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John Fetterman Finally Announces He’s Not the Progressive He Pretended to Be

The Pennsylvania senator spent years claiming to be building a progressive movement. Now he’s taking it all back.

John Fetterman
Nathan Howard/Getty Images

From the perspective of his supporters, Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman entered Congress as a staunch progressive. He curried the endorsement of one of the leaders of the contemporary progressive movement, Senator Bernie Sanders, and stacked his own staff with former Bernie aides. Fetterman also championed progressive causes, including shifts toward renewable energy, implementing wealth taxes, single-payer health care, and raising the federal minimum wage.

But on Friday, Fetterman officially divorced himself from the progressive movement.

“I’m not a progressive,” Fetterman told NBC News. “I just think I’m a Democrat that is very committed to choice and other things. But with Israel, I’m going to be on the right side of that. And immigration is something near and dear to me, and I think we do have to effectively address it as well.”

The announcement comes after weeks spent disagreeing with other congressional progressives like the Squad over his unwavering support for Israel in its conflict with Hamas and his calls for tougher immigration laws.

But if you asked Fetterman during the campaign season where he stood, his words were more than a little different.

After losing his first Senate run in 2016, Fetterman touted that he had started a progressive movement in the Coal State.

“It’s not going away. We’re not going away. This isn’t over. This is not how our story ends,” he added in an additional post.

Two years later, Fetterman was still using the label to ask for donations during his run for lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania.

“Chip in whatever you can to help us take this progressive momentum all the way to the ballot box on May 15,” Fetterman posted.

“Progressive. Simple. Sacred. The union way of life,” Fetterman said in another.

“Progressive values have been the heart of my campaign,” Fetterman wrote in a 2018 post aligning himself with Sanders.

And despite emerging rhetoric from the senator claiming that the United States needs harsher immigration reform, one of Fetterman’s recurring campaign mantras on the issue circles back to his wife, who lived in the U.S. “undocumented for years” after escaping violence in Brazil. Time and time again, Fetterman has insisted that “immigration makes America, America.”

A Binder on Highly Classified Russian Intel Went Missing Under Trump

Intelligence officials are sounding the alarms about the unredacted missing documents.

Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

A 10-inch-thick binder of highly classified raw data regarding Russian election interference went missing in the final days of the Trump administration, a new report reveals.

The loss of the massive binder, which has yet to be found two years after it was first reported missing, included details on Russian agents that informed the government’s assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin had worked to help Trump win the 2016 election, according to a sprawling CNN investigation.

The information inside was so sensitive that lawmakers and congressional aides looking to review the materials had to do so under top secret security clearances and only inside a locked safe at CIA headquarters.

The binder included a GOP report on Russian intelligence, foreign intelligence surveillance warrants on a Trump campaign adviser from 2017, interview notes with Trump-Russia dossier author Christopher Steele, internal FBI and DOJ communications, and FBI reports from a confidential source related to FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation, among other documents, according to the outlet.

It was last seen at the White House.

In the waning hours of the administration, Trump ordered a host of documents, including the binder, to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for mass declassification in a scheme to prove that the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation into his 2016 campaign ties was a hoax.

Republican aides spent days scrubbing the binder, redacting the most sensitive details so that an abridged version could be released to the public, even against the behest of other top Trump administration officials who repeatedly attempted to block the former president from releasing its contents, according to the outlet.

A day before his term was set to end, Trump issued an order to preemptively declassify most of the binder’s contents well before it was ready and regardless of some of the redactions. Multiple copies of the redacted version had been created inside the White House, with plans to hand them off to Republicans and right-wing journalists. But that’s not what happened. Instead, White House lawyers scrambled, forcing an immediate retrieval of some documents that had already been sent off, and demanding that the documents be stripped down more.

“The Crossfire Hurricane binders are a complete disaster. They’re still full of classified information,” White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson recalled a White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, telling her. “Those binders need to come back to the White House. Like, now.”

With minutes to spare before Joe Biden’s inauguration, Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows hand-delivered a redacted copy of the binder to the Justice Department for a final review.

“I personally went through every page, to make sure that the President’s declassification would not inadvertently disclose sources and methods,” he wrote in his book detailing his time as Trump’s chief.

Meanwhile, the original, unredacted version had gone missing.

But Hutchinson believed she had a clue as to its location. In a closed-door testimony before the January 6 committee, Hutchinson pointed a finger directly at her old boss in relation to the possible whereabouts of the original binder.

“I am almost positive it went home with Mr. Meadows,” Hutchinson said, according to transcripts.

Meadows’s legal team has vehemently denied that he mishandled any classified or sensitive documents.

Apart from Meadows, there seem to be no obvious leads for the location of the binder, which could expose some of America’s most closely guarded national security secrets. Somehow, it was not one of the 11,000 documents discovered at Trump’s Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago.

Trump Co-Defendants Offer One-Line Apology for Trying to Overthrow Election

The apology letters from the former Trump lawyers were so short they barely made any mention of the crimes at all.

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

Donald Trump’s former lawyers and co-defendants in the Fulton County, Georgia, case wrote single-sentence letters apologizing to Georgia voters for their role in trying to overthrow the 2020 election.

As part of their plea agreements in the 2020 election interference case, bail bondsman Scott Hall as well as ex-Trump lawyers Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell were required to write letters, as Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis demanded that “there needs to be real contrition.”

However, the one-line apology letters failed to walk back any of the baseless conspiracies spouted and did not include any acknowledgment of President Biden’s win in the state. In fact, they barely mentioned the crimes they were charged with at all.

“I apologize to the citizens of the State of Georgia and of Fulton County for my involvement in Count 15 of the indictment,” was all Chesebro wrote in his apology letter, obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Sidney Powell also kept it insanely brief. “I apologize for my actions in connection with the events in Coffee County,” she wrote in her October 19 letter.

Hall, the bail bondsman, issued the longest apology of the three—and still, it was only eight sentences.

While Willis said the apology would not have to be long, she expects some level of sincerity.

“It doesn’t have to be pages and pages,” she told the Constitution earlier this week. “Sometimes you just need ‘I’m sorry.’ And if you get ‘I’m sorry,’ then we can move on and move past (it) if it’s a sincere apology.”

Republicans Have a Replacement for George Santos—and She’s a Doozy

Republicans have rallied behind Mazi Melesa Pilip, a local legislator who previously served in the Israeli Defense Forces.

Screenshot CBS New York/YouTube

Republicans believe that their pick to replace recently expelled Representative George Santos could be a rising star on the national stage, despite her thin political résumé.

Mazi Melesa Pilip, a local legislator who was born in Ethiopia and served in the Israel Defense Forces, was tapped in a secret meeting on Thursday to run as the Republican candidate for New York’s 3rd congressional district. So far, she’s curried the favor of the traditionally white Long Island Republican caucus and the endorsement of another former Long Island representative and 2016 GOP presidential candidate who once claimed there were “too many mosques in this country”—Peter King.

“She is the American success story,” King told The New York Times. “Some people have superstar capacity. She walks into the room, people notice her, they listen to her.”

In many ways, Pilip is an unlikely candidate for the Long Island seat. She is a 44-year-old mother of seven who first ran for office just two years ago. According to the Times, she has almost no experience raising money and has yet to foster relationships with the national party. She also lacks a strong platform, having yet to weigh in on issues that have decided other races, including abortion rights, gun laws, and Donald Trump’s numerous criminal trials.

This all makes Pilip a pretty bold pick, given that Democrats already have a very good chance of retaking the House seat. Santos was one of 18 Republicans representing districts that voted for Joe Biden in 2020.

It remains to be seen if voters in the Queens-Nassau County district have been turned off the GOP. After all, it’s thanks to the local Republican officials that Santos was pushed through inauguration, even after several bombshell reports revealed that the fabulist congressman had lied about everything from his résumé to his lineage, resulting in the third expulsion in U.S. history in the post–Civil War period.

She’ll be pitted against the Democrats’ pick, former Representative Tom Suozzi, in a special election scheduled to take place February 13.

We Now Have Even More Details About James Comer’s Shady Shell Company

A new report exposes how the Republican lawmaker leading the probe into the Biden family has some questionable business of his own.

Representative James Comer
Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The man leading the Biden impeachment inquiry has apparently engaged in nearly identical behavior that he has hounded the president over.

In a scathing new report, the Associated Press found that a shell company held by the chair of the House Oversight Committee James Comer functioned “in a similarly opaque way” as the Biden family’s own companies.

For months, Comer has harangued the Biden family for leveraging their name to conduct business deals and for using shell companies to cloud their transactions with foreign parties and shady figures, indicting the president’s son Hunter Biden on nine tax charges related to the shell companies.

But a series of interviews and records searches conducted by the AP showed that the Kentucky Republican did something remarkably similar, transferring a six-acre parcel of land co-owned with one of his major campaign donors, Darren Cleary, to a shell company he created in 2017 with his wife.

The property has grown in value since its original purchase, jumping from a valuation of between $50,000 and $100,000 at the time of purchase to between $500,001 and $1 million, according to Comer’s financial statements obtained by the outlet. That flies in the face of not only Comer’s self-purported squeaky-clean reputation but also House rules, which require members of Congress to disclose all assets held by companies worth more than $1,000.

“This is actually a real problem that anti-corruption activists would love to get legislative reform on,” Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, told the AP. “It is hard to trace assets held in shell companies. His is a good example.”

Last month, Democrats railed on the Kentucky Republican following a Daily Beast report that revealed the first inklings that Comer had engaged in his own shell company, involving intra-family business dealings. At the time, Commer snapped back that it was the kind of thing “only dumb, financially illiterate people pick up on.”

Ted Cruz Really, Really Does Not Want to Talk About That Texas Abortion Case

The Republican senator is ignoring press inquiries about what’s happening in his home state.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Texas Senator Ted Cruz appears to be avoiding talking about the controversial abortion case in his state—by any means necessary.

The day after Kate Cox, a 31-year-old mother of two with a fatal fetus diagnosis, was forced to leave the state to access abortion care, Cruz cruised past and skirted reporters, refusing to comment on the situation.

“Just call our press office,” Cruz told several reporters.

“I have, and I actually haven’t received an answer. So, is there anything that you’d like to say right now on this?” asked NBC News’s Kate Santaliz.

“Call our press office,” Cruz repeated.

Cruz has never been shy to hop into the abortion conversation before. After the Supreme Court ruled in Dobbs v. Jackson, Cruz described the decision as a “momentous moment” and a “vindication for the rule of law.” His silence now could be a sign that the ruling might impact his chance of reelection next November.

He wouldn’t be the only Republican afraid of the political blowback. On Thursday, a slew of vulnerable House Republicans made their own stances on abortion bans abundantly clear in an apparent effort to save their own election chances in Biden-won districts, snubbing the Supreme Court’s decision to take up a case that could prohibit the abortion pill, which accounts for more than half of all abortions in the U.S., as “tone deaf.”

Cox has been at the center of the nation’s first major post-Roe lawsuit, riding out a legal challenge to the state’s near-total abortion ban after learning that her fetus had a fatal genetic condition that could jeopardize her health and future fertility if carried to term while being personally and repeatedly targeted by Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Last week saw a whiplash series of back-to-back decisions in the case, with a Travis County district judge ruling on Thursday that Cox could receive an abortion under the state’s medical emergency clause. But hours after the ruling, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked the state’s Supreme Court to intervene and issued a statement promising to prosecute doctors performing the procedure with felony charges, even if a court permitted the procedure. On Friday night, the state’s Supreme Court blocked the lower court’s order and once again put Cox’s health in jeopardy.

Vulnerable Republicans Are Nervous About the Supreme Court’s New Abortion Case

House Republicans in swing districts are nervous about what the “tone deaf” Supreme Court will do next.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images
Representative Marc Molinaro

Some Republicans are coming down hard on the Supreme Court for taking up a case on Wednesday that would challenge the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the abortion pill, fearing that a ban could create another vulnerability in GOP-held swing districts.

At stake is access to a drug called mifepristone, which, along with misoprostol, comprises one-half of a two-pill prescription jointly referred to as “the abortion pill.” Together, they account for more than half of all the abortions in the United States, according to a 2022 report by the Guttmacher Institute.

“I suspect they’ll rule in favor of prohibitions which is a mistake,” one vulnerable, unnamed House Republican told Axios. “The Court is tone deaf.”

New York Representative Mike Lawler, a Republican representing a district that President Joe Biden won in 2020, told the outlet that he didn’t support a national abortion ban, and that the court should stay out of issues better handled by states and the FDA.

“The Supreme Court needs to stand down,” Lawler said. “If it’s legal in a certain state, they shouldn’t be saying you can’t utilize that type of medicine.”

Other Republicans specified that they were concerned about the political blowback such a decision could have on upcoming elections.

“Quite frankly I would be concerned that the courts overly impose their will,” New York Representative Marc Molinaro told Axios.

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn abortion access at a national level proved disastrous for Republicans last November, resulting in major losses in districts where abortion was a key issue. Postelection, those raw numbers turned into some stunning platform reversals for the conservative party, with GOP consultants referring to the turning tide on the issue as a “major wake-up call.”

By and large, most Americans support abortion access. In a 2023 Gallup poll, just 13 percent of surveyed Americans said that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. Meanwhile, 34 percent said it should be legal under any circumstances, and an additional 13 percent said it should be legal in most circumstances.

A decision in the abortion pill case is expected by summer.

Elon Musk Wants You to Pay to Go to His New University

After destroying Twitter, the far-right billionaire has filed an application for a brand new venture.

Elon Musk
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Elon Musk wants to create his own school in Austin, Texas—and he’d like you to pay to attend.

The Tesla CEO has donated $100 million to one of his charities, The Foundation, to get the venture up and running, according to a tax filing obtained by Bloomberg. The project will begin with a primary and secondary school and then move on to launching the university.

News of this filing comes after reports of X (formerly Twitter) having lost 13 percent of its users since Musk bought the platform in 2022, and of Tesla being forced to recall over two million of its vehicles over their autopilot software.

Musk’s university will seek accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and will be in person and also use “distance education technologies.”

“The school is being designed to meet the educational needs of those with proven academic and scientific potential,” the filing states.

The university expects to increase enrollment after accepting its first 50 students. It aims to be funded primarily through donations and tuition fees, though it could also provide financial aid to select students.

Musk’s university is the newest addition of far-right activists seeking to influence higher education in the city. Earlier this year, the University of Austin, which is backed by conservative figures such as Bari Weiss, announced it is accepting students and will officially open its doors in 2024.

Hunter Biden Challenges MAGA Republicans to Air Public Testimony: “What Are They Afraid Of?”

Hunter Biden defied a Republican subpoena, but showed up at Capitol Hill to offer his public testimony instead.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Hunter Biden risked a contempt of Congress charge on Wednesday, instead showing up outside of the Capitol Building to slam Republicans for their insistence on a closed-door deposition.

“Republicans do not want an open process where Americans can see their tactics, expose their baseless inquiry, or hear what I have to say,” the president’s son said in a rare public statement. “What are they afraid of? I am here.”

Hunter Biden had previously voiced preference for a public hearing, fearing that information from private interviews would be selectively leaked and used to “manipulate, even distort, the facts and misinform the American public.”

“I’m here today to acknowledge I have made mistakes in my life and wasted opportunities, and privileges I was afforded. For that I am responsible, for that I am accountable, and for that I am making amends,” Biden said.

“But I’m also here today to correct how the MAGA right has portrayed me for their political purposes,” he added, skewering Republicans for harassing his wife and children and lambasting his attempts to recover from addiction. “Let me state as clearly as I can: My father was not financially involved in my business.”

“During my battle with addiction, my parents were there for me. They literally saved my life,” Biden said. “To suggest that is grounds for an impeachment inquiry is beyond absurd.”

Even Republicans have admitted that the impeachment probe, which went ahead without a floor vote and failed to produce even one witness who could say Joe Biden did anything illegal, was meritless.

“I’m just going to follow the facts where they are, and the facts haven’t taken me to that point where I can say the president is guilty of anything,” Republican Senator Chuck Grassley told CNN hours ahead of the impeachment vote.

Republican Senator Admits There’s “No Evidence”on Biden Impeachment

Chuck Grassley is exposing the truth about House Republicans’ Biden impeachment inquiry.

Senator Chuck Grassley
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Senator Chuck Grassley

Senator Chuck Grassley admitted on Wednesday that House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden hasn’t produced any facts pointing to wrongdoing on the president’s part.

“I have no evidence of it,” Grassley told CNN, just hours before House Republicans were set to vote to formalize the Biden impeachment inquiry. “I’m just going to follow the facts where they are, and the facts haven’t taken me to that point where I can say the president is guilty of anything.”

The probe into Biden, which was sparked by former Speaker Kevin McCarthy in September and based on debunked claims, initially went ahead without a floor vote and failed to produce even one witness who could say Joe Biden did anything illegal. Republicans repeatedly tried and failed to tie the president to the business dealings of his son Hunter Biden.

The House is slated to cast a floor vote sometime on Wednesday to formalize the impeachment proceedings into Joe Biden, though it’s expected to be close. The lower chamber’s already slim conservative majority was squeezed even tighter earlier this month after New York Representative George Santos was expelled from the chamber. The disgraced politician’s absence means that the party can only afford to lose three Republicans on any given vote.