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Did Republicans Just Open the Door for Biden to Win Iowa?

An extreme abortion ban, passed in the dead of night, could tip things in Biden’s favor.


Iowa Republicans passed a bill banning abortion after six weeks, an extreme move that could tip the state for Joe Biden in the 2024 presidential election.

State lawmakers passed the bill in the dead of night Tuesday, pushing it through the Senate with a vote of 32–17 after a day of massive protests in the state Capitol. The measure now heads to the desk of Governor Kim Reynolds, who will likely sign it, despite the widespread opposition.

Iowa currently allows abortion up to 20 weeks, and the majority of state residents—61 percent—support access to the procedure. A six-week abortion ban would target people before they even know they are pregnant, and make Iowa one of the most extreme anti-abortion states in the country.

Republican Governor Kim Reynolds had signed a six-week abortion ban in 2018, but that measure was struck down the following year in the courts. After Roe v. Wade was overturned, Reynolds asked the courts to reinstate the 2018 ban, but the state Supreme Court was deadlocked on the issue, leaving the 20-week law in place.

So last week, Reynolds summoned the state legislature back for a special session with “the sole and single purpose” of passing a six-week ban. The bill includes an exception for rape only if the rape is “reported within forty-five days of the incident to a law enforcement agency or to a public or private health agency.”

Huge crowds packed the state Capitol building on Tuesday to protest against the bill. Many suspect that Reynolds is vying for a vice presidential nod—and one constituent called her out while testifying against the measure for using the abortion ban to “score political points.”

But as Iowa Republicans celebrate taking away bodily autonomy from their constituents, they may have rung their own death knell. Biden won 44.9 percent of Iowa votes in 2020, compared to Donald Trump’s 53.1 percent. But the new abortion bill could tip the scale in the other direction.

The GOP may not want to admit it, but abortion wins elections. An overwhelming majority of Americans—62 percent, to be exact—still think abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to the Pew Research Center. What’s more, people consistently vote in favor of increasing abortion rights protections. Come 2024, Republicans may learn that the hard way.

Trump Just Lost a Huge Fight in the E. Jean Carroll Case: Immunity

The Justice Department is refusing to back Donald Trump on this one.

E. Jean Carroll
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
E. Jean Carroll

Donald Trump just lost another big fight in his ongoing legal troubles.

The Justice Department said Tuesday that it no longer considers Trump immune in E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit against him.

Trump was unanimously found liable in May for sexual abuse and battery against Carroll in the mid-1990s, and for defaming her while denying the assault. He was ordered to pay her about $5 million in damages. But Carroll also has a second, pending defamation case against Trump, which dates back to 2019 and includes comments he made about her while in office. The Justice Department had previously said Trump was acting in his role as president when he made the comments, meaning he was immune from legal action.

But now, “the Department of Justice is declining to certify … that defendant Donald J. Trump was acting within the scope of his office and employment as President of the United States when he made the statements that form the basis of the defamation claims in plaintiff’s Amended Complaint in this action,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton said Tuesday.

This means that if Trump is found guilty of defamation, he will be responsible for any potential damages awarded to Carroll. She is seeking $10 million in damages in her second defamation case against him.

Boyton cited a recent legal challenge over whether the initial certification of immunity was valid. The case moved between New York and Washington, D.C., and produced no clear result. In a letter to presiding Judge Lewis Kaplan and Trump’s legal team, Boynton explained that the Department “lacks adequate evidence to conclude” that Trump was motivated by a “purpose to serve the United States Government” when he denied assaulting Carroll and made the allegedly defamatory statements about her.

Carroll’s lawyer Robbie Kaplan (no relation to the judge) hailed the Justice Department’s decision. “We have always believed that Donald Trump made his defamatory statements about our client in June 2019 out of personal animus, ill will, and spite, and not as President of the United States,” she said in a statement. “Now that one of the last obstacles has been removed, we look forward to trial in E. Jean Carroll’s original case in January 2024.”

Carroll accused Trump in her 2019 memoir of raping her in the Manhattan Bergdorf Goodman department store in the mid-1990s. She initially sued him twice for defamation: first in 2019, when he said she made up the rape allegation to promote her book, and again in November for posts he made about her on social media. Carroll is not the only woman to accuse Trump of sexual assault, but her case was the first to make it to a courtroom.

Trump continues to vehemently deny all of the allegations and launched fresh vitriol at Carroll during a disastrous CNN town hall in May. She amended her second lawsuit to include those comments.

Trump and his allies have repeatedly tried to thwart Carroll’s various lawsuits, asking multiple times that the 2019 defamation suit be thrown out, and even begging for a new trial altogether.

Meanwhile, he is facing two criminal indictments, and a third that may be coming later this summer.

Safe to say this situation has just gone from bad to worse.

“Shame!”: Iowa Protesters Try to Stop Republicans’ Extreme Abortion Ban

The Iowa legislature is holding a special session with the singular aim of passing the abortion ban.

Abortion rights advocates protest indoors. One person in the foreground holds a sign reading "Abortion is health care." Another in the background reads "Bans off our bodies."
LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images
An abortion rights protest in Columbia, South Carolina, as lawmakers there debated a six-week abortion ban in May.

Hundreds of people gathered Tuesday at the Iowa state Capitol to protest a bill that would ban abortion after six weeks, targeting people before they even know they are pregnant.

Iowa currently allows abortion up to 20 weeks, and the majority of state residents—61 percent—support access to the procedure. Republican Governor Kim Reynolds had signed a six-week abortion ban in 2018, but that measure was struck down the following year in the courts. After Roe v. Wade was overturned, Reynolds asked the courts to reinstate the 2018 ban, but the state Supreme Court was deadlocked on the issue, leaving the 20-week law in place.

So last week, Reynolds summoned the state legislature back for a special session with “the sole and single purpose” of passing legislation that would ban abortion once a “fetal heartbeat” can be detected. Medical professionals warn that the term “fetal heartbeat” is misleading because six-week-old fetuses only have electrical pulses. There isn’t actually a heart yet, just clusters of cells.

Many suspect that Reynolds is vying for a vice presidential nod—and a constituent called her out on Tuesday for using the abortion ban to “score political points.”

Massive crowds packed the Capitol in Des Moines as lawmakers debated the legislation.

The chants of “Shame!” and “Hey hey! Ho ho! Abortion bans have got to go!” were so loud they could be heard inside the chamber.

Lawmakers are expected to continue debating into the night, and could even vote on the measure at that time. The bill Reynolds is pushing includes an exception for rape, but only if the rape is “reported within forty-five days of the incident to a law enforcement agency or to a public or private health agency.”

Despite widespread public opposition, Republican lawmakers have repeatedly used special exceptions to force through abortion bans. In South Carolina, Governor Henry McMaster also called lawmakers back for a special session to pass an abortion ban, and then signed the measure into law with no warning to doctors. A judge blocked the measure in May while lawsuits against it play out.

Supreme Court’s Anti-LGBTQ Ruling Has Already Incited Discrimination

A Michigan hair salon says it will refuse to serve customers over their use of pronouns.

Someone waves a Pride flag in front of the Supreme Court
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

An owner of a Michigan hair salon says the business will begin discriminating against LGBTQ people—just days after the Supreme Court legalizing discrimination against the community.

Christine Geiger, the owner of Studio 8 Hair Lab in Traverse City, said she is exercising her right to free speech by discriminating against specific customers.

“If a human identifies as anything other than a man/woman, please seek services at a local pet groomer,” Geiger wrote in a Facebook post. “You are not welcome at this salon. Period.”

While the salon’s Facebook page has been deleted and its Instagram profile has been set to private, that should not be mistaken as any remorse. The business’s Instagram biography reads: “A private CONSERVATIVE business that does not cater to woke ideologies.”

In a comment in a community Facebook group, Geiger elaborated. “I have no issue with LGB. It’s the TQ+ that I’m not going to support,” she began. “For those that don’t know what the + is for, it’s for MAP (Minor Attracted Person aka: pedophile),” she continued, lying. Scores of other community members responded, noting that she was downright wrong.

And while Geiger has said she is “not a slave to any narrative” but simply looking to make a stance on the issue, she has not responded to any of the individuals calling out her ethical reasoning or factual premises. Nor is she apparently bold enough to keep her social media pages public, despite claiming to be “more than willing to take the first rounds of strike backs” to galvanize others to “bark back” (an interesting choice of words while calling LGBTQ people animals who should go to pet groomers).

Notably, Geiger’s position spoke directly to the Supreme Court’s ruling that the First Amendment trumps civil rights, and discrimination is okay if your values say the other person is “illegitimate.”

“I am admitting that since I am not willing to play the pronoun game or cater to requests outside of what I perceive as normal this probably isn’t the best option for that type of client,” Geiger wrote.

The announcement also followed easily re-elected Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signing legislation in March that bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

While Geiger purports to have concern over the safety of children and stability of society, she herself has in the past actually and repeatedly flouted those concerns. In 2009, for instance, the hair salon owner was charged with third-offense drunken driving and second-offense operating a vehicle with a suspended license; records had shown her driving drunk twice the previous year. In 2021, 13,384 people died in drunk driving-related incidents. No one has died as a result of an LGBTQ person getting a haircut.

Actually, White Nationalists Are Racists, Tuberville Now Says

The acknowledgement comes after the Alabama senator insisted that white nationalism was a matter of "opinion."

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala.

After significant media scrutiny, Senator Tommy Tuberville has acknowledged the connection between white nationalism and racism.

“White nationalists are racists,” Tuberville told reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday afternoon. Although this may appear to be a simple admission, as white nationalists by definition believe that white people are inherently superior, Tuberville had struggled to reach this conclusion.

The Republican from Alabama told CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins on Monday that white nationalism “is just a name that’s been given,” appearing to conflate white supremacist beliefs with simply being white. When Collins informed Tuberville that “a white nationalist is a racist,” Tuberville replied: “Well, that’s your opinion.”

On Tuesday morning, Tuberville said “I’m totally against racism,” but indicated that he did not see the connection between white nationalism and racism.

“If Democrats want to say that white nationalists are racist, I’m totally against that too,” Tuberville told ABC News’ Rachel Scott. When Scott pressed him on whether he believed white nationalists are racist, Tuberville responded: “Yes, if that’s what a racist is, yes.”

On Tuesday, Democrats slammed Tuberville for his comments, with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer calling on the Alabama Republican to apologize. “No, he needs to apologize,” Tuberville responded.

Senator Raphael Warnock also called on Tuberville to apologize and “change course.” He told reporters: “White nationalism is racism, by definition. It’s not a matter of opinion. And for the senator to play games with this is dangerous.”

Meanwhile, other Republican senators reiterated that they think racism and white nationalism are bad.

White supremacy and racism have absolutely no place in our country, period,” Senator Katie Britt, Tuberville’s colleague from Alabama, told reporters. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that “white supremacy is simply unacceptable in our military and in our entire country.”

This was not Tuberville’s first time obscuring the connection between white nationalism and racism. In May, he said that he believed white nationalists should not be prevented from serving in the military.

“I call them Americans,” Tuberville said then, arguing that military readiness in the U.S. was lacking because “Democrats are attacking our military, saying we need to get out the white extremists, the white nationalists, people that don’t believe in our agenda.”

Tommy Tuberville Refuses to Admit White Nationalists Are Racist

The Republican senator now says the definition of white nationalism is a matter of “opinion.”

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Senator Tommy Tuberville

Senator Tommy Tuberville can’t—or won’t—wrap his mind around the fact that white nationalism is inherently racist.

The Alabama Republican has insisted multiple times in recent months, including twice in the past 24 hours, that while racism is bad, white nationalists are not racist. The Southern Poverty Law Center defines white nationalists as groups that “espouse white supremacist or white separatist ideologies, often focusing on the alleged inferiority of nonwhite persons. Their primary goal is to create a white ethnostate.” So it’s pretty clearly an ideology based on racism.

White nationalist “is just a name that’s been given,” Tuberville told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins Monday night, seemingly intentionally conflating being white and being a white nationalist. “So if you’re going to do away with most white people in this country out of the military, we’ve got huge problems.”

People have different beliefs, and “if racism is one of those beliefs, I am totally against it,” Tuberville said.

When Collins told him that that was what white nationalism entailed, Tuberville said, “Well, that’s your opinion.”

When ABC reporter Rachel Scott pressed him on the matter Tuesday morning, Tuberville doubled down, insisting the racism element was simply one definition of white nationalism, but not the definition.

Even more frightening than Tuberville’s seemingly deliberate obtuseness, though, is why he is defending white nationalists: He believes they should be allowed to serve in the military. In May, the senator said white nationalists should be allowed in the U.S. military because blocking any ideological group from serving would weaken the institution. Tuberville also referred to the military as a “strong, hard-nosed, killing machine,” which could possibly explain why he thinks extremists belong in the armed forces.

But if we’re talking about a weakened military, Tuberville should look in the mirror. Marine Corps Commandant David Berger stepped down Monday, leaving the corps leaderless for the first time in more than a century. His replacement has been nominated but not yet confirmed because Tuberville has blocked hundreds of military promotions since March in objection to the Defense Department’s abortion policy. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has warned Tuberville’s blockade “harms America’s national security” and poses a “clear risk” to the military’s readiness.

QAnon Shaman Wants to Take On Neo-Nazi Nick Fuentes at GOP Event

Who is the real ALPHA MALE?

(Fuentes) Zach D Roberts/NurPhoto/Getty Images; (Chansley) Win McNamee/Getty Images

The QAnon Shaman is not happy about sharing the spotlight with Nick Fuentes.

College Republicans United, a group whose hallmark values include “opposition to immigration and multiculturalism,” and spreading “Christian Nationalism across the country,” is hosting its national convention later this month. And the antisemitic and white nationalist Fuentes is set to headline the event alongside Jake Chansley, who earned more of his notoriety as the QAnon Shaman after rioting at the Capitol on January 6.

Chansley apparently “was not aware” that he’d be “sharing the stage with someone who wants a 16-year-old wife”—and he’s now apparently taking the supposed surprise as a challenge to “expose” Fuentes as a “false prophet.”

Hours after expressing his incredulity, Chansley confirmed he will attend the conference to “show these college republicans what a REAL alpha male looks & sounds like”:

Fuentes has indeed expressed his desire for a 16-year-old child bride—when he turns 30 years old. But even beyond that, Fuentes has racked up quite a record. He was previously banned from social media outlets for violent rhetoric about people of color, women, Jewish people, immigrants, LGBTQ people, Covid-19, and much more. He has also proudly said he’s “just like Hitler” (whom he has also called “a pedophile … also really fucking cool”), and that “Catholic monarchy, and just war, and crusades, and inquisitions” are much better than democracy.

Chansley meanwhile has long been active in trying to spread the QAnon conspiracy theory. After the 2020 election, he focused his efforts on challenging the election results, specifically in Arizona, culminating in his participation in the January 6 attack on the Capitol (and in a photo of him with his fist raised as he stood on the dais on the Senate floor).

Meanwhile, the original venue for the conference, the Hassayampa Inn, has announced that the “event will no longer be held” there anymore. Now, the College Republicans United website ambiguously says the conference will be held in downtown Prescott, Arizona. “This year’s convention promises to be bigger, better, and more impactful than ever before,” the organization assures, noting that the actual location will be “made public July 28th.”

The event will include other members of the far right—including neo-Nazi streamer “Baked Alaska” and a former Arizona Representative expelled from the state House. It was originally set to include other since-delisted speakers, like former Arizona Representative David Stringer, who resigned after refusing to cooperate with an ethics investigation into previous charges against him for paying two boys under the age of 15—one who was developmentally disabled—$10 each to have sex with him.

Out of all that, though, Chansley’s discomfort with the event is focused primarily on Fuentes. May the Alpha Male games begin!

This article has been updated.

U.S. Attorney Smacks Down GOP “Whistleblower” Claims on Hunter Biden

Prosecutor David Weiss, a Trump appointee, is pushing back on Republicans.

Hunter Biden
Kris Connor/WireImage
Hunter Biden

The federal prosecutor investigating Hunter Biden’s taxes hit back at Republican claims that the Justice Department had blocked the probe.

The president’s much-embattled son agreed to a plea deal in June that will see him plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges of tax evasion and participate in a pretrial program for a gun offense. Hunter will avoid jail time under the deal, which was negotiated with Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss and has infuriated Republicans.

Shortly before the deal was struck, an IRS agent accused Weiss—a Trump appointee—and Justice Department officials of dragging their feet on investigating Hunter Biden. In particular, the agent, Gary Shapley, alleged Weiss said in October that Weiss did not have final say on whether charges would be filed.

Shapley also claims Weiss said he had been blocked from pursuing charges in D.C.—where Hunter supposedly committed his most serious crimes—and that the Justice Department would not grant him special counsel status, which would have let him bring charges outside his jurisdiction. Republicans have jumped on Shapley’s claims as proof that the Hunter Biden investigation did not go far enough.

Weiss hit back at those claims Monday evening in a letter to Senator Lindsey Graham. “To clarify an apparent misperception and to avoid future confusion, I wish to make one point clear: in this case, I have not requested Special Counsel designation,” Weiss wrote.

He explained that he would have been granted that status “if it proved necessary,” although he did not say who ultimately decided that it did not. Weiss also said he had “never been denied the authority to bring charges in any jurisdiction.”

Weiss had previously smacked down Shapley’s claims in a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan. Republicans have seized on Shapley’s accusations as part of their sprawling and evidence-less investigations into the Biden family’s alleged corruption.

Ron Johnson: “I Have the Deepest Sympathy for 9/11 Families … BUT”

The Republican senator does not care about Saudi Arabia’s sportswashing campaign with LIV Golf.

Samuel Corum/Getty Images
Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson

Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson understands that 9/11 was not great, and that it’s not awesome that Saudi Arabia killed an American resident and journalist.… But dang it, he just loves golf too much to not give Saudi Arabia at least a little slack!

“Well listen, I have the deepest sympathy for 9/11 families, I understand the issue of sportswashing, I don’t think there’s any—there’s not enough billions of dollars for the Saudis to wash away the stain of the brutal Khashoggi murder,” Johnson began. “But the reality is we all buy oil, we use—we drive cars, we are the ones that are filling up the coffers of the Public Investment Fund,” he added, referring to the Saudi government-controlled wealth fund that backs LIV Golf.

“I would rather have the Saudis invest their oil wealth in the U.S. as opposed to China or Russia—that’s just a reality of the world,” he continued. “And again, I’m a lover of the game of golf. I love watching golf. I want to see the best golfers in the world compete against each other and not be split into different leagues and pretty well destroy the competition at the highest level.”

According to Johnson, it is a bigger shame that some of the best golfers in the world might not be in the same league, than, you know ... everything else.

Johnson’s comments come while the Saudi-backed LIV Golf League—which last month reached an agreement to merge with the North American PGA Tour—is under heightened scrutiny.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Permanent Investigations is hosting a hearing on the merger Tuesday; the hearing comes just one day after the league announced that it will host its $50 million championship at Donald Trump’s National Doral Golf Club for the second year in a row.

That kind of money is top of mind for Johnson, who wonders what we would want Saudi Arabia to do with all that cash instead, if not buying out teams and leagues left and right in a massive sportswashing campaign:

House Republicans’ Great Hope to Bring Down “Biden Crime Family” Was ... a Chinese Spy?!

Republicans’ investigation into Biden family corruption just keeps falling apart.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A key informant in the Republican investigation into the Biden family has been charged with acting as a foreign agent for China.

Gal Luft, the co-head of an energy think tank, has repeatedly accused President Joe Biden and his family of accepting millions of dollars in bribes from China. FBI agents interviewed Luft, who holds U.S. and Israeli citizenship, in Brussels in 2019 over his claims. The bureau decided not to pursue the investigation further after speaking with him, but Republicans have latched onto his accusations nonetheless.

Luft—who again, has repeatedly charged the Biden family of Chinese corruption—was charged Monday night with brokering deals for China, Iran, and even Libya. The U.S Attorney for the southern district of New York released a statement alleging that in 2016, Luft paid a former Trump advisor on behalf of Chinese principals, without registering as a foreign agent, to push policies favorable to China.

The attorney’s office accused Luft of setting up meetings between Iranian officials and a Chinese energy company for potential oil deals, in violation of U.S. sanctions on Iran. Luft also allegedly worked as an illicit arms dealer, attempting to broker the sale of weapons to China, Libya, Kenya, and the United Arab Emirates.

Luft is not currently in U.S. custody. He was arrested in Cyprus in February, but fled when he was released on bail to await extradition. He has repeatedly insisted that the Biden administration is trying to silence him—a claim on which Republicans have gladly seized.

“He’s literally fleeing for his life right now. He’s on the run,” Senator Ron Johnson said of Luft Sunday.

Speaking to Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo, Johnson said Luft is “an important witness. He needs to be granted immunity to be able to testify and tell his story.”

House Republicans have accused the Bidens of accepting bribes and influence peddling, but their months-long investigation has yet to produce any actual proof. Things took an odd turn in May when House Oversight Chair James Comer, who is spearheading the investigation, admitted that one of his key informants had gone missing. That informant was later revealed to be Luft.

Comer actually bragged just last week about what a good source Luft is. “He’s very credible, and the people on MSNBC who made fun of me when I said we had an informant that was missing, they should feel like fools right now,” he told Newsmax on Thursday. “This is their worst nightmare.”

“We feel that this is a very credible witness. We feel that this is someone that we need to talk to in our investigation,” Comer said.

Except, that investigation is careening off the rails. The charges against Luft are just the latest spanner in the works. Multiple Republicans have admitted they don’t know if key evidence even exists, while Comer has said he doesn’t know if that evidence is “legit.”

Other members of the GOP are begging more informants to come forward, while Senator Chuck Grassley accidentally revealed that the investigation isn’t really about turning up the truth.