Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is telling associates he had no idea his Justice Department seized phone records of two top Democratic congressional critics of then-President Donald Trump. In the hours since The New York Times broke the news on Thursday that prosecutors subpoenaed Apple metadata from Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA), former Attorney General Sessions has privately told people that he wasn’t aware of, nor was he briefed on, the reported data seizures while he led the Trump DOJ. This week’s revelations were a surprise to him, according to a source familiar with the matter, and another person close to Sessions.
The FBI says that Brian Mock went to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 unsure of what he would face, but as he shared on social media just days later, he was prepared to fully commit to whatever came his way — even death. “I went to the Capitol not knowing what to expect but said goodbye to my 4 children, not sure if I was going to come home,” Mock wrote on Facebook on Jan. 8, according to federal documents charging Mock with multiple crimes. “I was at peace with that knowledge.” Mock, 43, is one of the latest people to be arrested for crimes related to the siege on the U.S. Capitol, according to a statement from the Justice Department.
California’s governor has nominated a state assemblyman known for pushing criminal justice reform to be the state’s next attorney general. Rob Bonta, a Democrat, would replace Xavier Becerra, who was confirmed last week as Joe Biden’s health and human services secretary. Pending likely confirmation by the state’s Democratic legislature, Bonta would hold the job through 2022, when he would have to run for election.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has decided against appointing the Los Angeles area congressman to lead the state’s law enforcement agency, a post recently vacated by Xavier Becerra when he was confirmed to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. It is not yet known whom Newsom has chosen for the AG role, though a formal announcement is expected soon.
Republicans in almost every state in the country have proposed more than 250 bills that would make it harder for people to vote. One, in Arizona, would even allow a state legislature to throw out any election result it doesn’t like — like, for instance, a Joe Biden victory over Donald Trump. Some in the GOP have even been explicit about the reasoning behind the blitz of legislation: If some of the bills go through, one county-level election official in Georgia said at a GOP meeting in January, Republicans “at least have a shot at winning.”
Former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos earned an estimated nine figures in outside income while serving in the Trump administration, according to a Washington, D.C., watchdog. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) states in a report released Tuesday that DeVos made at least $225 million and possibly more than $414 million in outside income while she worked as Education secretary.
A key member of the legal team that sought to steal the 2020 election for Donald Trump is defending herself against a billion-dollar defamation lawsuit by arguing that “no reasonable person” could have mistaken her wild claims about election fraud last November as statements of fact.
President Biden on Tuesday called on Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and to close loopholes in the background check system after a gunman killed 10 people at a grocery store in Boulder, Colo. “I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common sense steps that will save lives in the future and to urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act,” Biden said in remarks at the White House following Monday’s shooting. “We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again. I got that done when I was a senator. … We should do it again.”
In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Cruz talked about the ways the United States could prevent shootings like the ones seen in Atlanta and Boulder, Colo., that occurred almost one week apart. The Texas senator said that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has a "long" and "indefensible" practice of not "prosecuting felons and fugitives" who try to illegally purchase firearms.
Former President Trump is warning Republicans that any effort to abolish the Senate filibuster would cause irreparable damage to the party. During an interview on the podcast “The Truth with Lisa Boothe," Trump discussed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his attempts to fight off talk from progressives to eliminate the longstanding filibuster rule.
Former President Donald Trump on Monday endorsed Rep. Jody Hice in a campaign to unseat Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in next year’s Republican primary, saying that "unlike" the incumbent, "Jody leads out front with integrity."
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is fighting to stay in office. He's resisting calls from several Democrats to resign after multiple women have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment. While Cuomo may eventually be impeached and removed from office, he's unlikely to step down if his poll numbers continue to look anything like they do now.
Claiming Democrats want to expand voting rights to “illegal aliens” and “child molesters”, the Texas senator Ted Cruz warned that if Republicans do not block the For the People Act, major legislation now before the Senate, they will be out of power for years.
Days after being acquitted in his second impeachment trial last month, Donald Trump issued a statement lashing out against one of the very Republican senators who made that acquittal possible. “The Republican party can never again be respected or strong with political ‘leaders’ like Senator Mitch McConnell at its helm,” the former president said in a statement, after the Republican leader criticized him for inciting the 6 January insurrection at the Capitol. Trump added: “Mitch is a dour, sullen and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again.”
Nicolette Davis said she was 25, on her first networking trip as a junior lobbyist for an insurance company, when she felt the 45-year-old congressman’s hand on her back. She and other lobbyists had gathered at an Irish pub in Minneapolis after a day of ice fishing, Davis told The Washington Post, and Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y) was seated to her left.
“A drunk congressman is rubbing my back,” she texted a friend and co-worker at Aflac that evening in 2017, adding later, “HELP HELP.”
America’s midterm elections may be 20 months in the future, but a campaign is already under way to unseat the extremist Republican congresswoman and Donald Trump devotee. In a rural district of Georgia that Taylor Greene won last November with three-quarters of the vote, effectively unopposed after her Democratic opponent quit the race, no one thinks it is going to be easy.
A dozen Republicans voted against a resolution honoring US Capitol police for their efforts to protect members of Congress during the insurrection on 6 January. The House voted 413-12 on Wednesday to award congressional gold medals, Congress’s “highest expression of national appreciation”, to all members of the Capitol police force.
Russia tried to influence the 2020 US presidential election by proliferating “misleading or unsubstantiated allegations” largely against Joe Biden and through allies of Donald Trump, US intelligence officials said on Tuesday. The assessment was contained in a 15-page report published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. It underscored allegations that Trump’s allies played into Moscow’s hands by amplifying claims against Biden by Ukrainian figures with links to Russia. In a statement, the Democratic House intelligence chair, Adam Schiff, said: “Through proxies, Russia ran a successful intelligence operation that penetrated [Trump’s] inner circle.
Into The Storm is airing on HBO Max on March 21. Its filmmakers name Watkins, the son of 8Chan founder Jim Watkins, as Q, the head of the right-wing, pro-Trump conspiracy theory group. Ron Watkins is interviewed as part of the series as his father and other members of the group. It's unclear why filmmaker Cullen Hoback thinks he is Q. Holback says he spent three years studying the right-wing group. Ron is the administrator of 8Chan (now known as 8Kun), an online message board where QAnon sprouted roots in 2017 and gained followers. It exploded in the final months of Donald Trump's presidency, bolstered by the unproven theory that widespread voter fraud won the election for Biden.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom acknowledged Tuesday morning that an effort to recall him is likely to qualify for the ballot, setting the stage for an expensive, bruising battle that will draw national interest in the coming months.
The Washington Post has added a lengthy correction to a bombshell report from early January that had said then-President Trump told Georgia's top elections investigator during a phone call to "find the fraud" and that they would be "a national hero" if they did so.
Army Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman is set to be promoted to full colonel, despite attempts by loyalists to former President Donald Trump to derail his career following his bit role in the president's first impeachment, according to two people familiar with the matter. Vindman’s twin brother, Alex Vindman, was a star witness in Trump’s impeachment trial and accused the president of pressuring the Ukrainian president to dig up dirt on then-candidate Joe Biden.
Jim Jordan told to ‘shut your mouth’ after ranting endlessly
During a meeting of the House Coronavirus Crisis Subcommittee on Thursday, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) had to intervene in a shouting match between Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Dr. Anthony Fauci by telling Jordan to “shut your mouth.” Jordan ranted at Fauci for several minutes, demanding the doc provide definite answers on when the pandemic will end, when public health mandates will be lifted, and when Americans will have their “liberties” back.
Texas Republican will be temporarily blind
Rep. Dan Crenshaw will be "effectively blind" for about a month and “off the grid” for the coming weeks after emergency eye surgery, the Texas Republican announced Saturday. Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL, lost an eye in an IED blast in Afghanistan, which also caused “extensive damage” to his other retina. Within the past few days, Crenshaw said he had begun to experience “dark, blurry spots” that were affecting his sight, after which he went Thursday to an ophthalmologist, where he learned that his retina was in the process of detaching. Crenshaw said the news was “terrifying” and the prognosis “very bad.”
Supreme Court rebuffs bid for deposition about emails
The Supreme Court on Monday denied a bid by a right-wing government watchdog group to require former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to face a deposition over her use of personal email while she served as secretary of State. In an unsigned order issued without comment, the justices declined an appeal from Judicial Watch that followed a ruling last August by a federal appeals court panel which said Clinton could not be compelled to sit for a deposition.
Capitol rioters posed 'zero threat'
Donald Trump has defended some of his supporters who rioted at the US Capitol on 6 January, saying they posed “zero threat” to the lawmakers who had assembled there to certify the electoral college vote that confirmed Joe Biden’s election victory. Trump complained to Fox News’s Laura Ingraham that law enforcement was “persecuting” the Capitol rioters, while “nothing happens” to leftwing protesters. Five people, including a police officer, died in the riot.
New York Republican accused of sexual misconduct won’t seek re-election
Tom Reed, a Republican congressman from western New York who was accused last week of rubbing a female lobbyist’s back and unhooking her bra without her consent in 2017, apologized to the woman on Sunday and announced he will not run for re-election next year. Reed, 49, said the incident involving Nicolette Davis occurred “at a time in my life in which I was struggling”. He said he entered treatment that year as he was “powerless over alcohol”. Reed apologized to his wife and children and to Davis and said he planned “to dedicate my time and attention to making amends for my past actions”.