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Here’s Why Trump is Cheering On the Government Shutdown

Trump has a new demand for Republicans, as the government shutdown looms closer.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Donald Trump is hoping that House Republicans will use the government shutdown to stop the criminal prosecutions against him.

As House Republicans continue to fight over what to include in the spending bill, Trump took to Truth Social late on Wednesday night to instruct them to use this opportunity to defund the Justice Department.

“Republicans in Congress can and must defend all aspects of Crooked Joe Biden’s weaponized Government,” he wrote. “That is also the last chance to defund these political prosecutions against me and other Patriots.”

Even if the GOP-led House were somehow able to pass a bill slashing the Justice Department’s budget, it would never make it through the Senate. So, in effect, Trump is cheering on a government shutdown.

In 2019, Trump oversaw a 35-day government shutdown, the longest in U.S. history, costing the U.S. economy $11 billion, in hopes of passing a bill allocating $5.7 billion for the construction of a border wall. Trump eventually folded, and the government reopened after nearly one million federal workers had gone without a paycheck for more than a month.

But it seems that experience didn’t teach Trump how ineffective a government shutdown can be. The former president ended his post on Truth Social by telling Republicans to “use the power of the purse to defend the Country.” Of course, what he really wants is for Republicans to once again dangle the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of federal workers in the balance, all in the hopes that he can avoid jail time.

Rupert Murdoch’s Response to Fox Legal Jeopardy? Retire.

The longtime chairman is resigning as chairman of Fox and News Corp. as the lawsuits pile up around him.

Rupert Murdoch
Jean Catuffe/GC Images

Rupert Murdoch announced Thursday that he is leaving his roles as chairman and CEO of News Corp and chairman of Fox Corp, amid a P.R. firestorm almost entirely of his own making.

Murdoch’s son Lachlan will now take the helm of both companies.

“I am writing to let you all know that I have decided to transition to the role of Chairman Emeritus at Fox and News,” he said in an internal memo. “But the time is right for me to take on different roles, knowing that we have truly talented teams and a passionate, principled leader in Lachlan who will become sole Chairman of both companies.”

Neither excessive pride nor false humility are admirable qualities. But I am truly proud of what we have achieved collectively through the decades.”

The 92-year-old media mogul’s resignation comes amid major struggles for both News and Fox Corps. News Corp reported more than a 75 percent drop in profit in August, primarily due to lower print and digital advertising at News Corp Australia, as well as low print advertising in the U.K. Prince Harry is also suing News Corp’s British arm for multiple unlawful acts allegedly committed over several decades, including hacking his phone.

Fox News, meanwhile, is facing down a barrage of lawsuits and scandals, mostly related to the network continuing to spread lies about the 2020 presidential election. Murdoch has admitted in depositions for one of those lawsuits that he knew the stolen election conspiracy theory was false but he continued to let his network give airtime to its biggest proponents.

One lawsuit is from Smartmatic Voting Systems, which accused Fox of defaming it when network hosts said its voting machines contributed to election fraud. A Smartmatic attorney compared Murdoch to a mob boss during a hearing Wednesday.

“The mafia boss doesn’t give the direction of exactly how the henchman carries out that hit,” J. Erik Connolly said. “But, unquestionably, we would all say the mafia boss participated in the hit when the hit happened. Exact same thing happened here.”

Donald Trump supporter Ray Epps has also sued Fox, and its former host Tucker Carlson, for defamation. He alleged Fox spread a bizarre conspiracy that he led an FBI plot to incite the January 6 insurrection. Epps pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of disorderly or disruptive conduct on restricted grounds for his participation in the riot.

Earlier this year, Fox reported a $54 million loss after its costly settlement deal with Dominion Voting Systems, which also accused Fox of defamation after network hosts said Dominion voting machines had contributed to election fraud.

Fox also settled with former producer Abby Grossberg, who alleged that company lawyers coerced her into giving misleading testimony in the Dominion lawsuit. She accused Fox of having a culture of “poisonous and entrenched patriarchy.”

This story has been updated.

Florida Is Leading the Rest of the Country on Book Bans—by a Long Shot

A new report from PEN America documents a frightening rise in book bans in public schools—but especially in the Sunshine State.

Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Public schools across the country are banning books at a frightening rate—but no state is infringing on academic freedom quite like Florida.

A new report from PEN America found that the number of public school book bans across the country increased by 33 percent in the 2022–23 school year, compared to the year before. Nearly half of those bans, or 40 percent, happened in Florida.

PEN America recorded 3,362 instances of books banned in the last academic year, with 1,406 of those cases in Florida. This was the first year that Florida bested Texas in this dubious competition, according to the organization, which has been tracking book bans since 2021.

Following Florida, the worst states in this field were Texas (625 bans), Missouri (333 bans), Utah (281 bans), and Pennsylvania (186 bans).

Predictably, an overwhelming number of the bans targeted books on race or racism (30 percent) or featured LGBTQ characters (also 30 percent). But in an equally troubling finding, PEN found that nearly half of all book bans dealt with violence or physical abuse. Many banned books also focused on health and well-being, or featured themes concerning grief or death.

“The toll of the book-banning movement is getting worse. More kids are losing access to books, more libraries are taking authors off the shelves, and opponents of free expression are pushing harder than ever to exert their power over students as a whole,” said Suzanne Nossel, chief executive officer of PEN America. “By depriving a rising generation of the freedom to read, these bans are eating away at the foundations of our democracy.”

PEN America also reported that 86 percent of the book bans happened in school districts near a prominent “parents’ rights” organization. The organization specifically tracked chapters of Moms for Liberty (which initially formed in Florida), Citizens Defending Freedom, and Parents’ Rights in Education.

It’s no surprise that Florida is leading the rest of the country in such draconian book bans. In addition to the heavy influence of Moms for Liberty in the state, Governor Ron DeSantis has made gutting academic liberties part of his personal brand—depriving students of the freedom to read under the guise of waging war on anything he deems “woke.”

This year alone, DeSantis has expanded the state’s infamous “Don’t Say Gay” law, banning classroom discussion on gender and sexual orientation from kindergarten through high school. He went to war with the College Board and successfully got it to water down its A.P. African American Studies curriculum, stripping entire course sections on Black Lives Matter, queer Black writers, and critical race theory. He defended new Education Department guidelines that require middle school students be taught that “slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.” On the university level, he has banned diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, banned degrees in gender and studies and critical race theory, and limited what teachers can actually teach about race and gender.

Public schools in the state have followed suit. Florida school districts have banned books such as The Kite Runner, the Court of Thorns and Roses series, Little Rock Nine, and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. Individual schools in Florida have also banned the Ruby Bridges movie, which shares the story of the first Black student to integrate her elementary school in New Orleans, and Amanda Gorman’s The Hill We Climb, the poem read at Joe Biden’s inauguration. Some of these bans have been instigated by a single parental complaint.

Eric Swalwell Slams Jim Jordan With Killer Troll During Garland Hearing

Republicans were trying to make a point about Hunter Biden, before they were reminded of the House Judiciary chair’s own contempt of Congress.

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Representative Jim Jordan

Representative Eric Swalwell called out Jim Jordan on Wednesday for continuing to evade a subpoena to testify before the House January 6 investigative committee.

The House Judiciary Committee, which Jordan chairs, held a hearing on the supposed weaponization of the federal government. At one point, Representative Thomas Massie accused Attorney General Merrick Garland of being in contempt of Congress for declining to comment on ongoing investigations into Hunter Biden.

Swalwell was quick to hit back. “That is quite rich, because the guy who’s leaving the hearing room right now, Mr. Jordan, is about 500 days into evading his subpoena,” Swalwell said, displaying a countdown clock on a tablet as he spoke. Jordan had gotten up and was walking out of the room.

“If we’re going to talk about contempt of Congress, let’s get real,” Swalwell continued. “Are you serious that Jim Jordan, a witness to one of the greatest crimes ever committed in America, a crime where more prosecutions have occurred than any crime committed in America, refuses to help his country, and we’re going to get lectured about subpoena compliance and contempt of Congress?”

The January 6 investigative committee subpoenaed Jordan in December 2021 to discuss messages he sent to Donald Trump ahead of the insurrection. Jordan had also sent messages to Trump’s legal team and other people involved in planning the January 6 rally or objecting to the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory.

Despite insisting in November that year he had “nothing to hide,” Jordan refused to cooperate with the subpoena. At the time, he accused the committee of engaging in “partisan witch hunts.” Then, in May 2022, Jordan contested whether the subpoena was valid or even constitutional.

Jordan has remained a solid Trump ally. Since taking the helm of the Judiciary Committee, he has repeatedly accused the Biden administration of weaponizing different federal agencies to target Trump specifically.

Ex-Trump Aide Says Rudy Giuliani Sexually Assaulted Her on January 6

Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson says Giuliani was a huge creep even on January 6.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

Nothing will stop Rudy Giuliani from being a giant creep, not even preparing to lead an insurrection, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson has alleged.

Hutchinson worked as the top assistant to Donald Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, and she eventually became a star witness for the House January 6 investigative committee. In her new book, Enough, Hutchinson accuses Giuliani of groping her just before Trump’s speech on January 6, The Guardian reported Wednesday.

In an excerpt from the book, Hutchinson describes waiting in a marquee tent at the Ellipse, just before Trump addressed the crowd that would eventually turn into a raging mob. She says Giuliani approached her “like a wolf closing in on its prey.”

Rudy wraps one arm around my body, closing the space that was separating us. I feel his stack of documents press into the small of my back. I lower my eyes and watch his free hand reach for the hem of my blazer,” Hutchinson writes.

“‘By the way,’ he says, fingering the fabric, ‘I’m loving this leather jacket on you.’ His hand slips under my blazer, then my skirt.”

“I feel his frozen fingers trail up my thigh,” she continued. “He tilts his chin up. The whites of his eyes look jaundiced.”

When Hutchinson looked to John Eastman, another Trump lawyer, for help, he only “[flashed] a leering grin.”

Giuliani denied Hutchinson’s account and accused her of sharing it now “as part of the marketing campaign for her upcoming book release.”

This is a disgusting lie against Mayor Rudy Giuliani—a man whose distinguished career in public service includes taking down the Mafia, cleaning up New York City and comforting the nation following September 11th,” Giuliani’s political adviser said in a statement, weirdly linking Giuliani’s behavior to his response to the 9/11 attack.

It would seem that Giuliani is taking a page from the book of his former boss Donald Trump, who accused writer E. Jean Carroll of saying he raped her just to promote her memoir. A judge ruled earlier this month that Trump is liable for defamation over those comments and owes Carroll monetary damages.

Giuliani’s alleged disgusting behavior should come as no surprise. His former associate sued him in May for even more repulsive behavior.

Noelle Dunphy accused Giuliani of promising to pay her a $1 million annual salary but instead raping and sexually abusing her over the course of two years. Her lawsuit alleges that Giuliani was constantly drunk, talked openly about trying to overturn the 2020 election, and even plotted to sell pardons with Donald Trump at the low, low price of $2 million each.

In August, Dunphy’s lawyer filed transcripts of recordings she made in 2019 that show just how disgusting Giuliani was. In multiple different conversations, Giuliani made aggressively lewd and possessive comments to Dunphy, at one point saying, “I want to own you, officially.”

He said he gets “hard” when he thinks about her and how smart she is, even though normally, “I’d never think about a girl being smart. If you told me a girl was smart, I would often think she’s not attractive.”

This article has been updated.

Sidney Powell Has World’s Pettiest Complaint After Georgia Racketeering Charges

The former Trump lawyer hid her complaint in a footnote in court filings.

Lin Wood
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Sidney Powell, former Trump lawyer

Donald Trump’s former lawyer Sidney Powell thinks that one of the greatest injustices to befall her for trying to overthrow the 2020 election is losing her TSA status, court documents revealed.

Powell was indicted in Georgia alongside Trump and 17 other co-defendants for trying to overturn the state’s presidential election results. Powell was charged with racketeering, conspiracy to commit election fraud, conspiracy to commit computer theft, trespass and invasion of privacy, and conspiracy to defraud the state.

Her legal team filed a motion on Friday to dismiss the racketeering charges, and in the motion was buried this gem of a footnote: “Ms. Powell’s longstanding trusted traveler status has been revoked by TSA for ‘her criminal history’—in addition to other problems created by this wrongful indictment.”

It’s not clear from the filing if Powell is complaining about losing her status with PreCheck, Global Entry, or Clear—but it is funny that her priority upon facing racketeering charges is her experience with the TSA.

Powell has previously tried to argue that she should not be held accountable for trying to overthrow the Georgia election. Earlier this month, her lawyers requested that her case be severed from Trump’s, instead of being tried alongside him as Willis wants.

Powell’s lawyers argued that she is not connected to the other defendants because she never officially represented Trump in Georgia. They insisted that she could only get a fair trial if she were tried alone. Judge Scott McAfee was unconvinced and rejected Powell’s request.

“Piss Baby” Charlie Kirk Heckled in University Visit

The right-wing activist is not pleased at being drowned out by protesters on campus.

Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Politicon

Right-wing activist Charlie Kirk was met with a less than warm welcome when he arrived to speak at Northern Arizona University on Tuesday.

In a video shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, a buzzing crowd of protesters crowded around Kirk, flipping him off and yelling in his face. Kirk—who founded Turning Point USA and is known for peddling misogynist and transphobic talking points—had been invited to open for a talk at the University called “Prove Me Wrong: The Government is Lying To You.”

The protesters held signs with slogans like “Trans rights = human rights” and “Charlie Kirk Is a Piss Baby Change My Mind.”

When Kirk sat at a stall on campus, supposedly to debate students in the style of right-wing commentator Steven Crowder’s “Change My Mind” booth, protesters gathered around chanting “Fuck you, fascist!”

Kirk took to X to complain that he had been “SWARMED by angry mob of leftists, trans activists,” before quickly insisting that there were actually more supporters there than there were protesters.

“Angry indoctrinated college women will ruin America if we let them,” Kirk wrote in another post on X, captioning a photo of him outnumbered by a crowd of the Northern Arizona University protesters.

If Kirk doesn’t like college women, maybe he should do them a favor and stay off of college campuses.

Georgia Has a New Witness Against Trump—and It’s a Big One

The former pro-Trump lawyer will be working with Georgia in the case against Donald Trump.

Mondaire Jones
Apu Gomes/Getty Images

One of Donald Trump’s former lawyers on Wednesday denied flipping against him in the Georgia indictment, despite new court documents revealing otherwise.

Lin Wood was one of the first to promote the falsehood that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen. He was part of Trump’s legal team that unsuccessfully tried to overthrow the election. The Georgia grand jury had recommended Wood be charged for trying to overturn the state’s election results, but Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis declined to do so.

Turns out that was because Wood agreed to cooperate with Willis’s team. “L. Lin Wood is a witness for the State in the present case,” Willis explained in a court filing.

Wood, however, denied that he had turned on the former president. “There’s zero truth to that,” he told The Hill, explaining that he was simply responding to a subpoena.

Wood said he received a subpoena only last week, requesting he testify at the trial next month. “I’m always willing to go in under subpoena. I’ll go testify and answer their questions, honestly, like I did in the grand jury,” he said.

If Wood testifies in the trial, he will be at least the second Trump ally to cooperate with prosecutors. Earlier this month, Mar-a-Lago information technology worker Yuscil Taveras agreed to testify against Trump in the classified documents case.

Taveras had initially denied to special counsel Jack Smith’s team that there had been any conversations at Mar-a-Lago about security footage that prosecutors subpoenaed in 2022 as part of their investigation. But once he was assigned a new public defender in July, Taveras immediately recanted his testimony and gave a statement implicating Trump and his two co-defendants, Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira, in efforts to delete the footage.

Taveras then agreed to testify against Trump, Nauta, and De Oliveira in exchange for avoiding prosecution.

Wood appears to have struck a similar deal—and no wonder. Since failing to overthrow the 2020 election, he has been embroiled in legal drama. Former colleagues sued him for breach of contract, a former QAnon ally sued him for defamation, and Wood was sanctioned in Michigan for misconduct over the election fraud lawsuits.

The Georgia Bar held a trial for Wood in May to determine whether to disbar him. In July, Wood decided to give up his law license rather than face disciplinary proceedings that would have likely resulted in his disbarment.

This article has been updated.

Someone Hacked Trump Jr.’s Twitter Account—and the Tweets Are So Good

What a great way to start the morning.

Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Donald Trump Jr.’s account on X, formerly known as Twitter, was hacked early Wednesday, and the tweets that were posted are hilariously cringe.

Trump Jr. appears to have regained control of his account, because the fake tweets have been deleted. But not before the internet was able to grab screenshots.

Other tweets the hacker shared included, “This just in: North Korea is about to get smoked.” Another tweet claimed that Trump Jr. had seen “some interesting messages with Jeffrey Epstein.”

In yet another post, the hacker took a shot at X owner Elon Musk, writing, “my dad owns u @elonmusk bum.”

While the tweets are fake, they do read a bit like what one might imagine Trump Jr.’s inner monologue is. So maybe the hacker was onto something.

Motion to Dump McCarthy Found in Most Appropriate Room Possible

Why do Republicans keep storing important documents in the strangest places?

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

It looks like there’s a leak in the House of Representatives bathroom.

Reporter Matt Laslo on Tuesday found a document for a motion to vacate the speaker of the House. The resolution appears to come from Representative Matt Gaetz’s office and was found on a baby changing table. Gaetz has not confirmed whether the document is legitimate. The New Republic contacted his office for comment but had not heard back at time of publication.

The fact that the paper was found in the bathroom is oddly reminiscent of Donald Trump, who stored classified documents in the bathroom at his Mar-a-Lago resort. Gaetz is a vocal Trump ally.

If the resolution is legitimate, then it could signal the start of a messy and protracted fight in the House—and the Republican Party—that could end in a government shutdown.

The House returned from recess last week, and one of the first orders of business is passing an appropriations bill. Some of the farthest-right representatives, including Gaetz, are threatening to block the bill and risk shutting down the government unless their demands to drastically cut spending are met.

Gaetz has repeatedly threatened to introduce a motion to vacate, even begging Democrats to side with him. McCarthy reportedly finally snapped at Gaetz last week, telling him in a closed-door party meeting to put up or shut up.

“If you think you scare me because you want to file a motion to vacate, move the fucking motion,” McCarthy said, according to Politico reporter Olivia Beavers. 

The motion would strip McCarthy of the speaker’s role and force a vote for his replacement. Considering it took 15 rounds of voting before McCarthy won the gavel in January, choosing his replacement would be no easy feat.

Gaetz was one of the last holdouts during the interminable rounds of votes for House speaker in January. Gaetz finally switched his vote to “present,” handing the gavel to McCarthy, but he has remained staunchly anti-McCarthy ever since.