Skip Navigation
Breaking News
Breaking News
from Washington and beyond

It’s a Drag: Nikki Haley Stokes Ron DeSantis Secret High Heels Rumors

Shoe-gate continues.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Nikki Haley had some decent advice for her fellow presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis: If you’re going to wear high heels, then just walk tall.

DeSantis has for weeks sparked theories that he’s wearing lifts inside his cowboy boots to make himself appear taller. Internet sleuths point to the weird way his boots fit and his apparent struggle to walk in them. But the Florida governor’s campaign team has denied the accusations.

During a Wednesday night interview on The Daily Show, guest host Charlamagne tha God asked Haley if she planned on wearing heels to the upcoming Republican primary debate so she can appear taller than DeSantis.

“I don’t know. We’ll have to figure that out,” Haley quipped back. “I can tell you I’ve always talked about my high heels. I’ve never hid that from anybody. I’ve always said, ‘Don’t wear ’em if you can’t run in ’em,’ so we’ll see if he can run in ’em.”

The former U.N. ambassador has never shied away from making jokes about her high heels, even if they are a little cringe. In 2012, she said the news media is “a little frightened of women” because she wears heels “for ammunition.”

In her campaign announcement, she said, “I don’t put up with bullies, and when you kick back, it hurts them more if you’re wearing heels.”

But her advice for DeSantis is pretty good: If the shoe fits, wear it—and wear it proudly. And then focus on actual issues.

The First U.S. Senator Has Officially Called for a Cease-Fire in Gaza

The second-highest-ranking Democrat in the Senate made a bold statement.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Senator Dick Durbin is officially the first U.S. senator to call for a cease-fire in Gaza—26 days into a brutal airstrike campaign by the Israeli military which, as of Thursday, has killed over 9,000 Palestinians in Gaza, according to Palestinian health officials.

During an interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow on Thursday morning, the second-highest-ranking Democrat in the Senate was asked if he believed there should be a cease-fire.

“Is a cease-fire needed now?” Harlow asked.

“I think it is,” Durbin said. “At least, under the context of both sides agreeing.”

The Illinois senator described what would need to be a “good faith” effort by both Hamas and Israel, leading to the immediate release of Israeli hostages by Hamas and “conversation between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

“Let’s face it, this has gone on for decades. Whatever the rationale for the beginning, it has now reached an intolerable level,” Durbin said.

Durbin said he has not yet communicated his beliefs to President Biden, whose administration is actively avoiding calls for a cease-fire. Durbin joins the ranks of 23 members of Congress who have expressed the need for a cease-fire.

Republicans Have Absolutely Had It With Tommy Tuberville: “Xi Jinping Is Loving This”

Republican senators are publicly attacking their own colleague for refusing to let up on his military holds.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Senate Republicans are starting to turn on Tommy Tuberville over his blockade of military promotions.

The Senate brought 61 individual nominees to the floor for a vote Wednesday night. Tuberville objected to all of them, tanking each officer’s promotion. He has repeatedly insisted that his blockade, a protest of the Department of Defense’s abortion policy, does not harm military readiness.

But his Republican colleagues were finally sick of hearing it. “No offense, but that’s just ridiculous,” Senator Dan Sullivan said. “He knows it. We all know it.”

Sullivan revealed that the military expects Tuberville’s blockade to affect 89 percent of all general officer positions, across all branches.

“Xi Jinping is loving this. So is Putin,” Sullivan said, referring to the presidents of China and Russia. “How dumb can we be, man?”

Joni Ernst slammed Tuberville for previously implying he would consider voting on individual nominees and then blocking them anyway. “I do not respect men who do not honor their word,” she said.

Lindsey Graham called Tuberville out for taking his frustrations out on service members who were not involved in creating the Pentagon’s abortion policy. “Everybody in this body could find an issue with any administration they don’t agree with,” he said.

“There’s a reason this has not been done this way for a couple hundred years,” Graham continued. “No matter whether you believe it or not, Senator Tuberville, this is doing great damage to our military. I don’t say that lightly. I’ve been trying to work with you for nine months.”

Typically, the Senate majority leader brings a list of proposed military promotions to the floor. The chamber votes on all the candidates at once, and unanimous consent is needed to approve the promotions.

Tuberville has blocked almost 400 military promotions since March in protest over the Defense Department’s policy of reimbursing travel costs for service members who have to go out of state for an abortion. Democrats have tried to bring individual candidates to the floor for a vote, but there are too many stalled promotions for this to be efficient.

The Pentagon has warned repeatedly that Tuberville’s blockade harms military readiness, with the secretary of the Navy even accusing Tuberville of “aiding and abetting” Communist regimes by holding up promotions.

Tuberville is holding firm, though. He said he won’t let up, even after the Marine Corps commandant was hospitalized over the weekend due to a heart attack, leaving the military branch scrambling to fill the gaps in leadership caused by Tuberville’s blockade.

It Seems Judge Aileen Cannon Is About to Hand Trump a Massive Win

The Trump-appointed judge is considering a request from the former president in his classified documents trial.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Trump-appointed federal judge overseeing the former president’s classified documents trial seems poised to give Trump exactly what he’s been asking for.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon indicated on Thursday that she may delay the proceedings past their prearranged May 20, 2024, start date. Under consideration in Cannon’s decision are the numerous other trials that the former president faces, along with 1.3 million pages of evidence that his legal team needs to review, according to the Associated Press.

Cannon said she “has a hard time seeing how realistically this (current schedule) would work,” AP reported.

Jay Bratt and other prosecutors on special counsel Jack Smith’s team argued against the concession to Trump, citing his legal team’s long-standing efforts to delay the trial beyond the November 2024 presidential election when Trump hopes to take back the White House.

“I am not quite seeing a level of understanding on your part to these realities,” Cannon pushed back.

Cannon is expected to make her final decision on the trial’s start date in the coming days.

Trump faces 40 felonies in the case, including 32 counts of willful retention of documents in violation of the Espionage Act, six counts for obstruction, and two counts for making false statements.

Those first 32 counts relate to 32 documents that Trump retained at his Mar-a-Lago estate, the vast majority of which were marked classified and pertained to topics of foreign military capabilities and nuclear weapons, according to the indictment.

His valet, Walt Nauta, and a Mar-a-Lago property manager, Carlos de Oliveira, are also charged in the case for allegedly moving boxes housing the sensitive documents in and out of a storage room in an effort to conceal them from FBI investigators. Trump, Nauta, and de Oliveira have all pleaded not guilty.

Cannon has handed Trump several wins in the past, including assigning his legal team a “special master” to review all the material recovered during the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago raid. The Eleventh Circuit Court ultimately threw out Cannon’s decision, ruling that Trump and Cannon had no legal basis for either requesting or granting the master.

Another Trump case brought forward by Smith’s team may also have delays on the horizon. In October, Trump’s legal team claimed presidential immunity in the D.C. case charging him with plotting to overturn the 2020 presidential election results, questioning whether Trump’s actions fell outside of his White House responsibilities.

Guess Who MAGA Mike Johnson Once Blamed for the Fall of Rome

Before he entered office, the future House speaker liked to go on serious anti-LGBTQ rants, new tapes reveal.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
House Speaker Mike Johnson

Prior to launching his political career, Speaker Mike Johnson worked hand in hand with a group promoting “conversion therapy” for gay teens, actively promoting the criminalization of gay sex, and even blaming sexual orientation for the downfall of the Roman Empire.

According to a CNN KFile review that analyzed dozens of the Louisiana Republican’s media appearances between 2006 and 2010, before he entered political office, Johnson spent years providing legal advice to Exodus International, an Orlando-based Christian conversion therapy organization whose practices resulted in quantifiable harm.

He also partnered with the group to run an annual anti-gay event called the “Day of Truth,” a snub of the national youth movement protest “Day of Silence,” which recognizes the silent suffering of LGBTQ teens who are bullied.

According to some experts, Johnson didn’t just pander to anti-gay advocates, “he was the anti-gay and ex-gay advocate,” Wayne Besen, the executive director of Truth Wins Out, told CNN.

“I mean, our race, the size of our feet, the color of our eyes, these are things we’re born with and we cannot change,” Johnson said during a radio promotion of the “Day of Truth” in 2008. “Homosexual behavior is something you do, it’s not something that you are.”

Johnson also claimed that sexual orientation contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire, although Hadrian, one of Rome’s so-called “Five Good Emperors,” publicly identified as gay.

“Some credit the fall of Rome to not only the deprivation of the society and the loss of morals, but also to the rampant homosexual behavior that was condoned by the society,” Johnson said in 2008.

The group, Exodus International, shut down in 2013 after nearly four decades in business with a public apology for promoting the debunked practice, which aimed to make gay and lesbian teenagers straight.

In an email bannered “I’m Sorry,” Exodus’s president, Alan Chambers, wrote that he was apologetic for the “shame and guilt” participants endured.

“I’m sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced,” Chambers wrote. “I’m sorry that so many have interpreted this religious rejection from Christians as God’s rejection. I’m profoundly sorry that many have walked away from their faith, and that some have chosen to end their lives.”

Doh! Looks Like Now We Ought to Be Rooting for RFK Jr.

A new poll shows Robert F. Kennedy Jr. running actually helps Joe Biden’s chances in 2024.

Mario Tama/Getty Images
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

It turns out that Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s independent presidential campaign might be a good thing after all. A new poll shows his running actually increases the likelihood of a Joe Biden victory.

Polling from Quinnipiac University shows that the 2024 election will be a tight one, no matter what. Registered voters are almost evenly split between Biden and Donald Trump, the respective Democratic and Republican front-runners.

Quinnipiac polled 1,610 voters during the last week of October and found that in a general election between just Biden and Trump, 47 percent of voters would back Biden while 46 percent would vote for Trump. The university said that this number has held steady since August.

But when the general field is expanded to include Kennedy in a three-way race, Biden’s lead widens. The incumbent president would win 39 percent of voters, while Trump would take a close but clear second with 36 percent support. Kennedy would get only 22 percent of voters.

Quinnipiac’s findings mirror that of another major national poll, which came out in mid-October. A survey by NPR, PBS NewsHour, and Maris found that Kennedy’s run would actually give Biden a seven-percentage-point advantage over Trump.

Kennedy holds significant sway among independent voters, but he also has a huge draw for Republicans. Previously, he had been embraced by the far right for things such as his opposition to vaccines and belief in conspiracy theories.

Kennedy’s embrace of far-right talking points is expected to woo voters away from Trump—and that has angered previously friendly conservative news outlets. Kennedy seemed genuinely shocked when Fox News’s Sean Hannity turned on him during an early October interview.

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. It’s unlikely Kennedy will pull a lot of voters away from Trump, but it’s looking increasingly likely that he could pull just enough to turn the election decisively for Biden.

House Fails to Expel Man Who Scammed His Way to Congress

George Santos lives to see another day.

Scott Olson/Getty Images
New York Representative George Santos

The House failed Wednesday night to expel serial fabulist George Santos from Congress, marking just another bump in a career plagued by scandal.

Representatives voted 179–213 against the resolution to remove Santos (with 19 members voting “present”). Only 24 Republicans joined the majority of Democrats in voting against the freshman congressman, not nearly anywhere close to the two-thirds majority needed to expel him from the House.

The New York representative has caused nothing but controversy since he took office in January. He fabricated the vast majority of his personal and professional background and has been federally indicted for financial fraud and identity theft.

In addition to apparently lying about his employment history, Santos has falsely claimed that his grandparents were Holocaust survivors, his mother died in the 9/11 attacks, and four of his employees were killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting. He also lied about founding an animal rescue charity and producing the disastrous Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.

But none of that was enough for the House to push for his expulsion.

Six freshman Republicans from New York—Representatives Anthony D’Esposito, Nick LaLota, Mike Lawler, Marc Molinaro, Nick Langworthy, and Brandon Williams—co-sponsored the resolution to expel Santos. The six lawmakers were some of the first Republicans to call publicly for Santos to resign once his lies were revealed. All of them except Langworthy won in districts that voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, making them more vulnerable to being voted out in 2024.

Many Republicans have resisted calling on Santos to resign due to their narrow majority in the House. With just a nine-seat GOP majority, Santos is a necessary vote. Several Republicans had called to hold off on the expulsion vote until after the House Ethics Committee finished an investigation into Santos. The committee opened the probe in March and announced Tuesday that it would complete its investigation on or before November 17.

Santos has been federally charged with 23 counts of various types of financial fraud. He pleaded not guilty to the initial 13 in May, and he has denied the additional 10 that were filed Tuesday night in a superseding indictment. Earlier this year, he also agreed to a deal with Brazilian authorities investigating him for financial fraud so that he could avoid prosecution.

Republican Senator Blocks Judicial Nominations Because … Trump?

J.D. Vance is stooping to a new low in sucking up to Donald Trump.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Senator J.D. Vance

GOP Senator J.D. Vance is blocking multiple judicial nominations, in an apparent retaliation for the federal indictments of Donald Trump.

According to Vance, the Justice Department’s pursuit of, well, justice is enough to constitute a “banana republic.”

“I object to this because we are living in a banana republic where the president is using his Department of Justice to go after his chief political rival, the person he will appear on the ballot with, in about a year,” Vance said on Wednesday.

At stake are the nominations of Rebecca Lutzko to the Northern District of Vance’s home state of Ohio and April Perry to the Northern District of Illinois—both of whom Vance thinks are worthy sacrifices for an opportunity to kowtow to Trump.

“If the Department of Justice will use these nominations for law instead of politics, I am happy to end this whole policy,” Vance added.

Trump is currently facing 91 felony charges in four criminal trials. On the federal level, he is facing two indictments for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and allegedly stealing a trove of classified documents from the White House.

It’s not clear what exactly Vance thinks he will achieve in these cases by blocking unrelated nominations for U.S. attorneys.

Republican Representative Directly Compares All Palestinians to Nazis

Representative Brian Mast made a shocking, dehumanizing remark about Palestinians on the House floor.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Republican Representative Brian Mast

Republican Representative Brian Mast horrifyingly compared Palestinian civilians to Nazis on Wednesday and implied that they are all guilty for Hamas’s atrocities.

The House was debating the Hamas International Financing Prevention Act, a measure that would impose sanctions on people who support groups, such as Hamas, that the bill deems “terrorist organizations.” The measure was originally introduced in January, but an amended version with no humanitarian considerations is on the floor now, partially in light of Hamas’s violent attack on Israel in early October. In the nearly one month since, Israel’s retaliation has killed more than 8,000 civilians, mostly women and children.

But Mast refused to accept that fact. “I would encourage the other side to not so lightly throw around the idea of ‘innocent Palestinian civilians,’ as is frequently said,” the Florida Republican said on the House floor.

“I don’t think we would so lightly throw around the term ‘innocent Nazi civilians’ during World War II.”

Mast’s comments, though horrific, should come as no surprise. When the Foreign Affairs Committee began debating the bill two weeks ago, Mast revealed he had amended the measure to strip out a humanitarian provision that would have allowed aid into Gaza. That aid would include food, medicine, and medical devices for civilians.

Mast said his goal was to deliberately slow the flow of aid into Palestine. “I would challenge anybody in here to point to me which Palestinian is Hamas and which one is an innocent civilian,” Mast said, implying that even children were complicit.

“It should absolutely be every effort made to slow down any perceived assistance that is going there.”

What the Hell Is Indicted Bob Menendez Doing at a Classified Briefing?

The New Jersey senator brushed off concerns about his presence at the security briefing.

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

Senator Bob Menendez was spotted at a classified briefing on Ukraine on Wednesday, despite having been indicted on multiple bribery charges and accused of acting as an agent to a foreign government.

When asked to explain his presence at the meeting, Menendez brushed off the felony charges.

“Bottom line is, I’m a United States senator. I have my security credentials. And an accusation is just that. It’s not proof of anything,” Menendez told CNN’s Manu Raju.

Menendez has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him and has refused calls for his resignation—even going so far as to suggest he may run for reelection in 2024. He was, however, forced to resign as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee under Senate Democrats’ bylaws, which forbids members from serving in leadership roles if they’re charged with felonies.

He was also notably absent from a classified briefing on Israel last month after some of his colleagues expressed national security concerns regarding his presence, reported The Washington Post.

The New Jersey Democrat and his wife stand accused of acting as a foreign agent for Egypt, taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, gold bars, and other flashy gifts in exchange for his “power and influence to protect and enrich” the businessmen and government of Egypt.

It’s the latest in a seeming history of corruption charges for Menendez. In 2017, another corruption case involving the senator and a wealthy eye doctor convicted of Medicare fraud ended in a mistrial after jurors failed to reach a verdict on whether Menendez had traded political favors in exchange for trips on a private jet and lavish vacations.

Altogether, Menendez faces the possibility of up to 45 years in prison on combined conspiracy charges brought against him in September, according to a DOJ indictment, with the possibility of an additional two years, according to a law cited in the October indictment.