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Ted Cruz Wants to Make Sure Airlines Don’t Have to Refund Your Money

Bizarre policy to be advocating for right before November, but OK.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Ted Cruz and four of his fellow members of Congress want you to fly through hoops to get a refund from an airline.

Last week, the Biden administration issued a new rule requiring automatic refunds from airlines if a flight is delayed or canceled. But then, Senators Ted Cruz and Maria Cantwell, as well as Representatives Sam Graves and Rick Larsen, proposed legislation that would undermine the rule by requiring passengers to submit a “written or electronic request” to get a full refund if their flight is canceled or heavily delayed.

The bill would essentially make refunds only available to people who have the time and resources to navigate whatever processes an airline sets up. Plus, contacting an airline has never been easy to do. This would also seem to defeat the purpose of Biden’s new rule: hassle-free payback to inconvenienced travelers.

“Passengers deserve to get their money back when an airline owes them—without headaches or haggling,” Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said in a statement last week. “Our new rule sets a new standard to require airlines to promptly provide cash refunds to their passengers.” 

It’s not just Republicans attempting to ground Biden’s new rule: Cantwell and Larsen are both Democrats from Washington state, where airplane manufacturer Boeing has several facilities. But why is Cruz weighing in? It might be because he has been obsessing over air travel in recent months, even proposing a bill to give politicians extra security in airports so they don’t have to spend so much time in line.

That bill would also reduce the likelihood of the public seeing or interacting with politicians when they fly—something Cruz wants to avoid, lest he be seen flying to Cancun again while his constituents in Texas get hit with severe weather.

Fox News Rushes to Do Damage Control After Hunter Biden Lawsuit

The network had a not-at-all guilty response to reports that Hunter Biden plans to sue.

Hunter Biden speaks into microphones
Tierney L. Cross/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Fox News has quietly pulled The Trial of Hunter Biden, a six-part “mock trial” of Hunter Biden, from its digital streaming service, signaling that the company is taking the “imminently” arriving lawsuit announced by the president’s son more seriously than it had initially let on.

The scrub was first reported on Tuesday by the Daily Beast, just one day after Biden’s attorneys went public with a letter warning of forthcoming legal action due to the conservative media behemoth’s “relentless” attacks against him. Biden’s team accuses Fox of “conspiracy and subsequent actions to defame Mr. Biden and paint him in a false light.”

The letter also accused the network of knowing that nude images it circulated of Biden, allegedly taken from his laptop, were “hacked, stolen, and/or manipulated digital material” but continuing to publish them regardless, despite multiple state laws banning such acts under the umbrella of revenge porn.

In a statement issued Tuesday to CNN, Fox claimed that it had taken down the explicit miniseries simply out of “an abundance of caution” while it reviewed the letter. Still, handing Biden’s legal team exactly what they wanted is a far cry from the defiant counter statement shared by Fox just hours earlier that insisted the company had accurately covered relevant events pertaining to Biden, including investigations by the Department of Justice and Congress and indictments by U.S. attorney’s offices.

“Hunter Biden’s lawyers have belatedly chosen to publicly attack Fox News’ constitutionally protected coverage regarding their client,” a spokesperson for the network told The New Republic. “Mr. Biden is a public figure who has been the subject of investigations by both the Department of Justice and Congress, has been indicted by two different US Attorney’s Offices in California and Delaware, and has admitted to multiple incidents of wrongdoing. Consistent with the First Amendment, Fox News has accurately covered these highly publicized events as well as the subsequent indictment of an FBI informant who was the source of certain claims made about Mr. Biden.”

“Blockbuster Trump Story”: Witness Reveals How Hush-Money All Began

Keith Davidson, who represented both Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, just confirmed some damning texts.

Donald Trump in court
Curtis Means/Pool/Getty Images

A major witness in Donald Trump’s hush-money trial confirmed a key text message that set off the controversial payments.

Keith Davidson, who was previously the lawyer for both Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, took the stand in Trump’s trial on Tuesday. Davidson, notably, was also responsible for transferring the $130,000 hush-money payment to Daniels.

During the trial, Davidson read aloud some texts he sent in June 2016 to Dylan Howard, then National Enquirers editor in chief and chief of content for its parent company, American Media Inc.

“I have a blockbuster Trump story,” Davidson texted Howard at the time, referring to the story of Trump and McDougal’s affair.

“Talk first thing,” Howard replied. “I will get you more than anyone for it, you know why.”

Three days later, Howard followed up. “Did [Trump] cheat on Melania?” he texted Davidson. “Do you know if the affair was during his marriage to Melania?”

“I really cannot say yet. Sorry,” Davidson replied.

“OK. Keep me informed,” Howard texted.

The text messages between the two also reveal that Howard flew out to meet McDougal and Davidson for an in-person meeting just a few days later to discuss the story.

The most interesting part of Davidson’s testimony? Howard’s text message: “I will get you more than anyone for it, you know why.” As previous witnesses have also confirmed, the Enquirer was willing to pay handsomely to bury the McDougal story, all to help Trump just before the election.

Trump Is Totally Pissed at His Lawyer as Hush-Money Trial Goes South

Donald Trump is reportedly fuming at his lawyer Todd Blanche, as things take a turn for the worse in this trial.

Donald Trump yells and points at Todd Blanche
Timothy A. Clary/Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump is mad at his attorney Todd Blanche, and is complaining about him constantly.

The New York Times, citing four anonymous sources, reports that the former president is mad that Blanche isn’t following his instructions closely in his hush-money trial, and isn’t being aggressive enough. Trump reportedly wants to see Blanche attacking witnesses, the judge, and even the jury pool in the case more often.

But if Blanche isn’t being aggressive, it might be for a good reason. The attorney has already been reprimanded once for trying to defend Trump against a gag order, claiming that Trump’s posts on Truth Social didn’t violate the order. That drew the ire of Judge Juan Merchan.

“Mr. Blanche, you are losing all credibility with the court,” Merchan warned last week.

The Times article mentions that Trump often vents about not having someone like Roy Cohn, his former infamous lawyer who had a reputation for ruthlessness and dirty tricks. Trump’s complaints track with the rest of his poor record with lawyers. Trump has a history of failing to pay his lawyers, who also tend to quit often. The top lawyer in his classified documents case, Evan Corcoran, quit just a few months ago. Two other lawyers left his legal team last year amid reports of infighting. At least one lawyer on his legal team, Alina Habba, says she was chosen for her looks over her intelligence, and her bizarre defenses of the former president seem to confirm that.

Blanche, a white-collar criminal defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor, has been representing Trump since June, and has previously represented other figures in Trump’s orbit, such as his 2016 campaign manager Paul Manafort and Igor Fruman, an associate of Rudy Giuliani. He has a tall order in defending Trump from 34 felony charges for allegedly paying off adult film actress Stormy Daniels to cover up an affair prior to the 2016 election. If he’s not performing to Trump’s liking, he might not last much longer.

Finally! A Republican Shows Some Spine, Says She’s Voting for Biden

Donald Trump’s White House deputy press secretary says Trump won’t “uphold the Constitution.”

Sarah Matthews speaks into a microphone
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Sarah Matthews testifies before the House January 6 investigative committee on July 21, 2022.

While even top GOP lawmakers are yielding to the will of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, at least one Republican who used to work in Trump’s White House says she has to vote for the other guy.

Former White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews torched Trump and the dissenting conservatives who’ve bent their knee to him in recent months, telling MSNBC that it’s “really frustrating” because “a lot of Republicans” that she has spoken to, including top elected officials, “will bash him privately, but many of them will not even say it publicly.”

“A lot of times what they often say is that they’re supporting him because of the policies, that they want the conservative agenda. And where I get really frustrated is that they’re treating this like it’s a normal election, a normal Republican candidate, and a normal Democratic candidate. Well, this couldn’t be anything further from the case,” Matthews said Monday night.

But when push comes to shove, conservative policy arguments don’t matter when the GOP presidential nominee is someone who refuses to acknowledge that he lost the last election, and who has not set aside the possibility of utilizing mob violence for his own political gain in November. For that reason, Matthews explained, she will be voting for President Joe Biden.

“With Donald Trump, you have a candidate who tried to overturn the last election, who spread conspiracy theories because he couldn’t accept the fact that lost the last election. And then those theories helped inspire an insurrection on our nation’s Capitol,” she said. “And to this day, Donald Trump refuses to admit that he lost that election and has not shown any remorse for what happened on January 6. So, of course, I would love for us to be having a debate of policy ideas in the 2024 election. But when we have a candidate on the ballot who will not uphold the Constitution, then I feel like I have to put policy aside, and I want to support the person who is best suited to defeat Donald Trump.”

She then called out Trump’s Attorney General Bill Barr, who in May 2023 explained during a City Club of Cleveland event that Trump was not fit to return to the Oval Office.

“If you believe in his policies—what he’s advertising as his policies, he’s the last person who could actually execute them and achieve them,” Barr said at the time. “You may want his policies, but Trump will not deliver Trump policies. He will deliver chaos.”

But just last week, Barr endorsed Trump, earning himself a massive barrage of mocking from his former boss.

Matthews stressed Barr’s point from last year to MSNBC: “Even if you want a conservative agenda, Trump is not the person who will deliver that,” she said.

In Shock to No One, George Santos’s Charitable Effort Doesn’t Add Up

Santos says he wants to raise money for a charity. There’s just one problem.

George Santos stands in front of the Capitol
Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Former Representative George Santos may be pulling off another charity scam.

He announced Monday that he was bringing his long-denied drag alter ego Kitara Ravache to Cameo, offering up $350 videos, for which 20 percent of the proceeds would be donated to two charities: 10 percent to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which supports first responders and military veterans, and another 10 percent to the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. But now one of the charities is claiming that he has never contacted them.

“We have not engaged in any conversations with Rep. Santos or his team. The Foundation did not know about his planned donation before his post on X,” the Tunnel to Towers Foundation said in a statement provided to New York Times reporter Michael Gold.

Screenshot of a tweet

Santos has been on the Cameo platform, which offers personalized messages from certain celebrities for sale, since December, and he has made a lot of money from it, likely more than he ever earned as a member of Congress. He also has a history of pocketing money that he claimed was for charity: Santos allegedly took money from a GoFundMe meant to pay for surgery for a veteran’s service dog in 2016. It makes a lot of sense that Santos would come up with a charity-based scheme to rake in more money from Cameo, perhaps to pay for more Botox or OnlyFans.

Is the former congressman simply desperate for cash? He recently dropped a bid to return to the House of Representatives after raising zero dollars, and he still has to come up with funds to pay his various legal fees. Santos currently faces 23 federal charges for unemployment fraud, aggravated identity theft, and credit card fraud.

Trump Hints Another January 6 Could Happen If He Loses the Election

The former president made multiple chilling warnings during an interview with Time magazine.

Donald Trump looks forward
Mark Peterson/Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump hasn’t quite let go of the possibility of utilizing mob violence if he loses the next election.

In a sprawling interview for Time magazine, Trump hinted that leveraging political violence to achieve his end goals was still on the table.

“If we don’t win, you know, it depends,” he told Time. “It always depends on the fairness of the election.”

And from Trump’s perspective, that’s winning rhetoric. According to him, his incendiary comments supporting a mob mentality, his early warnings of forthcoming abuses of power, and his threats to be a dictator on “day one” are only inching him closer to the White House. “I think a lot of people like it,” Trump told Time.

Recent poll numbers would suggest he’s correct—or that people actually don’t seem to mind his aggressive, democracy-defying verbiage, at the very least. In a Harvard CAPS/HarrisX poll published April 25, Trump performed seven percentage points better than President Joe Biden when the two were matched up alongside independent presidential candidates Robert F. Kennedy, Jill Stein, and Cornel West. And in a batch of state-based polls published on Monday by Emerson College, Trump took every battleground state.

Meanwhile, the trial that will determine Trump’s level of involvement on the day that his followers actually attempted to overthrow Congress’s certification of the 2020 vote has been indefinitely waylaid by the former president’s claim of presidential immunity. The Supreme Court heard arguments for that case last week. It is currently unclear how the justices will decide the case, though they are expected to issue an opinion sometime between the end of June and early July.

Trump Reveals Exactly Who He’d Go After in a Second Term

Donald Trump has confessed in a new interview his revenge plans if he wins the next election.

Donald Trump
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Donald Trump has made no secret of his plans to take revenge if he makes his way back to the White House.

In a new interview with Time magazine, Trump said he would consider firing U.S. attorneys who refuse to follow his orders on prosecution of others.

“It depends on the situation, honestly,” he said, undermining the idea of independent law enforcement.

When asked if he would prosecute Fani Willis or Alvin Bragg, the Atlanta-area and Manhattan district attorneys who are currently prosecuting him, he also wouldn’t outright reject the idea.

Well you said Alvin Bragg should be prosecuted. Would you instruct your attorney general to prosecute him? 

Trump: When did I say Alvin Bragg should be prosecuted?

It was at a rally. 

Trump: I don’t think I said that, no. 

I can pull it up. 

Trump: No.

And when it came to Biden, Trump again made clear he’s open to the idea of prosecution.

After initially saying he “wouldn’t want to hurt Biden,” Trump seconds later said it all depends on the Supreme Court’s immunity ruling. “If they said that a president doesn’t get immunity,” said Trump, “then Biden, I am sure, will be prosecuted for all of his crimes.”

Trump also revived the idea of enforcing Schedule F, which allows the president to fire nonpolitical government officials. This would allow him to fire civil servants who refuse to carry out his orders. 

“You have some people that are protected that shouldn’t be protected,” he said.

It’s no secret that Trump and many of his far-right allies want to purge the government of civil servants who aren’t loyal to their agenda. Famously, Trump adviser Steven Bannon said he wanted to dismantle the administrative state. President Biden has taken steps to bolster and strengthen the administrative state, which would be in clear jeopardy if Trump is reelected.

In the rest of the Time interview, Trump was at times contradictory but also said that he would consider pardoning every single one of the January 6 rioters and take steps to deport millions of undocumented immigrants via detention camps and the U.S. military. In any case, if he wins reelection, it’s safe to say that the U.S. government would be upended, with Trump using all of the legal means at his disposal. Those who want to preserve democracy as we know it would have a tall order on their hands.

Judge Warns Trump May Soon Face Jail Time in Hush-Money Trial

The former president also has been fined $9,000 for violating his gag order.

Donald Trump speaks
Seth Wenig/Pool/Getty Images

Judge Juan Merchan ruled Tuesday that Donald Trump will face consequences for repeatedly violating the gag order in his New York hush-money trial, though it remains to be seen if the imposed fines will be enough to deter him from future violations.

Trump will have to pay $1,000 per violation, amounting to a $9,000 fine for continually violating a court-imposed partial gag order that prevents him from speaking publicly about courtroom staff, prosecutors, jurors, witnesses, or any of their family members. The $1,000 fine is the maximum allowed for gag order violations by state law, though Merchan himself acknowledged the limitations of such a fine when the “contemnor can easily afford such a fine.”

In a decision noting that the court cannot craft an “appropriate” financial penalty, Merchan wrote that, in order to “protect the dignity of the judicial system and to compel respect for its mandates,” the court “must therefore consider whether in some instances, jail may be a necessary punishment.”

Trump was found in contempt for all but one of the 10 violations alleged by the prosecutors with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office earlier this month. At the time, the office requested the judge issue Trump a $1,000 sanction for three prior posts, along with another warning to the GOP presidential nominee that future violations could lead to jail time.

But that won’t be the end of it: Trump is scheduled for another gag order hearing on Thursday, when the judge will hear arguments on another four alleged violations.

Trump has been violating the order since the very beginning of the trial. Mere hours into the first day, prosecutors with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office announced that they believed Trump had violated the gag order via a series of posts on Truth Social made earlier in the morning.

“DA notes a 9:12 am post today, potentially made inside the courthouse, also violates the order,” reported MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin.

That might refer to a post in which Trump quoted a headline from a New York Post op-ed, writing that “a serial perjurer will try to prove an old misdemeanor against Trump in an embarrassment for the New York legal system.” If so, that would mean that leveraging the words of others, even media outlets, to benefit his own beliefs would be off the table.

But the level of punishment for Trump’s disregard for his gag order could vary, according to MSNBC analyst Caroline Polisi, who noted two weeks ago it might range from a “tongue lashing” to “monetary sanctions” to actually “putting him in jail.”

“The judge is in a tough spot here,” Polisi said during live coverage of the trial. “No judge wants to be that, you know, person. That is the one to throw former President Trump in jail for criminal contempt. I personally just don’t see that happening. But, the judge’s hands may be tied here. You know, we’ve seen previous judges issue these sort of escalating, sanctions, monetary sanctions.”

Trump is on trial for allegedly using former fixer Michael Cohen to sweep an affair with adult film actress Stormy Daniels under the rug ahead of the 2016 presidential election. He faces 34 felony charges in this case and stands accused of falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime. Trump has pleaded not guilty on all counts.

This story has been updated.

Rudy Giuliani Wants to Do the Exact Thing That Got Trump Impeached

Giuliani called for Republicans to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Rudy Giuliani issued some bold advice to leaders of the Republican party on Monday: pull the same stunt that Donald Trump was impeached over.

“They should bring over from Ukraine about 20 Ukrainian witnesses—I can get ’em—that are still being held there,” Giuliani said on Newsmax, addressing House Speaker Mike Johnson and Representative Jim Jordan. “Somebody should lean on Zelenskiy. You want another penny, give us your Biden file.”

But that scheme has already been tried—by Giuliani himself. Ahead of the 2020 presidential election, Giuliani took to Ukraine to connect with officials in his effort to “find dirt on the Bidens” that could potentially hurt then-presidential candidate Joe Biden’s chances at taking the White House.

That plan blew up in his face when it resulted in Trump’s first formal impeachment by the House of Representatives, which adopted two articles of impeachment in December 2019 after they determined Trump had solicited the aid of foreign governments in the 2020 election.

But the bombshell would have lingering ramifications when Giuliani’s conspiracy was utilized as fodder for a House probe into Hunter Biden’s business dealings, with Republicans accusing Joe Biden of orchestrating a political cover-up in the Eastern European nation while serving as vice president in order to protect his son’s seat on the board of Ukrainian oil company Burisma. In February, the singular witness supporting that astounding allegation reportedly admitted that the whole narrative was actually hand-crafted by top Russian intelligence officials.

And despite it being generally bad practice to lean on foreign governments, Giuliani is, arguably, the worst political operative to take advice from when it comes to involving other countries in campaigns against domestic political opponents. None of his previous efforts have seemed to work out for him. The man once affectionately known as “America’s mayor” is currently named as one of more than a dozen co-conspirators in the Georgia election interference case, and just last week was named in an Arizona indictment charging another slew of Republican officials and Trump allies for their alleged involvement in a scheme to overturn the state’s 2020 presidential election results.

Read more about Republicans' stance on Ukraine: