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Alarmingly High Number of Republicans Think Taylor Swift Is a Psyop

A new poll from Monmouth University reveals that Taylor Swift conspiracy theories hold serious sway in the Republican Party.

Taylor Swift looks off camera, hair parted to the side.

People are really starting to tack the hate onto Taylor Swift—namely, Republicans.

According to a Monmouth University Poll, 32 percent or roughly one in three Republicans believe a conspiracy theory peddled by far-right influencers about the singer, agreeing that Swift is a CIA psyop and part of a covert government effort to help president Joe Biden win re-election in 2024. That’s against 57 percent of Republicans who responded that they didn’t believe the theory, and 11 percent who responded that they don’t know.

Conversely, of those who said they believed in the conspiracy theory, 71 percent identified with the Republican Party, while 83 percent said they were likely to support Donald Trump in the upcoming general election, according to the survey.

Equally telling, nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of those who believed in the Swift conspiracy theory also believed the 2020 election outcome was fraudulent.

Conservative respondents were also equally split on whether they supported Swift encouraging people to vote, with 47 percent approving and 44 percent disapproving.

“The supposed Taylor Swift PsyOp conspiracy has legs among a decent number of Trump supporters. Even many who hadn’t heard about it before we polled them accept the idea as credible. Welcome to the 2024 election,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Swift’s boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs captain Travis Kelce, had just one thing to say for the outlandish theory’s believers.

“They’re all crazy. Every last one of you are crazy,” he said during a segment that aired during Super Bowl 2024.

In total, 1 in 5 Americans believe the Swift psyop conspiracy theory.

Take note, there are other, totally legit reasons to condemn the “Bad Blood” singer—perhaps most egregiously for topping a list of celebs with the highest carbon emissions, or for recently bringing her mighty team of lawyers down on a college student who tracks celebrities’ private jet usage on Twitter via publicly available data.

Lara Trump Vows to Turn RNC Into Nothing but Stooges for Trump

Lara Trump is admitting exactly what she’ll do if she gets to take over the Republican National Committee.

Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Ahead of the 2024 presidential election, the Trump family gravy train is running on schedule. Its next stop: the Republican National Committee.

Speaking with Newsmax’s Rob Schmitt on Tuesday evening, Lara Trump, the former president’s daughter-in-law, criticized the leadership of the RNC under chairwoman Ronna McDaniel as wasteful and behind the times, and promoted her own candidacy for the chair.

“If I am elected to this position, I can assure you there will not be any more $70,000—or whatever exorbitant amount of money it was—spent on flowers. Every single penny will go to the number one and the only job of the RNC. That is electing Donald J. Trump as president of the United States and saving this country,” she said.

Lara Trump’s pledge to “play chess, not checkers,” and to focus entirely on the candidacy of her father-in-law, who has not yet officially been named the Republican nominee for the presidency, conspicuously comes in the wake of his endorsement of her for the position of RNC co-chair. Trump on Monday announced a slate of endorsements—made up of his biggest fans—to take over the RNC.

McDaniel has not yet stepped down from her role as chairwoman, but she has faced intense criticism in recent weeks for her stewardship of the RNC, especially from former president Trump and his allies. McDaniel has reportedly informed Trump she intends to step down, but no announcement has been made.

Lara Trump’s candidacy for the chair, a power-sharing agreement that would see her split duties with North Carolina GOP chairman and election-denier Michael Whatley, represents a new frontier in the complete takeover of the Republican Party infrastructure by explicitly pro-Trump partisans. Securing his daughter-in-law a highly influential position in the party machine would be another crowning achievement in Trump’s years-long effort to build a “counterestablishment” to rival legacy institutions like the RNC under McDaniel. This also follows the announcement of Project 2025, a sweeping initiative to clean house of civil servants and replace them with Trump loyalists should the former president be elected in 2024.

Procuring sinecures for family members was a priority of Trump’s presidency; it often got in the way of policy objectives preferred by conservative establishment members. And with Trump facing legal battles both personal and political, not to mention abysmal approval ratings from his time as president, the future RNC chair has their work cut out for them. Evidently, family ties remain a priority. It’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see how it pays off for them.

We Now Have More Details on Skeezy Bob Menendez’s Bribery Scheme

A new court filing says Senator Bob Menendez tried to blame all those gold bars on someone else—and regularly made calls on a backup “James Bond” phone.

Bob Menendez leaves a car
Yuki Iwamura/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Senator Robert Menendez must be running out of options. In court papers filed late Monday, federal prosecutors alleged that both the New Jersey lawmaker and his wife, Nadine Menendez, told a “false cover story” about the origin of gold bars that prosecutors allege were the result of bribes from foreign agents.

Per Nadine’s alibi to a jeweler, the couple obtained the gold bars from “her deceased mother.” A Menendez staffer reported that the senator himself also tried to claim that “the gold had come from Nadine Menendez’s deceased mother,” according to prosecutors.

Still, that somehow seems unlikely, considering that the gold bars were stamped with the name “Menendez” and since four of the gold bars had matching serial numbers to four gold bars reportedly owned by one of the senator’s alleged bribers, New Jersey real estate tycoon Fred Daibes.

Prosecutors revealed other new details in Menendez’s alleged bribery scheme in their recent court filing as well. Nadine Menendez’s diamond engagement ring was part of a $150,000 bribe. Cash in the couple’s home was found stuffed in boots, jackets, and in bags hanging on clothes hangers. And the New Jersey congressman regularly made phone calls on Nadine’s alternate cell phone, “a phone Menendez and Nadine Menendez referred to as her ‘007’ phone, an apparent reference to the fictional character James Bond,” prosecutors wrote.

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 Menendez’s “power and influence to protect and enrich” the businessmen and government of Egypt. In a superseding indictment filed in January, Menendez was also accused on other corruption-related charges, allegedly taking bribes from Qatar in an attempt to help Daibes secure a multimillion-dollar investment from an investment company tied to the Middle Eastern country, collecting lavish gifts in exchange for his handiwork. Menendez, his wife, and Daibes have all pleaded not guilty to all charges.

“The problem is, is that there is no evidence of the giving or receiving of cash and gold bars. In fact there has been, and will be at trial, a full explanation of what is the truth about those issues. A truth that proves I am entirely innocent of the charges,” Menendez said on January 9.

Meanwhile, Menendez has not only refused calls for his resignation, but he is still seeking another term this November, despite polling suggesting that 70 percent of New Jersey residents want him out.” He was, however, forced to resign as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee under Senate Democrats’ bylaws, which forbid members from serving in leadership roles if they’re charged with felonies.

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.

Tommy Tuberville Competes for Congress’s Biggest Putin Sycophant

Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville has hit an absolute low with his pro-Putin rant.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Tommy Tuberville, former college football mediocrity and TNR’s Dumbest Senator of 2023, announced himself as a contender for Congress’s Biggest Putin Sycophant in a recent interview on a Mobile, Alabama, radio program.

Speaking on The Jeff Poor Show on Monday, Tuberville shamelessly fawned over the Russian prime minister.

“You can tell Putin’s on top of his game. One thing he said that, it really rung a bell, is the propaganda media machine over here, they sell anything they possibly can to go after Russia,” Tuberville said, aping almost word for word the Kremlin’s talking points on American opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We forced this issue,” said Tuberville. “We kept forcing NATO all the way to Eastern Europe, and Putin just got tired of it. He said, ‘Listen, I do not want missiles on my border from the United States. It’d be like Russia coming to Mexico and putting missiles in Mexico.”

“I can understand what he’s talking about,” Tuberville added, showing an empathy apparently reserved only for authoritarians.

The comments came just hours before Tuberville voted to shoot down the Senate’s foreign aid deal, which dedicates $60 billion in aid to Ukraine. (The $95 billion package also includes aid for Israel and Taiwan.)

“They can’t win,” Tuberville told Poor, referring to Ukraine. “Half the country’s like we are: They don’t even know what war is going on,” he added, a hard-to-believe assertion given the estimated $100 billion in damages Ukraine has suffered since the beginning of the war.

He was, however, typically sanguine about former President Trump’s prospects of ending the conflict, which has raged on since 2022. Trump, Tuberville promised, “will have it over in a matter of weeks when he gets elected.”

When he wasn’t praising Putin, Tuberville displayed the shaky message discipline characteristic of Republican opposition to the aid bill, cynically raising America’s own military capacity: “We don’t have weapons for ourselves, and so we’re gonna make weapons for other people?” He later feigned concern for Ukrainians and offered a confused, pseudo-historical pacifist argument, explaining to Poor, “Listen, if we don’t make Russia, you know, part of the world and get away from this old USSR communism situation.… We’ve gotta get peace back on this planet.”

Tuberville’s groveling is symptomatic of a decades-long trend of Republican flirtation with the Kremlin. To wit, he’s not even the only senator to have praised Putin this week. Given Trump’s own praise of Putin, it’s hardly surprising to see his most ardent supporters in the Senate hand it to the man Trump once called “genius.” But it’s no less alarming to see U.S. senators echo Russian pro-war talking points in response to a bipartisan aid package to an ally.

Republican Congressman’s Biden Border Meme Backfires Spectacularly

Representative Chuck Edwards got a seriously embarrassing fact-check after posting a meme complaining about the border under Joe Biden.

Representative Chuck Edwards stares (maybe frowning) at the camera
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

A Republican congressman absolutely humiliated himself on Wednesday while trying to criticize President Joe Biden’s handling of the border.

North Carolina Representative Chuck Edwards posted an image to his X account of a massive human caravan headed toward the U.S.-Mexico border, stamping his own office’s logo on it while facetiously clipping an icon of Biden onto the picture with the caption “I did that.”

But what Edwards seemingly didn’t do was fact-check his own meme before posting it.

The picture of that incredible line on its way to cross the border wasn’t snapped anytime during Biden’s presidency, but actually on October 27, 2018, squarely during Trump’s term—who notably used the caravan and its wave of Honduran refugees fleeing a nation plagued by poverty and violence to his political advantage. At the time, Trump anxiously called on Congress to continue construction on his multibillion-dollar border wall and increase border protections ahead of the caravan’s approach.

Trump’s so-called “impenetrable” border wall would ultimately be breached more than 3,200 times between 2019 and 2021, according to a leaked memo by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

In 2019, Trump froze $450 million in U.S. foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador for failing to curtail the influx of refugees to the U.S. border—a move that government officials and activists from those nations warned would only make the region more vulnerable and desperate for resources, instigating a larger influx of refugees over time.

Democrats Just Flipped George Santos’s House Seat. Good Luck, Republicans.

Democrat Tom Suozzi won a House seat in New York’s special election. And with that, everything changes.

Tom Suozzi smiles and shakes the hand of a supporter. Others surround him and hold his campaign posters.
Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Tom Suozzi greets supporters in Westbury, New York, on Tuesday's special election.

Republicans suffered an embarrassing defeat Tuesday night, as Democrats won back a key House seat.

Former Representative Tom Suozzi reclaimed his throne representing New York’s 3rd congressional district, after a bitter fight against Republican Nassau County legislator Mazi Pilip. The Associated Press called the race at 10:03 p.m.

The pair went neck and neck for more than two months before facing off in a special election on Tuesday to fill the vacant seat left behind by disgraced former Representative George Santos. Suozzi will finish out the remaining 11 months of Santos’s term even as the seat is up for another election in November.

Suozzi’s win secures one additional seat in the House of Representatives for Democrats, and one less for Republicans, who have been struggling to pass any legislation with a historically divided caucus and a razor-thin majority. Republicans now hold an even narrower majority in the House of Representatives: 219–213, with three vacancies.

It’s a triumphant return to the world of Long Island politics for the 61-year-old Suozzi, who had previously represented the district from 2017 until January 2023, when he gave it up following his second unsuccessful bid for New York’s governorship. Before that, he had also served two terms as Nassau County executive. It’s just the second—and possibly last—time that New York’s 3rd congressional district will border these specific parameters in northern Nassau County and northeastern Queens, a penalty after Democrats bungled the last redistricting, giving Republicans an edge in the newly baked district. New York’s highest court recently ordered the state’s bipartisan Redistricting Commission to come up with a new congressional map by the 2024 elections, which could help Democrats take back their advantage.

Pilip’s loss, meanwhile, comes after months spent skirting the limelight rather than courting it, avoiding media presence and refusing debates with the seasoned politician until just five days before election night, when she finally faced off against Suozzi to lackluster reception.

“I can explain why she didn’t want to debate, and I can explain why the Republican Party who’s been handling her didn’t want her to debate, because she doesn’t have any detailed positions on any issues,” Suozzi said on Sunday, adding that he was “flabbergasted” by her dismal performance.

Prior to the debate, both candidates had attempted to relegate one another to the extremes of their party. Pilip accused Suozzi of being a member of “The Squad,” the progressive BIPOC circle in the House of Representatives that includes Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, while Suozzi cast Pilip as a female George Santos.

Polling had predicted a Suozzi win over Pilip by roughly 4 percent since November, according to aggregated data by FiveThirtyEight. Still, Suozzi told Politico he was “very happy” with a Newsday/Siena College poll released Thursday showing similar results, adding that he thought “it would be closer,” acknowledging the GOP’s baked-in advantages in the district.

The final stretch in the nail-biting race depended on both candidates urging their supporters to turn out for early voting, ahead of snowfall that blanketed the region on Tuesday.

The devastating result is evidence that Republicans, despite having an upper hand in District 3, will be hard pressed to earn back the support of their voters after failing to vet Santos, aggressively pushing him as a candidate despite his fabricated résume.

In December, Santos became only the sixth representative to be expelled from the lower chamber in U.S. history, after “overwhelming evidence” emerged in a House Ethics Committee report that alleged Santos had broken the law by stealing people’s identities, racking up tens of thousands of dollars in unauthorized charges on his donors’ credit cards, and lying to the Federal Election Commission and, by extension, the public, about himself and his campaign.

The fabulist former congressman—who also lied about having a high-paying job working for Goldman Sachs or Citigroup and ultimately used stolen campaign money to bolster his Botox and designer goods binges—faces 23 charges related to wire fraud, money laundering, identity theft, and credit card fraud. He has pleaded not guilty to the first 13 charges announced in May and has since denied another 10 charges announced in a superseding indictment in October.

Santos’s trial is scheduled to begin in September. But six weeks after he professed his innocence and claimed he would never take a plea deal, Santos said he was in negotiations with prosecutors to fess up to some of the charges.

Pennsylvania Democrats Just Won a Big Election—and It Deserves Your Attention

Jim Prokopiak’s win in Pennsylvania’s special election seriously shifts the balance of power for Democrats.

SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Pennsylvania Democrats secured a huge victory in Tuesday night’s special election, which will allow them to maintain control of the state House of Representatives.

Democrat Jim Prokopiak defeated Republican Candace Cabanas in the state House race in Bucks County, just north of Philadelphia. Prokopiak leads with 85.9 percent of the vote, according to early returns.

The win comes at a time when Democrats are hoping for another major victory on the national stage, with former Democratic Representative Tom Suozzi seeking to return to the House of Representatives to take over George Santos’s seat in New York’s 3rd congressional district.

While that race is understandably receiving a lot of attention—given that it could dramatically shrink Republicans’ already razor-thin majority in Congress—what’s happening in Pennsylvania has just as much significance.

With Prokopiak’s victory, Democrats will control the state House by 102–100, thus maintaining their grip on the majority they have defended in four special elections in the past year.

Prokopiak will replace former Democratic state Representative John Galloway, who resigned in December after winning a district court judge seat in Bucks County. That left the state House split 101–101. Last week, Republican Representative Joe Adams also resigned, shifting the balance of power back to Democrats—before Prokopiak further solidified it Tuesday.

Much like other Democrats in the state’s special elections, Prokopiak ran on a promise to protect abortion access in Pennsylvania. The national Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee poured more than $80,000 into the race in support of his campaign.

The victory will cement Democratic control of both the state House and the governor’s office. That means Democrats will not only be able to successfully block any Republican bills—including on abortion, guns, school vouchers, or voter ID laws—that may arise from the GOP-controlled state Senate. It also means they can start crafting legislation of their own.

During his campaign, Prokopiak said his goals included more funding for K-12 education, safeguarding access to abortion, and raising the minimum wage.

“What I heard from voters is that Bucks County residents need help supporting their families, want control over their own bodies, and [to] ensure they have the ability to chart their own paths in life,” Prokopiak said in a statement Tuesday night. “I’m committed to taking my conversations with voters to Harrisburg and making their dreams a reality.”

Local elections matter—and in Pennsylvania, Democrats can finally move forward on making their campaign promises a reality.

A Promising Sign That SCOTUS Won’t Let Trump Delay January 6 Trial

Donald Trump has appealed the presidential immunity ruling to the Supreme Court—and the court has already responded.

Close-up of Donald Trump as he speaks
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Supreme Court appears to be wasting no time making a determination over Donald Trump’s presidential immunity claim in his January 6 trial, giving special counsel Jack Smith until next week to respond to Trump’s attempt to stay a lower court’s ruling that flatly rejected the immunity argument.

The court announced the deadline on Tuesday, just one day after Trump appealed to the Supreme Court.

Legal experts commented that the hairpin turnaround could only mean one thing.

“What that says is actually good because that means that the Supreme Court is expediting whatever decision they’re going to make,” former Manhattan District Attorney Catherine Christian told MSNBC.

“And I suspect that the special counsel already has their response ready to go. Remember, Monday is a holiday, Presidents Day. So (the) Trump team met their deadline yesterday, and then, the next morning, the Supreme Court and the chief judge says: Respond by next Tuesday, (which) is a good sign that whatever decision the Supreme Court makes, it will hopefully be expedited,” Christian continued.

Trump’s appeal to the Supreme Court is very likely a delay tactic, but so far, it doesn’t seem like the court is wholly entertaining it.

“I think frankly, it’s nakedly about delay. What the former president is hoping to do is have his cake and eat it too. He does not want the court, really, to get to the merits. He wants more and more process, and that’s what he’s hoping for here,” former federal prosecutor Temidayo Aganga-Williams told the network.

“[The Supreme Court] is appearing to move quickly here, which from my vantage point is heartening, and I hope that they will resist his request to slow this down even further.”

If the court rejects Trump’s request, the case will return to Judge Tanya Chutkan, who would set a new trial date.

Smith has been urging the court to expedite the process for months, even asking SCOTUS to circumvent the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in reviewing the immunity claim, though the high court denied the attempt.

“This Court’s immediate review of that question is the only way to achieve its timely and definitive resolution,” Smith wrote in a December filing. “The Nation has a compelling interest in a decision on [Trump’s] claim of immunity from these charges—and if they are to be tried, a resolution by conviction or acquittal, without undue delay.”

GOP Congressman Accidentally Gives Real Reason for Mayorkas Impeachment

Republican Representative French Hill just gave away the game.

Representative French Hill wears a suit and speaks before a mic in the House chamber
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Surprise, surprise: The GOP is being disingenuous about impeachment again.

Just a few years after crying foul at the “witch hunt” impeachment of then-President Trump (and then crying foul again), Republicans are pursuing the nakedly partisan impeachment of Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. The House is expected to vote again on Tuesday evening on whether to impeach the DHS secretary, the second such attempt in a week.

There’s only one problem: They still can’t explain how Mayorkas has failed to uphold his constitutional duty.

On Tuesday, Republican Representative French Hill announced the party’s bald-faced political motivations for impeaching Mayorkas. On a panel hosted by Fox News’s Maria Bartiromo, Hill laid out the case against Mayorkas (or lack thereof).

“We need to shut the border.… The president could take executive action to do it today—doesn’t need more money. It needs action, and this is what’s disappointing to people, and that’s why Mayorkas is gonna pay this public relations price by being impeached for the first time since 1876,” Hill said.

Notably absent from Hill’s explanation was any description of high crimes and misdemeanors committed by Mayorkas. Hill all but admitted that, with the impeachment, Republicans are aiming to make Mayorkas the face of their anti-Biden, anti-immigrant campaign, despite his having not committed impeachable offenses.

With his “1876” comment, Hill was referring to the last (and only) time a Cabinet member was impeached, when Secretary of War William Belknap was acquitted. It was not the last time a Cabinet member’s impeachment was voted on, however. That would be just last week, when House Speaker Mike Johnson failed to ensure he had enough votes to successfully impeach Mayorkas the first time and three members of his party voted against the effort.

Two of those Republicans—Representatives Ken Buck and Tom McClintock—did so on the grounds that the impeachment crusade is a political sham and in violation of the Constitution. (So far, there’s no indication they’ll change their votes this time around.)

House Republicans have mooted impeaching Mayorkas since Johnson’s predecessor, Kevin McCarthy, was in charge. He too pledged to impeach Mayorkas. But then, as now, there was one glaring issue: They didn’t know why they were doing it. That’s never stopped them before, and it won’t now.

One would think Republicans are taking their do-over more seriously than their first try. But it’s hard to imagine giving away the game so openly was part of the game plan.

More on this particular impeachment sham:

GOP Congressman Spews Racist Screed on Fall of “Western Civilization”

Republican Representative Chip Roy went into full meltdown mode when talking about the Senate’s new foreign aid package.

Representaive Chip Roy speaks at a podium
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Texas Republican Representative Chip Roy may have stirred up disunity in the GOP earlier this year with his threats to oust House Speaker Mike Johnson, but he’s in lockstep with the rest of his party on one thing: Democrats want to “end Western civilization” with open borders.

In an interview with Fox News’s Harris Faulkner on Tuesday, Roy was asked about the Senate’s passage of a $95 billion foreign aid package, which dedicates assistance to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.

The Freedom Caucus member accused Democrats of not “[having] any interest in sitting down at the table” to discuss border security—less than a week after Republicans killed a bipartisan bill that included border funding alongside the foreign aid package, at the urging of Donald Trump.

Roy went on to baselessly claim that Democrats, who he snidely called “colonizers,” “want to flood the zone” with “the chaos created by wide-open borders.”

“It’s not just political,” said Roy. “They want to remake America. They want to end Western civilization.”

Roy also complained about the number of “foreign-born” people in the United States.

The demographic conspiracy espoused by Roy, a variant of the explicitly white supremacist “great replacement theory,” is becoming an increasingly popular talking point in the GOP. What was once confined to the hinterlands of white nationalist message boards has been adopted whole cloth by the Republican mainstream and is now repeated by lawmakers like Roy on television.

Roy also took the opportunity to take a potshot at same-sex marriage, accusing Democrats of “trying to force their beliefs” on “countries in Africa who dare to say that marriage is between one man and one woman.”

Roy’s was not the only mention of the threat to Western civilization by the global right this week; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his own Fox News interview, called the bombardment of Rafah part of a “battle of the forces of civilization against the worst forces of barbarism on the planet.”

Roy’s and Netanyahu’s comments are emblematic of a global right obsessed with conspiratorial ideations of civilizational decline and collapse. For Fox, it makes for a good segment.