Skip Navigation
Breaking News
Breaking News
from Washington and beyond

NRCC Releases Ad With Fake A.I. Images of Immigrants Flooding National Parks

This new ad from the National Republican Congressional Committee is unhinged.

Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images
NRCC Chairman Representative Richard Hudson

The National Republican Congressional Committee released a wildly xenophobic ad on Monday, depicting several national parks overrun with immigrants.

The ad used artificial intelligence to create images of different national parks in the style of vintage travel posters. The parks, which include the Grand Canyon and the National Mall, are filled with tents that supposedly belong to undocumented immigrants.

“More crime. Less tourism. No beauty,” the ad says. “Democrats’ National Parks.”

The ad is an attempted jab at Democrats who voted last week to block a bill that would prohibit using public lands for temporary housing for migrants applying for asylum. The bill passed in the House on Thursday by a vote of 224203. Six Democrats joined Republicans to support the measure, which is unlikely to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Many Democrats have warned that the bill is a Republican messaging tactic ahead of 2024, when GOP candidates are expected to make draconian immigration policies a major part of their platforms.

Those critics were proven right Monday with the RNCC ad. The ad combines two popular Republican talking points: opposing immigration and accusing Democrats of being soft on crime. But not only is the ad deeply xenophobic, it’s also false. A study released in July by a team of economists from Stanford University found that immigration has not caused crime rates to increase in 140 years.

Trump Co-Defendant Appears to Threaten Witness in Instagram Live

Trevian Kutti, one of Donald Trump’s co-defendants, couldn’t help herself.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis

Trevian Kutti, one of Donald Trump’s 18 co-defendants in the Georgia election interference trial, seems to have broken her bond with an off-the-cuff Instagram Live last week—and may even be indicted again.

On Tuesday, the publicist implied that she would “fuck up” the life of state witness Ruby Freeman, a former Georgia poll worker whose life was turned upside down by conspiracy theorists, after the trial.

“As a matter of fact there’s a woman sitting somewhere who knows this whole thing is a lie, who knows I never did anything, who knows I never—who knows she begged me for help,” Kutti fumed, according to an Instagram Live video captured by MeidasTouch. “There’s a woman sitting somewhere who knows I’m gonna fuck her whole life up when this is done.”

Kutti, who previously worked for Kanye West and R. Kelly, faces three charges in the election interference case: conspiring to commit solicitation of false statements and writings, violating the state’s racketeering law, and intimidating witnesses to make false claims of election fraud.

She spent the better part of the Instagram Live session asking for donations to help her in her legal battles.

“We got this. So I just wanted to give an update. I think all of you know what I’m dealing with in Georgia. I just want to come and say look, the fight is the fight. I have some things coming up very soon where I’ll be delivering a few blows and I just want to let ya’ll know I’m here for ya’ll,” Kutti shared.

Legal experts predicted that the Live overstepped Kutti’s bond agreement, which plainly bars her not just from intimidating witnesses but also from posting about the case on social media.

“I suspect we’ll see a motion to revoke Trevian Kutti’s consent bond for witness intimidation of Ruby Freeman within the next two hours and would not be shocked if she’s indicted again for an additional racketeering act by the Grand Jury,” posted Georgia State University law professor Anthony Michael Kreis.

“It’ll be the state’s burden to demonstrate to the court the meaning of Trevian Kutti’s statement and that it was a violation of the terms of her bond and the public interest favors remand if the state so moves. I don’t think they’ll have a hard time with that showing here,” he added.

What Was COP28 President Thinking With His “No Science” Fossil Fuel Claim?

The president of the COP28 climate summit, the UAE’s Sultan Al Jaber, made an absurd claim about fossil fuels.

Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto/Getty Images
Sultan Al Jaber

This year’s oil magnate president of COP28, the United Nations–backed climate change summit, is desperately trying to walk back a string of incendiary comments in which he claimed there was “no science” behind the effort to phase out fossil fuels.

“I respect the science in everything I do. I have repeatedly said that it is the science that has guided the principles or strategy as COP28 president. We have always built everything, every step of the way, on the science, on the facts,” Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said during a hastily arranged press conference on Monday.

“I know that there are strong views among some [countries], about the phase-down or phaseout of fossil fuels. Allow me to say this again: This is the first [COP] presidency ever to actively call on parties to come forward with language on all fossil fuels for the negotiated text,” he said.

But Al Jaber’s insistence on the “facts” falls in stark contrast to what he said just a few days ago.

Al Jaber—who happens to be the president and host of the Dubai-based COP28 as well as the CEO of the United Arab Emirates’ state oil company, Adnoc—upset the international consortium of climate scientists after he challenged former Irish President Mary Robinson during a She Changes Climate event on November 21.

“There is no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says that the phaseout of fossil fuel is what’s going to achieve 1.5C,” Al Jaber said at the time.

“Please help me, show me the roadmap for a phaseout of fossil fuel that will allow for sustainable socioeconomic development, unless you want to take the world back into caves,” he added after Robinson cited reports that Adnoc was planning to invest in more fossil fuel initiatives.

U.N. Secretary General António Guterres railed against those claims on Friday, arguing that “the science is clear.”

“The 1.5C limit is only possible if we ultimately stop burning all fossil fuels. Not reduce, not abate. Phase out, with a clear timeframe,” he said.

Other climate scientists joined the chorus, affirming that Al Jaber’s terminology was “incredibly concerning” and “verging on climate denial,” reported The Guardian.

More than 100 countries signed a joint statement last month calling for the phaseout of the limited energy source.

Last week, the summit released the most damning climate report to date, which noted that 2023 was both the hottest year on record and the coolest for years to come.

Trump Hits Back at Liz Cheney by… Admitting He Eats Too Much?

Donald Trump is sharing weird eating confessions in order to reject reports about his precarious mental state after January 6.

Jim Vondruska/Getty Images

Donald Trump tried Monday to set the record straight with former Representative Liz Cheney, insisting that he wasn’t depressed after his 2020 election loss. He was just hangry.

In Cheney’s book Oath and Honor, which comes out Tuesday, she says that her former colleague Kevin McCarthy told her he’d visited Trump at Mar-a-Lago because Trump was so “depressed” after January 6 that he wasn’t eating. Trump hit back Monday.

“Crazy Liz Cheney, who suffers from Trump Derangement Syndrome at a level rarely seen before, writes in her boring new book that Kevin McCarthy said he came to Mar-a-Lago after the RIGGED election because, ‘the former president was depressed and not eating.’ That statement is not true,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “I was not depressed, I WAS ANGRY, and it was not that I was not eating, it was that I was eating too much.”

Screenshot via Truth Social

Trump’s Truth Social rant refers to a scene in Cheney’s book where she has a conversation with McCarthy, who said he had just visited Trump in Florida.

“Mar-a-Lago? What the hell, Kevin?” Cheney asked.

“They’re really worried,” McCarthy reportedly replied. “Trump’s not eating, so they asked me to come see him.”

“What? You went to Mar-a-Lago because Trump’s not eating?” Cheney said.

“Yeah, he’s really depressed,” McCarthy answered.

Cheney was one of just a few Republicans to reject Trump’s false claim that the 2020 election had been rigged against him. The party turned on her as a result, and she ended up losing her 2022 reelection campaign during the primaries.

Before she left office, Cheney worked as vice chair of the House January 6 investigative committee. Since leaving Capitol Hill, Cheney has remained vocal in her opposition to Trump. Her upcoming book describes him as “the most dangerous man to ever inhabit the Oval Office.” The book also slams her former colleagues for their “cowardice” and willingness to “violate their oath to the Constitution” out of loyalty to Trump.

That Was Awkward: Fox News Forced to Fact-Check Trump’s Lies on Air

Even Fox News couldn’t air Donald Trump’s election lies in full.

Michael Gonzalez/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s former sycophants at Fox News appeared somewhat reformed on Saturday, interrupting the GOP presidential candidate’s unhinged campaign speech to fact-check his election lies.

During a couple of back-to-back campaign stops in Iowa, Trump reiterated claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and even went so far as to claim he wanted to “redo the election” and encourage his followers in Detroit, Philadelphia, and Atlanta to “watch those votes when they come in” in 2024.

Fox News took note.

“Well, the former president finally got around to some campaign promises amid lots of cheering, as you heard,” said Fox host Arthel Neville. “Many untruths; the 2020 election was not rigged, it was not stolen.”

The live react could be part of a turning tide for Fox, which earlier this year settled a historic lawsuit for failing to dispute similar election lies, paying a whopping $787.5 million to Dominion Voting Systems. The network is still in the throes of another, $2.7 billion lawsuit by Smartmatic, another voting machine company allegedly defamed by Fox’s conduct.

Still, it’s not the first time Trump and Neville have clashed—in 2019, the former president tweeted that Neville and fellow hosts Leland Vittert and Shepard Smith should quit Fox in favor of CNN.

That wasn’t the only headline Trump was after on Saturday. In the same tour, Trump claimed that he invented the term “caravan” and unironically claimed that he was God-chosen in the 2020 election.

“I think if you had a real election and Jesus came down and God came down and said, ‘I’m gonna be the scorekeeper here,’ I think we’d win [in California], I think we’d win in Illinois, and I think we’d win in New York,” Trump said.

Of Course They Do: Texas Republicans Say Associating With Nazi Sympathizers Is Fine

Texas Republicans have rejected a new resolution to ban associating with Nazi sympathizers.

Texas Capitol building
Jordan Vonderhaar/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Leaders of the Texas Republican Party rejected a resolution to ban party members from associating with Nazi sympathizers and Holocaust deniers, just two months after a prominent state conservative activist was seen meeting with white supremacist Nick Fuentes.

The Texas GOP executive committee voted 32–29 on Saturday to remove a clause that would have banned meeting with neo-Nazis from a pro-Israel resolution. About half of the board also tried to prevent a record of the vote being kept, which floored some members, The Texas Tribune reported.

The rejected clause stated, “BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Republican Party of Texas have no association whatsoever with any individual or organization that is known to espouse anti-Semitism, pro-Nazi sympathies, or Holocaust denial.”

Some committee members felt the language was too vague, with one member, Dan Tully, insisting such a ban could “put you on a slippery slope.”

But members who supported the ban were livid with their colleagues, pointing out that many regularly accuse political opponents of “antisemitism.” “I just don’t understand how people who routinely refer to others as leftists, liberals, communists, socialists, and RINOs don’t have the discernment to define what a Nazi is,” committee member Morgan Cisneros Graham told the Tribune.

The vote comes two months after neo-Nazi and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes, who has called for a “holy war” against Jews, was seen meeting for seven hours at the offices of Pale Horse Strategies, a consulting firm for far-right candidates.

Pale Horse is owned by Jonathan Stickland, who founded the PAC Defend Texas Liberty, which has donated to multiple Texas politicians on the right, including the lieutenant governor and attorney general.

Defend Texas Liberty quietly ousted Stickland as its president following the meeting with Fuentes. But multiple members of the PAC’s leadership team have made viciously antisemitic posts on social media, praised Fuentes, and donated to an anti-immigration organization connected to Fuentes.

Texas GOP Chairman Matt Rinaldi was seen entering the Pale Horse office building while Fuentes was there. He denied meeting with Fuentes.

On Saturday, Rinaldi abstained from the vote, but he argued that antisemitism is not a serious problem among Republicans. “I don’t see any antisemitic, pro-Nazi, or Holocaust denial movement on the right that has any significant traction whatsoever,” he said.

Rinaldi couldn’t be more wrong. Fuentes has met with Donald Trump, who is currently the front-runner in the Republican presidential primary by a massive margin. That meeting was also attended by Kanye West, who has said he identifies with Hitler.

The House Judiciary Committee Republicans had a tweet up for months expressing support for Trump, West, and X (formerly Twitter) owner Elon Musk. All three men have made openly antisemitic statements. The committee only deleted the tweet after West made his pro-Hitler comments.

So it’s safe to say that antisemitism has a pretty strong foothold on the right.

Mark Cuban Grants Sweet Relief to a Grateful Nation

You can all breathe easier now that the celebrity tycoon has clarified what is in store for his political future.

Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban

Happy weekend to everyone! Billionaire Mark Cuban has spared the nation from another massive headache, announcing that he has “no plans” to run for president. Things looked touch and go all week after the presidential rumor mill started spinning in earnest after Cuban dropped some bombshells into the news cycle, first by announcing he would be leaving the start-up investment reality television show Shark Tank, and then by disclosing his plans to sell one of his biggest assets, the Dallas Mavericks, to casino billionaire Miriam Adelson.

This week marked the second time Cuban has fomented speculation about a potential presidential run—and the second time he’s let the country off the hook. In July, the investor told NBC News that “my family would disown me” if he considered running as a third-party candidate.

“I just want to have a couple summers with my teens before they go off on their own,” Cuban told The Hollywood Reporter when asked about his decision to leave the ABC hit. “Nothing to do with the show. I love it. I love being on it. I love what [it] represents and how it motivates entrepreneurs around the world.”

On Friday morning, Cuban squelched the speculation again, telling Axios’s Dan Primack that he “never plans to run for any elective office.”

It was easy to imagine that Cuban might throw his hat into the already crowded race between President Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Cornel West, Green Party front-runner Jill Stein, a possible No Labels candidate, and whoever emails us after this is published, angry that we left them off this list—even with less than a year on the clock until the 2024 election.

Cuban had hinted at making presidential bids in the previous two elections, though in terms of ratings he’s always fared better in venues other than presidential politics—compared to 2016 Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and the 2020 heated matchup between Biden and Trump, Cuban never marshaled the sort of polling numbers worth taking seriously—not that poor showings in the polls consistently dissuade everybody.

Still, the billionaire hasn’t avoided politics. At an Axios event in 2022, Cuban criticized America’s two-party system, arguing that it encourages candidates to bend to the most extreme voices in their parties. In 2015, Cuban said that he would identify as a Republican if he didn’t disagree with their stances on social issues, according to USA Today.

The Royal Family Is Going to Legal War With … Someone?

How the Dutch translation of a tell-all book touched off a very English scandal.

Samir Hussein/Getty Images

Buckingham Palace may take legal action after the translation of a book about the royal family accidentally disclosed that King Charles and Princess Kate discussed the skin color of Meghan and Harry’s unborn son. This is, at the very least, the current state of play that’s resulted from a comedy of errors involving the Dutch translation of a tell-all book and the United Kingdom’s unofficial bad penny, Piers Morgan.

Here’s the backstory: During an explosive 2021 interview with Oprah, Meghan and Harry alleged that at least one royal relative had spoken to them about how dark-skinned their son might be, the implication being that it would be something verging on scandalous. Both Meghan and Harry declined to say who had made those comments.

Longtime British royal reporter Omid Scobie also knew about those conversations. In his book Endgame: Inside the Royal Family and the Monarchy’s Fight for Survival, which was published in August, Scobie made note of this matter amid a larger discussion of the royal family’s approach to race. But he did not specify in his book which royals had mentioned the skin tone of Meghan and Harry’s child.

However, in the Dutch translation of the book, those two people were identified—somehow or another—as Charles and Kate. Copies of the book that included this disclosure were quickly pulled from the market, but not before British television host Piers Morgan had shared the information on air.

“I’m going to tell you the names of the two senior royals who are named in that Dutch version of the book because, frankly, if Dutch people wandering into a bookshop can pick it up and see these names, then you, British people, here—who actually pay for the British royal family—you’re entitled to know too,” Morgan said Wednesday night.

Scobie says he does not know how the Dutch version ended up with the names in it. When asked by the BBC about reports that the palace was considering legal proceedings, a spokesperson said Friday, “We’re exploring all options.” They did not specify against whom they would take legal action.

Every aspect of this story is a perfect nightmare for the British royal family. It truly is the sum of all fears: It involves the public airing of dirty laundry, Piers Morgan, and coming second in something to the Dutch.

It is ironic that Charles is one of the people involved in that discussion, considering his coronation was supposed to mark a modernization of the royal family. But it is also not all that surprising that he or any of the royals had this conversation.

This is, after all, a family that exists purely because of a race- and class-based institution—an institution that colonized swathes of the nonwhite world. A family where one member casually wore blackamoor jewelry, which glorifies slavery. A family that refused to defend its one member of color when she was subjected to an onslaught of vicious and often racist tabloid coverage. A family that ignored that same woman’s distress until she became suicidal.

For more, there are six seasons of The Crown currently streaming on Netflix.

The Reason These Democrats Voted to Save George Santos

Four members of the House were worried about the precedent set by his removal—and the possibility it would be used against Black lawmakers.

Brendan Hoffman/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Representative Al Green of Texas

Former Representative George Santos was expelled from the House on Friday, in an overwhelming bipartisan vote. Republicans were divided on whether to expel Santos from the House, with 105 voting in favor of his removal and 112 voting against. Democrats were almost entirely united in voting for his expulsion, with four exceptions: Representatives Bobby Scott and Nikema Williams voted against his ouster, while Representatives Al Green and Jonathan Jackson voted “present.”

All four Democrats joined many of the Republicans who opposed his expulsion in warning about setting a bad precedent by removing Santos before he had received either due process in the courts or judgment from his constituents. But Green also issued a more pointed warning: that Black legislators will be especially vulnerable going forward.

“It would not surprise me to know there are some people in Congress who don’t believe Black people are worthy of being here,” Green told me in an interview. He continued: “I suspect that African Americans in Congress will live to regret that vote in some point, because we are among the most vulnerable.”

He added: “The people ought to decide whether a person who has not been adjudicated as a criminal could be removed from the House of Representatives. I think that for us to have this awesome power that allows us to be judge, jury, prosecutor, and investigator—I think it’s just ripe for abuse.”

Green’s three Democratic colleagues echoed the general concern about the potential for abuse. In a statement, Williams said that Santos “is not worthy of serving in the House” and “will likely be convicted of the crimes of which he was accused.”

“This is the People’s House—and although the House Ethics Committee findings were damning, the people of New York’s Third Congressional District should decide who represents them,” Williams continued. “I’ll always side on giving power to the voters.”

In a statement, Jackson explained that he was worried by the precedent set by Santos’s removal, despite the Long Island Republican’s “reprehensible” behavior. Although he has been indicted on several federal charges and was accused of fraud and misuse of campaign funds in a scathing House Ethics Committee report, Santos has not been convicted of any crime. The two previous members in the modern era expelled by their peers were found guilty of their crimes beforehand.

“At a time when Congress has shredded norms and reached new levels of dysfunction, we must protect this [institution] and the constitutional right to due process,” Jackson said. “Former Congressman Santos deserves his day in court and to be judged by a jury of his peers. That day is coming, and until then, he deserves the presumption of innocence.”

The four dissenters were consistent in their opposition: In a previous unsuccessful vote to expel Santos at the beginning of November, Green and Jackson voted “present,” and Scott and Williams voted against.

In a statement after the November vote, Scott explained: “In 2002, I voted to expel Rep. James Traficant but that was after he was found guilty in a court of law.”

“For the sake of the institution, we must stop the cheapening of the censure and expulsion processes for political expediency and get back to the process that we already have in place to appropriately deal with these matters,” Scott continued.

All the Things That Went Wrong for Ron DeSantis in His Latest Debate Failure

If the Florida governor thought going toe-to-toe with Gavin Newsom would revive his flagging presidential campaign, he’d better think again.

Christian Monterrosa/Getty Images

Thursday night’s biggest loser was Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who spent the better part of Fox’s “Great Red vs. Blue State” publicity stunt being thoroughly humiliated by California Governor Gavin Newsom in an all-out shitshow that did, at one point, reference poop.

The cage match between these two governors, which will perhaps be remembered as the apotheosis of “Debate Me, Bro!” culture, was a lopsided affair, pitting one man who is running for president (badly) against another who is not running for president and thus has far less at stake. The back-and-forth between the two men mainly consisted of Newsom taking big shots at DeSantis and his lackluster presidential platform, leaving DeSantis with scant material to lob back in the direction of his Golden State rival.

“We have one thing in common: Neither of us will be the nominee for our party in 2024,” Newsom quipped early on in the debate.

Over the span of 90 minutes, the California Democrat slammed the presidential hopeful for flip-flopping on policy stances, curtailing LGBTQ+ rights, and loosening gun laws in Florida following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas massacre, the deadliest mass shooting at a high school in U.S. history.

In one particularly embarrassing exchange, Newsom dogged DeSantis over his decision to employ a radical book ban in the Sunshine State, during which the conservative’s anxious head-shaking and drooping expression made it abundantly clear that he was just as unprepared to debate a liberal politician as he has thus far proven to be when debating his fellow conservatives.

“What you’re doing is using education as a sword for your cultural purge,” Newsom said. “I don’t like the way you demean people, I don’t like the way you demean the LGBTQ community,” Newsom added.

Even at moments when DeSantis seemed to believe he had the upper hand, he did not. During one heated exchange over Florida’s response to the pandemic, Newsom reminded DeSantis that the state had employed quarantines and checkpoints to curtail the spread of the virus.

“You followed science, you followed Fauci,” Newsom said, referring to the former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci.

“That’s not true,” DeSantis insisted.

It probably wasn’t supposed to go like this. The GOP hopeful had been handed all the ingredients to make Thursday night a home run for his campaign. Yet despite boosts from host Sean Hannity on the largest conservative network in the country, who at one point tried and failed to peg Newsom for including what DeSantis claimed was “pornography” in the California school curriculum, DeSantis only managed to make himself a hair feistier than his background appearances during GOP debates illustrated.

In a debate that was supposed to pose comparisons between the policy choices made by red states and blue states, DeSantis spent a considerable amount of energy on the intramural politics of the Democratic Party, accusing Newsom of running a “shadow campaign” behind President Joe Biden’s back. When he took the opportunity to pivot back to policy, DeSantis’s big swing involved a bit of prop comedy in the form of an illustrated map of San Francisco that purported to detail precisely where human feces had been spotted around the city—a charge that made even Newsom laugh.

If the Florida governor thought the prime-time special, which served as a meager sideshow to the presidential race that he’s actually a part of, could help his tanking popularity among American voters, then these calculations may have been off. Newsom used the stage to take repeated shots at DeSantis’s diminished presidential prospects.

“You are trolling folks and trying to play political games so you can out-Trump Trump,” Newsom said. “How is that going for you, Ron? You are down 41 points in your own home state.”

DeSantis has lagged far behind in the GOP primaries he was anticipated to be a heavy contender in, trailing more than 47 percentage points in national averages behind Donald Trump, whose strategy of outright avoiding public debates has proved exceedingly effective among Republican voters.

Hours after the debate, Trump took to Truth Social to blast his hamstrung rival, sharing a parody of the event that he dubbed the “battle of loserville.” The former president’s campaign also took note of the embarrassing spectacle, issuing a statement that compared the governor to a crackhead on a “12 inch step stool.”

“Ron DeSanctimonious is acting more like a thirsty, third-rate OnlyFans wannabe model than an actual presidential candidate,” Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung said. “Instead of actually campaigning and trying to turn around his dismal poll numbers, DeSanctus is now so desperate for attention that he’s debating a Grade A loser like Gavin Newsom.”