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Republican Senator Singlehandedly Kills Bill Banning Bump Stocks

Republicans knew they would be embarrassed after this vote.

Senator Pete Ricketts frowns
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

Republican Senator Pete Ricketts on Tuesday killed a measure to ban bump stocks—before he and the rest of his colleagues could be embarrassed in a vote on the legislation.

The measure followed a controversial ruling delivered by the Supreme Court last Friday that overturned a ban enacted by Trump. But the Republican senator from Nebraska objected to the bill before a vote could be held, shooting down any hopes of maintaining a ban on the lethal accessory.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer brought the legislation to the floor Tuesday afternoon seeking unanimous consent, which allows a bill to pass so long as there are no votes against it.

“What today’s bill does is return things to the status quo set by Donald Trump, saying bump stocks are dangerous and should be prohibited,” Schumer said Tuesday morning ahead of the floor vote.

“If Republicans block this bill today after claiming to support bump stock bans in years past, shame on them,” Schumer said ahead of the bump stock ban vote on Tuesday afternoon, noting that the “MAGA Supreme Court” went even further to the right than Trump himself. In response to the bill’s introduction, Ricketts wrote it off as “the summer of show vote” by Senate Democrats and claimed the bill would not pass because “some people in this building still believe in the Constitution that affords people in this country their right to own a gun,” seemingly believing a bump stock attachment is a gun.

“I’m going to keep pushing this bill to get this done. I’m going to keep working with anyone who wants to do this, to ban bump stocks in this country once and for all,” vowed Senator Catherine Cortez Masto in response to Ricketts’s block on the bill.

Republicans were expected to vote against the measure en masse, including those who previously said they would support a bump stock ban.

Bump stocks and sales of bump stocks were banned in 2018 by the Department of Justice at the behest of Trump, which reclassified the lethal accessory used in mass shootings under the federal definition of a “machinegun.” Trump’s ban followed the October 2017 Las Vegas massacre where a gunman using an AR-15 altered with a bump stock fired more than 1,000 rounds at concertgoers over the course of 11 minutes, killing 59 people and injuring more than 500.

Friday’s Supreme Court ruling, which stunned survivors of the 2017 Las Vegas massacre, ruled on the basis that bump stocks don’t convert rifles into machine guns because a machine gun allows for continuous shooting while a bump stock allows a shooter to “rapidly re-engage the trigger.” The splitting-hairs distinction conveniently ignored that a bump stock converts the number of bullets that can be shot per minute from “however quickly you can pull the trigger” up to 400 to 800 bullets per minute.

“There’s no law enforcement application for a bump stock. There’s no military application for a bump stock. There’s no self-defense application for a bump stock. These things are, like, tailor-made for mass shootings,” Senator Martin Heinrich said on Tuesday ahead of the vote.

More on America being broken:

Jeff Bezos Has Worst Response Ever to Washington Post Turmoil

The newspaper owner and Amazon founder’s reaction did not exactly inspire confidence.

Jeff Bezos is seen in profile
Leon Bennett/GA/The Hollywood Reporter/Getty Images

Jeff Bezos finally broke his silence on the widespread backlash to two new hirings at The Washington Post.

In a memo to the paper’s top personnel on Tuesday, the billionaire technocrat backed the new CEO Will Lewis, a former lieutenant to right-wing media mogul Richard Murdoch, whose controversial appointment at the Post has made waves across the industry in the wake of reporting on his shady journalistic practices

“I know you’ve already heard this from Will, but I wanted to also weigh in directly: the journalistic standards and ethics at The Post will not change,” Bezos wrote in his message to staff. “To be sure, it can’t be business as usual at The Post. The world is evolving rapidly and we do need to change as a business.”

“You have my full commitment on maintaining the quality, ethics, and standards we all believe in,” Bezos wrote. Unfortunately, those words aren’t the most comforting, as the dirt on Lewis continues to pile up.  

Screenshot of a tweet

Lewis was named as a central figure in a phone hacking cover-up at Murdoch’s News U.K., and continually hounded NPR’s media reporter David Folkenflik, urging him not to report on Lewis’s involvement ahead of his taking the reins at the Post. When the story did eventually break, Lewis allegedly pressured executive editor Sally Buzbee not to follow up on any developments to the story, downplaying its significance. Buzbee left her role as a result of restructuring under Lewis, but some of her former colleagues reportedly believe that Lewis’s pressure was to blame for her ouster. 

The message from the paper’s billionaire owner comes just days after the Post reported that Robert Winnett, Buzbee’s replacement, also had a hand in ethically murky reporting. Winnett is a former colleague of Lewis’s at the Murdoch-owned Sunday Times, whom Lewis tapped to lead news coverage after the 2024 elections. Winnett and Lewis allegedly published reporting that relied on fraudulently obtained phone and company records, according to The New York Times.

A former Sunday Times reporter, Peter Koenig, said Lewis assigned him to write a story based on stolen phone records. “His ambition outran his ethics,” Koenig told The New York Times

It’s unclear yet how Bezos can possibly rein in his new CEO’s soaring ambition to rebuild the paper, before it speeds past the Post’s ethics. But it’s easy enough to shoot a quick email from your yacht in Mykonos, and save the tough questions for when you’re back in the states. 

Read more about what’s happening at The Washington Post:

Trump Is Now Openly Threatening CEOs Who Don’t Support Him

Donald Trump is warning CEOs to fall in line—or else.

Donald Trump stands at a lectern
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Donald Trump is taking aim at business leaders, saying they should be fired if they don’t support him.

In two long Truth Social posts on Tuesday quoting a Wall Street Journal article, Trump said “Business Executives and Shareholder Representatives should be 100% behind Donald Trump! Anybody that’s not should be FIRED for incompetence!”

Lately, Trump has attempted to line up the CEO and executive crowd behind him, but this is the first time he seems to have openly threatened them. Last week, he met with at least 80 CEOs, promising tax cuts and scaled-back business regulations if he’s elected president. Accounts of that meeting did not have the convicted felon and former president coming off well, with Trump reportedly rambling all over the place on different topics.

“These were people who, I think, might have been actually predisposed to him,” said CNBC’s Ross Sorkin. “And [they] actually walked out of the room less predisposed to him, actually predisposed to thinking ‘This is not necessarily—’ as one person said, ‘this may not be any different or better than a Biden thought, if you’re thinking that way.’”

Trump also proposed a plan to cut the federal corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 21 percent, which didn’t bring a lot of excitement from the audience. One attendee described the idea as “We’re going to give you more of the same for the next four years.”

Previously, Trump also tried to win over the support of oil and gas executives, reportedly promising them changes in policies if they contributed to his campaign.

Perhaps Trump’s recent posts came about because these meetings aren’t getting him the support he was seeking, and he sought to strike back at the CEOs. Maybe he thought they didn’t like his idea of leaving worker tips untaxed. Or maybe he got tired of proposing outrageous deals in exchange for total support, and decided an implicit threat would work better.

Whatever the case, it’s not likely that the richest and most powerful business leaders in America will respond kindly to Trump saying “support me or else!” Even if they do support him, history doesn’t look kindly upon business leaders who throw their support behind (wanna-be) dictators and autocrats.

Roger Stone Reveals Insidious Plan to Help Trump “Win” Election

Spoiler alert: the plan does not include relying on voters.

Roger Stone looks forward
Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Donald Trump and his allies did everything within their power to thwart Joe Biden’s presidency in 2020. Four years on, they appear to be more than comfortable with divulging the details on how they’re going to get it done this time.

During a Catholics for Catholics event at Mar-a-Lago on March 19, liberal documentarian Lauren Windsor caught the attention of Trump ally Roger Stone, who quickly spelled out the latest on their plan to secure the 2024 election.

“We’re working on this,” Stone said, noting that “overconfidence” in voter turnout was one of the biggest issues for Republicans.

But Trump’s side will be armed with “lawyers, judges, [and] technology” to challenge the official results if necessary, he told Windsor.

“At least this time when they do it, you have a lawyer and a judge—his home phone number standing by—so you can stop it,” Stone continued. “We made no preparations last time, none… There are technical, legal steps that we have to take to try and have a more honest election. We’re not there yet, but there’s things that can be done.”

In another conversation caught on audio by Windsor’s colleague Ally Sammarco, Stone goes on to say that Trump’s team is finally on “offensive footing” in terms of voter fraud and election monitoring.

In a separate portion of the audio recorded by Sammarco, Stone bragged that Trump’s trials were “falling apart” in Georgia, and his other legal charges were in peril around the country.

“We are beating them. I think the judge is on the verge of dismissing the charges against him in Florida,” Stone said, referring to Judge Aileen Cannon, who has allowed so many unnecessary and cumbersome delays in the classified documents trial that many legal experts wonder if it’s the Trump-appointed judge’s way of surreptitiously dismissing the trial altogether.

They’re delayed in New York City and they’re now delayed in Washington,” Stone continued.

Last week, Windsor caught Justice Samuel Alito and his wife divulging their private thoughts via similarly covert methods. In a secret recording captured during the Supreme Court Historical Society’s annual dinner on June 3, Alito was heard endorsing a fight to “return our country to a place of godliness,” whining that a ProPublica investigation into the lavish gifts that he and Justice Clarence Thomas had accepted from billionaires were a “little thing,” and claiming that the moral issues of the day “really can’t be compromised” between liberals and conservatives.

MTG’s New Plot to Save Trump Allies From Jail May Be Her Stupidest Yet

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene seems to think you can just rewind time.

Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks in the sun with several mics before her. She holds a red Make America Great again cap in her hand and looks angry.
Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

Steve Bannon’s impending prison sentence is driving Republicans crazy—and Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene is jumping on the stupidest idea in an attempt to keep him out of jail. 

Twitter Screenshot Thomas Massie: .@SpeakerJohnson
, why don’t we rescind the Congressional subpoena for Steve Bannon and officially repudiate the J6 committee by a vote of Congress?

Nearly two weeks ago, Representative Thomas Massie on X (formerly Twitter) floated the idea of rescinding the congressional subpoena for Bannon to testify to the House January 6 committee.

On Tuesday morning, Greene decided to piggyback onto the idea, posting that she would co-sponsor the effort and include Peter Navarro in resolution, and also suggested taking action against the committee’s members. 

Twitter screenshot Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene: I fully support and am co-sponsoring @RepThomasMassie
’s resolution to rescind the subpoenas for Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro by repudiating Nancy Pelosi’s illegitimate J6 committee.

Nancy Pelosi violated House rules by refusing to accept McCarthy’s appointed Republicans on the committee. Now, our Republican-led House must nullify any actions taken by the illegitimate J6 committee.

We must also hold the J6 Committee members accountable for the destruction of the committee’s records.

House Republicans need to start taking action!

Bannon’s criminal conviction comes from his defiance of that 2021 subpoena, leading to his referral to the Justice Department and ultimately his 2022 conviction on federal contempt of court charges. Bannon fought the case every step of the way, from attempting to turn the trial into a circus to delaying the sentence with last-ditch appeals. Unfortunately for Greene and other House Republicans, rescinding the subpoenas doesn’t magically mean no crime was committed.

While stalling his conviction and sentence, Bannon has attempted to interfere in Brazil’s politics as well as the upcoming election in the United States, and his radio show continues to serve as a haven for far-right Republicans to rant about whatever they want. In the days since he exhausted his appeals, Bannon has continued his usual activities, such as telling a Turning Point Action convention audience Saturday who exactly will be on Donald Trump’s anticipated “retribution” list and naming Justice Department officials. But now, after escaping prison once thanks to a Trump pardon over a border wall fraud scheme, he will soon be behind bars, and not in a minimum-security prison camp as he wants, but in a low-security prison like Rikers since he still has an open criminal case against him.

Lara Trump’s RNC Tries New Plan: Pretend Trump Isn’t Convicted Felon

RNC co-chair Michael Whatley refused to admit that the convention might need to work around Donald Trump’s hush-money sentence.

Donald Trump looks down
Justin Lane/Pool/Getty Images

The Republican National Convention is fast approaching, and for all the whining Donald Trump has done about what a “horrible city” Milwaukee is, he may not even have to make the trip—considering that he will possibly be in jail.

RNC Chair Michael Whatley has been forced to prepare for this possible reality, as July 15 rushes toward him, and burdened with the responsibility of soothing his party’s anxieties by simply pretending that Trump is not a convicted felon.

During an interview on Newsmax Tuesday morning, host Robert Finnerty didn’t beat around the bush. “Mr. Chairman, how concerned are you that your candidate’s in jail the week of the convention?” he asked.

“We fully expect that he is going to be in Milwaukee and able to accept his nomination,” Whatley responded, not wanting to fan the flames of panic that have spread quickly through the Republican Party.

“Have you started that process of planning or preparing for the fact that maybe Donald Trump is forced to deliver his speech from some place like Rikers Island, or maybe prerecord a speech?” Finnerty asked.

“We will have every contingency covered, but I’m telling you this: We fully expect that he is going to be in Milwaukee to accept his nomination,” Whatley repeated. But he did not offer any details on how they intended to accommodate the presumptive nominee should he be an absentee.

Finnerty then asked if they would consider canceling the event in the case that Trump can’t attend in person.

“It is going to happen, and we are fully expecting to have him there,” Whaley insisted again.

Eerily enough, Whatley and Finnerty had a nearly identical conversation on Newsmax earlier this month. In the weeks that have followed, it’s still unnervingly unclear precisely what plans have been made if Trump’s sentencing on July 11 goes a certain way.

In other RNC news, the ACLU and a group called the Coalition to March on the RNC are suing the city of Milwaukee over ordinances that limit where protesters are allowed to gather. The city met with protesters in federal court on Monday, but no agreement was reached.

Milwaukee has sought to create a preliminary security zone stretching for blocks around the stadium, and the Secret Service are developing a smaller interior zone. “The security plan for the 2024 Republican National Convention, to include the security perimeter, is still in development,” said Secret Service Spokesperson Alexi Worley, per WISN. For all anyone knows, the Secret Service won’t need to be in attendance at all.

Matt Gaetz Desperately Tries to Dismiss New Ethics Probe

The Florida Republican dismissed the new probe as “frivolous.” It’s anything but.

Matt Gaetz speaks
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Representative Matt Gaetz has already denounced the new ethics probe into his alleged misconduct as “frivolous” and “Soviet”-esque—but the details of an unusual release by the House Ethics Committee suggest that he may be in even deeper trouble than initially thought.

The committee announced Tuesday that it would be expanding its investigation into Gaetz. After interviewing more than a dozen witnesses, issuing 25 subpoenas, and reviewing thousands of pages, the committee said in a statement that it had identified new allegations, including obstruction of an investigation, that it deemed “merit review.”

Gaetz was previously investigated by the Justice Department in 2020 on allegations that he had sexual relations with a minor several years prior. That probe didn’t result in charges, but it did spur an investigation by the Republican-led House Ethics Committee, identifying witnesses who accused the MAGA acolyte of sexual misconduct, drug use, and public corruption.

“The House Ethics Committee has closed four probes into me, which emerged from lies intended solely to smear me. Instead of working with me to ban Congressional stock trading, the Ethics Committee is now opening new frivolous investigations. They are doing this to avoid the obvious fact that every investigation into me ends the same way: my exoneration,” Gaetz posted on X.

He then continued, once again, to steer the blame toward former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, claiming that “McCarthy and his goons” were still digging for a crime. 

Gaetz was one of eight House Republicans who voted to strip McCarthy of the gavel in November. At the time, Gaetz claimed that his divisive action was motivated by allegations that McCarthy was caving to Democrats, but private communications between Gaetz and a close friend have since revealed that he was actually motivated to punish McCarthy after the California Republican  refused to stop the renewed House Ethics Committee probe into Gaetz’s alleged payments to a minor for sex. 

“I’ll give you the truth why I’m not speaker. It’s because one person, a member of Congress, wanted me to stop an ethics complaint because he slept with a 17-year-old. An ethics complaint that started before I ever became speaker, and that’s illegal and I’m not going to get involved,” McCarthy told C-Span in April.

Trump’s Desperate Gag Order Appeal Gets Shut Down in Court

Donald Trump’s gag order in his hush-money trial isn’t going anywhere, ruled a New York appeals court.

Donald Trump speaks and looks to the side (profile shot)
Seth Wenig/Pool/Getty Images

The highest court in New York state declined to hear Trump’s appeal of the gag order still in effect from his hush-money case, stating the appeal lacked “substantial constitutional” basis. The rejection is the latest setback amid Trump’s ongoing legal turmoil after being convicted on 34 felonies.

Trump’s attorneys filed an appeal to end the order on May 15, prior to his conviction. His attorneys argued that the gag order prevented Trump from engaging in “core political speech on matters of central importance at the height of his Presidential campaign.” In recent weeks, Trump’s campaign has largely focused on racist tirades about migrants, electric vehicles, and sharks—not on the witnesses, jury, and family members of authorities involved in his hush-money criminal trial, thanks to the gag order that prohibits Trump from attacking them.

On Tuesday, the New York Court of Appeals declined to hear Trump’s appeal, stating that “no substantial constitutional question is directly involved.” The court’s decision may matter little, as Judge Juan Merchan is expected to issue a ruling on a defense request to lift the order this or next week, according to AP. Trump’s gag order was enacted ahead of his hush-money trial out of concern his proclivity for running his mouth would impact the trial proceedings, and was fined $10,000 for violating the gag order.

Trump’s lawyers argued that the gag order should be lifted because the trial has ended and told AP earlier this month, “It’s a little bit of the theater of the absurd at this point, right?”

According to AP, the gag order is still in effect because the case is still active—Trump’s sentencing hearing is slated for July 11, after which point the gag order will automatically end as the case concludes.

Judge Who Tried to Kill Abortion Pill Now Takes Aim at Gun Control

Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk has blocked a rule from the ATF expanding gun control regulations.

An abortion rights activist holds a sign with a sketch of Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk and Donald Trump
Probal Rashid/LightRocket/Getty Images
An abortion rights activist holds a sign with a sketch of Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk and Donald Trump at a rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., in April 2023.

The Donald Trump–appointed federal judge responsible for suspending federal approval for mifepristone is back, and he’s once again attempting to undermine the authority of a federal agency.

Last week, Texas Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk issued a preliminary injunction preventing the federal government from enforcing a controversial new rule from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which expanded the definition of being “engaged in business” as a gun seller.

The new rule would require more sellers at gun shows to perform background checks on their buyers, shrinking—but not entirely solving—the long-standing “gun show loophole” that allows gun show vendors to skirt the accountability measures taken by other firearms dealers.

The rule, which went into effect in May, sparked a lawsuit from GOP-led states Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Utah, as well as one gun owner in Amarillo, Texas, where—wouldn’t you know it—Kacsmaryk happens to be the only federal judge. Any group that files a lawsuit in Amarillo can essentially guarantee that the far-right judge will be the one to hear it, making that district a hot spot for lawsuits from conservative groups.

The gun owner in the suit is backed by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, the Tennessee Firearms Association, and the Gun Owners of America.

In his 22-page ruling, Kacsmaryk wrote that the plaintiffs would likely succeed in their argument that the ATF had overstepped the Administrative Procedure Act by changing the rule without congressional approval and that expanding the definition of gun sellers put the burden on “gun owners [to] prove innocence, rather than the government [to] prove guilt.” He enjoined the ruling, meaning that the new ATF rule cannot be enforced in any of the plaintiff states, until the lawsuit is resolved.

Kacsmaryk’s injunction follows a similar tactic in his infamous ruling last year threatening nationwide mifepristone access: to undermine the authority of a federal agency. He issued a ruling overturning the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the abortion pill, which had been on the market for nearly 20 years. Kacsmaryk, who has long-standing ties to the anti-abortion movement, deployed a Victorian-era rule in his argument to ban the drug, which he also cited in a separate ruling to ban drag performances.

Ultimately, the Supreme Court declined to override the FDA’s authority. It is unclear if it will follow the same line of thinking should the gun seller case reach the high court.

MAGA Pushes New Conspiracy to Prep for Trump Losing Biden Debate

Donald Trump’s allies have a new conspiracy theory on the Trump-Biden debate—and it sure sounds like they’re preparing for Trump to lose.

Donald Trump grimaces
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

With Donald Trump’s debate with President Joe Biden approaching on June 27, conservatives are quickly scrambling for excuses in case Trump performs poorly.

Speaking to Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump Monday night on Fox News, Sean Hannity speculated that “the Joe Biden that we’re talking about tonight; I don’t think will be the Joe Biden we’re gonna see on debate night.”

“I think the Joe Biden we see on the debate night is gonna be the guy that we saw at the State of the Union,” Hannity said, using some gibberish to mock the president. “He’s going to be all hyped up, hyper-caffeinated, whatever ‘it’ is.”

It’s not the first time Hannity has speculated about Biden taking some kind of drugs to go head to head with Trump, and he made similar remarks last week on his TV show evoking Republican complaints about Biden ruining their “Sleepy Joe” narrative at the State of the Union earlier this year.

“Whatever Joe drank, ate, took before the State of the Union—maybe it was just Red Bull and caffeine pills. I don’t know,” Hannity said last week. “Whatever it was, that was not the normal Joe. We never saw it before, and we haven’t seen it since. But we will see it for the debate.”

It’s also telling that Hannity’s latest remarks came in an interview with Lara Trump, who told the conservative pundit in May that she thought the debates would be rigged in favor of Biden.

Hannity’s remarks were echoed by Representative Ronny Jackson, who went on Donald Trump Jr.’s podcast Monday and speculated with the son of the convicted felon about the drugs he thinks Biden is taking.

​​“Some of those are drugs that are engineered to try and help with your cognition. Some of them are just to try and make you more awake—the amphetamine-type drugs like Adderall and things of that nature, and then there’s things like Provigil that increase your alertness,” Jackson said. “So, I think they’re probably trying to find just the right mix of stuff that can wake him up and make him a little bit more alert and with it.”

Under Jackson’s watch as Trump’s personal physician while he was president, the White House Medical Unit reportedly prescribed those very same drugs along with other sedatives and stimulants in large quantities to officials in the Trump administration, even earning nicknames like “Candyman” or “Dr. Feelgood” within the White House.

It seems like Jackson should be looking in the mirror when speculating about Biden, or perhaps he is engaging in projection. Or Jackson should be keeping an eye on his former patient. Over the weekend, Trump repeatedly called him “Ronny Johnson” at a Detroit rally, fumbling through his remarks while bragging he had aced a cognitive test for the umpteenth time.