Kevin McCarthy

Under Threat From Far Right, McCarthy Announces Impeachment Inquiry

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced on Tuesday that he wants Republican lawmakers to launch a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, officially ceding to the demands of a large chunk of the Republican conference that has demanded McCarthy allow such an inquiry or else be stripped of his gavel.

McCarthy made a brief statement from the Capitol, saying, “Over the past several months, House Republicans have uncovered serious and credible allegations into President Biden’s conduct — a culture of corruption.”

However, House Republicans have not presented any evidence of corruption on the part of Biden, despite their months’ worth of efforts.

In fact, McCarthy is not holding a floor vote to officially launch the inquiry, despite saying just 11 days ago that he would hold a vote.

“To open an impeachment inquiry is a serious matter, and House Republicans would not take it lightly or use it for political purposes. The American people deserve to be heard on this matter through their elected representatives. That’s why, if we move forward with an impeachment inquiry, it would occur through a vote on the floor of the People’s House and not through a declaration by one person,” McCarthy told Breitbart News, according to Fox News on September 2.

McCarthy isn’t holding a vote because he does not have the 218 votes he needs from his slim majority. A handful of GOP lawmakers have said that there is not enough evidence to warrant an inquiry.

“I think before we move on to [an] impeachment inquiry, we should … there should be a direct link to the president in some evidence,” Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) told The Hill in August. “We should have some clear evidence of a high crime or misdemeanor, not just assuming there may be one. I think we need to have more concrete evidence to go down that path.”

Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) criticized Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who has pushed for impeachment, noting that she’d filed articles of impeachment before Biden was inaugurated and calling it absurd to think that she is an expert on such proceedings.

“The time for impeachment is the time when there’s evidence linking President Biden, if there’s evidence linking President Biden to a high crime or misdemeanor,” Buck said on MSNBC on Monday. “That doesn’t exist right now. … It’s based on the facts. You go where the facts take you.”

Some Senate Republicans say they too are not eager for an impeachment inquiry.

“My solution to changing things around here is to win elections,” Sen. John Thune (R-SD) toldPunchbowl News’ Andrew Desiderio. “But [McCarthy]’s under a lot of pressure over there.”

Meanwhile, Congress faces a critical deadline to fund the government and avoid a shutdown.

GOP lawmakers want McCarthy to allow spending bills that include steep cuts to the federal budget, violating an agreement McCarthy made with Biden on spending limits earlier this year. Those lawmakers are threatening to oust McCarthy from the speakership if he doesn’t heed their demands.

PBS reported that launching the impeachment inquiry, however, could mollify this contingent of lawmakers.

“We’ve got to seize the initiative. That means forcing votes on impeachment. And if @SpeakerMcCarthy stands in our way, he may not have the job long,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted on September 5. “Let’s hope he works with us, not against us.”

Polling shows launching an impeachment inquiry could harm the GOP politically.

A Public Policy Polling survey from the end of August found 56 percent of voters believe a Republican impeachment inquiry “would be more of a partisan political stunt,” with 51 percent saying the Republican inquiry would be “more about damaging President Biden politically” than about finding the truth.

Democrats, for their part, mocked McCarthy for launching the inquiry.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who was an investigator and a manager in the successful impeachments of former President Donald Trump, tweeted: “McCarthy’s reading of the Impeachment Clause: The President shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or … when the Speaker, lacking moral authority or control over his members, can’t remain speaker or fund the government without it.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said in a statement that McCarthy’s announcement “makes clear that so-called moderate House Republicans and Kevin McCarthy are beholden to Trump and the extremes of their party, not the American people.”

“The split-screen of MAGA House Republicans pursuing a purely partisan agenda while House Democrats fight to rebuild our economy and create jobs will show voters once and for all that only one party is focused on the issues facing everyday Americans,” DCCC communications director Courtney Rice said.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

If Elected Again, Trump Would Cut Taxes For The Rich Even More

If Elected Again, Trump Would Cut Taxes For The Rich Even More

Former President Donald Trump wants once again to slash taxes for the wealthy if he’s elected in November 2024.

Trump’s economic advisers are floating cutting the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 15 percent, the Washington Postreported. Such a cut would overwhelmingly favor wealthy corporations.

Trump already cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent with the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

That tax cut was deeply unpopular with voters. A November 2017 Quinnipiac University poll found that 52 percent of voters disapproved of the tax law, while just 25 percent approved of it.

“Tax cuts enacted in the last 25 years — namely, the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 under President [George W.] Bush, most of which were made permanent in 2012, and those enacted in 2017 under President Trump — gave windfall tax cuts to households in the top 1% and large corporations, exacerbating income and wealth inequality,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities senior tax analyst Samantha Jacoby said in testimony before the Senate Budget Committee in May.

Experts say cutting the corporate tax rate for a second time would likely be similarly unpopular.

“We have plenty of data showing most Americans want corporations to pay more in taxes, not less — this was true when Trump and his supporters in Congress enacted the 2017 law, and it’s still true today,” Steve Wamhoff, the federal policy director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, said in a Sept. 11 tweet.

The Washington Post reported that the 15 percent corporate tax rate is a “preliminary” proposal that Trump’s economic advisers are kicking around.

“There are many ideas coming in about how to undo the damage Joe Biden has done, and President Trump’s America First economic focus remains how we create more higher-paying jobs for American workers, and he will do whatever it takes to make our Country competitive again,” Trump campaign spokesperson Jason Miller told the Post.

Trump proposed a 15 percent corporate tax rate in 2017 when the Republican-controlled House and Senate were crafting tax cut legislation.

President Joe Biden’s administration came out against Trump’s potential corporate tax cut proposal just hours after the Washington Post reported on it.

“Another wave of deficit-increasing tax welfare for big corporations — especially one directly tied to unprecedented price increases on American families — would turn back the clock to the trickle-down economics that hollowed out the American middle class and added trillions to the national debt,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates told Axios on September 11.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

House Republicans Aim To 'Defund' Trump Prosecutions

House Republicans Aim To 'Defund' Trump Prosecutions

Three House Republican lawmakers either have filed or plan to file legislation that would strip federal funding for the work of prosecutors who have charged Donald Trump with crimes, baselessly accusing them of “weaponizing” the government against the former president.

On Monday, Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia became the latest GOP lawmaker to try to defund the efforts of three law enforcement officials who have brought charges against Trump.

Clyde, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, told Fox News that he wants to use the upcoming consideration by the committee of two government funding bills to propose amendments that would take federal funds away from the Fulton County district attorney’s office, the office of special counsel Jack Smith, and the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

Prosecutors from the three offices have charged Trump with dozens of crimes, ranging from violating the Espionage Act to conspiring to defraud the United States.

“Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars have no place funding the radical Left’s nefarious election interference efforts,” Clyde told Fox News. “Together, Jack Smith, Alvin Bragg, and Fani Willis intentionally brought four sham indictments against the sitting president’s top political opponent, President Donald J. Trump, as the upcoming 2024 presidential election ramps up.”

Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Andy Biggs of Arizona have filed similar legislation to pull federal funding from the prosecution proceedings.

In July, Gaetz introduced a bill that would have defunded Smith’s grand jury probe into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The legislation was filed days before the grand jury charged Trump with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct Congress’ certification of the 2020 presidential election results, and conspiracy against Americans’ right to vote.

“The government is being weaponized to go after President Donald J. Trump. The House of Representatives must defund Jack Smith’s office and end the witch hunt,” Gaetz said in a statement. “The power of the purse is not some intermittent thing that we wield every fiscal cycle. It’s something that we have to wield day in and day out to achieve victory for our people and to stop this.”

In August, Biggs introduced a bill that would strip federal funds from the Fulton County district attorney’s office, which charged Trump and 18 of his allies with felony racketeering and conspiracy charges over their attempt to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia in 2020.

Neither Gaetz’s nor Biggs’ bill has been taken up since they were introduced.

While GOP lawmakers have railed against prosecutors for charging Trump, polls show voters broadly agree that Trump should have been charged and that the charges are serious.

An ABC News/Ipsos poll conducted August 15-17 found 49 percent of adults said Trump should suspend his 2024 presidential campaign because of his indictments.

A Politico Magazine/Ipsos poll from August 25 found 59 percent of voters believe the Justice Department indicted Trump over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election “based on a fair evaluation of the evidence and the law.”

A Navigator Research survey from August found 62 percent of Americans believe Trump committed a crime.

On Monday, federal district court Judge Tanya Chutkan set a March 4 trial date in the case over Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. On March 25, the trial is set to begin in Manhattan of charges that Trump illegally made hush money payments to pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 campaign. And on May 20, Trump will appear in court in Florida to answer charges that he illegally withheld classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate.

All of these cases are set to take place during the Republican presidential primary.

Polls show Trump currently has a wide lead over the Republicans running against him: Trump leads the field with 49.5% of the vote, followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in a distant second with 15.2%, according to FiveThirtyEight’s national polling average.

Some Republican operatives have expressed fears that nominating Trump despite his legal perils will cost the party in 2024.

“If we make it about Donald Trump, it’s going to be a three-ring circus and we will lose,” former Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan told CNN the day the Fulton County grand jury voted to indict Trump. “And the only place we’re going to be able to make our campaign speeches as Republicans are going to be on courthouse steps, because it looks like every Republican that hung out with Trump is going to get an indictment.”

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Donald Trump

Four New Polls Show Indictments Are Damaging Trump's Presidential Bid

Four new polls published Wednesday and Thursday have found that majorities of Americans believe former President Donald Trump’s spate of indictments are serious and that he committed crimes, which could be problematic for him in his comeback bid.

Polls from ABC News, Fox News, Quinnipiac, and a Democratic pollster found varying levels of trouble for Trump, who is charged with felonies in four different states on counts ranging from improperly withholding classified documents to conspiracy to defraud the United States through efforts to stay in office after losing the 2020 election.

ABC News released a poll on Thursday that found 50 percent of Americans think Trump should suspend his campaign because of his criminal indictments.

A Fox News poll published Wednesday night found that 53 percent of registered voters believe Trump did something illegal in his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

The Fox News poll found that while Republican voters don’t believe Trump did anything wrong, a majority of independent voters — whose votes Trump needs to win a general election — think Trump did something illegal and the Department of Justice is not acting out of political motivation. Nearly two-thirds, or 62 percent, of independent voters believe Trump did something illegal.

Meanwhile, a Quinnipiac University poll published Wednesday found that 54 percent of Americans believe Trump should be prosecuted.

More concerning for Trump is that the Quinnipiac poll show 68 percent of Americans believe that someone convicted of a felony should not be eligible to be president.

Trump is scheduled to go to trial in the classified documents case in Florida in May of next year. Special counsel Jack Smith wants a trial in January over Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. And Fulton County District Attorney Fani Williams wants the trial over Trump’s efforts to overturn the Georgia election to be scheduled for March.

Finally, Semaforreports that a poll from the Benenson Strategy Group, which acted as the pollster for the presidential campaigns of former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, found that both independent and Republican voters are less likely to vote for Trump because of the indictments.

That poll found 61 percent of independent voters are somewhat or much less likely to vote for Trump against President Joe Biden because of the indictments; while 24 percent of Republican voters say they are somewhat or much less likely to vote for Trump over Biden for the same reason. Semafor reported that, according to a Benenson Strategy Group memo accompanying the poll, that’s “more than enough to swing a close general election.” The poll also found Trump and Biden tied 46 -- 46 percent in the general election.

Trump, for his part, has said the indictments will help him in the 2024 election.

According to the Associated Press, Trump said at a campaign event in Alabama on August 4, after he was arraigned in Washington, D.C., over efforts to overturn the 2020 elections: “Any time they file an indictment, we go way up in the polls. We need one more indictment to close out this election. One more indictment, and this election is closed out. Nobody has even a chance.”

Trump’s support in the primary has actually grown since his first indictment. The FiveThirtyEight polling average has Trump at 53.8 percent, with his next closest primary opponent, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, at just 15 percent.

But while the indictments may help him in a primary, Republican strategists are warning that’s not likely to be the case in a general election.

“Gonna be cool when the party’s nominee spends the summer in court and all of his donors’ money on legal expenses,” Republican strategist Rory Cooper tweeted after Judge Aileen Cannon of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida set the classified documents case for May 2024. “That formula wins every time.”

“If we make it about Donald Trump, it’s going to be a three-ring circus and we will lose,” former Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, a CNN commentator, said on the network after the Georgia indictment, shown in a video clip tweeted on Tuesday by journalist Aaron Rupar. “And the only place we’re going to be able to make our campaign speeches as Republicans are going to be on courthouse steps, because it looks like every Republican that hung out with Trump is going to get an indictment.”

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Ruben Gallego

Polls: Gallego Beats Sinema And Republicans In Arizona Senate Race

Two newly released polls show Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego leading the field in a three-way Senate contest in Arizona, a critical race that could determine which party controls the chamber after the 2024 election.

Some commentators had predicted that Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) would be a spoiler for the Democratic Party by splitting the Democratic vote with Gallego and allowing a Republican to pick up the seat in November 2024. But the new polls show Sinema pulling more votes from Republican voters than from Democrats.

Sinema left the Democratic Party in December to become an independent. She has not yet announced whether she will seek reelection.

Emerson College released a poll on Tuesday that found Gallego leading both Sinema and the two Republican candidates who have announced bids in the race.

In the first scenario, Gallego leads the polls with 36 percent of the vote, with Republican Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb in second at 29 percent and Sinema in third with 21 percent. In the second scenario, Gallego would get 37 percent, Sinema would pull 26 percent, and Republican Brian Wright would receive 25 percent of the vote.

“It appears Sen. Sinema pulls more support from Republican voters than Democrats on the ballot,” Spencer Kimball, the executive director of Emerson College Polling, said in a statement.

“About 21 percent of Republicans would vote for Sinema with Lamb on the ballot, and 34 percent of Republicans would support Sinema with Wright on the ballot,” Kimball added. “By contrast, Sinema only pulls about eight percent of Democratic support from Gallego.”

The Emerson results are similar to those of an August 3 poll from Noble Predictive Insights.

In a three-way race among Gallego, Sinema, and Lamb, NPI found Gallego leading with 33 percent, followed by Lamb at 25 percent and Sinema at 24 percent.

NPI also polled a potential three-way race between Gallego, Sinema, and Blake Masters, the failed Republican Senate candidate who lost to Democrat Mark Kelly in 2022 and is mulling whether to run again in 2024. The poll found Gallego in the lead with 32%, followed by Sinema at 28 percent and Masters at 24 percent.

“Sinema’s third-party run does not guarantee a GOP victory in Arizona’s Senate race,” Mike Noble, the founder and chief of research at NPI, said in a statement. “And what is even more interesting is that there appears to be a path to victory for Sinema in a three-way showdown. Buckle up and grab your popcorn because the Senate contest in Arizona is going to be one to watch.”

Arizona is a key race in the battle for control of the Senate. If Republicans net one seat and win the White House, they will regain control of the chamber. If Republicans lose the White House, they would need to net two seats for control.

President Joe Biden won Arizona in 2020 by just 0.3 percent. Democrat Katie Hobbs beat Republican nominee Kari Lake in the gubernatorial election by 0.7 percent in 2022.

Inside Elections, the nonpartisan political handicapping outlet, rates the Arizona Senate race a toss-up.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Abortion Rights

Abortion Rights At Stake In Ohio Ballot Measure Tuesday

On Tuesday, Ohio voters will decide Issue 1, a ballot initiative that would make it harder to pass constitutional amendments in the state. The outcome of the special election could dramatically impact the future of abortion rights.

If Issue 1 passes, it would require citizen-initiated constitutional amendments to get 60 percent of the vote to pass, up from the simple majority currently required by law. And that would have immediate consequences for a reproductive freedom constitutional amendment, which will be on the ballot this November.

That amendment states, “Every individual has a right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions, including but not limited to decisions on contraception, fertility treatment, continuing one’s own pregnancy, miscarriage care, and abortion.”

Republicans in the state have been campaigning for Issue 1. Secretary of State Frank LaRose said outright that the initiative is a direct effort to change the rules to block the reproductive freedom constitutional amendment from passing, stating in May, “It’s 100 percent about keeping a radical pro-abortion amendment out of our Constitution.” LaRose is running in the Ohio GOP Senate primary to take on Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in 2024.

A USA Today/Suffolk University poll from July found that 58 percent of Ohioans support the reproductive freedom amendment, just shy of the 60 percent threshold Issue 1 would impose.

Anti-abortion groups in the state support Issue 1.

Catholics for Catholics, a religious group that has the support of a number of far-right figures, including former Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon and former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, held a prayer rally on Sunday in Ohio to urge support for Issue 1.

“Thousands rallied in support of #VoteYesOhio today in Cincinnati with @CforCatholics. I was proud to stand with them to protect Ohio’s constitution from the all out assault which radical coastal liberals have launched against us,” LaRose tweeted along with photos of himself at the event.

PBS Newshour reported that Protect Our Constitution, another group supporting Issue 1, is funded almost exclusively by Richard Uihlein, a Republican billionaire who also funded efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Meanwhile, abortion rights groups are urging voters to vote no on Issue 1.

“The good news: Via a ballot measure, Ohio voters will soon have the opportunity to enshrine reproductive freedom in the state constitution! The bad news: anti-abortion Republicans are trying to make it harder to pass ballot measures in the state,” NARAL Pro-Choice America tweeted on July 31. “Anti-abortion lawmakers are quietly dismantling our democracy to push their extreme agenda — but we won’t let them get away with it. If you live in Ohio, VOTE NO on Issue 1 on August 8.”

Aside from raising the vote threshold needed to pass constitutional amendments, Issue 1 would also make it much harder to get constitutional amendments on the ballot in the first place. It would require those proposing citizen-initiated constitutional amendments to collect signatures from five percent of voters in all 88 counties in Ohio. Currently, constitutional amendment petitions need signatures from 44 Ohio counties. The ballot initiative would also get rid of the current 10-day period that those proposing amendments have to replace signatures that have been determined to be invalid after the petitions are filed with the secretary of state’s office.

Polling from July showed that Issue 1 was headed to defeat, with 60 percent of voters in the state opposing the GOP effort to make it harder to pass constitutional amendments.

The Associated Press reported that early vote totals are higher than in the past two midterm election primaries in the state. As of August 4, 533,000 people had voted early in person or by mail, almost double the 288,700 people who voted early in the 2022 primary.

L2, a political data firm that is tracking early voting in the state, said as of August 4 that Democrats were casting more votes than Republicans by a margin of 52 percent to 40 percent.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Ron DeSantis

As DeSantis Feuds With Black Republicans, His Campaign 'Reboot' Sputters

Finding its candidate dropping in the polls and burning through money at a fast clip, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign announced this week that it was going to undergo a reboot in the 2024 Republican presidential primary.

“Following a top-to-bottom review of our organization, we have taken additional, aggressive steps to streamline operations and put Ron DeSantis in the strongest position to win this primary and defeat Joe Biden,” Generra Peck, DeSantis’ campaign manager, said in a statement to the Associated Press on July 25. “DeSantis is going to lead the Great American Comeback and we’re ready to hit the ground running as we head into an important month of the campaign.”

Yet just a few days later, DeSantis’ attempted reboot is floundering as DeSantis and his team continue to earn negative press.

On Tuesday, the campaign announced that it laid off more than three dozen staffers in an effort to stop hemorrhaging the cash it needs to make it through the long slog of the GOP primary.

Among the staffers that were let go was Nate Hochman, a DeSantis speechwriter who made a pro-DeSantis video that included a symbol often used by Nazis and white supremacists.

That same day, four vehicles in DeSantis’ motorcade were involved in a car accident while traveling to a fundraiser in Tennessee. DeSantis was not injured and made it to the planned event, the Associated Press reported.

DeSantis’ troubles this week didn’t end there.

On Wednesday, a group of DeSantis staffers got into a feud with Rep. Byron Donalds, the lone Black Republican in the Florida congressional delegation.

Donalds tepidly criticized the new Black history curriculum in the state, which will instruct students about “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

“The new African-American standards in FL are good, robust, & accurate,” Donalds tweeted on July 26. “That being said, the attempt to feature the personal benefits of slavery is wrong & needs to be adjusted. That obviously wasn’t the goal & I have faith that FLDOE will correct this.”

Christina Pushaw, DeSantis’ rapid response director, responded to Donalds by tweeting, “Did Kamala Harris write this tweet?”

DeSantis press secretary Jeremy Redfern accused Donalds of “laundering a lie for the White House.”

Donalds wasn’t the only Black Republican to criticize Florida’s Black history curriculum.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), who is also running for the Republican presidential nomination, said at a campaign event in Iowa “there is no silver lining” in slavery.

“What slavery was really about was separating families, about mutilating humans and even raping their wives. It was just devastating,” Scott said, according to NBC News. “So I would hope that every person in our country — and certainly running for president — would appreciate that. People have bad days. Sometimes they regret what they say. And we should ask them again to clarify their positions.”

Vice President Kamala Harris had made a similar criticism to Donalds, saying at the annual national convention of the historically Black sorority Delta Sigma Theta, “In the state of Florida, they decided middle school students will be taught that enslaved people benefited from slavery. They insult us in an attempt to gaslight us, and we will not stand for it.”

DeSantis, for his part, has struggled in the polls since officially launching his campaign in May.

When his candidacy was only rumored in the beginning of 2023, polls showed him neck and neck with former President Donald Trump. DeSantis had reached 40.3 percent in the FiveThirtyEightpolling average in early January, just two points behind Trump.

Yet now, even after Trump has been indicted multiple times, DeSantis has plummeted to just 15.5 percent in FiveThirtyEight’s national polling average, while Trump stands at 52.4 percent as of July 27.

“DeSantis’ path was always ‘Trump, but more electable and with the ability to get things done,’” Sean Trende, an elections analyst with RealClearPolitics, tweeted. “But for some reason DeSantis has opted for ‘Trump, but somehow crazier.’”

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

House Republicans Trying To Shut Down Government Again

House Republicans Resorting To Budget Blackmail Yet Again

House Republicans have threatened to shut down the government and impeach President Joe Biden, two moves that are unpopular with voters and could hurt the party in the 2024 elections.

A group of Republican lawmakers held a news conference on Capitol Hill on Tuesday at which they said they would shut down the government if they don’t get the draconian spending cuts they are demanding, including billions in cuts to food stamps. Republicans are also pushing to include federal restrictions on abortion access and transgender health care in the spending bills. Congress must fund the government by Sept. 30 or it will be forced to shut down.

“We should not fear a government shutdown. Most of what we do up here is bad anyway. Most of what we do up here hurts the American people,” Rep. Bob Good (R-VA) said in a video shared by journalist Aaron Rupar.

Government shutdowns lead to suspended services that can cost the economy billions of dollars, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

“There are government services that are not being provided,” David Wessel, the director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution, said in 2019. “You can’t sell an airplane, for instance. You can’t get a question answered at the Internal Revenue Service. There are all sorts of services that people can’t get. The economists who add this up say it works out to about $2 billion a week in lost output to the economy every day the shutdown persists.”

Later on Tuesday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy held a news conference at the Capitol in which he said he’s moving toward opening an impeachment inquiry into Biden. On Tuesday night, McCarthy appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program and said that bribery allegations against Biden are “rising to the level of impeachment inquiry.” Republicans, however, are basing their allegations on a secondhand source who is currently under federal indictment on charges of being an unregistered agent for China, violating U.S. sanctions against Iran, and lying to federal investigators.

Neither shutting down the government nor impeaching Biden is popular with voters, according to public opinion polls.

Polling from 2019, the last time the government shut down, showed that 74 percent of American adults thought the shutdown was “embarrassing.” What’s more, polls taken during past shutdowns also show that Republicans often bear the brunt of the blame.

Meanwhile, a Morning Consult poll from June found that only 30 percent of voters think Republicans should prioritize impeaching Biden.

Democratic lawmakers say they will use Republicans’ efforts to further build the narrative that the Republican Party is too extreme.

“Apparently, the extreme MAGA Republican wing of the House Republican caucus would like to impeach every single federal official if they could, and I think the American people would far prefer that the Congress focus on real priorities and real issues that are impacting their daily lives,” Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) said Wednesday at a news conference on Capitol Hill with other Democratic leaders. “Certainly, we will continue to do that. It would be the prudent course for the House Republicans to do the same.”

“They have no interest in anything else except the culture wars and attacking the Biden administration,” Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA) told NBC News. DelBene, who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is working to win back the House majority for Democrats, said: “Our focus is on the American people and doing the work that helps our communities. And unfortunately, they don’t seem to have any interest in doing that.”

Already, polling has shown that voters disapprove of the job House Republicans are doing. In a CNN survey conducted in January, 73% of U.S. adults said House Republican leaders “haven’t paid enough attention to the country’s most important problems.”

Some Republicans have tried to downplay their own party’s extreme agenda ahead of the 2024 elections.

“No one is seriously talking about impeachment right now,” Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee, told NBC News. “We’re going to follow the facts wherever they go. So if we get to the point where we think that’s in the cards, I think at that point, we have to bring the American people along with us. But right now we’re just trying to get facts.”

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Defying Supreme Court, Alabama Republicans Persist In Racial Gerrymander

Defying Supreme Court, Alabama Republicans Persist In Racial Gerrymander

Democrats and voting rights advocates are accusing Alabama Republicans of flagrantly ignoring a Supreme Court ruling that the state’s congressional map was an illegal racial gerrymander and that the state needed to redraw its congressional districts to comply with the Voting Rights Act.

In June, the Supreme Court said that the GOP-controlled Legislature was in violation of the VRA when it designed the state’s congressional districts in a way that spread out Black voters among multiple districts, thus diluting their voting power and violating Section 2 of the landmark civil rights legislation. That section states, “No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any State or political subdivision to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.”

In its 5-4 ruling in Allen v. Milligan, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that Alabama’s current congressional map violates this section of the VRA and must be redrawn to include “two districts in which Black voters either comprise a voting-age majority or something quite close.”

However, the Republican-controlled Legislature did not comply with that order.

Instead, on July 21, the court-imposed deadline to pass a new map, the Legislature approved a new plan that still only had one majority-Black district. In the second new district the Legislature created, Black voters comprise just 39.93% of the voting-age population — far short of a majority.

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which is representing the plaintiffs who initially sued the state over the congressional map, said the new maps are unsatisfactory.

“[Alabama’s new map] fails to remedy the Voting Rights Act violation identified by the Supreme Court. Our clients will be returning to court to challenge it,” Deuel Ross, a racial justice attorney at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, tweeted.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder compared current Republican Alabama lawmakers to George Wallace, the former Alabama governor who refused to desegregate schools and vowed during his inaugural speech in 1963, “In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

“George Wallace would be proud of Alabama Republicans today,” Holder tweeted.

Rep. Terri Sewell, the only Democrat in Alabama’s seven-member House delegation, accused Republicans in the state of shamelessly ignoring the Supreme Court’s order.

“This map does not comply with the Supreme Court’s order and is an insult to Black voters across our state,” Sewell tweeted. “I fully expect that it will be rejected by the courts.”

The three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama that initially said Alabama’s map is in violation of the VRA will hold a hearing on Aug. 14 about the newly passed map. If the court finds the Legislature did not follow the ruling, it could appoint a special master to redraw the maps.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Abortion Rights

Poll: Big Majority Of Ohio Voters Support Abortion Rights Amendment

Nearly two-thirds of voters in Ohio back a constitutional amendment that, if passed, would guarantee the right to an abortion in the state, according to a USA Today/Suffolk University poll published on Monday.

Fifty-eight percent of voters support the amendment, which would make abortion legal in the state up until fetal viability, usually considered to be around 24 weeks’ gestation.

Abortion rights supporters are trying to put the constitutional amendment on the ballot in November. It’s a complicated process that requires nearly 450,000 signatures to be collected statewide. However, those signatures must come from at least 44 of the state’s 88 counties, and the number of signatures in each county must add up to five percent of its votes for governor in the previous election cycle.

The groups seeking to get the measure on the ballot submitted the signatures earlier in July, and the Ohio secretary of state is scheduled to announce on Tuesday whether the amendment’s proponents obtained the number of signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot.

The text of the proposed amendment says, “Every individual has a right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions, including but not limited to decisions on: contraception; fertility treatment; continuing one’s own pregnancy; miscarriage care; and abortion.” It says, “The state shall not, directly or indirectly, burden, penalize, prohibit, interfere with, or discriminate against either an individual’s voluntary exercise of this right or a person or entity that assists an individual exercising this right.”

According to the USA TODAY Network/Suffolk University poll, the measure has widespread support among Democratic and independent voters, including 85 percent of independent women. It also has support across all age groups and levels of education.

In an effort to block the proposed amendment from passing, Republicans are trying to raise the threshold for the number of votes that ballot initiatives need to garner in order to pass from a simple majority to 60 percent.

An Ohio Republican state lawmaker said in a February letter to his colleagues that the abortion referendum is a major reason why he thinks Republicans should raise the percentage of the vote needed to pass ballot measures.

“After decades of Republicans’ work to make Ohio a pro-life state, the Left intends to write abortion on demand into Ohio’s Constitution,” state Rep. Brian Stewart wrote in a letter posted to Twitter by reporter Andrew Tobias. “If they succeed, all the work accomplished by multiple Republican majorities will be undone, and we will return to 19,000+ babies being aborted each and every year.”

The USA Today poll shows, however, that even if Republicans raise that threshold, the amendment may pass anyway, as it’s just 2 points shy of 60 percent; the poll’s margin of error is 4.4 percentage points.

Abortions in Ohio are currently illegal after fetal cardiac activity can be detected, usually around six weeks’ gestation. That deadline is so early in pregnancy that many don’t yet know they are pregnant, let alone have the time to decide whether to continue with the pregnancy or to obtain an abortion.

Ohio passed the law banning abortion at this very early stage of pregnancy in 2019, but it only went into effect in 2022, after the Supreme Court overturned its landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that had affirmed the constitutional right to an abortion before fetal viability.

The proposed ballot amendment has broad support, even while Ohio has trended Republican over the last decade. Former President Donald Trump carried the state by 8 points in both 2016 and 2020.

“The general public in Ohio still likes their local Republican lawmakers, but when it comes to extreme positions against abortion rights, they are reeling them in,” David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, which conducted the survey, told USA Today.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Marjorie Taylor Greene

Margie Greene Mails X-Rated Images Of Hunter Biden To Voters

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is under fire from Democrats after using an appearance at a congressional hearing to display stolen images of a naked Hunter Biden. Greene also included the images of Biden engaged in sex acts in an email newsletter to her constituents.

Greene warned, “Parental discretion is advised” before she held up enlarged images of President Joe Biden’s son with a black box obscuring his penis, which she claimed were evidence that he was engaged in human trafficking. Greene then sent video of herself at the hearing showing off the explicit photos in an email newsletter, which could have been viewed by minors. The video she sent had a warning that said it included “disturbing” images and counseled parental discretion.

The images were explicit enough that Fox News, which aired the hearing live, blurred the images on its feed.

Greene, for her part, has accused the LGBTQ community and Democrats of “grooming” and “sexualizing” children.

The hearing where Greene displayed the explicit images was about whether the charges Biden faces for failing to pay his taxes on time were too narrow.

Republicans have claimed Biden received preferential treatment over the charges, which amount to a misdemeanor. Yet legal experts say that Hunter Biden was actually treated too harshly and that average citizens wouldn’t have been charged under the same set of facts.

Democrats were aghast at Greene’s behavior and called her out during the hearing and afterward.

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) interjected as Greene held up the explicit photos, asking Oversight Committee Chair James Comer, “Should we be displaying this?”

“In an effort to own Hunter Biden, they’re assembling nude photos of him, having some intern have to sit in a room and blow up these photos and put it on poster boards and figure out, Oh, which ones are beyond the pale?” Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.) said at the hearing.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said, “Today also marked a new low when pornographic images were paraded in this hearing room.”

“I don’t care who you are in this country. No one deserves that,” she said. “It is abuse, it is abusive.”

According to a tweet posted by Max Cohen, a reporter for Punchbowl News, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) criticized the hearings, calling them “a malignant clown show that are not designed to address issues that impact the health, safety and economic well being of the American people.”

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Indicted: The 16 Michigan GOP Officials Charged In Fake Elector Scheme

Indicted: The 16 Michigan GOP Officials Charged In Fake Elector Scheme

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Tuesday announced that her office had filed a raft of charges against the 16 Michigan Republicans who acted as fake Electoral College electors in 2020 in an effort to block Joe Biden from becoming president.

Each of the 16 was charged with eight criminal counts of forgery and conspiracy to commit forgery, which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.

“The false electors’ actions undermined the public’s faith in the integrity of our elections and, we believe, also plainly violated the laws by which we administer our elections in Michigan,” Nessel said in a news release. “My department has prosecuted numerous cases of election law violations throughout my tenure, and it would be malfeasance of the greatest magnitude if my department failed to act here in the face of overwhelming evidence of an organized effort to circumvent the lawfully cast ballots of millions of Michigan voters in a presidential election.”

These are the first charges brought against those involved in the fake elector scheme, which Republicans across the country organized to overturn Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election in their states and install former President Donald Trump as president. In all, 84 people in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — all states Biden won in 2020 — signed documents in which they falsely claimed to be the “duly elected electors.”

Many of the Michigan electors are well-connected in the state; some hold elected office or positions of power in the state party.

Here is a look at the 16 people charged in the Michigan fake elector plot. All but three would have served as legitimate electors had Trump won Michigan.

  • Kathleen Berden: Berden is an ally of Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee; Berden helped McDaniel secure votes to win reelection as RNC chair, according to a report from the investigative outlet ProPublica. McDaniel defended Berden, who had been subpoenaed by the January 6th Select Committee in the House that probed the violent attack at the Capitol.
  • William “Hank” Choate: Choate is a dairy farmer who was invited to the White House in 2017 to discuss agriculture with then-President Trump.
  • Amy Facchinello: Facchinello is a former vice chair of the Genesee County Republican Party and a current member of the Grand Blanc, Michigan, school board. She has promoted the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory that Trump was going to rid the government of a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophile Democrats.
  • Clifford Frost Jr.: Frost ran a failed campaign for the Michigan House of Representatives in 2020. According to the Detroit Free Press, Frost is a member of the Michigan Republican Party State Committee and on the board of the Macomb County GOP.
  • Stanley Grot: Grot served as the chair of the 10th Congressional District Republican Committee and currently serves as the clerk of Shelby Township. He had announced a bid to be Michigan secretary of state in 2018, but ended his candidacy before the election, the Detroit Free Pressreported.
  • John Haggard: Haggard served as an elector for Trump in 2016, when Trump narrowly carried Michigan by roughly 11,000 votes out of more than 4.5 million cast. He was also one of the plaintiffs in a failed lawsuit to overturn Michigan’s 2020 election results. A judge threw out the lawsuit, and a federal judge later sanctioned the lawyers who had argued what he called a frivolous case.
  • Mari-Ann Henry: Henry is the treasurer of the Seventh Congressional District Republican Committee.
  • Timothy King: As of November 2020, King was a member of the Washtenaw County Republican Party executive committee, according to the Detroit Press. Along with Haggard, King was one of the plaintiffs in a failed lawsuit to overturn the results of Michigan’s 2020 election.
  • Michele Lundgren: Lundgren ran for the Michigan House of Representatives in 2022, but lost in a landslide, garnering only eight percent in the general election. After she was subpoenaed by the House Select Committee, she claimed to that she “didn’t even know what an elector was, let alone a fake elector.”
  • Meshawn Maddock: Maddock is a former co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party. She used misogynistic language in attacking Nessel’s investigation into the fake elector scheme earlier this year. “I never expected that modern political witch hunts would be led by literal witches,” Maddock told Bridge Michigan in January.
  • James Renner: Renner was not one of the Republicans who would have been a legitimate elector had Trump won Michigan. According to testimony from former Michigan Republican Party Chair Laura Cox given to the January 6 House Select Committee, some electors had refused to be fake electors because they were “uncomfortable” with the plot.
  • Mayra Rodriguez: Rodriguez, a lawyer, is facing a complaint from Michigan’s Attorney Discipline Board over her role as a fake elector.
  • Rose Rook: Rook is the former chair of the Van Buren County GOP, and as of November 2020 was the president of the Van Buren County Republican Women’s Club, according to the Detroit Free Press.
  • Marian Sheridan: Sheridan serves as the grassroots vice chair of the Michigan Republican Party. Along with Haggard and King, Sheridan was one of the plaintiffs in the failed lawsuit to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Sheridan was also a plaintiff in a case that sought to block the state from accepting absentee ballots after 8 p.m. on Election Day.
  • Kenneth Thompson: Thompson was not on the list of legitimate Republican electors had Trump won Michigan.
  • Kent Vanderwood: Vanderwood is the mayor of Wyoming, Michigan.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

George Santos

McCarthy Still Protecting Santos As Democrats Prepare Censure Resolution

A group of Democratic House members announced on Monday that they plan to introduce a resolution to formally censure Rep. George Santos, the indicted New York Republican who has been caught in a wide array of lies about his upbringing, resume, and family and faces multiple charges of money laundering and fraud.

The censure resolution, the strictest punishment Congress can hand down aside from expulsion, is being led by Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY).

“For too long, House Republicans, under the leadership of Speaker [Kevin] McCarthy, have been shielding and protecting Rep. Santos from any shred of accountability,” Torres said in the announcement.

Torres said he is filing the resolution because the House Ethics Committee has yet to release its report on Santos, after House Republicans referred an expulsion resolution against Santos to the the committee in May. Rep. Nick LaLota, one of the New York Republicans who wants Santos to resign, said at the time they expected the House Ethics Committee to issue a report a couple of months later.

“We expect a result within 60 days and for the terrible liar to be gone, by resignation or expulsion, before August recess,” said LaLota, who has said he thinks Santos should resign but voted against expelling him from Congress.

The Ethics Committee has not issued a report.

“It has now been 60 days and Rep. Santos continues to defraud the people of his district and disgrace our institution. I invite all those who have condemned his repeated lies and deception or called on Rep. Santos to resign to join House Democrats in voting to support my resolution to formally censure him and to stop treating him as untouchable,” Torres said.

McCarthy said in May that he hoped the Ethics Committee would move quickly. He said on Monday in response to the censure resolution that Democrats should allow the Ethics Committee to carry out its process.

“They have brought this up numerous times. This is their entire agenda,” McCarthy told reporters on Monday, according to CBS News. “We don’t get involved within the Ethics Committee. These are individuals who will do their job and get their work done and follow through on whatever they need to find.”

Despite his criticism of efforts to censure and expel an indicted member of Congress, he blessed Republicans’ censure of Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff for investigating former President Donald Trump.

McCarthy said Schiff deserved to be censured because, he claimed, Schiff had lied to the American public during Congress’ investigation of Trump’s ties to Russia about whether he knew the whistleblower whose alleged evidence led to the first Trump impeachment inquiry. The Washington Post Fact Checker did not find any evidence of a lie, but that hasn’t stopped accusations from Republicans.

“Adam Schiff abused his position as Chair of Intel to lie and lead America through a national nightmare with the fake Russia collusion narrative,” McCarthy tweeted ahead of Republicans’ successful censure vote against Schiff. “As Speaker, I removed him from the Intel Committee, and now the full House will vote to censure him and open an ethics investigation.”

Santos, however, has been caught lying.

The censure resolution Torres filed along with fellow Democratic New York Rep. Daniel Goldman and Democratic California Rep. Ted Lieu lists 11 of those lies, including that Santos “deliberately misrepresented that his grandparents survived the Holocaust”; “falsely claimed that his mother died during the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 “; “deliberately misrepresented that 4 of his employees were killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting”; and “falsely claimed that he helped produce the Broadway musical ‘Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark.'”.

Because Democrats are in the minority in the House, they do not control what legislation makes it to the floor. However, any member can force a vote on a censure resolution over the House majority’s objections.

“Republican leadership and the six New York Republicans who profess to want George Santos out of Congress continue to embrace an admitted liar and an indicted fraudster in the halls of Congress,” Goldman said in a news release announcing his co-sponsorship of the censure resolution.

Goldman continued: “Their refusal to hold George Santos accountable is an insult not only to this institution but to the people of NY-03. Speaker McCarthy said we would get a report from the Ethics Committee today — yet another false promise designed to protect Santos. I am proud to stand with my Democratic colleagues in doing what Republican leadership refuses to do – fight for George Santos’ constituents and censure him for his repeated lies and deception.”

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Lashrecse Aird

Virginia Democrats Oust Anti-Abortion State Senator In Landslide Primary

Democratic voters in Virginia on Tuesday voted out an anti-abortion Democratic state senator who has worked with Republican lawmakers to try to ban abortion care.

State Sen. Joe Morrissey overwhelmingly lost his bid for renomination in Virginia’s 13th state Senate District to former Del. Lashrecse Aird. Aird defeated Morrissey 69 percent to 31 percent, with 91 percent of precincts reporting, according to the New York Times.

Abortion was the primary focus of the primary.

Virginia’s Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin wants to pass a 15-week abortion ban and would push the Legislature to pass such a ban if the GOP took control of the state Senate in the general election in November.

Currently, Democrats hold 21 seats in the state Senate against the Republicans’ 19. If Democrats lose just one vote, the result could be a tie vote in the Senate on abortion bans that could be decided by Republican Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears in her role as president of the Senate.

Aird made that point while campaigning.

“My opponent is the only anti-choice Democrat in the Senate,” Aird told a voter as she worked to get out the vote, according to a report from the Associated Press.

She also ran a campaign ad in which Morrissey talks about being “pro-life.”

Morrissey told an opinion columnist for theVirginia Mercuryin May 2022, after the Supreme Court’s draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade leaked, that while he is personally against abortion, he thinks the choice to have one should be made by a woman “after consulting with her doctor, her partner and perhaps her spiritual adviser. I don’t think women should be jailed for having an abortion.”

“There has to be some type of middle ground,” Morrissey said. “Perhaps it’s if the child can feel pain. But I believe my moderate position is the view of the people of my district as well as … Virginia and that’s how I’m going to approach this.”

In 2022, Morrissey co-sponsored a bill with far-right GOP state Sen. Amanda Chase that would have banned abortion after 20 weeks’ gestation.

Morrissey attacked Aird for putting such a strong focus on abortion in her campaign.

“My opponent is a one-trick pony: ‘Let me just talk about abortion,'” Morrissey told the AP earlier in June. “‘Let me borrow a half-million dollars from my billionaire friend in Charlottesville; let me flood the airwaves with that and let me try to steal a state Senate seat.'”

Morrissey has long been a thorn in the side of Democrats in Virginia.

He was first elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2007. He resigned in December 2014 after he was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor for having sex with a 17-year-old receptionist in his law office. He was sentenced to and completed six months in prison.

Morrissey then successfully ran as an independent in a special election in 2015, while incarcerated, for the seat he had resigned. But he resigned again a few months later to run for state senate — a race he later dropped out of, citing his health.

In 2019, Morrissey ran for a seat in the state Senate and won. He was seeking reelection in the district when he lost on Tuesday.

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia celebrated Morrissey’s loss and Aird’s victory.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

'Disgrace': Republicans Berate Biden White House For Flying Pride Banner

'Disgrace': Republicans Berate Biden White House For Flying Pride Banner

Republican lawmakers are up in arms after President Joe Biden held a Pride celebration on the South Lawn of White House on Saturday and flew the progress pride flag from the Truman Balcony.

Multiple GOP lawmakers falsely claimed that Biden violated the U.S. flag code by displaying the pride flag prominently at the celebration, where hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the LGBTQ community and voice support for LGBTQ rights.

“This is a disgrace,” Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) tweeted, referring to the pride flag flying between two American flags on the Truman Balcony. “Not only is it in breach of US Flag Code, but it’s a glaring example of this White Houses’ incompetence and insistence on putting their social agenda ahead of patriotism.”

According to the U.S. Code, “The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.”

The American flag was flying above the progress pride flag from a flagstaff atop the White House, meaning Biden did not violate the flag code.

“Dear Sen @RogerMarshallMD: I assume you did not intend to spread misinformation; however the picture you attached was misleadingly cropped. I have attached the actual picture which shows there has been no violation of the U.S. Flag Code,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) tweeted along with a photo showing the American flag flying atop the White House.

That didn’t stop Republicans from making the false accusation that Biden broke the law by flying the progress pride flag. The progress pride flag is the traditional rainbow flag with the addition of a triangle with white, pink, light blue, brown, and black stripes. The white, pink, and light blue colors represent the transgender community, the brown stripe represents communities of color, and the black stripe is in remembrance of the people who died during the HIV crisis in the 1980s and 1990s.

“Pursuing his twisted agenda, Biden dishonors the American flag and breaks federal law,” Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) tweeted. A Twitter user replied with a picture showing the American flag flying above the White House.

“The flag of the United States of America placed in equal stature on the flank of the alphabet cult battle flag,” Rep. Mike Collins (R-GA) tweeted. “The Biden administration is a disgrace.”

Collins went on to tweet a photo of the flags he flies in his office, which include the Christian flag.

Biden, meanwhile, was unapologetic in his support for LGBTQ rights during the Pride event he hosted.

In a speech at the event, he listed the steps he’s taken to support the LGBTQ community during his time in the White House, such as ending former President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender Americans serving in the military, reversing the Food and Drug Administration’s ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood, and signing the Respect for Marriage Act to require the federal government and all states to recognize same-sex marriages.

He also voiced support for LGBTQ people and their allies amid the barrage of anti-LGBTQ laws Republican-led legislatures are passing across the country. The Department of Justice under Biden has prosecuted hate crimes and filed multiple lawsuits challenging homophobic and transphobic laws.

“You know, too many people in the LGBT community are worried and afraid about their future and their safety,” Biden said on Saturday. “So today, I want to send a message to the entire community, especially to transgender children: You are loved. You are heard. You are understood. And you belong.”

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Wildfire Smoke

Denying Dangers Of Smoke Pollution, Republicans Mock Canada's Prime Minister

As smoke blanketed the East Coast, putting millions of people at risk, Republican lawmakers mocked its health impact and denied that climate change is in part to blame for the unprecedented situation.

The smoke came from more than 150 wildfires that are burning out of control in Canada. It is dangerous because wildfires burn everything in their wake, including materials that create toxic particles when combusted. It can cause wheezing, coughing, lung damage, heart attacks, and strokes — even in healthy people — but especially in older populations and those with preexisting conditions like asthma or cardiovascular disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, Republicans like Reps. Derrick Van Orden and Tom Tiffany, both of Wisconsin, blamed the fires on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau while using them as an opportunity to mock his support of LGBTQ rights.

“Can someone ask @justintrudeau what pronouns forest fires use? I would like them to stop polluting our air but do not want an HR complaint,” Van Orden tweeted.

“We need some answers from Prime Minister Trudeau rather than him diving into Pride month and doing all those woke things that really have no benefit to peoples’ lives,” Tiffany said in an interview on Newsmax.

Tiffany also spread a conspiracy theory that the fires in Canada were started by arson, even though there is no evidence that is the case. Experts instead say the fires are so bad because of the effects of climate change, which Tiffany has denied is real.

Other Republicans are criticizing Democrats for pointing out the connection between the fires and climate change or are denying it is related to climate change at all.

“This isn’t the moment to start lecturing people about the science of climate change,” Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-NY) said on Fox News.

“Absolutely not,” Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) said in an interview on Fox Business in response to a question about whether climate change is to blame for the wildfire smoke.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) poked fun at Canada for having leadership that recognizes that climate change poses a real threat to people’s health.

“New York has the worst air quality in history due to wild fires from Climate Cult Canada,” she tweeted, along with a video of orange smoke blocking views of the New York City skyline.

Meanwhile, personalities on Fox News are downplaying the risk of the smoke even though experts say breathing in the toxic fumes is dangerous for everyone.

“There’s just no health risk,” Fox News contributor Steve Milloy, a lobbyist for tobacco and oil companies who denies climate change is real, claimed on host Laura Ingraham’s program on Wednesday night. “This doesn’t kill anybody, this doesn’t make anybody cough. This is not a health event. It’s got nothing to do with climate.”

Democrats, for their part, are calling Republicans out for not taking the wildfires or climate change seriously.

“The most important thing you can do about climate change is beat Republicans electorally,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) tweeted. “That doesn’t exonerate me or anyone else for as much action as possible, but the fact is more aggressive action on the planetary crisis depends on the composition of the Congress.”

“Imagine being a Republican climate change denier in Congress – you show up to work at the Capitol today, see the skies filled with smoke… and you still don’t get that we need bold and immediate action to save our planet?” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) tweeted. “Ridiculous.”

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

DeSantis And Pence Defend Trump -- But Christie And Hutchinson Don't

DeSantis And Pence Defend Trump -- But Christie And Hutchinson Don't

In a typical primary race, candidates would pounce on the opportunity to attack their opponents for being indicted on federal espionage charges.

But the exact opposite is occurring in the 2024 GOP primary: Republican hopefuls are rushing to defend former President Donald Trump after he was indicted on Thursday on seven counts ranging from violating the Espionage Act to obstructing justice, according to multiple reports.

“I think everybody’s still looking at their jersey to find out what team they’re on, and in this case Republicans are staying loyal,” Stu Rothenberg, a political analyst at Roll Call, said in an interview with the American Independent Foundation. “It’s not a change of strategy or approach. It’s just confirming where they’ve been and what they’ve done for a long time.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is a distant second in national GOP primary polling behind Trump, said Trump’s indictment amounts to “weaponization of federal law enforcement.”

“Why so zealous in pursuing Trump yet so passive about Hillary or Hunter?” DeSantis tweeted, questioning why former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, haven’t been indicted. “The DeSantis administration will bring accountability to the DOJ [Department of Justice], excise political bias and end weaponization once and for all.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence, who announced on Tuesday he is taking on his former running mate, said he is “deeply troubled to see this indictment move forward.”

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) said on Fox News that Trump is a victim of a justice system where “the scales are weighted.”

And former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has been more critical of Trump, has so far declined to comment on the indictment.

“Let’s see what the facts are when any possible indictment is released. As I have said before, no one is above the law, no matter how much they wish they were. We will have more to say when the facts are revealed,” Christie tweeted.

So far, only Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson issued a forceful criticism of Trump.

“Donald Trump’s actions — from his willful disregard for the Constitution to his disrespect for the rule of law — should not define our nation or the Republican Party,” Hutchinson said in a statement.

He added, “This reaffirms the need for Donald Trump to respect the office and end his campaign.”

Republican strategists told CBS News correspondent Robert Costa that the GOP presidential hopefuls don’t think criticizing Trump would be helpful to their campaigns, and that primary voters will instead stand behind Trump.

Indeed, Trump’s poll numbers rose among Republican primary voters after a Manhattan grand jury indicted him for alleged hush money payments he made to a porn star during the 2016 campaign.

Ultimately, while polling shows indictments could be a problem among a general electorate, Rothenberg says it will be hard for Republican primary contenders to break through to change the narrative and win the nomination.

“Republicans believe that Democrats have such ill will and are so willing to lie and cheat and steal to stop Donald Trump and the Republicans that they think anything that Democrats do is politically motivated and immoral and unconstitutional and vile,” Rothenberg said. “So I don’t think things have changed, except Trump’s going to be able to use this to define what the terms of the national debate are.”

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.