it came time to harvest in September, it was clear that something was off. Gering wrote an email to MSU Dean Tony Brannon beginning, “FYI—your eyes only,” disclosing that after the shipment had been transported on a permit from Comer’s office, the driver had complained that the shipment smelled overwhelmingly like weed.

When the plant was tested for THC levels, the results confirmed the driver’s sense of smell. “We have hemp seed with a THC content of 1.87 and 2.74%,” Gering wrote in an email to his boss, results which the Beast has confirmed. The legal limit for hemp is 0.3 percent. Anything higher is considered marijuana.

During the following months, a back-and-forth ensued between Caudill Seed, Comer’s office, and MSU about what to do with their pot; retest or destroy seemed to be the two prevailing options. Despite the growing problem, in November, Caudill Seed threw Comer a fundraiser for his gubernatorial campaign, which netted more donation max-outs from the brothers and their family members. In January, another round of testing confirmed the hemp was not up to standard.

Caudill, Brannon, and Gering agreed to destroy the plant and keep the incident quiet, but they reached out to Comer’s office anyway. Brannon submitted MSU’s production report to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, including the THC results, but did not comment on them. An official with Comer’s office advised holding off on destroying the plant until the KDA could oversee its disposal. After that, the correspondence ends, and it’s unclear what happened to the plant.

Comer later sent a memo to his office, insisting that there was “nothing criminal occuring with the projects” and that the program was “in compliance with both state and federal regulations; there is nothing to hide.” The same email advised employees not to comply with requests for testing samples from the federal government and to instead contact the KDA.

Donations from the Caudills and Brannon have slowly shrunk as Comer moved into Congress, where he has adamantly opposed doing business with China and criticized President Joe Biden for giving China “access to our markets” during his time as vice president. Comer has also repeatedly attacked Biden’s son Hunter for business dealings with China.

“The most illegal thing in the world for anyone in Washington is to take money from foreign nationals from China,” Comer told Mike Huckabee last August.

Chicago Police Chief Gives Ominous Warning on DNC Protests

The Chicago police seem to be directly warning protesters ahead of the Democratic National Convention.

Two silhouettes in front of a large screen that reads "DNC 2024" and "Democratic Natioanl Convention"
Scott Olson/Getty Images

During a briefing on Tuesday about security plans ahead of this summer’s Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Police Superintendent Larry Snelling told reporters, “Protesting peacefully doesn’t always mean you’re protected by the First Amendment.” His comment quickly sparked confusion and concerns of police repression for anticipated large-scale protests outside the DNC.

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The comment came in a larger conversation where Snelling also hinted at changes to Chicago police’s mass arrest policy. “Mass arrest is a last resort,” Snelling said. “But we know the realities of these types of situations, especially when the number of people we’re expecting to converge upon Chicago is inevitable that there is a possibility for vandalism. There is a possibility for violence, and we are prepared to deal with that.”

Per WQAD, more than 50 groups have indicated plans to protest the DNC, and Chicago police have denied permit requests for protests near the venue. Groups whose permits were denied reportedly plan to sue and have vowed to march regardless.

Fox 32, which first reported the statements, followed up to note Snelling was speaking to acts of civil disobedience. Snelling’s comments, initially shared without context, continued: “First Amendment protection is only there if you’re not committing a crime. You can be acting out peacefully and still breaking the law. If you sit in a roadway, or you’re blocking a venue or private property, and you refuse to leave, those are crimes.”

The First Amendment grants “the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” However, police departments across the country have exploited local laws to violently repress recent mass protests against genocide. In New York City, for example, the NYPD has frequently restricted pro-Palestine protests to sidewalks, making violent arrests on protesters who spill out into the street or for using megaphones without a permit.

Shameless Liar Trump Gives E. Jean Carroll More Ammo to Sue Him Again

The former president can’t stop lying about the case.

Donald Trump gestures as he speaks into a microphone
David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Donald Trump can’t seem to stop talking about E. Jean Carroll, financial consequences be damned.

Speaking with Newsmax’s Greg Kelly on Tuesday, Trump continued to claim his innocence, despite being found liable for sexually assaulting Carroll in a Manhattan Bergdorf Goodman in the 1990s, and then defaming her two separate times.

“Other than the fact that she had a picture taken many, many years ago, I’ve never met this woman. I don’t know this woman. And I’m supposed to pay a ridiculous amount of money for a fictional story,” Trump told Kelly.

Trump owes Carroll a total of $88.3 million for sexually abusing and defaming her, and his repeated insistence that he’s never met Carroll could well invite further legal action from her. Trump took the opportunity during the Tuesday interview to complain about the judges in his various other legal cases, mentioning by name Carroll defamation suit Judge Lewis Kaplan, and Judge Arthur Engoron, who presided over the civil fraud case related to the Trump Organization’s overvaluation of property.

Trump has also repeatedly publicly criticized Judge Juan Merchan, who oversaw the hush-money case in which the former president was convicted on 34 counts of business fraud.

“This is a cabal,” Trump said.

Merchan levied a gag order on Trump and has threatened to jail him for violating it. After his conviction, Trump’s lawyers requested that Merchan lift the order. If his comments on Carroll, who he’s already twice been found guilty of defaming, are any indication, they know, even in the face of fines and jail time, Trump just can’t help himself.

How Israel Used Fake Social Media Accounts to Target Black Democrats

A new report exposes how Israel secretly targeted U.S. lawmakers—and Black Democrats in particular—to gain support for its deadly war on Gaza.

splitscreen of Representatives Hakeem Jeffries and Ritchie Torres
Getty x2

Israel paid for a foreign influence campaign to disseminate pro-Israel propaganda and disinformation to U.S. lawmakers, The New York Times confirmed on Wednesday. The campaign had been flagged and reported on for months across numerous social media platforms, but it was unclear the extent to which the Israeli government was involved in the operation. Turns out, the Israeli government directly commissioned the whole thing—and it was targeting Black Democratic lawmakers in particular.

The influence operation—which seeks to sow criticism of pro-Palestine and campus protests and to bolster support for Israel’s attacks on Gaza—began in October, according to the Times. Meta, Facebook’s parent company, identified the operation last week. Meta described the campaign as “likely AI-generated” with ChatGPT posts from accounts posing as Jewish students, Black Americans, and “concerned citizens,” according to Reuters, and a focus on audiences in the United States and Canada.

The Times reports the campaign is still active on X (formerly Twitter), where fake accounts posing as real Americans spammed pro-Israel propaganda in reply to predominantly Black U.S. lawmakers. The campaign targeted Ritchie Torres, a Democratic representative from New York well known for routinely espousing pro-Israel propaganda, as well as House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. Both, coincidentally, are two of AIPAC’s largest donation recipients: Both Torres’s and Jeffries’s largest donor is AIPAC, while Jeffries is AIPAC’s top recipient.

Israeli-based newspaper Haaretz also reported numerous examples of the fake accounts and included one reply from a ChatGPT-fueled fake account posing as a Black woman in response to U.S. Representative Sydney Kamlager-Dove, who represents California.

“Israel’s role in this is reckless and probably ineffective,” Achiya Schatz, the executive director of Israeli disinformation watchdog FakeReporter, told The New York Times. That Israel “ran an operation that interferes in U.S. politics is extremely irresponsible.”

According to sources involved in the campaign who provided documented evidence to The New York Times, the campaign was commissioned by Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs—a government body largely focused on pushing pro-Israel and pro-Netanyahu talking points to U.S. Jews and advocating for a highly controversial proposed definition of antisemitism. The ministry paid $2 million for the campaign, tapping Israeli political marketing firm Stoic.

The exposure of the government agency behind the influence campaign is almost entirely too convenient: In January, a Tel Aviv University report called to shutter the ministry and fold its initiatives into the offices of the prime minister and the foreign ministry, consolidating power around far-right figureheads Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Affairs Minister Israel Katz.