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.
The Trump administration referred a record number of classified leaks for criminal investigation, totaling at least 334, according to a Justice Department document obtained by The Intercept under the Freedom of Information Act. While leak investigations had already been on the rise under the Obama administration, which prosecuted more than twice as many leakers under the World War I-era Espionage Act as all previous administrations combined, that number still rose sharply under the Trump administration.
The White House released its interim national security strategic guidance, stressing a need to build alliances and strengthen democracy, an implicit rebuff of former President Trump’s “America first" strategy. “We will only succeed in advancing American interests and upholding our universal values by working in common cause with our closest allies and partners, and by renewing our own enduring sources of national strength,” President Biden wrote in the guidance.
Pence, who was presiding over a joint session of Congress when its certification of the Electoral College results was interrupted by a mob of former President Trump's supporters, said there were “significant voting irregularities” and “numerous instances of officials setting aside state election law” in the 2020 presidential election.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo has avoided public appearances for days as some members of his own party call for him to resign over sexual harassment allegations. The governor hasn’t taken questions from reporters since a 19 February briefing, an unusually long gap for a Democrat whose daily, televised updates on the coronavirus pandemic were must-see TV last spring.
Former President Trump's reentry into public life at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Sunday exacerbates challenges for political leaders in both parties, as well as the media. Washington has been a relatively Trump-free zone for the first 40 days of President Biden's administration, particularly with Trump banned from Twitter, the megaphone that allowed him to gin up news cycle after news cycle.
Getting vaccinated publicly could have gone a long way toward dispelling Republican doubts about the Covid vaccine — so of course Trump didn’t do it. Former President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump both received the Covid-19 vaccine. They just didn’t tell anyone about it.
A collective of former New York state legislative employees on Monday denounced Andrew Cuomo’s apology for his past behavior, after the governor was accused of sexually harassing two women, and called for his removal or resignation. Members of the Sexual Harassment Working Group also said they expected more allegations to follow – and accused Cuomo of “gaslighting” his accusers. New York attorney general Letitia James, meanwhile, announced the first step in mounting an external investigation of the governor’s behavior.
Bill Cassidy, the Louisiana Republican senator, predicted on Sunday morning that Donald Trump will not be the party’s nominee for president in 2024, pointing to the number of seats lost by Republicans in the House and Senate over the four years Trump was in office.
Donald Trump on Sunday launched his attempted political comeback, teasing a possible run for the presidency in 2024 and denouncing Joe Biden for “the most disastrous first month of any president in modern history”. The former president made his first speech since leaving the White House at the rightwing Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, to an effusive reception. Trump claims, entirely falsely, that he actually won the 2020 election but was fraudulently denied his victory.
The theme of the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference is “America Uncanceled.” But this week, just days before CPAC was set to kick off in Orlando, Florida, conference organizers announced they’d had to cancel one of their own scheduled speakers. “We have just learned that someone we invited to CPAC has expressed reprehensible views that have no home with our conference or our organization,” CPAC organizers tweeted Monday, referring to right-wing social media figure Young Pharaoh.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is denying allegations from a former aide who accused him of sexual harassment, including an unwanted kiss, in a Medium post on Wednesday. Lindsey Boylan alleged that in 2018, the Democratic governor kissed her on the lips following a one-on-one briefing in his New York City office.
At least eight 2024 hopefuls will speak at CPAC, the conservative movement’s premier conference this weekend in Florida, giving Republicans their clearest look yet at who’s competing in the traditional GOP presidential lanes. But there’s only one lane that really matters: the one currently occupied by former President Donald Trump.
House conservatives are renewing their calls for Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) to step down from her leadership post after she split with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) over whether former President Trump should speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). House Freedom Caucus members are going after Cheney, chair of the House Republican Conference, following an awkward moment during a press conference Wednesday with the House GOP leader.
A former aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the governor kissed her without her consent and asked her to play strip poker, alleging a pattern of sexual harassment she detailed in a new account Wednesday. Lindsey Boylan, who is running for Manhattan borough president and formerly worked for Cuomo and the state’s economic development agency, wrote in a Medium post that Cuomo kissed her on the lips against her will at his office in Manhattan.
Sen. Mitt Romney predicted Tuesday that former President Donald Trump would easily win the Republican presidential nomination if he seeks the White House again in 2024. In a New York Times-DealBook virtual interview, the Utah Republican said he was “sure” the former president would play a role in the GOP in the coming years — assessing that Trump has “by far the largest voice and a big impact in my party.”
A federal judge in Texas on Tuesday blocked President Joe Biden’s 100-day moratorium on most deportations, the latest blow to Biden on one of his signature campaign promises. U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton, in a late-night ruling, granted a preliminary injunction that blocks the moratorium the Biden administration announced on its first day. It’s a victory for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who filed a lawsuit against the federal government over the 100-day pause, which was announced in a memorandum from the Department of Homeland Security three days into the Biden administration.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) on Tuesday said that his wife, Heidi Cruz, was “pretty pissed,” over group text messages leaked to The New York Times last week that showed she invited friends and neighbors to join their trip to Mexico as their home state was battered by an extreme winter storm.
In the wake of the Civil War, the Enforcement Act of 1871 gave presidents the power to suspend the writ of habeas corpus to protect the voting rights of Black Americans, which were under threat from the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and other white supremacy organizations. Now, one former president stands accused of violating it.
“Complete and utter hyprocites,” tweeted Senator Ted Cruz back in December, when Steve Adler, mayor of Austin, was caught directing residents to stay at home to stop the spread of the coronavirus while at his holiday home in Cabo, Mexico. But Cruz is now eating a slice of humble pie – after being caught hopping on a flight to Mexico just days after telling Texans to stay home during a storm that has left millions of Texans without heating, hot water or power. Cruz was pictured on a flight to Cancun while millions in his state are without power, and adults and children have died while trying to keep warm.
Former President Trump on Tuesday unloaded on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and vowed to back challengers to lawmakers who have crossed him. In a statement released through his Save America super PAC, Trump blamed McConnell for the GOP’s 2020 Senate losses and called for Republicans to elect new leaders to carry on his legacy.
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”.