Skip Navigation
Breaking News
Breaking News
from Washington and beyond

Mike Johnson Weaponizes Government in Fight Against Biden

The House speaker insisted Merrick Garland’s situation is different from that of Republicans who refused to testify in front of the January 6 committee.

Mike Johnson looks dow
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

House Speaker Mike Johnson has a tendency to think that when things go bad for his party, it’s the product of gross legislative mismanagement, judicial weaponization, and a vast executive conspiracy. But when his party wants to do something, it’s because justice is swift and everything is proceeding according to plan. House Republicans’ efforts to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt are no exception to this trend.

The GOP quest to hold Garland in contempt of Congress for refusing to respond to a subpoena was not dampened by any sense of irony, even though the Judiciary Committee is chaired by Representative Jim Jordan. Jordan famously refused to comply with requests from the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, alongside Representatives Scott Perry, Kevin McCarthy, Andy Biggs, and Mo Brooks.

During a press conference Wednesday, a reporter asked Johnson if he was concerned the run of rogue Republicans would undermine his argument for holding Garland in contempt. Apparently, he doesn’t think the two cases are alike at all.

“Oh, I’m so glad you brought up the January 6 committee. We’ll be talking a lot more about that in the coming weeks. There’s been a lot of investigation about that committee, I don’t think it was properly constituted, I don’t think it was properly administered, and now we know that apparently, some of the evidence was hidden, and some maybe even destroyed,” he said.

“You talk about apples to oranges, there couldn’t be a more clear contrast between that and what we’re talking about here,” Johnson continued. “This is the Judiciary Committee. This is the weaponization committee.” He went on to laud Jordan’s leadership and “extraordinary” work.

With this statement, Johnson makes it clear there are different rules for Republicans in Congress, special exceptions that prevent them from facing the consequences of their actions. Those who break the rules to defend Donald Trump are doing so bravely, while those who break the rules to defend Joe Biden are subject to the most serious condemnation.

Johnson did not elaborate on how he could so casually call the GOP-led committee the “weaponization” committee, a conspiracy theory buzzword Republicans have adopted to discredit the federal government.

Johnson’s logic, or lack thereof, mirrors his untethered reframing of the guilty verdicts of Trump and Hunter Biden. One is evidence of a “two-tiered” justice system; the other, which would disprove it, is a “separate instance” not worthy of consideration in Johnson’s ongoing weaponization case study.

The House Judiciary and Oversight and Accountability Committees had demanded the audio from Biden’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur, who described the president as a “well meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” be turned over by the end of April. Their attempt to obtain the audio was blocked by the White House, which invoked executive privilege. The move summoned the ire of House Republicans, who became set on holding Garland in contempt.

Trump V.P. Wannabe J.D. Vance Introduces Extreme Bill on DEI

Trump V.P. wannabe J.D. Vance has introduced an “anti-woke” bill seeking to completely gut DEI.

Senator J.D. Vance speaks at a lectern and gestures with his hand. A U.S. flag is in the background.
Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

Senator J.D. Vance doesn’t like diversity, equity, and inclusion principles, and he’s sponsoring a bill to ban them from all federal offices and contracting.

On Wednesday, Vance and Representative Michael Cloud introduced the Dismantle DEI Act, which bans all DEI positions in the government and also bans diversity initiatives from receiving federal grant money. The bill would bar school accreditation agencies from requiring DEI in schools, and stop financial agencies like Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange from implementing diversity requirements for corporate boards.

“It has no place in our federal government or anywhere else in our society,” Vance said. “I’m proud to introduce this legislation, which would root out DEI from our federal bureaucracy by eliminating such programs and stripping funding for DEI policies anywhere it exists. Americans’ tax dollars should not be co-opted to spread this radical and divisive ideology—this bill would ensure they are not.”

The bill takes aim at an executive order President Biden issued in 2021 promoting DEI in the federal workforce, and would drastically cut funding to several government agencies, including NASA, the National Institutes of Health, and even the military.

The bill is not likely to gain traction beyond the Republican-controlled House, if it can even get past the narrow GOP majority. Attacking DEI is like catnip for the right wing, and conservative media has been fanning the flames on the supposedly “woke” principles, even going so far as to blame natural disasters on DEI.

The bill is unlikely to pass the Senate, and instead it appears more likely that it’s all for show, possibly to help Vance move up on Donald Trump’s short list to be his running mate. Vance continuously professes his loyalty to the convicted felon and Republican presidential nominee, even saying that if he was in Mike Pence’s place as vice president in 2021, he would have subverted the 2020 election results to help Trump be reelected. This bill is also a disturbing preview of what Republicans plan to do if Trump wins in November, as the former president has already promised to take on what conservatives think is the “real” prejudice in America: anti-white racism.

Clarence Thomas’s “Son” Breaks Silence From Jail

Mark Martin, the man raised by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as a “son,” is speaking out on the sad truth of their relationship.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in his robe
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

The man Clarence Thomas said he once considered like a “son” now says that Thomas doesn’t want much to do with him.

Mark Martin, the grandson of Thomas’s sister Emma Mae Martin, spoke to Business Insider from a jail cell in South Carolina and said that the Supreme Court justice and his wife, Ginni, don’t have a relationship with him anymore, despite being his legal guardians from age 6 to 19.

Martin, who is awaiting trial on drug and weapons charges after he was arrested last summer, benefited from gifts Thomas received from conservative billionaire Harlan Crow, which the Supreme Court justice initially failed to include in financial disclosures.

“I haven’t really heard much from them in a long time,” Martin said of his adoptive parents. “I tried to communicate with them a couple of times, but I’ve never gotten any response.”

In 2007, Thomas said in an interview with C-Span that he and his wife were raising Martin, then 16, “as a son.” Martin would attend military prep school Randolph-Macon Academy and Hidden Lake Academy, a residential therapeutic treatment center plagued by allegations of abuse, thanks to Crow, a Randolph-Macon alumnus, paying the tuition at both schools. Thomas did not report these payments on his financial statements.

“I guess they looked into Randolph-Macon Academy because Harlan Crow actually graduated from there, so I guess that was behind their decision to send me there—and then apparently he helped finance the HLA trip, too,” Martin told Business Insider, saying that he didn’t know at the time that Crow paid for his education.

ProPublica reported last year that Thomas had enjoyed luxury vacations on Crow’s dime almost every year, and Thomas failed to report those trips until just last week. In addition, the publication reported on Crow funding the renovation of the home where Thomas’s mother still lives as well as Martin’s private school tuition, estimating that the school fees likely exceeded $150,000.

Martin told Business Insider that he enjoyed a privileged childhood, traveling to more than 20 countries and spending summers wakeboarding or waterskiing. He also remembers babysitting Crow’s son when their families went on vacation together. But Martin said that when he began high school, Clarence and Ginni Thomas “just didn’t have time to deal with” him anymore and sent him away to boarding schools. After his freshman year of high school began, Martin said he rarely saw his great-uncle and great-aunt.

According to Martin, he was expelled from Randolph-Macon Academy after his junior year for failing a drug test, and he said the Thomases then sent him back to his mother’s house in Georgia. He said he has rarely heard from them since. Last year, Martin was arrested and charged with drug trafficking and weapons possession. According to Business Insider, Martin’s car was stopped as part of a juvenile-sex-trafficking investigation, but he doesn’t face any charges related to that.

Martin also faces charges pending from 2021 on allegedly trafficking meth and heroin, Business Insider reported, citing arrest records. Martin faces at least 25 years in prison over the drug charges and five more years for illegal gun possession.

“I actually don’t know if they know that I’m locked up—I’m not sure they’d care too much,” Martin said. “I’ve seen—I’ve probably seen them two times, maybe three times, over the last 14 years.”

“I just wish they’d at least communicate with me—get to know my children,” Martin added. “They raised me like another mother and father, so I wanted my children to know who raised me into the person that I became. I want them to be around for that, at least—to see my kids grow up.”

Thomas didn’t respond to Business Insider’s request for comment, but it’s not likely that he would have offered any acceptable justification for his and his wife’s treatment of someone they have referred to as a son. Thomas still refuses to speak about the unethical gifts he has received and adamantly refuses to resign from the Supreme Court despite all of his ethics scandals. Sadly, it seems that Martin’s life has been a casualty of Clarence and Ginni Thomas’s service to the conservative movement.

More on corruption on the highest court:

MAGA Senate Candidate Flamed for Hilarious Mistake on “Crime” Map

Royce White might need cold water for all these burns, but at least he knows where to find some.

Royce White points as he speaks
Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune/Getty Images

Royce White, a Republican-backed candidate for Senate in Minnesota posted a map on X, formerly Twitter, claiming it showed all of the crime around Minneapolis in the hope that the mass of green, red, and yellow dots would demonstrate the widespread lawlessness that had befallen the Midwestern city.

“Refund the Police!” he urged voters. 

But as Christopher Ingraham, a reporter for the Minnesota Reformer, quickly pointed out, the image White had selected was actually of drinking fountains at public parks around the metropolitan area. The once menacing colors represented the fountains’ statuses: “closed for repairs,” “off,” “on.”

Screenshot of a tweet

“Sorry, Royce. You tweeted my map of Minneapolis drinking fountains. There’s no escaping this,” wrote one user, who continued to mock White by posting another “crime” map that actually showed which McDonalds in the area had broken McFlurry machines

“Take the L man. You are going nowhere. It’s good advice,” wrote another user. 

White wittily responded, “Shut your mouth you blue wave cuck.”

White has since replaced the image in the post with a different unlabeled map, but the original is still visible in the edit history. The new map does actually show the reports of shots fired in Minneapolis—which are currently down almost 17 percent from this time last year, and have decreased over 36 percent from three years ago.

It’s unclear how a map from the Minneapolis Parks & Recreation Board could’ve ended up with White under such confused circumstances, but it goes to show the breathlessness with which Republicans push the narrative that the U.S. has a violent crime problem, and that Democrats are to blame, when real statistics suggest that the opposite is true. 

Violent crime in the United States has dropped by more than 15 percent since the beginning of the year, according to the FBI’s quarterly crime report, which was released on Monday. Using information collected from 13,719 law enforcement agencies across the country, the federal bureau was able to determine that national murder rates have dropped by 26.4 percent, continuing from last year’s decline, and rape has also decreased by 25.7 percent. Reported crimes such as robbery, aggravated assault, and property crime have also seen decreases of more than 12 percent. 

Minneapolis’s crime statistics are a bit more stagnant overall, according to the city’s crime dashboard. So far in 2024, there have been 29 nonnegligent homicides, up three from this time last year. But that number is still lower than where it was three years ago. The number of larceny and robbery reports are also up this year, but still lower than where they were three years ago.

None of these statistics actually matter to Republicans like White though, who are desperate to spark reactionary votes in November. They could stand to do a little more research, if they could bear to face reality for even a moment. 

Last week, a nonprofit filed a complaint against the former professional basketball player turned wannabe MAGA politician, alleging that he’d illegally spent tens of thousands of dollars raised as part of his failed 2022 congressional campaign on luxury dinners, vacations, and visits to strip clubs. He was endorsed by the Minnesota Republican Party last month.  

Alex Jones Wildly Threatens Fauci in Macabre Rant

The conspiracy theorist said he thought Fauci should be imprisoned and possibly even executed.

Alex Jones points as he talks into microphones
Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images

Alex Jones has lost everything for touting inane conspiracies, but he clearly hasn’t learned any lessons.

The far-right personality filed for bankruptcy in 2022 after being ordered to pay more than $1 billion in damages to the families of children killed during the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre for claiming the tragedy never occurred. Jones filed last week to liquidate all of his assets so that he can finally start paying down his debt. This means selling off his media empire, InfoWars, and its parent company, Free Speech Systems—which will cover just part of what he owes.

But Jones is somehow—against all odds—still not done with broadcasting dangerous rhetoric to his followers.

During a wild monologue Tuesday, Jones advocated for the trial and imprisonment of Donald Trump’s supposed enemies: an odd mish-mash, including “criminal gang leaders, the big heads of the central banks, Pfizer head, [and former NIAID Director Anthony] Fauci.”

He then explored whether the leaders of the country’s pandemic response had willingly killed millions of people with a vaccine that, according to Jones, had been invented years before the Covid-19 outbreak. If that were the case, then it would be the “right thing to do that they be executed,” Jones said.

If it came to that, Jones said that he’d be right there to “pull the lever.”

“If the juries decide to hang them, I’m not a wimp. I will volunteer. I think it should be public. I will pull the lever,” he fantasized. “If they’re convicted by a jury of treason, I would personally on national TV be there and pull the switch to break their necks at the end of a rope.”

Trump’s campaign, meanwhile, has not ruled out the possibility of revenge if he were to win in November.

Speaking to Fox News’s Jesse Watters last month, Trump campaign press secretary Karoline Leavitt warned that people will “certainly … be held accountable for the crimes that have been committed over the last several years”—that is, all the people who have attempted to prosecute Trump and give the former president the same legal treatment as they would any other private citizen.

“We’ve seen them lie, we’ve seen them abuse our justice system, we’ve seen Joe Biden target innocent Americans across this country such as the protesters on January 6,” Leavitt said at the time.

Lauren Boebert Gets Brutal Reminder After Attack on Hunter Biden

The MAGA Republican representative tried to weigh in on the Hunter Biden verdict—and was immediately reminded of her own hypocrisy.

Lauren Boebert speaking looks off camera
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Fading firebrand Lauren Boebert made the poor decision to stick her neck out and comment on Hunter Biden’s guilty verdict on Tuesday, posting on X (formerly Twitter), “How long until dear old dad gets involved and fixes this all up for him?”

Twitter screenshot Lauren Boebert

Users were quick to point out Boebert’s own child’s felonious activities: Boebert’s 18-year-old son, Tyler, is facing multiple felony charges for a string of car break-ins and property theft in Colorado. The Colorado Bureau of Investigations alleges the younger Boebert broke into vehicles and stole people’s driver’s licenses and passports.

Twitter screenshot: No one expects you to understand what the relationship bw a father and his child feels like. You didn't experience it, you don’t have one with your 18-year-old son who was arrested and charged with 22 criminal charges, including 5 felonies. You should really sit this one out.
Twitter Screenshot: How’s your son’s life going: 20+ charges and no lawyer yet?
Twitter screenshot: Does Tyler have a lawyer yet, mother of the year? (linking to an article on the Advocate)
Twitter screenshot linking to an AP article with the caption: "You should probably worry about your own child who robbed a lady with cancer."

Boebert is reportedly hanging her son out to dry and refusing to help the 18-year-old pay for a lawyer. Lucky for him, the judge overseeing his case has been extraordinarily lenient as he’s spent months without a lawyer, “waiting to get the 100 percent” in lieu of hiring a free public defender. Boebert also skipped out on supporting her teen son’s first-time encounter with the criminal justice system, instead opting to attend Trump’s trial to posture for her pro-crime base.

Lindsey Graham Vows to Keep Supreme Court Corrupt

The South Carolina senator said he plans to block legislation to implement a code of ethics at the high court.

Lindsey Graham looks to the side
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Senator Lindsey Graham appears to be all that stands in the way of placing some ethical parameters on Supreme Court gifts.

The South Carolina Republican told NBC News Tuesday that he plans to object to a Judiciary Committee proposal to rein in the high court. That would effectively kill any chance of the measure passing in committee, thanks to a request earlier this week requiring unanimous consent.

The court, which has long avoided the kinds of formal ethics regulations imposed on lower courts, due to its special constitutional status, implemented its first ethics code in November following a wave of high-profile scandals related to lavish gifts accepted by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. But the self-imposed behavioral code was roundly criticized as weak, employing loose language warning justices to “avoid impropriety” while failing to outline literally any type of consequence for violations.

“Under what circumstances would a Supreme Court justice be accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars or millions of dollars in foreign travel or paid tuition for family members or a recreational vehicle?” Representative Jamie Raskin asked, on MSNBC Tuesday. “It’s just outlandish for us to contemplate.”

“That’s a jailable offense for people over here,” Raskin said, motioning inside the Capitol. “It’s just the normal business as usual at the Supreme Court, that they’re collecting millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of dollars from their so-called friends.”

“We want a $50 gift ban for U.S. Supreme Court justices. They make $300,000 a year. Pay for your own lunch, and pay for your own vacation,” he added.

But even Democrats were not optimistic that it would pass.

“I think I know the outcome, but we’re going to go through the exercise to make sure that both parties are on the record,” Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin told reporters Tuesday.

But imposing an ethical mandate on the nation’s highest judiciary will not be completely off the table should the proposal fail to pass committee. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said that he’s considering bringing it up for a vote under the normal process—though doing so would be tough. The Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act needs 60 votes to break a filibuster on the Senate floor, but there are only 51 Democrats in the upper chamber, and no Republican has voiced their support for the bill.

Ethically dubious expenses by two of the court’s conservative justices were first revealed last year in a series of investigations by ProPublica, which found that Thomas had been pocketing favors from GOP megadonor Harlan Crow in a number of ways, including private school tuition for his nephew, the renovation of the home where his mother still lives, and undisclosed trips on the billionaire’s yacht and private jet, and at his private resort. The outlet unveiled a similar scandal with Alito, who failed to report a luxury fishing vacation to Alaska with hedge fund billionaire ​​Paul Singer in 2008.

Read more about the Supreme Court:

Desperate Steve Bannon Mocked for Pathetic Attempt to Avoid Prison

Donald Trump’s former adviser begged an appeals court not to make him go to jail.

Steve Bannon stands surrounded by security officers
David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Steve Bannon’s last-ditch effort to avoid going to prison is eliciting more punch lines than sympathy.

The engineer behind the MAGA movement was convicted of contempt of Congress and originally sentenced in October last year. But he has evaded his prison sentence by demanding to see through an appeals process, which finally came crashing down last month.

Undeterred, the former White House strategist and staunch Trump ally filed an emergency request with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, begging it to spare him from carrying out his long-awaited four-month prison sentence, which is set to begin July 1.

Bannon put on a brave face, making threats Tuesday against the last two FBI directors, Andrew McCabe and James Comey, should another Trump presidential term come to pass. “Get your passport, get the hell out of the country because hey, we’re coming,” he said. “We will hunt you down.”

But behind closed doors, he seems to be shaking in his boots. “This just in from the man promising to hunt us all down,” wrote user Bradley P. Moss on X, linking to Bannon’s latest filing.

“On camera: ‘Bring it—they can lock me up but they’ll never shut [me] up!’ In Court filings: ‘Please, oh please don’t make me go to jail,’” wrote X user Mike Stivala.

“I’m not sure who needs to hear this, but Steve Bannon is going to prison,” wrote political consultant Rick Wilson in a post on X. “Perhaps he’ll have time to write a manifesto about His Struggle.”

The reference to Mein Kampf is especially apt, seeing as Bannon once said that Donald Trump reminded him of Hitler, a comparison he actually thought was complimentary. Bannon worked to build a MAGA party that “could rule for one hundred years.”

Now Bannon plans to take his appeal to the Supreme Court, according to the new filing. Good luck to him: Former director of the White House National Trade Council Peter Navarro, who was also convicted of contempt of Congress and imprisoned, tried a similar gambit, which Chief Justice John Roberts dismissed without even referring it to the full court.

Did Trump Just Accidentally Admit to Another Felony?

Donald Trump may have just implicated himself in another crime in his probation interview.

Donald Trump grimaces in court, hands clasped on the table. His lawyer sits beside him and in the background are two security guards.
Justin Lane/Pool/Getty Images

Weeks after he was convicted of 34 felony counts in his hush-money trial, Donald Trump confessed to having a gun—which would be illegal with his felony conviction.

New York City Department of Probation officials questioned the convicted felon and Republican presidential nominee Tuesday in a presentencing interview, and part of the discussion concerned a gun registered to him in the state. Under federal law, convicted felons are not allowed to have guns or ammunition.

A city official told CNN that Trump mentioned a gun of his in Florida, possibly one of the three firearms listed on his New York City concealed weapons permit.

Trump turned over two of his three licensed guns to the New York Police Department on March 31, 2023, before he was arrested for concealing hush money payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. The third gun was supposed to be “lawfully moved to Florida.” Palm Beach police told CNN that they weren’t aware of any gun Trump owned and that he hadn’t submitted one to them since his felony conviction.

After his 2023 hush-money arrest, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office suspended Trump’s gun license, and with his conviction, his license will be revoked, city police told CNN. A New York official said the information on the third gun “will be referred to local authorities in Florida to take whatever steps are necessary.”

It’s ironic that Trump may be in trouble for illegally having a gun weeks after his conviction at the same time that President Biden’s son, Hunter, was convicted on federal gun charges. But Trump doesn’t like to give the authorities what he believes is his property, even when the law says otherwise. Just look at the classified documents he tried to hoard at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. He might be storing his gun not too far away.

Trump’s Messages to Followers Take a Disturbing Turn

In his latest fundraising email to his supporters, Donald Trump references the guillotine.

Donald Trump speaks at a lecturn and points with his finger off camera
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

While team Trump’s fundraising emails have always been out there—even earning a dedicated Twitter account just to track the ridiculous rhetoric—their language has taken a notably dark turn recently. On Wednesday, that turn only intensified further when Trump’s campaign sent an email blast with the subject “Haul out the Guillotine!”

At first blush, it sounds like an encouragement of retribution in line with Trump’s recent comments seeking revenge and promising to unleash violence on his political enemies. But the email instead blames the other side for political violence, claiming “the sad and horrific truth is that this is still the sick dream of every Trump-Deranged lunatic out there,” adding, “and it’s not just me they want gone, they’re really coming after you!”

Trump fundraising email screenshot: "HAUL OUT THE GUILLOTINE! Remember when that Sicko Kathy Griffin made the rounds parading my BEHEADED head when I was President?! The radical-left CHEERED! Obama and Biden were SILENT! And the Fake News BLASTED it everywhere! The SAD and HORRIFIC TRUTH is that this is STILL the Sick Dream of every Trump-Deranged lunatic out there! > And it's not just me they want gone, THEY'RE REALLY COMING AFTER YOU! SICK SICK SICK! Asking you ONE MORE TIME: Are you still voting TRUMP this November? >"

The emails, written by Trump’s campaign but styled to sound like they’re coming directly from Trump, intend to provoke supporters into donating. A fundraising email sent last week falsely claimed Biden directed the FBI to assassinate Trump, saying, “He tried to publicly torture and humiliate me … but he failed. He tried to raid my home and take me out with deadly force … but he failed.”

TrumpEmails, which has for years tracked and compiled all of Trump’s fundraising emails, noted in a Daily Beast article a few years ago, “At first, I found the breathless hyperbole amusing in a darkly comedic kind of way. After a while, though, I realized the target audience took things more seriously, and I started thinking about the impact of this messaging being mainlined into the inboxes of millions of voters.”

The flip-flop of baiting people to open the email with a call to violence before flipping to tell supporters they’re future victims of an extremist mob, just to shake a few shekels, is particularly noteworthy given that Trump has been trying to once again mobilize his insurrectionist base to violence on his command.