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House Ways and Means Chair Can’t Even Explain What Hunter Biden Did

Representative Jason Smith couldn’t put together a coherent sentence.

Jason Smith looks forward
Tierney L. Cross/Bloomberg/Getty Images

House Republicans weren’t able to pin President Joe Biden with any concrete evidence of wrongdoing, and now they can’t even seem to explain what they thought he and his family did wrong in the first place.

The House GOP issued criminal referrals Wednesday for Biden’s son Hunter and brother James to the Justice Department, accusing the president’s family of lying to Congress and making a “conscious effort” to undermine the impeachment probe into the forty-sixth president. But by Thursday morning, a top Republican couldn’t pinpoint one thing that the pair did wrong.

“Well, let’s just start out,” Smith told Fox Business before tumbling headlong into a word salad. “The two IRS whistleblowers who came before the House Ways and Means Committee last year. They released over 1,500 pages of documents showing the influence peddling that was being sold all over—all over the world, in multiple countries, from Russia to Ukraine to China.

“And where we stand today is that we’ve seen an administration that has continued to obstruct our investigation,” the Missouri Republican continued. “And even to the sense that you saw James Biden and Hunter Biden lie to Congress. One of the first messages … that we ever released was the WhatsApp message that was between Hunter Biden and a Chinese business associate that was basically trying to shake him down for $5 million saying that he was seated next to his father.

“We asked Hunter Biden about that message directly, under oath, February 28, and he said it was another Zhao,” Smith said. Hunter Biden has previously denied sending the message while sitting next to his father, but did admit it may not have gone to its intended recipient. Hunter claimed he meant to send it to Raymond Zhao, the head of a Chinese energy company but may have sent it to another one of his contacts, Henry Zhao.

“Well, guess what, the IRS whistleblowers provided additional evidence showing three months of continuous messages to that same Zhao, which was the Chinese business associate,” Smith said. “Let’s hope the Biden administration treats anyone with the last name Biden the same way that they do Trump.”

Still, the sham inquiry to discredit Biden has been remarkably devoid of evidence. The committee’s former star witness, Alexander Smirnov, served as the singular source on claims that Biden had netted millions off his son’s connection to Ukrainian oil company Burisma.

But that angle, which House Republicans had believed was their best bet at nabbing the president, completely blew up in their face when Smirnov was indicted by the Department of Justice for lying to the FBI. Smirnov then reportedly admitted to law enforcement that top Russian intelligence officials were involved in the smear campaign against the sitting president. And all of the other witnesses that Republicans called on in their year-long probe instead debunked every single accusation against the Biden family.

50 Cent’s Follow-Up to Lauren Boebert Photo Is Somehow Even Funnier

We have 21 questions.

Getty x2

Do you still have love for 50 Cent? The rapper took to X (formerly Twitter) to respond to the more than 21 questions he provoked from fans on Wednesday after posting a photo of himself posing with disgraced far-right Representative Lauren Boebert—and it’s even more chaotic than the original photo.

First, here’s the original photo, where 50 Cent confuses the Capitol for the White House:

Tweet screenshot: 50 Cent

After that post went viral, 50 Cent responded:

50 Cent tweet screenshot

Cent’s post seems to be part of the game to make a move and then act a fool, as his post with Boebert raised predictable hackles and questions if the underground king was aspiring for a first date in a darkened theater with the infamous Boebert—or if he was just being a window shopper.

Regardless, the move raised awareness of his surprise appearance on Capitol Hill to show them what he’s got and to advocate for Black representation in the luxury liquor industry and Black entrepreneurship overall. Appearing alongside attorney Ben Crump, the underground king visited the Congressional Black Caucus and multiple members of Congress, saying the experience was “really positive.”

“I went to talk to [Congress] about economic opportunities for everybody,” said 50 Cent. “It’s really exciting. The response I got makes me feel like there are bright days ahead of us.”

Trump Warns He Has “Every Right” to Attack His Enemies

The former president promised yet again that retribution is coming.

Donald Trump gestures as he speaks
Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images

Donald Trump asserted that he has a “right” to send the Department of Justice after his political enemies, specifically President Joe Biden. 

In an interview Wednesday with Fox News’s Sean Hannity, the former president was asked to respond to critics who said he plans to weaponize the Department of Justice against his political enemies if he is elected president. To be clear, it wasn’t just critics who’d suggested the idea—Trump himself openly threatened to jail his political enemies earlier that day. 

“Number one, they’re wrong,” Trump replied, before proving them right. 

“It has to stop, because otherwise, we’re not going to have a country. Look, when this election is over, based on what they’ve done, I would have every right to go after them,” he said, remarking that suing Biden would be “easy” because of “all the criminality.”

Given his continued insistence that Biden is guilty of wrongdoing, for which the congressional impeachment investigation could not provide any evidence, it seems that Trump does intend to seek retribution against Biden if elected. That doesn’t sound like weaponization at all.  

“What they’re doing to me, if it’s going to continue, we’re really not going to have much of a country left. It’s really, it is weaponization. You call it lawfare, you call it—some people call it just warfare—but it is weaponization of the election,” Trump whined.

Trump himself said he’d be a dictator on day one of his presidency, and since he was convicted of 34 felony counts, his crusade for vengeance has only gotten more intense, which doesn’t bode well for if he eventually has command of the DOJ.

The Shocking Figure Shredding Judge Cannon’s “Ludicrous” Delays

Ty Cobb warned that Cannon’s constant bowing to Trump could turn deadly.

Ty Cobb holds up an umbrella
Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Even his former allies are in disbelief over how much Judge Aileen Cannon is helping Donald Trump in his classified documents case.

On Wednesday, Cannon postponed key hearings about special counsel Jack Smith’s supposed “unlawful appointment”—shocking legal analysts who fear that the Trump-appointed judge is doing everything within her power to delay the trial in a surreptitious effort to dismiss it altogether.

Former Trump White House attorney Ty Cobb called Cannon’s decision “ludicrous,” “ridiculous,” “dangerous,” and “incendiary.”

“As a former federal prosecutor, as somebody who has many friends in law enforcement, heaven forbid that somebody in law enforcement gets killed because of these false claims that Jack Smith intended to have the former president assassinated,” Cobb told CNN Wednesday.

“I don’t think I find anything she does surprising at this stage of the game as long as it favors the former president,” he said. “But it is shocking to me.”

In May, Cannon ordered a stay on the GOP presidential nominee’s legal requirement to give the government advance notice of which classified materials will be discussed—but offered no expiration date for the theoretically temporary reprieve.

Meanwhile, Cannon has scheduled an “unusual” hearing on June 21, making time for amicus briefs from non-parties to make oral arguments on whether Smith’s appointment to the case is constitutional.

“I’ve had arguments on entire motions that didn’t last for 30 minutes, but Judge Cannon has allotted that amount of time to each of the amici, almost as though she has nothing but time to spend in court—an odd approach for a Judge who recently complained she couldn’t even set a trial date because of the backlog of undecided motions,” wrote MSNBC legal analyst Joyce Vance in her newsletter Civil Discourse.

Alito’s Neighbor Skewers Justice for “Harassing” Her Over Flags

Emily Baden says the Supreme Court justice and his wife went out of their way to attack her.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito purses his lips
Alex Wong/Getty Images

In the weeks after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s wife allegedly hung an upside-down American flag outside of her Virginia home as part of a neighborly feud, she continued to harass her neighbors who supposedly incited her political activism. 

In an interview with NPR, Emily Baden, who hung a “F— Trump” sign at her home after the 2020 election, supposedly spurring the squabble, said that on Inauguration Day, Martha-Ann Alito yelled something at her and her husband’s car and even appeared to spit at them, as they drove down the street. 

In another encounter with her high-profile neighbors, Baden said Justice Alito and his wife walked up to her and her husband in front of their home. Martha-Ann called them by their full names—a chilling moment, Baden said, as they’d never been introduced to the Alitos. 

“And then Mrs. Alito says something like, ‘Well, well, well, if it isn’t the f— fascists!’ and that was when I spoke back,” Baden said. “I did obviously use an expletive, but I also said a lot of other things like, ‘How dare you behave this way?’”

Justice Alito stayed silent, Baden said. Alito has claimed in a letter to Congress that his wife was solely responsible for putting up the flag, and then refused to take it down. The encounter was brief, and the Alitos quickly left, according to Baden.  

“The power imbalance between these people and myself is huge,” said Baden. “They’re choosing to harass and intimidate us, when we are nothing to them.”

According to Baden, this was the last interaction they had, and her husband contacted the cops shortly after, who said they’d reach out to Justice Alito’s security team. Baden also said that she regretted swearing at Martha-Ann. 

Congress has repeatedly asked Alito to recuse himself from all cases related to Donald Trump and the January 6 insurrection because of the upside-down flag and a Christian nationalist flag that flew outside his New Jersey home. Alito has refused, and Chief Justice John Roberts has backed him up.

Alito has thrown his wife under the bus for the flags, saying they were her doing and not indicative of his political beliefs. But Baden isn’t convinced.

“At best, he’s mistaken, but at worst, he’s just outright lying,” she told CNN Wednesday night. “Even if it were a valid excuse that they were having a dispute with a neighbor and that made them put the flag up, that timeline just disproves it. It just doesn’t make sense.”

Tommy Tuberville’s Latest Claim on Putin Is Deranged—Even for Him

Congress’s biggest Putin suck-up strikes again.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senator Tommy Tuberville seems to be under the impression that Russia’s Vladimir Putin doesn’t want to control Ukraine.

The Alabama Republican made the claim on Steve Bannon’s War Room show on Wednesday after Bannon asked about Russia’s war with Ukraine.

“He doesn’t want Ukraine. He doesn’t want Europe. Hell, he’s got enough land of his own,” Tuberville said, referring to Putin. “He just wants to make sure that he does not have United States weapons in Ukraine pointing at Moscow.”

This is completely false. Putin has claimed that Ukraine historically and rightfully belongs to Russia from the start of the war. Tuberville’s claim is yet more proof he may be the biggest Putin sycophant in Congress.

“You can tell Putin’s on top of his game,” Tuberville said in February. “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.”

Also on Wednesday, Putin threatened to use nuclear weapons to continue his war on Ukraine and to provide weapons to other countries who could help attack Western countries who oppose his invasion of Ukraine.

“Ultimately, if we see that these countries are being drawn into a war against us, and this is their direct participation in the war against the Russian Federation, then we reserve the right to act in a similar way,” Putin said. “But, in general, this is the path to very serious problems.”

Watch Tuberville’s comments here:

A lookback on Tuberville’s idiocy:

Trump Unveils New Brand of Racism With Chuck Schumer Insult

Donald Trump is revealing exactly what he thinks of all Palestinians.

Donald Trump tilts his head back slightly and speaks with his mouth wide open
Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images

Trump raised an oddly bigoted insult to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer during an interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity on Wednesday, claiming the strongly pro-Israel politician has become “like a Palestinian.”

“They don’t have the backing,” said Trump, referring to Israel and its devastation of Gaza. “Even Schumer, he’s become like a Palestinian. Chuck Schumer. Jewish. Always strong for Israel. He’s become like a Palestinian.”

Schumer, who is Jewish, has been an ardent supporter of Israel and has regularly warned about rising antisemitism in response to Israel’s violence. In March, Schumer spoke out against Israel’s far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling him a major obstacle to peace who has “lost his way.” Schumer’s rebuke came while calling for new elections in Israel in response to Netanyahu’s refusal to accept cease-fire negotiations or to intervene against settler extremists blocking desperately needed aid to displaced and starving Palestinians.

“The Netanyahu coalition no longer fits the needs of Israel after October 7th,” Schumer said at the time. “The world has changed—radically—since then, and the Israeli people are being stifled right now by a governing vision that is stuck in the past.”

Schumer’s comments reflected the same calls that have been coming from Jews in Israel for months: Polls conducted in November 2023—just weeks after the Hamas attack—found nearly 60 percent of Israelis support a cease-fire. In January, only 15 percent of Israelis supported Netanyahu remaining prime minister after Israel concludes its destruction of Gaza. According to polling in April, 58 percent of Israelis believe Netanyahu should resign immediately. In Israel, hundreds of thousands of Israelis—including family members of those still held captive by Hamas—have protested in favor of a cease-fire and bilateral hostage deal, with anti-government protests breaking out across Israel against Netanyahu and his extremist bloc after they rejected a recent cease-fire deal.

Meanwhile, Trump has promised to deport student protesters in the United States and spoken favorably of Israel’s ongoing destruction of Gaza, saying Israel should “finish the problem” while griping that Israel is “losing the P.R. war.”

House Republicans Push Devious Plan to Help Trump Pardon Himself

A Republican-backed bill would let Trump move state-level cases against him to federal court.

Donald Trump looks down
Justin Lane/Pool/Getty Images

House Republicans are pushing for a bill that would allow a current or former president to lift any state case against them and plop it right into a federal court—a clear response to Donald Trump’s most recent New York conviction.

Several House GOP sources told Axios that Republican lawmakers are prodding House Speaker Mike Johnson to call for a floor vote on the bill.

It should surprise no one that the person behind this latest scheme is none other than Donald Trump. Last month, Rolling Stone reported that Trump held “several” meetings with Republican lawmakers and lawyers, asking them to pursue legislation that would permanently shield him from prosecution outside of a federal court.

Attempts to advance this proposed legislation is only the latest desperate effort from Trump’s allies to somehow undo the former president’s guilty verdict, as opposed to simply waiting for an appeal. The bill has reportedly already passed the House Judiciary committee.

At the moment, the floor vote seems unlikely, according to sources close to Johnson, because it’s a little unpopular among some Republicans. Not to mention, it doesn’t stand a chance in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

If it were miraculously passed into law, the proposed legislation could help Trump clear his record should he be elected in November. While presidents are able to pardon federal convictions, they cannot pardon state ones.

Trump is still facing state-level charges in Georgia for allegedly attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 elections in that state.

Every Republican Who Voted Against Right to Contraception

Here is the name of every Republican senator who proudly helped kill the Right to Contraception Act.

Giant inflatable lavender IUD device on the lawn outside Union Station. It's taller (or as tall as) several U.S. flag poles outside the station.
A 20-foot-tall inflatable intrauterine device, or IUD, stands outside Union Station in Washington, D.C., on June 5 to raise awareness of the Senate vote on the Right to Contraception Act.

Senate Republicans on Wednesday killed legislation that would have protected access to contraception and codified access to birth control into federal law. The Right to Contraception Act failed the Senate by a vote of 51–39, after failing to reach the minimum 60 votes needed to pass. All of the opposition came from Republicans, with the exception of Senator Chuck Schumer who changed his vote from “yes” to “no” in a procedural move in order to bring the vote again in the future.

The only two Republican senators to vote for the bill were Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. Seven Republican senators were not present for the vote.

The bill was first introduced after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. It made its way back through Congress on Tuesday as conservative attacks on bodily autonomy deepen ahead of the November election. Trump recently stated he’s exploring policies to restrict access to birth control, which would impact an estimated 46.9 million people in the United States. It’s not clear that the measure would pass the House, but the roll call is nonetheless a good record of where Republican senators stand on the issue.

Here’s a list of every Republican who voted against the measure:

  • John Barrasso—Wyoming
  • Marsha Blackburn—Tennessee
  • John Boozman—Arkansas
  • Ted Budd—North Carolina
  • Shelley Moore Capito—West Virginia
  • Bill Cassidy—Louisiana
  • John Cornyn—Texas
  • Tom Cotton—Arkansas
  • Kevin Cramer—North Dakota
  • Mike Crapo—Idaho
  • Ted Cruz—Texas
  • Steve Daines—Montana
  • Joni Ernst—Iowa
  • Deb Fischer—Nebraska
  • Chuck Grassley—Iowa
  • Josh Hawley—Missouri
  • John Hoeven—North Dakota
  • Cindy Hyde-Smith—Mississippi
  • Ron Johnson—Wisconsin
  • James Lankford—Oklahoma
  • Mike Lee—Utah
  • Cynthia Lummis—Wyoming
  • Roger Marshall—Kansas
  • Mitch McConnell—Kentucky
  • Markwayne Mullin—Oklahoma
  • Rand Paul—Kentucky
  • Pete Ricketts—Nebraska
  • James E. Risch—Idaho
  • Mike Rounds—South Dakota
  • Marco Rubio—Florida
  • Eric Schmitt—Missouri
  • Rick Scott—Florida
  • Tim Scott—South Carolina
  • John Thune—South Dakota
  • Thom Tillis—North Carolina
  • Tommy Tuberville—Alabama
  • Roger Wicker—Mississippi
  • Todd Young—Indiana
More on reproductive justice this election:

Ex-Trump Official Says WSJ Should Cover Trump Mental Acuity Next

After The Wall Street Journal published a piece on Joe Biden’s mental fitness, at least one former Trump official had some sharp words.

Donald Trump makes a weird face while speaking before a mic. Several U.S. flags are behind him.
David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

One former Trump White House staffer says that if The Wall Street Journal wants a story about cognitive decline in the White House, it should talk to people who worked under Donald Trump.

The Wall Street Journal published a story Tuesday evening about President Biden’s supposed mental decline that drew a lot of criticism, particularly from Democrats. Olivia Troye, a former adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, called out the newspaper on X (formerly Twitter), saying she was “happy to discuss Trump’s mental acuity & fitness for office.”

Tweet screenshot: Olivia Troye

While right-wing media outlets like the WSJ aren’t likely to take Troye up on her offer, she has a point. Questions about Biden’s age and mental state have been pushed by Republicans for months, even after he made an energetic speech at the State of the Union in March. But Trump has demonstrated issues of his own.

When Trump was president, there were numerous stories about his mental state, calling attention to supposed psychological defects and lack of intelligence. It stands to reason that there are more details from his presidency that are known to those who worked for him but still not known to the general public. What people have seen since then from the Republican presidential nominee and convicted felon are still more examples of possible cognitive decline, ranging from wild rants in press conferences to bragging about putting his pants on. In March, Democrats put together a brutal montage of some of Trump’s many gaffes.

In February, Biden’s doctor said that there were “no new concerns” after the president’s annual physical, saying that he was “fit for duty and fully executes all of his responsibilities without any exemptions or accommodations.” Meanwhile, Trump continues to brag about passing a cognitive test but changes the details every time he relates the story.

In November, voters will have to decide whether any of this matters over something more pressing: the fate of American democracy.