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Fox News Suddenly Turns Against RFK Jr. Now That He’s Independent

Sean Hannity is grilling Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on why he’s running as an independent.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

Fox News has turned on Robert Kennedy Jr. now that he is running for president as an independent, a move that could steal votes away from Donald Trump.

Kennedy Jr. announced Monday that he is switching his candidacy to run as an independent. Previously, he had been embraced by the far right for things like his opposition to vaccines and belief in conspiracy theories. But his popularity among Republicans means he could also pull just enough voters to turn the election against GOP front-runner Trump.

Fox host Sean Hannity adopted a noticeably more aggressive approach to Kennedy Jr. during a Tuesday night interview. “By the way, I’m giving you comments that you’ve made in 2016, ’17, ’19. Endorsements, we know the years: Gore, Kerry, Obama, Hillary, Bernie Sanders.… The NRA quote you made about calling them a terror group was 2018,” Hannity said, recounting Kennedy Jr.’s more liberal past.

“These are recent positions you’ve had. I’m not sure why the Democratic Party wouldn’t allow you to compete.”

Kennedy looked visibly stunned while Hannity spoke, and when he finally responded, he struggled to find the words.

“Do you want to talk about my positions, Sean, or do you want to read talking points from the Trump campaign?” he eventually asked.

“Excuse me, these are not talking points. These are called Hannity Points. I do my own research,” Hannity shot back.

Independent candidates historically perform poorly in the general election. They are more often viewed as spoilers who strip just enough votes away from one major candidate to tip the election toward the other. In the case of RFK Jr., his embrace of far-right talking points is expected to woo voters away from Trump.

Current polling indicates Kennedy Jr.’s favorability ratings are far higher among Republicans. It’s unlikely he’ll pull a lot of voters away from Trump, but he could pull just enough to turn the election decisively for Joe Biden. Fox News does not necessarily like Trump, but the network knows it benefits from him being in the headlines.

Guess Who Georgia Wants to Testify Against Trump’s Co-Defendants?

The Fulton County district attorney is calling on two new witnesses to provide testimony against Trump’s former lawyers—and they’re big names.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Georgia prosecutors on Tuesday requested that Infowars host and major conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel testify in an upcoming trial for two of Donald Trump’s ex-lawyers.

Attorneys Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro were charged alongside Trump and 16 other co-defendants with felony racketeering for trying to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results. All of the defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who led the investigation into Trump and his allies, requested that Jones and McDaniel testify specifically about Chesebro’s involvement.

Chesebro was charged with racketeering and conspiracy. He was the original mastermind behind the plan to use slates of fake electors to swing the election for Trump. He also attended the rally on January 6, 2021, that eventually turned into the insurrection. It is unclear if he entered the Capitol, but video footage shows Chesebro following Jones into sections of the restricted area around the building.

The filing for McDaniel asks her to testify about Chesebro’s involvement in the effort to find fake electors, including in other conversations between Trump and John Eastman. Eastman, who is another co-defendant in Georgia, ultimately took over the fake elector scheme from Chesebro.

The filing for Jones says he will testify about Chesebro’s participation in the January 6 rally and riot.

Chesebro and Powell requested in September that their cases be severed from Trump’s in Georgia. Powell’s lawyers tried to argue that she is not connected to the other defendants because she never officially represented Trump in Georgia.

Chesebro argued that he didn’t commit any unlawful actions because he was only sharing legal advice, not actively participating on Trump’s team. Both his and Powell’s lawyers insisted that they could only get fair trials if they were tried alone, instead of alongside the other co-defendants, as Willis plans.

But Judge Scott McAfee found their arguments unconvincing and rejected their request. “Based on what’s been presented today, I am not finding the severance from Mr. Chesebro or Ms. Powell is necessary to achieve a fair determination of the guilt or innocence for either defendant in this case,” he said at the hearing.

Republicans Attack Only Palestinian Member of Congress … Over a Flag

Republicans can’t help themselves from attacking Representative Rashida Tlaib.

Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Take Back the Court Action Fund

House Republicans are furious that Rashida Tlaib has a Palestinian flag outside her office.

Tlaib, the only Palestinian American member of Congress, has had the flag by her door since January. But the flag, and her decision to leave it in place, has sparked backlash in recent days due to the war between Israel and Palestine.

Fighting broke out on Saturday when Hamas launched a surprise airstrike attack on Israel. Israel has since responded in kind, imposing a total siege on the Gaza Strip, cutting off food, water, and electricity. At least 1,800 people have been killed on both sides—and the death toll is expected to keep rising.

It would be one thing if Tlaib were flying the Hamas flag outside her office. But she instead has a flag that represents her ethnicity and the millions of innocent Palestinians caught in the middle of the war.

Apparently, her flag is so offensive that one Republican representative has moved to ban flying foreign flags outside lawmakers’ offices.

“The halls of Congress belong to America. They should be reserved for flags that embody our great nation,” Max Miller tweeted Monday night. “The Palestinian flag should not have a place here.”

“That’s why I sponsored an appropriations amendment to end this silliness.”

Apparently Miller does not care that there are up to 220,000 Americans of Palestinian descent, according to the Arab American Institute, meaning Palestine is part of “our great nation.”

Miller’s amendment would ban any flags or pennants other than the U.S. flag, the flag of a U.S. state or territory, or the flag for prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action. His measure could therefore also affect some of the more outrageous protest signs hung around Congress by members of his own party.

For instance, it would prevent Marjorie Taylor Greene from hanging a sign denying the existence of transgender people. In 2021, Greene hung a massive sign outside her office that said, “There are TWO genders: MALE & FEMALE. ‘Trust The Science.’”

The sign was intended as a dig toward Democratic Representative Marie Newman, who had the office across the hall. Newman had hung a trans pride flag to honor her daughter, who is trans, and to commemorate the Equality Act, which Greene tried to block.

Josh Hawley Offers World’s Most Offensive Idea for How to Help Israel

Why not just take the money from a U.S. ally in the middle of a war?

Evelyn Hockstein/Pool/Getty Images

Republican Senator Josh Hawley is offering the world’s most harebrained pitch on how to help Israel: simply redirect funds from Ukraine to Israel.

Hawley posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, on Monday saying, “Israel is facing an existential threat,” using the tragedy there to further his own political agenda of defunding U.S. aid to Ukraine.

Fighting broke out on Saturday when Hamas launched a deadly surprise attack on Israel, killing over 900 Israelis. The Israeli government has responded by declaring a total siege of Gaza, home to two million Palestinians and what has been described as the world’s largest open-air prison. About 770 Palestinians have already been killed in retribution, and the death toll is expected to keep rising.

On Monday, Senator Mitch McConnell was among several bipartisan lawmakers who pushed for a spending package that would link aid for Israel with support for Ukraine and Taiwan. The hope is to convince Ukraine aid skeptics, like Hawley, to continue supporting the country as support diminishes in the GOP-controlled House. On both sides of the aisle, the deaths of Palestinians and Israelis have already become a political tool.

Meanwhile, some are saying that it’s not clear that Israel requires immediate U.S. funding. Congressional aides have said that Israel already has the resources to wage a weeks-long campaign of violence in Gaza and use its Iron Dome system to defend itself, and can then tap into more than $5 billion made available by Pentagon drawdown authority.

In the GOP Extremist Hamas-Israel Rhetoric Sweepstakes, Marco Rubio Takes Early Lead

The Republican senator is talking about a “complete eradication.”

Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Senator Marco Rubio had a terrifying suggestion for how to resolve the war between Israel and Palestine: eradicating the Gaza Strip.

Fighting broke out on Saturday when Hamas launched a surprise airstrike attack on Israel. Israel has since responded in kind, imposing a total siege on the Gaza Strip, cutting off food, water, and electricity. At least 1,800 people have been killed on both sides—and the death toll is expected to keep rising.

During a Monday night interview on CNN, host Jake Tapper asked Rubio if there was a way to stop Hamas “without causing massive casualties against the innocent people” in Gaza.

“I don’t think there’s any way Israel can be expected to coexist or find some diplomatic off-ramp with these savages,” Rubio replied. “These are people, as you’ve been reporting and others have seen, that deliberately targeted teenage girls, women, and children, and the elderly.… Just horrifying things. And I don’t think we know the full extent of it yet. I mean, there’s more to come in the days and weeks ahead. You can’t coexist. They have to be eradicated.”

While Rubio was referring to Hamas, his unwillingness to differentiate between the militants and innocent Palestinian civilians is terrifying. Two million people live in Gaza, and more than half of them are children. Rather than give a nuanced response, Rubio instead seemed to be OK with wiping out an entire region.

“This is going to be incredibly painful. It’s going to be completely difficult. And it’s going to be horrifying, the price to pay.”

Rubio’s comments echo a statement earlier Monday from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The far-right leader swore to completely “change the Middle East” over Hamas’s attack.

Republicans Are Planning to “Deal With” Matt Gaetz and His Allies

House Republicans are fed up with Matt Gaetz after he forced out Kevin McCarthy.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Republicans are calling for Matt Gaetz to face some form of consequences for kicking Kevin McCarthy out of the speakership and plunging the chamber into chaos.

Gaetz is bearing the brunt of his colleagues’ ire, after he introduced a motion to vacate the speaker last week and then led seven other Republicans to break ranks and vote to oust McCarthy. The House is now scrambling to find a new speaker, a situation made all the more urgent by the war between Israel and Palestine. Without a speaker, the House can’t pass aid packages or approve resolutions condemning the militants’ actions.

“Matt Gaetz is frankly a vile person,” Representative Mike Lawler told CNN’s Manu Raju late Monday. “He’s not somebody who’s willing to work as a team. He stands up there, he grandstands, he lies directly to folks.”

Lawler has been particularly outspoken about how much he dislikes Gaetz. He has previously called Gaetz “disgraceful” and called for him to be expelled from the Republican conference.

Representative Derrick Van Orden told Raju that he won’t support either of the new candidates for speaker “until we deal with the fact that we have people in our conference who could shut this House down on a whim again.”

Representative Don Bacon accused the eight anti-McCarthy voters of having “kicked us in the shins really bad.”

“They don’t support our party, and it’s all about media clicks,” he told CNN.

Representative Tom Cole, who chairs the House Rules Committee, suggested raising the threshold for the motion to vacate. “I think it’s time to take the sharp knives away from the children,” he told Axios.

One of the concessions McCarthy made to become speaker in January was to restore the motion to vacate, which would allow any single member of the House to call for a vote to remove him. Gaetz had repeatedly threatened to use that power against McCarthy, but finally made good on his promise last week.

Gaetz may be headed for some form of consequences for his actions. Some members of the GOP were already weighing whether to expel Gaetz from Congress should the Ethics Committee find him guilty of sexual misconduct, illegal drug use, and other wrongdoings.

Why Are Biden Officials Deleting Tweets Calling for Israeli Restraint?

The State Department has mysteriously deleted its tweets on the conflict, more than once.

Amir Levy/Getty Images

The Biden administration has sparked backlash for posting and then deleting tweets that called for a ceasefire between Israel and Palestine.

Fighting broke out on Saturday when Hamas launched a surprise airstrike attack on Israel, killing about 900 people. Israel has since responded in kind, imposing a total siege on the Gaza Strip, cutting off food, water, and electricity. More than 680 Palestinians have been killed in the counteroffensive—and the death toll on both sides is expected to quickly rise.

On Saturday, before the conflict really escalated, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan to discuss a solution. Blinken then shared a statement on X, formerly Twitter, saying he “encouraged Turkey’s advocacy for a ceasefire and the release of all hostages by Hamas immediately.”

He quickly deleted the post and replaced it with a statement that said only, “Israel has the right to defend itself, rescue any hostages, and protect its citizens.”

Blinken’s fast 180 was the second time the State Department backtracked on a statement calling for Israeli restraint.

Hours after the initial attack, the State Department’s Office of Palestinian Affairs said on X that it “unequivocally condemned the attack of Hamas terrorists and the loss of life that has incurred. We urge all sides to refrain from violence and retaliatory attacks. Terror and violence solve nothing.”

The office soon deleted the post and shared a statement saying only that it “unequivocally” condemned the attack.

Hamas said Monday that it would be open to discussing a truce or “something of that sort” with Israeli officials. The group said it had “achieved its targets.”

The State Department flip-flopping on a ceasefire is confusing at best. The agency’s entire job is to promote diplomacy, so surely its ultimate goal should be an end to all fighting. Instead, it is letting right-wing backlash determine its next moves.

RFK Jr. Finally Admits He’s Not a Democrat

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has announced he is running as an independent, not a Democrat.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Robert Kennedy Jr. announced Monday that he is switching his presidential candidacy to run as an independent, confirming what everyone knew all along.

Kennedy Jr. raised eyebrows when he first announced in April that he would run as a Democrat. Since then, he has spent more time courting conspiracy theorists and far-right extremists than actual Democratic voters.

So when he told a press conference Monday that he is declaring himself “an independent candidate for president of the United States,” it didn’t come as much of a surprise.

Kennedy Jr., a prominent anti-vaxxer, has repeatedly pushed conspiracy theories such as that Covid-19 is the fault of Chinese people and Jewish people. Despite being a renowned environmental lawyer, Kennedy invited a climate change conspiracy theorist to one of his fundraising events.

The vast majority of his campaign donors are Republican, as are growing numbers of his campaign staff. Kennedy Jr. also initially agreed to speak at the far-right Moms for Liberty summit over the summer, although he ultimately backed out.

And the right wing has opened its arms to Kennedy Jr., drooling over his muscles and commiserating with him about supposedly being silenced on social media. One of Kennedy Jr.’s earliest campaign events was an audio space on X (then called Twitter) with platform owner Elon Musk. For nearly two hours, the two men just swapped compliments.

Independent candidates historically perform poorly in the general election. They are more often viewed as spoilers who strip just enough votes away from one major candidate to tip the election toward the other.

In the case of RFK Jr., his embrace of far-right talking points is expected to woo voters away from Donald Trump. Current polling indicates his favorability ratings are far higher among Republicans. It’s unlikely he’ll pull a lot of voters away from Trump, but he could pull just enough to turn the election decisively for Joe Biden.

Russian State Media Fact-Checks Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Ukraine/Hamas Conspiracy

The far-right representative is using the conflict to push her own agenda, and even Russian state media called her out.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s newest conspiracy theory about the ongoing war in Gaza is so outlandish that even Russian state media is fact-checking her.

Greene was expanding on a conspiracy theory floated by Donald Trump Jr., who suggested late Saturday that Palestinian militants were using guns supplied by the Taliban. But Greene took things a step further the next day by saying that the weapons may also have come from Ukraine.

“We need to work with Israel to track serial numbers on any U.S. weapons used by Hamas against Israel,” she tweeted Sunday. “Did they come from Afghanistan? Did they come from Ukraine?”

“Highly likely the answer is both.”

Hours later, Russian state news outlet RT had fact-checked her: “Thus far, no solid evidence has emerged to support these claims,” RT said.

Greene and Trump based their theory on the same video, which supposedly shows a Hamas militant thanking Ukraine for providing U.S.-made weapons. The video has not been verified and therefore cannot be cited as fact.

Fighting broke out on Saturday when Hamas launched a surprise airstrike attack on Israel, killing more than 700 people. Israel has responded in kind, imposing a total siege on the Gaza Strip. More than 550 Palestinians have been killed in the counteroffensive.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sworn to completely “change the Middle East” over Hamas’s attack.

Nikki Haley’s Trump Comment Exposes GOP’s New Authoritarianism Low

Even authoritarianism experts are sounding the alarm.

Nikki Haley puts her hand in Donald Trump’s.

Nikki Haley refused to condemn Donald Trump for saying that people he doesn’t like should be killed, a chilling sign of how the Republican Party is starting to embrace authoritarian violence.

Trump went off the deep end two weeks ago, accusing former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley of treason and implying the now-retired general should be put to death. Republicans have been quick to echo Trump’s call.

In a Sunday night interview, Haley tried to avoid explicitly condemning Trump himself. “I just think it’s irresponsible,” she said blandly, when asked by NBC’s Kristen Welker if Trump should be disqualified from the presidential race over his statement.

“You don’t need to say things like that,” Haley continued, with all the force of reprimanding a mildly misbehaving toddler. “I think that any man or woman that has served our country deserves the highest respect.… They sacrifice a lot, their families sacrifice a lot, and we should honor them every chance we get.”

It should go without saying, but Trump making comments like this is incredibly dangerous. His followers have shown themselves quick to spring to action. Hundreds of January 6 defendants have said they descended on Washington because Trump personally called on them.

The fact that Haley refused to give a straightforward answer (which would have risked angering Trump and alienating his supporters) is a sign of how much influence Trump still holds over the Republican Party. And this is just as dangerous as his statement about Milley.

“Apparently the idea of executing Milley is now the Party Line,” historian and authoritarianism expert Ruth Ben-Ghiat tweeted about Haley’s interview. “We are living through real-time preparation for an authoritarian crackdown.”

“We are in [the] phase of ‘getting the public used to the idea of violence.’ Having authoritative voices like Haley endorse violence is key.”