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Chuck Schumer Falls in Line with Mike Johnson on Netanyahu

Schumer previously said the Israeli prime minister should be voted out.

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Less than two months after criticizing Benjamin Netanyahu and calling for his ouster, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer reportedly now plans to invite the Israeli prime minister to address Congress.

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson drafted an invitation to Netanyahu last month and told The Hill Thursday that it was to be extended on behalf of both houses of Congress. But, Johnson said, Schumer has done nothing since then.

“I sent a letter draft, because it’s a bicameral invitation letter, it’s been sitting on Chuck Schumer’s desk. As far as I know he has not co-signed it yet,” Johnson said.

But now, Schumer’s office says, the Senate majority leader has changed his mind.

“He intends to join the invitation; the timing is being worked out,” a spokesperson for Schumer said.

In March, Schumer gave a speech in Congress saying that Netanyahu had “lost his way,” arguing that the Israeli prime minister had allowed his “political survival to take precedence over the best interests” of Israel and criticizing his alliance with the country’s far right.

“Nobody expects Prime Minister Netanyahu to do the things that must be done to break the cycle of violence, preserve Israel’s credibility on the world stage, and work towards a two-state solution,” Schumer said.

Just a week later, though, when Johnson announced he intended to invite Netanyahu to address Congress, Schumer appeared to hedge his bets.

“Israel has no stronger ally than the United States and our relationship transcends any one president or any one Prime Minister. I will always welcome the opportunity for the Prime Minister of Israel to speak to Congress in a bipartisan way,” Schumer said in a statement.

So, what caused Schumer to welcome Netanyahu? It may be that misguided framing and discourse regarding college protests against Israel’s war in Gaza, where Netanyahu and the Israeli military have been accused of war crimes, have changed his outlook. Some Democrats have made outrageous criticisms and claims about the student movement, even going as far to compare them to neo-Nazis. Meanwhile, many Republicans have engaged in grandstanding over the protests to boost their pro-Israel credibility, despite being mocked by the students.

Schumer also was attacked after his March speech by the pro-Israel lobbying organization AIPAC, which still wields considerable influence in Congress. It’s quite telling that Schumer’s speech didn’t mention Congress’s long history of hindering peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians, perhaps demonstrating that nothing was really going to change. It looks like anything that would actually bring a cease-fire to Israel’s war in Gaza and make definite steps toward a Palestinian state, such as ending weapons sales to Israel, isn’t coming from Congress anytime soon.

RFK Jr.’s Staffers Keep Getting Worse

A ballot-access consultant allegedly punched and choked a woman.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks into a microphone
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Yet another Robert F. Kennedy Jr. campaign worker is in trouble, but this time for a very serious reason: allegedly choking and punching a woman.

Trent Pool, a paid ballot-access consultant on the campaign, was charged Saturday with criminal obstruction of breathing and assault after getting into an argument with a 25-year-old woman at the Soho Grand Hotel in downtown Manhattan at 5 a.m. that day.

Pool “wrapped his hand around her neck making it hard for her to breath[e] and then struck her in the face with a closed fist, causing pain,” Mediaite reported Thursday, citing police. The woman turned down medical attention, and Pool was then arrested.

Pool and his firm Accelevate 2020, which specializes in ballot-access, petition, and general campaign consulting, were brought onto Kennedy’s campaign to help the long-shot independent candidate get onto state election ballots. But perhaps Pool should have been screened before being hired: He was also arrested for fourth-degree assault in Seattle in February.

Last month, Kennedy’s campaign director for New York, Rita Palma, was caught on video telling state Republicans that the real goal was to stop Joe Biden from winning. Palma was also found to have extensive ties to Donald Trump, and may have been present at the Capitol insurrection on January 6. She was later fired by the Kennedy campaign.

Kennedy’s personal record when it comes to women isn’t good, either. He has been called a compulsive womanizer, and it was a major contributing factor in the collapse of his first marriage and suicide of his first wife. But that hasn’t stopped him from apparently managing to endear himself to Trump—until this week.

Despite praising Kennedy extensively in recent months, Trump and his advisers are suddenly worried that Kennedy will take away crucial votes. Kennedy is also facing calls to drop out from his former allies in the environmental movement, who say that he has turned against science and embraced conspiracy theories.

Republican Rep. Has Truly Unhinged Response to Campus Protests

Representative Nancy Mace went off at protesters in a truly horrific rant.

Students rally in support of Palestine on the George Washington University campus
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Students rally in support of Palestine on the George Washington University campus in Washington, D.C., on May 2.

The Gaza solidarity encampments have actually made progress at several universities across the nation, pushing school administrators to meet with student protest leaders to consider divestment away from companies that facilitate the Israeli occupation of Palestine. But Representative Nancy Mace doesn’t see any of that—instead, she insisted that the protesters were just a bunch of “terrorist-loving kids” who “hate our country so much.”

“They should take their terrorist flags, they should go to Gaza in their crop tops and nose rings and see how long they would last, because Hamas would chop off their heads, throw them off the roof of a building, before they ever had the chance to tell them their pronouns,” Mace told Fox News Thursday afternoon.

“I want to know where the adults are on campus, putting a stop to this kind of violence,” the South Carolina lawmaker continued. “They are preventing Jewish students from going to class. They are trashing these college campuses. This is not what America stands for. We stand for freedom and liberty of all people, but this is what Biden, this is what the left and Democrats … created this mess, and they need to own it.”

But the violent police response that Mace seems to be endorsing to break up the protests has already happened at a slew of other institutions, and it didn’t exactly paint the United States as an international bastion of freedom or free speech. Instead, the actions taken by police at Columbia University on Tuesday shocked human rights and press freedom advocates around the globe after authorities ripped apart a peaceful protest, fired a gun inside an administrative building occupied by protesters, and threatened to arrest the dean of one of the country’s top journalism schools for shielding the media’s First Amendment right to cover the event.

Meanwhile, on the opposite coast, police allowed pro-Israel counterprotesters to violently attack an otherwise peaceful encampment set up by UCLA students in support of Gaza.

The international criminal court at The Hague is currently weighing whether to charge Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with war crimes, as more than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed and more than 77,000  injured in the conflict—the majority of whom were women and children, according to data from the Gaza Health Ministry.

Trump’s Precarious Truth Social Gambit Just Took a Turn for the Worse

Federal regulators have shut the media company’s auditor down for alleged fraud.

Donald Trump's Truth Social account is seen on a phone screen
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The auditing firm for Donald Trump’s social media company Truth Social doesn’t look so clean.

On Friday, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged auditor BF Borgers CPA for “massive fraud” that affected more than 1,500 SEC filings. The firm is accused of “deliberate and systemic failures to comply” with federal standards between January 2021 and June 2023, according to an announcement by the SEC.

The accounting group and its owner, Benjamin Borgers, have agreed to pay $14 million in civil penalties and are permanently suspended from practicing as accountants.

“Ben Borgers and his audit firm, BF Borgers, were responsible for one of the largest wholesale failures by gatekeepers in our financial markets,” said Gurbir S. Grewal, director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, in a statement. “As a result of their fraudulent conduct, they not only put investors and markets at risk by causing public companies to incorporate noncompliant audits and reviews into more than 1,500 filings with the Commission, but also undermined trust and confidence in our markets.”

“Because investors rely on the audited financial statements of public companies when making their investment decisions, the accountants and accounting firms that audit those statements play a critical role in our financial markets,” Grewal continued. “Borgers and his firm completely abandoned that role, but thanks to the painstaking work of the SEC staff, Borgers and his sham audit mill have been permanently shut down.”

The SEC order also accuses Borgers of failing to supervise the teams performing the audits and reviews, improperly preparing and maintaining documentation of the audits, and failing to get engagement quality reviews, which the agency notes are a necessary part of issuing an audit report.

The share price of Trump Media & Technology Group, the corporation that owns Truth Social, was down 9 percent after trading began.

The news is the latest blow to the GOP presidential nominee’s floundering social media venture, which went public in late March. Truth Social’s original valuation of $8 billion was expected to buoy Trump’s wallet through more than half a billion dollars in court judgments and legal fees, but the company’s value quickly plummeted after reports emerged that the stock was concocted as a pump-and-dump scheme. Just a few days after hitting the trading floor, Truth Social stock took another hit when two of its major investors were charged with insider trading.

This story has been updated.

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Kristi Noem’s Book Woes Continue: Now She’s Caught in a Huge Lie

The South Dakota governor falsely claimed she met Kim Jong Un.

Kristi Noem speaks into a microphone
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After creating a stir by revealing that she killed her pet dog, Kristi Noem has now been caught in a lie claiming to meet world leaders, in new details released from her upcoming book.

In No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong With Politics and How We Move America Forward, the South Dakota governor claims she met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during her tenure on the House Armed Services Committee, which lasted from 2013 to 2015, while she served in Congress. She also says she canceled a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron last year.

But, The Dakota Scout reported Thursday, neither of these supposed instances have records or outside sources to back them. Macron’s office told the Scout that there was never a meeting scheduled with Noem, and there are no congressional travel documents that indicate Noem met Kim. In fact, a meeting with the North Korean dictator was news to congressional staffers. 

“It’s bullshit,” said a House Armed Services Committee staff member who worked there during the period in which Noem says she met Kim. According to the Scout, that staff member was one of a dozen who had no knowledge of such a meeting or said Noem never mentioned it. Her book uses that meeting to inflate her leadership skills. 

“Through my tenure on the House Armed Services Committee,” she wrote, “I had the chance to travel to many countries to meet with world leaders. I remember when I met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. I’m sure he underestimated me, having no clue about my experience staring down little tyrants (I’d been a children’s pastor, after all). Dealing with foreign leaders takes resolve, preparation and determination. My experiences on those many foreign trips made me a better member of Congress and a stronger governor. It allowed me to hone my deal-making skills, which play a crucial role in leadership.”

Noem’s claim to have canceled a meeting with Macron coincided with a trip she made to France, according to her book. 

“While in Paris, I was slated to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron,” Noem wrote. “However, the day before we were to meet he made what I considered a very pro-Hamas and anti-Israel comment to the press. So, I decided to cancel. There is no place for pro-Hamas rhetoric.”

While the Scout confirmed with the French president’s office that a direct invitation was not made to Noem, she could have been scheduled to speak at a political event where Macron was also scheduled. On November 10, Noem spoke at an event on the same day that Macron called for a cease-fire in Israel’s bombardment of Gaza

Noem’s book is scheduled to be released on May 7. The revelation last month that she killed her pet puppy after it killed livestock led to widespread criticism, even from within the Republican Party. Noem has only doubled down, drawing even more ire. 

The move is said to have hurt her chances of becoming Donald Trump’s running mate, which no doubt stings, given how unpopular Noem already is at home. Several Native tribes in her state have banned her from their land for racist comments.  

Trump’s Idiot Lawyers Try Absolutely Bizarre Legal Move on Gag Order

This was a long shot, even for Donald Trump’s lawyers.

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One of Donald Trump’s attorneys tried to get the judge in his hush-money trial to greenlight every one of his online posts ahead of time to ensure they wouldn’t violate his gag order. Unsurprisingly, she was immediately rebuffed.

After the Manhattan district court’s lunch break Thursday, Susan Necheles presented a stack of news article printouts to Judge Juan Merchan, asking that the former president be allowed to post the articles to his Truth Social account.

“We think that they are perfectly fine,” Trump’s lawyer told Merchan. One of the prosecutors seemed puzzled, telling the judge, “It seems odd that they’re asking the court for an advanced ruling” on what would violate the order. Merchan seemed to echo that point of view.

“I’m not going to give advanced rulings,” Merchan said to Necheles, adding that “there is no ambiguity” in the gag order. “I think the best advice you can give your client is, ‘When in doubt, steer clear.’”

Necheles’s long-shot attempt was likely a response to Merchan’s chastisement of Trump lawyer Todd Blanche last week, who tried to claim that Trump’s online posts of news articles didn’t violate the gag order because he technically wasn’t the one who said it. Blanche was unable to provide case law to back up his claim, leading Merchan to warn, “Mr. Blanche, you are losing all credibility with the court.”

Trump is said to be angry with Blanche behind the scenes, perhaps in part for that reason. Trump is also reportedly claiming that the white-collar defense lawyer and former prosecutor does not follow his instructions and isn’t aggressive enough. That may be why it was Necheles who took the unusual step of trying to get advance approval from the judge to avoid yet another gag order violation. Trump already has to pay a $1,000 fine for every infraction, and could face jail time if he is undeterred.

Trump is facing 34 felony charges for allegedly paying off adult film actress Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election to try and cover up an affair with her, and the trial is not going well for him. The case’s latest witness, Daniels’s former lawyer Keith Davidson, is revealing damaging information in his testimony each day, even as stronger witnesses, such as Daniels herself and Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen, have yet to testify.

Michael Cohen’s Secret Tapes Spell Trump’s Doom in Hush-Money Trial

The recordings reveal just how much Trump knew about the payments.

Donald Trump looks down as he walks
Charly Triballeau/Pool/Getty Images

Courtroom revelations from Michael Cohen’s secretly recorded conversations with Donald Trump appear to have just blown his former boss’s legal defense out of the water.

“I need to open up a company for the transfer about our friend David,” Cohen said in part of the tape, according to reporters who attended Trump’s hush-money trial on Thursday. Cohen was referring to Trump in the third person by his documented pseudonym in the agreement, David Dennison.

That shell company would become Essential Consultants LLC, which Cohen used to pass along the $130,000 hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, whom Trump allegedly began an affair with in 2008.

In another section of the tape, Cohen informs Trump that he had “spoken to Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up,” referring to the former Trump Organization CFO. Trump responded that he’d like to be kept in the loop.

“Let me know what’s happening, OK?” Trump was heard saying.

In a separate recording, Cohen told Keith Davidson, who was Daniels’s attorney at the time, that Trump would continually say, “I hate the fact that we did it.” Davidson said he interpreted “it” to mean the deal with Daniels.

The recordings reveal precisely what the former reality TV star’s attorneys have attempted to disprove: that he was involved with the hush-money payments, and that the payments didn’t come from Cohen’s pockets, but rather from Trump’s.

Trump is accused of using Cohen to sweep an affair with Daniels under the rug ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The Republican presidential nominee faces 34 felony charges in this case for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime. Trump has pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Elon Musk Vows to Reinstate Kanye West’s Hitler-Loving Muse

Elon Musk has decided now is the time to ramp up antisemitism on X.

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In a move that will surprise few people, Elon Musk announced Thursday that far-right commentator Nick Fuentes, known for racist, neo-Nazi, and antisemitic views, will soon be allowed back on X.

“Very well, he will be reinstated, provided he does not violate the law, and let him be crushed by the comments and Community Notes,” Musk said in a reply to a question from one of Fuentes’s fans. “It is better to have anti whatever out in the open to be rebutted than grow simmering in the darkness.”

Fuentes has been banned from X since July 2021. He and his supporters call themselves the “groyper army,” and push racist and white nationalist beliefs while also claiming to uphold Christian values. Groypers gained notoriety for disrupting conservative events and spouting racist statements to troll right-wing accounts on social media. Their activities have even influenced Kanye West, who joined Fuentes for a dinner at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in 2022. Despite accounts stating that Trump was impressed with Fuentes, he later blamed West for bringing Fuentes to the meeting.

Fuentes has denied the Holocaust and also expressed prejudice against Muslims, LGBTQ people, and even women. He attended the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, and was present outside the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., during the insurrection on January 6, 2021. He is still banned from other platforms, including Reddit and YouTube, but has a verified account on Trump’s Truth Social.

Musk apparently believes that these viewpoints and activities should not warrant a social media ban, but should be publicly challenged. When he first took over Twitter in 2022, Musk unbanned many accounts that spouted similar beliefs to Fuentes’s, and he has continued to reinstate such accounts, claiming free speech grounds. But Musk has also engaged in random suspensions of left-wing accounts and those critical of him, as well as the wife of deceased Russian dissident Alexei Navalny and the grandson of South African leader Nelson Mandela. At the same time, advertisers continue to flee the site as it is overtaken by newer platforms like Meta’s Threads.

Utah Republicans Find Creepy New Strategy to Bully Trans People

State lawmakers want to monitor which public bathrooms people use.

The transgender pride flag
Noam Galai/Getty Images

The Utah state government has unveiled a new official tip line for snitching on bathroom-goers, inviting the public to make note of whenever they witness a person they believe to be transgender using the “wrong” bathroom.

The form, which was unveiled Wednesday, is the result of the state’s “Sex-Based Designations for Privacy, Anti-Bullying, and Women’s Opportunities” bill. The measure enacted a section of the Utah Code that would effectively allow the state auditor’s office to initiate investigations into alleged gender-related bathroom misconduct on government property. For Utah, the first step of those investigations apparently looks like inviting practically anybody to submit a form where they can snitch on “employees or officials” involved in the supposed violation.

“The alleged violation must have occurred at a publicly owned or controlled facility, program, or event. When possible, citizens should make a good faith effort to address and resolve concerns with the government entity before submitting a complaint to the State Auditor,” explains a section at the top of the form.

But in unfortunate news for the Republican-led state governments that create them, previous snitch form efforts have been shockingly ineffective. A similar effort by the Missouri attorney general’s office in March 2023 for “Transgender Center Concerns” ushered in a scourge of digital spam by pro-trans rights activists, forcing the state to shut down the initiative after just a month, as its inboxes were flooded with fanfiction and copies of the Bee Movie script.

Meanwhile, the public surveillance initiative seems to promote the very behavior—voyeurism in public restrooms—that conservatives accuse the transgender community of engaging in, and which prompted the very laws that the forms are meant to enforce. And, even if the form was utilized in exactly the way that Republicans intended, it would only enforce very rigid expectations of gender expression: if you happen to be a woman with masculine features or a man with feminine features, you could very well be clocked and logged by the state. As a result, the form would prove harmful to cisgender and transgender people alike.

Michael Flynn, in Deep Legal Doo-Doo Yet Again, Loses It

Things are not looking good for the former Trump adviser.

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During an interview on Real America’s Voice Thursday, former national security adviser Michael Flynn claimed that he received eight subpoenas the night before, complaining that there was a massive effort to keep Donald Trump out of office and himself out of government.

“Steve, a little breaking news here on your show, I received eight, count ’em, eight subpoenas last night,” Flynn said in an interview with fellow Trump adviser Steve Bannon, claiming that the effort was part of a Marxist plot against Trump and himself.

“So these people are going to do everything they can, these Marxists, this Communist takeover of the United States of America,” he continued. “And we are in the throes of a Marxist takeover of the United States of America.”

Flynn resigned in disgrace from the Trump administration less than two months after Trump was sworn into office in 2017, after leaks emerged showing that he lied to colleagues about conversations with Russian officials. He later took a deal to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 elections, but then withdrew from the deal and lobbied to have his charges dropped.

Ultimately, Trump pardoned him in the last few months of his presidency, and Flynn went on to advise Trump to respond to his election loss by suspending the Constitution, declaring martial law, and holding a new election, even arguing with fellow Trump advisers in the White House to support it.

But why would Flynn be facing subpoenas now, assuming he isn’t exaggerating or lying? His activities since 2021 include pledging an oath to the QAnon conspiracy theory, preaching about Christian nationalism in tours around the country, and, as he mentioned in the interview with Bannon, touting the new movie Flynn, which portrays him as a victim of the so-called “deep state.” Perhaps he’s been up to something as nefarious as what he accuses Trump’s critics of doing.