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Republicans Are in Full Panic Mode Over Arizona Abortion Ruling

The Arizona state Supreme Court upheld a 160-year-old law banning nearly all abortions.

Kari Lake speaks to reporters
Ting Shen/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Arizona lawmakers were gung ho for banning abortion—until they got what they wanted.

On Tuesday, the state’s Supreme Court decided to revive a draconian ban on the medical procedure. But already, several prominent—and politically vulnerable—Arizona Republicans have come out against it.

Senate candidate Kari Lake, for instance, identifies as “100 percent pro-life” and had previously called the ban a “great law” but suddenly decided it wasn’t her cup of tea once the decision arrived.

“I oppose today’s ruling, and I am calling on [Governor] Katie Hobbs and the State Legislature to come up with an immediate common sense solution that Arizonans can support,” Lake said in a statement. “Ultimately, Arizona voters will make the decision on the ballot come November.”

Two of the state’s GOP representatives, both of whom are facing fierce competition from Democrats in elections this year, also torched the decision. Representative David Schweikert—who has spent the better part of his career working to outlaw abortion with zero exceptions—wrote that he did not support the ruling and that the Arizona legislature should “address this issue immediately.” Representative Juan Ciscomani, a freshman lawmaker representing one of the state’s swing districts, called it a “disaster for women and providers.”

“In Arizona, our 15 week law protected the rights of women and new life. It respected women and the difficult decision of ending a pregnancy—one I will never personally experience and won’t pretend to understand,” Ciscomani wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter. “I oppose a national abortion ban. The territorial law is archaic. We must do better for women and I call on our state policymakers to immediately address this in a bipartisan manner.”

Just two years ago, Ciscomani described himself as “proudly Pro-Life” and cheered the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Former Republican Governor Doug Doucey also lamented the decision, even though he was responsible for appointing four of the justices who contributed to the court’s majority opinion.

“I signed the 15-week law as Governor because it is thoughtful policy, and an approach to this very sensitive issue that Arizonans can actually agree on,” Ducey said in a statement. “The ruling today is not the outcome I would have preferred, and I call on our elected leaders to heed the will of the people and address this issue with a policy that is workable and reflective of our electorate.”

The flip-flopping is no coincidence, especially as abortion has become a losing issue for Republicans nationwide. The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn nationwide abortion access proved disastrous for Republicans last November, resulting in major losses in districts where abortion was a key talking point. 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.”

Republicans' actions on abortion come home to roost:

McCarthy Says He Got Booted Because Matt Gaetz Is a Huge Creep

The former House speaker says Gaetz wanted to block an ethics probe.

Matt Gaetz and Kevin McCarthy argue on the House floor
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Ousted House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has a theory as to the motivation behind the motion to vacate filed by Florida Representative Matt Gaetz. And it has little to do with policy differences.

In an interview Tuesday at Georgetown University, McCarthy, sounding Not Mad, said it was a “misnomer and a lie” that alleged concessions to congressional Democrats during debt-ceiling talks were behind his removal. He offered to set the record straight about why he was removed as speaker.

“I’ll give you the truth why I’m not speaker. It’s because one person, a member of Congress, wanted me to stop an ethics complaint because he slept with a 17-year-old. An ethics complaint that started before I ever became speaker, and that’s illegal, and I’m not going to get in the middle. Did he do it or not? I don’t know, but Ethics is looking at it. There’s other people in jail because of it. And he wanted me to influence it,” McCarthy explained.

That one person? Gaetz, the ringleader of the successful effort to vacate the speakership.

It’s an explosive, if not exactly new, allegation by McCarthy. Gaetz, who is scheduled to be deposed in June as part of a civil defamation suit, is accused of several child sex crimes. One of the “other people in jail” to whom McCarthy is referring is convicted sex trafficker Joel Greenberg, who has alleged that Gaetz paid him via Venmo to have sex with a 17-year-old girl. Greenberg is cooperating with the House Ethic Committee, which is investigating the allegations. Gaetz is separately accused of paying another woman for her participation in alleged drug-fueled sex parties.

Gaetz, for what it’s worth, has corroborated McCarthy’s theory, at least behind closed doors. The Daily Beast reported that the Florida congressman has privately admitted that the move to oust McCarthy was revenge for McCarthy’s refusal to squash the ethics probe, not a stand against bipartisan negotiation.

McCarthy, who has endorsed convicted rapist Donald Trump for the presidency, became the first speaker of the House in American history to be removed through a motion to vacate. Still, he claims he’d “do it all over again.”

RFK Jr.’s Adviser Has Frightening Ties to Trump World

His adviser Rita Palma’s anti-Biden stances are starting to make more sense.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. looks forward
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has personal reasons for wanting to defend the January 6 rioters: At least one of his staffers may have been among them.

The campaign has attempted in recent days to distance itself from its New York state director, Rita Palma, since she claimed the campaign’s real goal was to act as a spoiler to President Joe Biden.

“The only way that Trump can even, remote possibility of taking New York is if Bobby is on the ballot. If it’s Trump versus Biden, Biden wins. Biden wins six days, seven days a week. With Bobby in the mix, anything can happen,” Palma said in a meeting with New York Republicans.

But it has since become clear that Palma has deeper ties to Donald Trump. In social media posts analyzed by CNN, the staffer has repeatedly called the GOP presidential nominee her “favorite president,” said she would vote for him in 2024 while also suggesting a 2028 run, blamed the “rigged election” for the violence on January 6, and even admitted to being in attendance on the day that Trump supporters seized the U.S. Capitol.

“Jan 6 was not a riot. A small group of people were trouble. It was 99.9 peaceful, respectful. I was there,” she wrote.

Over the last week, Kennedy’s campaign has flip-flopped more than once on its January 6 messaging. On Thursday, the independent presidential candidate issued a fundraising email referring to the rioters as “activists.” The next day, Kennedy claimed that particular language was made in error but he still didn’t believe the event amounted to a “true insurrection” since the rioters didn’t wield weapons—though that is completely false, since the rioters did wield weapons and can be seen doing so in mountains of recorded video from the day.

The rioters attacked Capitol Police officers with firearms, knives, stolen police shields, stun guns, fire extinguishers, and even used hand-to-hand combat, which sent more than a dozen officers to the hospital.

Then, on Monday, Kennedy appeared to backtrack again on the correction. Appearing on NewsNation, the 70-year-old claimed that his campaign had made “a couple of mistakes” in issuing the revised statement while again insisting that the events weren’t an insurrection.

“I think that there were people who were there who wanted to obstruct the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another. I would say it was a very traumatic day in our nation’s history and people committed criminal acts. Those people deserve to be in jail,” Kennedy said.

Truth Social Losses Deal Humiliating Blow to Trump’s Biggest Brag

Donald Trump has been kicked off an index of global billionaires.

Donald Trump talks
Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s financial house of cards is beginning to collapse.

The Republican presidential nominee, who’s made his personal wealth central to his candidacy since 2016, has fallen off the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The list is a daily ranking of the 500 richest people in the world, and as of Tuesday, Trump no longer qualifies.

The blow comes just days after the price of Trump Media stock plummeted and two main investors behind the merger between Trump Media and Technology, the parent company of Truth Social, and Digital World Acquisition Corporation, a shell company, were charged with insider trading.

Trump has already been struggling to prove his wealth following the revelation that the surety firm backing the $175 million bond in his civil fraud trial is insolvent, unlicensed in New York, and may not have actually agreed to pay the penalty if Trump cannot come up with the money.

Originally valued at $8 billion, Trump Media has lost half its value since it debuted in March. The drop in value does little to dispel allegations that the stock is a potential pump-and-dump scheme concocted by Trump to funnel credulous supporters’ money toward his mounting legal debts. He cannot sell or borrow against his shares in Trump Media for six months, so while this latest embarrassment is mostly a cosmetic hit to his net worth, it’s still possible that he’ll have suckered enough of his voters into paying off a chunk of the judgments against him when all is said and done.

In the meantime, though, Trump has become just another temporarily embarrassed billionaire.

Seriously? GOP State Official Threatens to Kick Biden Off the Ballot

Will the Supreme Court intervene like it did with Donald Trump?

Wes Allen speaks
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen

Alabama’s secretary of state claimed Tuesday that, according to state law, the Democratic National Convention is taking place too late for the party to get its nominees for president and vice president on the state’s November ballot.

Wes Allen, a Republican, said Alabama has an August 15 deadline for political parties to present a certification of nomination for president and vice president. The Democratic National Convention takes place in Chicago on August 19.

“If this Office has not received a valid certificate of nomination from the Democratic Party following its convention by the statutory deadline, I will be unable to certify the names of the Democratic Party’s candidates for President and Vice President for ballot preparation for the 2024 general election,” Allen said in a letter to Randy Kelley, chair of the Alabama Democratic Party.

Alabama state law says parties must certify their candidates “no later than the 82nd day preceding the day fixed for the election.” This year’s election is on November 5, making August 15 the eighty-second preceding day, Allen said in the letter. His office claims that the 82-day deadline has been in Alabama’s election law since 1975.

This is the second red-state election chief to claim that the Democrats are holding their nominating convention too late. Last week, Paul DiSantis, the chief counsel for Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose, said that state law required presidential candidates to be certified 90 days before a general election.

Both the Ohio and Alabama secretaries of state said that the problem could be fixed if the respective legislatures passed a one-time exception, or if the Democratic National Committee moved its convention to within the allowed time frame.

While both Allen and LaRose could well be trying to simply uphold state laws, the moves seem remarkably suspicious given recent lawsuits regarding Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. The Colorado state Supreme Court attempted to kick Trump off the 2024 ballot due to his role in the January 6 insurrection, which the justices determined violated Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment.

In March, the Supreme Court struck down Colorado’s decision, and by extension similar decisions in two other states, in an expedited, unanimous ruling that said states couldn’t individually enforce the clause against federal officeholders. Five of the court’s conservative justices even said that the clause only applied if Congress passed a law to affirm it.

Based on that ruling, if Ohio and Alabama dig their heels in and refuse to allow President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on their ballots, the Supreme Court will have to swiftly reinstate them, since states don’t have the authority to remove federal officeholders, right? But that would require consistency from John Roberts’s Supreme Court, whose values are in question.

GOP Representative Is Pushing Trump’s Worst False Claim About Abortion

Representative Greg Murphy had some horrifying comments of his own.

Greg Murphy looks forward
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

Republicans have quickly adopted Donald Trump’s latest abortion signaling, with one House member already regurgitating the GOP presidential nominee’s blatant lie on national television that Democrats want to “execute” babies after birth.

North Carolina Representative Greg Murphy continued Tuesday to weave the yarn on Fox Business, telling host Maria Bartiromo that Democrats want to kill kids when they’re “coming out of the birth canal.”

“Yeah, [abortion’s] going to be a big issue every time, because you have folks really on both sides, really probably more Democrats, that want abortion literally when the child is coming out of the birth canal, always to force the issue,” Murphy said. “Because it’s an emotionally charged issue, and that’s what elections are, they’re emotionally charged events.”

Trump has been on every side of the abortion debate over the last 25 years, even describing himself as “very pro-choice” in 1999. But on Monday, the former president released a video statement ostensibly clarifying his position on the issue but really avoiding taking an actual stance on pending abortion rights ballot initiatives around the country—and slamming Democrats for something they simply aren’t doing: “supporting execution after birth.”

“Many people have asked me what my position is on abortion and abortion rights, especially since I was proudly the person responsible for the ending of something that all legal scholars—both sides—wanted and in fact demanded be ended: Roe v. Wade. They wanted it ended,” Trump said. “It must be remembered that the Democrats are the radical ones on this position because they support abortion up to and even beyond the ninth month. The concept of having an abortion in the later months and even execution after birth, and that’s exactly what it is, the baby is born and the baby is executed after birth, is unacceptable, and almost everyone agrees with that.”

That, however, is completely false. No one has advocated for the death of children.

Trump’s stance angered people on both sides of the aisle: Conservatives wanted him to back a federal abortion ban, while abortion rights advocates warned that by claiming he thought the states should set abortion regulations, Trump was really backing the most draconian restrictions on the procedure.

Shortly after dropping the video on Truth Social, Trump issued another cloaked warning to Democrats, suggesting that their inaction on the issue will be their downfall.

“You know the Democrats are ‘reeling’ when they have no response to my recent Statement on Abortion, other than, ‘He’s only kidding. He will change it’ or, ‘He won’t do that, he’ll do something else,’” he posted. “I guess this means that we will win the Election because they are so bad on every Issue, this is the only Issue they are focused on!”

Letitia James Scores Again, Nails Notorious MAGA Election Fraudsters

Two men agreed to pay a settlement for trying to intimidate Black voters in 2020.

Letitia James stands at a podium
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Far-right provocateur Jacob Wohl and lobbyist Jack Burkman have a history of promoting conspiracy theories, unsuccessfully trying to frame public figures for made-up sexual assaults, and saying fraudulent things. Now they have to pay more than $1 million for a robocall scheme meant to discourage Black voters during the 2020 election.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has reached a settlement with the pair, who were found to have violated the Voting Rights Act and the Ku Klux Klan Act by a New York federal judge in 2023. Wohl and Burkman have been ordered to pay “up to $1.25 million” in the deal.

“The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, and it belongs to everyone,” James said in a statement released on Tuesday. “We will not allow anyone to threaten that right. Wohl and Burkman orchestrated a depraved and disinformation-ridden campaign to intimidate Black voters in an attempt to sway the election in favor of their preferred candidate.”

The calls, directed at areas with predominantly Black populations, made wild claims during the summer of 2020 about how voting by mail was unsafe. The robocalls insisted that voting by mail would put people’s personal data at risk of being used by local law enforcement to track old warrants, used by credit card companies to collect debts, and even used to make a database for “mandatory vaccines.” The robocalls mentioned Burkman and Wohl by name, making it easy for authorities to connect the effort to the pair.

Tuesday’s settlement is not the only legal consequence the two face for their voter intimidation efforts, which also affected Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and several other states. In June 2023, the Federal Communications Commission fined Burkman and Wohl $5,134,500 for the scheme, the largest penalty ever at the time it was proposed under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. In Ohio, Burkman and Wohl were each sentenced to community service, $2,500 fines, and probation. In Michigan, the case is pending before the state Supreme Court.

If the pair fail to pay at least $105,000 of the fine to the New York attorney general’s office, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, and people harmed by the scheme by December 31, 2024, the fine’s amount will increase to $1.25 million.

Marjorie Taylor Greene Is Ramping Up Her Attacks on Mike Johnson

The Georgia representative is ramping up her attack on the House speaker.

Marjorie Taylor Greene looks forward
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene is back to torching House Speaker Mike Johnson.

On Tuesday, the Georgia Republican attempted to threaten her colleague, circulating a vicious five-page memo calling for his removal from leadership while accusing the caucus of ignoring the wills of its constituents via the party’s alleged “complete and total surrender” to Democrats under Johnson.

“If these actions by the leader of our conference continue, then we are not a Republican Party—we are a uniparty that is hellbent on remaining on the path of self-inflicted destruction,” she wrote, according to a copy of the memo obtained by The New York Times. “I will neither support nor take part in any of that, and neither will the people we represent.”

Last month, Greene filed a motion to vacate Johnson after he worked with Democrats and Republicans in the Senate to pass a $1.2 trillion omnibus bill, putting a cap on a half-year ordeal to accomplish one of the legislature’s primary annual responsibilities: funding the government. The relatively big accomplishment is clearly still top of mind for Greene.

“Fully funding abortion, the trans agenda, the climate agenda, foreign wars and Biden’s border crisis is not ‘ensuring liberty, opportunity and security for all Americans,’” Greene wrote on Tuesday.

While the budget did set aside funds for climate change initiatives and U.S. border security, Greene seems to have forgetten that federal funds cannot be used for abortions, except in the case of rape, incest, or a life-threatening medical emergency to the pregnant person. The bill also makes no mention of transgender people.

But those weren’t the only agenda items Greene took issue with. Also on the list of reasons for ousting Johnson: failing to defund special counsel Jack Smith’s prosecution against Donald Trump for trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election results and for hoarding classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, and for making promises on Ukraine aid, which Johnson has pledged over the past several weeks to push through.

“Mike Johnson is publicly saying funding Ukraine is now his top priority when less than seven months ago he was against it,” Greene continued. “The American people disagree—they believe our border is the only border worth fighting a war over, and I agree with them.”

Other conservatives, meanwhile, aren’t so sure that Greene’s rampage signifies the end for Johnson—including House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner, who told CNN on Sunday that he doesn’t believe Johnson is at “any risk” of getting the boot.

Where Did All of Jared Kushner’s Investors Come From? Take a Guess

Ninety-nine percent of funding at Kushner’s investment firm comes from foreign sources.

Jared Kushner is seen in three-quarter profile
John Lamparski/Getty Images

Jared Kushner’s investment firm, Affinity Partners, has invested nearly $1.2 billion since it was formed in 2021. Nearly all of that money has come from foreign sources, raising major ethical red flags.

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, 99 percent of Affinity’s investor funds have come from foreign sources, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Affinity, which is worth $3 billion, has received investments from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as corporate moguls like Terry Gou, who founded electronics giant Foxconn.

These are all countries that Kushner worked with when his father-in-law, Donald Trump, was in the White House. Kushner served as Trump’s main envoy to the Middle East and was a key figure in brokering the Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between Israel and the UAE, and Israel and Bahrain.

Kushner’s fund has invested in an Israeli car-leasing and financing company, an online real estate site based in Dubai, and an Abu Dhabi–supported fast food company that operates more than 1,000 restaurants in Brazil, the Times reported.

Kushner announced two of his biggest deals yet last month: a $500 million hotel and condominium complex in Serbia and two luxury developments in Albania. Neither of these deals could have happened without Kushner’s time working in the Trump administration, where he met the president of Serbia and the prime minister of Albania, who were directly involved in each respective deal.

During Trump’s presidential term, Kushner likely made hundreds of millions of dollars. Those earnings also were controversial, particularly due to his business deals with countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar while meeting with them in his White House capacity.

Although Kushner specialized in the Middle East during Trump’s stint at the White House, he has come under fire for his stance on Palestine. Since Israel’s war in Gaza broke out, the Abraham Accords have been criticized for ignoring Palestinians.

Recently, Kushner told a Harvard University audience that he thought Gaza’s beach coastline was “very valuable,” essentially advocating for Israel ethnic cleansing the land to develop it. If he continues in this vein, he might have to deal with more direct protests, like the ones that crashed his awards ceremony at an Anti-Defamation League event last month.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Somehow Makes His Stance on January 6 Even Worse

The independent candidate is having to correct his correction.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. sits and speaks into a microphone
John Nacion/Getty Images

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. still can’t make up his mind about the January 6 rioters.

On Monday, Kennedy appeared to backtrack on a correction his campaign issued just last week. Appearing on NewsNation, the 70-year-old claimed that his campaign had made “a couple of mistakes” in issuing the revised statement.

“I think it was a protest that turned into a riot,” Kennedy told NewsNation’s Chris Cuomo. “I think there were people who wanted insurrection and—but I don’t know what your definition of an insurrection is. If your definition is armed men who are intending to take over the United States government, it wasn’t that.

“I think that there were people who were there who wanted to obstruct the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another. I would say it was a very traumatic day in our nation’s history and people committed criminal acts. Those people deserve to be in jail,” he continued.

Last week, Kennedy’s campaign released a fundraising email that described January 6 rioters as “activists.” The campaign apologized for the error the following day but doubled down on the idea that the event didn’t amount to a “true insurrection” since the rioters didn’t wield weapons.

No matter which definition you accept, Kennedy’s defense of the rioters—who chanted “Kill them all” while hunting down former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence—is inaccurate, even from a cursory review of footage from the day. The rioters who ransacked their way through the halls of Congress did indeed wield weapons, including baseball bats, hockey sticks, fence rebar, flagpoles, pepper spray, and bear spray, U.S. Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell told CNN in 2021.

The rioters also attacked Capitol Police officers with firearms, knives, stolen police shields, stun guns, fire extinguishers, and even hand-to-hand combat, which sent more than a dozen officers to the hospital.

But Kennedy’s verbal appeal to the mob isn’t the only way he’s thrown his support behind them. The independent political candidate has also suggested that the legal prosecution of the people who ransacked Congress was tantamount to “harsh treatment,” which he would be willing to investigate by way of special counsel if elected president.