Trump: Attack on Paul Pelosi a ‘terrible thing’

Former President Trump in an interview Sunday called the attack on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) husband in their San Francisco home a “terrible thing” as he railed against crime in Democrat-led cities.

"With Paul Pelosi, that’s a terrible thing, with all of them it's a terrible thing,” Trump said in an interview with Americano Media, a conservative Spanish language outlet. “Look at what's happened to San Francisco generally. Look at what's happening in Chicago. It was far worse than Afghanistan."

"We have to give the police back their dignity, their respect. They can solve the problem. But today if a police officer says something that’s slightly out of line it’s like the end of his life, the end of his pension, the end of his family," Trump continued. "We can’t do that. We have to give the police back their authority and their power and their respect. Because this country is out of control."

Trump remained silent on the attack on Paul Pelosi over the weekend, as others in the GOP sent mixed messages about it. Many Democrats, including President Biden, called for members of both parties to unequivocally condemn the attack as they worried about a rise in political violence.

Paul Pelosi, 82, was attacked early Friday morning in his home by an intruder, police said. Authorities arrived at the home and found the two men tussling over a hammer. The suspect then gained control of the hammer and used it to attack Paul Pelosi.

Paul Pelosi underwent surgery for a skull fracture and is expected to recover.

Before the assault occurred, the man confronted Paul Pelosi and shouted, “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?” according to a source briefed on the attack. The Speaker was not home at the time.

Biden and other Democrats tied the assailant's rhetoric and attack directly to Republicans' false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, something Trump still regularly promotes at rallies and on social media.

Trump and the Speaker have had a tumultuous relationship dating back to Trump's time in the White House. The two briefly tried to work together for an infrastructure deal and on other legislative matters, but the relationship rapidly soured, particularly after the first impeachment of Trump.

Nancy Pelosi went viral for ripping up Trump's State of the Union speech in early 2020. Trump repeatedly derided the Speaker as "Crazy Nancy." She has frequently deemed Trump unfit to hold office, and most recently gained attention for saying she would have "punched him out" had Trump tried to come to the Capitol during the rioting there on Jan. 6, 2021.

Updated at 11 a.m.

Jim Jordan poised to serve as top Biden foe in potential GOP House

A Republican takeover of the House next year would instantly shift the lower chamber from a force allied with President Biden to perhaps his fiercest collective adversary — one with real power to disrupt the second half of the president’s first term. 

But nowhere is that shift expected to be more pronounced than the Judiciary Committee, where Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) — a conservative firebrand and staunch supporter of former President Trump — is poised to take the gavel. 

Jordan, a founder and former head of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, has already made clear his intent to use the panel to launch what would certainly be some of the most high-profile — and politically significant — investigations next year into the operations of both the White House and the broader administration. 

On the short list are probes to scrutinize Biden's involvement in his son Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings; the Homeland Security Department’s handling of the southern border; the Justice Department’s oversight of local school boards; and the FBI’s seizure of documents Trump took with him to Mar-a-Lago after leaving the White House. 

“If that doesn't warrant a real investigation and real change coming, I don't know what does,” Jordan told the Fox Business Network last week, previewing an array of topics he’s vowing to examine if the House flips, as many election watchers expect. 

Perhaps most significantly, Jordan’s gavel would also lend him jurisdiction over potential impeachments — an idea that’s already gaining steam in the conservative corners of the GOP conference, where the calls to oust Biden and members of his Cabinet have grown only louder throughout this year.

Those dynamics may put Jordan in the driver’s seat of what could potentially be Congress’s most consequential undertaking ahead of the 2024 presidential election, when Trump may be on the ballot to avenge the 2020 defeat he still hasn’t acknowledged. 

Yet a strong conservative push for impeachment could also put Jordan in a squeeze, caught between Biden’s loudest critics, including Trump, and more wary Republican leaders — a group he’s tangled with in the past — who are already signaling concerns about the political risks of trying to oust the president. 

In that scenario, Jordan, the agitator-turned-chairman, would be forced to choose between the aggressive entreaties of a right wing he helped to groom and the cautious posture of leaders he once opposed — a delicate position for a figure more accustomed to throwing bombs than deflecting them.

Trump, from the sidelines, would almost certainly join the pro-impeachment crowd, putting only more pressure on Jordan to pursue it. 

Whatever might happen with impeachment, outside observers are already predicting that a Jordan-led Judiciary panel will be a force to watch if Republicans are empowered with a House majority. 

“There is a lot in Jim Jordan's record that makes the potential prospect of him having such a powerful post, having control over the House Judiciary Committee, troubling,” Noah Bookbinder, president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), told The Hill.

“Nothing in Jim's Jordan career so far has screamed out ‘balance,’” Bookbinder said, a trait he thinks is important in a committee with oversight of justice and law enforcement issues and which serves a role demanding transparency and upholding democratic norms.

“The Judiciary committees are always an important place for those issues. They're a place where there can be real positive action, but also a place where there can be deeply politicized hearings that can make things worse,” he added.

Jordan and his allies have rejected such criticisms, saying he’s simply aiming to bring some accountability to the administration after two years of neglect under the current chairman, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.). 

“Ultimately holding people accountable, that's for the Justice Department to take up,” Jordan told Fox Business. “But our job is to get the truth and the facts out there.

“We're going to do that.” 

Jordan and the Judiciary Committee will not be alone, of course, in battling with Biden if the House changes hands next year. 

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), who's in line to lead the powerful Oversight and Reform Committee, is also promising deep dives into the president and his administration, vowing a focus on Hunter Biden, the border and the COVID-19 response. And Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), as expected chairman of the Armed Services Committee, would likely use that perch to examine last year's deadly withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. 

But Jordan is perhaps the most prominent national figure poised to take on the mantle of Biden antagonist if the House flips. 

In public comments, Jordan has already forecast where his priorities would be if he takes the gavel. And a source close to him elucidated that focus this week, saying immigration issues — including the border, crime, taking on Big Tech and oversight of the Justice Department and the FBI — would be among his top concerns, an emphasis already reflected by Jordan’s work this Congress as the Judiciary Committee’s senior Republican. 

During his time as ranking member, Jordan has also focused squarely on various domestic terrorism angles, a topic where he sees the Biden administration focusing too many resources on those with conservative viewpoints — and parents of public school children.

Jordan has sent a bevy of letters on a memo from Attorney General Merrick Garland signed in October of last year, noting a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff” amid broader discussions over COVID-19 policies and how issues such as race and gender are addressed at school.

The memo largely encouraged coordination, asking the FBI to convene meetings with local law enforcement in the following 30 days to discuss how to respond to threats of violence. It ultimately resulted in little payoff, particularly given the swift GOP backlash.

The outcry from Republican lawmakers led the National School Boards Association, which wrote to Biden requesting assistance on the rising threats, to issue a statement saying its members “regret and apologize” for its outreach letter.

But it’s remained a consistent talking point for Jordan, who by his own count has sent more than 100 letters on the subject. 

The latest asked the Justice Department to preserve all its documents related to the Garland memo, saying the “anti-parent directive remains in effect, and as a result, the threat of federal law enforcement continues to chill the First Amendment rights of American parents.”

And Jordan scored a win last week when Jill Sanborn, a former FBI official tasked with overseeing the counter-terrorism division of the bureau, agreed to voluntarily sit with the panel’s investigators.

The FBI as well as the Department of Homeland Security have warned of the risks from domestic violent extremism (DVE), a category that includes those motivated by a wide variety of subjects. Leaders of each have cautioned that those motivated by race and ethnicity, particularly white supremacy, are among the most dangerous. 

Jordan, citing a whistleblower to the committee, contends some FBI cases have been inappropriately labeled as DVE “in order to appease the Biden Administration’s woke left-wing agenda.”

He also sent a new duo of letters Friday, this time to Garland and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, saying lawmakers “are investigating the Biden Administration’s callous disregard for the safety and security of our southern border.” 

The letters ask for preservation of documents — a common tactic from the minority when they lack subpoena power and a reflection of their future priorities. 

“Committee Republicans will continue to pursue these matters, including into the 118th Congress if necessary,” Jordan wrote.

What we know about suspected Paul Pelosi attacker  

The man who allegedly attacked Paul Pelosi on Friday reportedly had an active online presence in which he posted QAnon conspiracy theories and was previously a pro-nudity activist.

San Francisco police have identified the suspect as 42-year-old David DePape, who was booked on several charges, including attempted homicide, elder abuse, aggravated battery with serious bodily injury, and threatening a public official or family member. 

DePape allegedly attacked 82-year-old Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), with a hammer after repeatedly asking, "Where is Nancy?"

Details that have emerged of the suspected attacker since Friday show that he was active in promoting conspiracy theories online and "very consumed by darkness."

Here's what else we know about DePape.

Conspiracy theories and antisemitism

DePape had a complicated political presence online, making posts that questioned the 2020 election outcome and promoted QAnon conspiracy theories. 

After moving to California from British Columbia, DePape became known in Berkeley as a pro-nudity activist, protesting against rules requiring people to be clothed in public, according to The Associated Press.  

He was also a “hemp jewelry maker” connected to pro-nudity activist Gypsy Taub, who pushed conspiracy theories about the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, according to the San Francisco Chronicle

Taub's daughter, who said DePape helped raise her until she was 13, wrote on her blog, "There is some part of him that is a good person even though he has been very consumed by darkness."

DePape has also been tied to a number of social media accounts and blogs sharing far-right conspiracy theories. 

Two blogs authored by a “daviddepape” included recent posts with antisemitic content and claims of election fraud as well as a video of Nancy Pelosi at one of former President Trump’s impeachment proceedings, according to CNN

In some posts, the author defended former President Trump and the rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, who has come under criticism for antisemitic comments.

In one post from last month, an author under DePape's name wrote that journalists who denied the former president's fraud claims about the 2020 presidential election “should be dragged straight out into the street and shot,” according to the AP.

Echoes of Jan. 6 Capitol riot

Police reportedly arrived at the scene to find Paul Pelosi and DePape struggling with a hammer — and before officers could tackle and disarm DePape, he allegedly took control of the hammer and assaulted Paul Pelosi with it. 

Both Paul Pelosi and DePape were then transported to a local hospital. There, Paul Pelosi underwent surgery for a skull fracture and other significant injuries to his arm and hands, according to the Speaker’s spokesperson. 

The suspect reportedly entered the Pelosis’ San Francisco home on Friday in search of the Speaker, who was in Washington, D.C., at the time, and shouted, “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?”  

The question is reminiscent of chants heard during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol as some rioters searched the halls for the Speaker. One rioter was sentenced to 60 days behind bars earlier this year for threatening to shoot Nancy Pelosi “in the friggin’ brain” during the insurrection. 

DePape also reportedly brought zip ties with him when he entered the Pelosis’ home, another move seen from some Jan. 6 rioters who were spotted carrying zip ties into the Capitol. 

The San Francisco District Attorney has said multiple felony charges will be brought against DePape on Monday, with an arraignment expected Tuesday.

Roger Stone bemoans DeSantis’ ‘ingratitude’ and ‘treachery’ for considering 2024 run against Trump

Former Trump campaign adviser and longtime cartoon villain Roger Stone is hoping to frighten away any competition Trump may have in his 2024 presidential run. Roger Stone has set his sights on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a man who no doubt expected support from the former president after years of public ass-kissing. Like Mike Pence, Ron DeSantis is finding out that loyalty is not a two-way street in Trump’s world. 

HuffPost reports that Stone seems convinced of a third Trump presidential run in 2024, despite the fact that the former president has never announced it.

Stone wrote on Telegram that Trump has given “every indication that he’s running for president in 2024,” adding that if DeSantis ran against him, it would be the “most stunning act of ingratitude and treachery in the history of American politics,” which is funny because if anyone understands treachery, it’s Roger Stone, and if anyone understands the history of American politics, they’d know this is not even in the top 20 moments of treachery.

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Stone went on to write that Trump’s gubernatorial endorsement of DeSantis in 2019 “MADE Ron DeSanctimonius Governor” and finished his post by adding the hashtag “ingrate.”

In a debate last Monday against his Democratic opponent Charlie Crist, DeSantis was asked by Crist whether he could commit to serving the entire four years if he were reelected as governor. In response, DeSantis stood like a zombie for an uncomfortably long time.

“You talk about Joe Biden a lot. I understand you think you're going to be running against him. I can see how you might get confused. But you're running for governor. You're running for governor. And I have a question for you. You're running for governor. Why don't you look in the eyes of the people of the state of Florida and say to them, if you're reelected, you will serve a full four-year term as governor?”

While DeSantis waited for the clock to run out, Crist continued:

“Yes or no? Yes or no, Ron? Will you serve a full four-year term if you're reelected governor of Florida? It's not a tough question. It's a fair question. He won't tell you.”

Still, DeSantis said nothing.

This isn’t the first time Stone has gone hard against DeSantis. In April, The Daily Beast reported that Stone, a self-proclaimed “dirty trickster,” posted a video ripping into DeSantis and calling the Florida governor “a piece of [shit].”

This weekend, Roger Stone posted a video of himself telling Trump that Ron DeSantis is “a piece of [shit].”

— Zachary Petrizzo (@ZTPetrizzo) April 17, 2022

Stone told The Daily Beast at the time, “Ron DeSantis would not be governor without the Republican primary endorsement of president Donald Trump. [...] While DeSantis has been a good governor and I support his re-election, I believe he should tell the former president that he will step aside if Trump decides to run in 2024. DeSantis has not done so I therefore I will not stop criticizing him for disloyalty.”

But, as we know, Stone’s loyalty is as fleeting as a snowflake in Florida.

The Daily Beast, which originally reported the story, wrote that during one scene filmed on Jan. 20, 2021, in the new documentary A Storm Foretold, Stone is seen trashing his BFF Trump. He says he told the former president that if he ran again, he’d get his “f***ing brains beat in.” Stone goes on to say that he’s “done with this president” and is “gonna go public supporting impeachment—I have no choice. He has to go. He has to go.”

Footage from Jan 20 2021. Stone supports impeaching Trump:“Run again you’ll get your fucking brains beat in.”

— Christoffer Guldbrandsen (@cguld) October 15, 2022

This was after Trump apparently refused to pardon Stone for his role on the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

In another scene, Stone was filmed as he attacked Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

“Jared Kushner has an IQ of 70. He’s coming to Miami. We will eject him from Miami very quickly; he will be leaving very quickly.”

Stone went on to rant about Ivanka Trump, calling her Trump’s “abortionist bitch daughter.”

Trump did go on to use the power of his office to commute Stone’s sentence on seven felony convictions that left Stone facing a sentence of 40 months in federal prison, The New York Times reported in July 2020.

One Republican lawmaker spoke out about the commutation.

Mitt Romney tweeted, “Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president.”

Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president.

— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) July 11, 2020

Today on The Brief, we speak with Way To Win’s co-founder and vice president, Jenifer Fernandez Ancona. Ancona comes in to discuss how grassroots progressive groups are spending money in the hopes of getting as many voters as possible out for the midterm elections. She also talks about which campaign advertisements are effective and which are not. One thing is for sure, though: We are living in historic times, and what that means for these midterms cannot be easily predicted—so Get Out The Vote!

When Republicans start saying rational things about violence, they are surely worried

The No. 3 House Republican, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, was quick to extend best wishes to the husband of Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Paul Pelosi, who was violently attacked early Friday morning by an intruder in the couple’s San Francisco home.

"Wishing a full recovery for Paul from this absolutely horrific violent attack," tweeted Stefanik.

It's a departure from her norm. On any given week, Stefanik's twitter account is a fount of racist conspiracy theories demonizing immigrants, people of color, and Democrats.

Last year, Stefanik's social media ads accused "radical Democrats" of plotting "their most aggressive move yet: a PERMANENT ELECTION INSURRECTION.”

“Their plan to grant amnesty to 11 MILLION illegal immigrants will overthrow our current electorate and create a permanent liberal majority in Washington," claimed the ad, funded by Stefanik's campaign committee.

In a tweet earlier this year, Stefanik referred to the White House and House Democrats as "pedo grifters," invoking an apparent abbreviation for pedophile—an obsession among QAnon conspiracy theorists who believe Democrats run a Satanic child sex-trafficking ring.

So Stefanik's awkward dance with graciousness in the wake of the savage attack on Paul Pelosi looks to be more of a political tell than heartfelt sentiment. It was accompanied by similar out-of-character pronouncements from other GOP leaders on the Hill.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's spokesperson, Mark Bednar, said McCarthy had "reached out to the Speaker to check in on Paul and said he's praying for a full recovery and is thankful they caught the assailant."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted: "Horrified and disgusted by the reports that Paul Pelosi was assaulted in his and Speaker Pelosi's home last night. Grateful to hear that Paul is on track to make a full recovery."

With some notable exceptions, Republican leaders have generally responded appropriately to the tragedy the Pelosi family is enduring, which in these fractious times begs the question: Why?

Because a racist, misogynist, antisemitic conspiracy theorist just broke into the home of one of the most well-known Democrats in the nation yelling, "Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?"

It's unclear if the assailant, David DePape, who years ago listed himself in voting records as a member of the Green Party, officially identifies as a Republican or with the Republican Party. But he appears to be a case study in online radicalization. His Facebook page reportedly included links to multiple videos produced by My Pillow guy Mike Lindell falsely claiming the 2020 election was stolen. The attack was also eerily reminiscent of the seditionists on Jan. 6 roaming the Capitol hallways, calling out, "Nancy, oh, Nancy," and, "Where are you, Nancy? We're looking for you."

It's too early to know exactly what will come to light regarding Depape, but an incident like this is Republicans' worst nightmare in terms of the female suburban voters they are trying to woo back into their corner this cycle.

The last thing Republicans want is some QAnon loon reminding suburban moms what a danger the GOP is to civility across the country, particularly when Republicans premised much of their closing argument on being the party that can tackle crime and keep people safe.

This was a GOP-inspired assassination attempt against Pelosi, and the media needs to say so

Here’s a job for the national political press corps, if they can take time out from declaring doom for the Democrats in the midterms: Put elected Republicans and every GOP candidate on the ballot everywhere on the record about how their vilification of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi resulted in an assassination attempt against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and landed her husband in the hospital with serious injuries.

We’re hearing plenty of platitudes and “thoughts and prayers” from Republicans, from leadership on down. Let’s start with House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, who, as of this writing, hadn’t released any kind of statement about the attack, but had a press person say, “Leader McCarthy reached out to the Speaker to check in on Paul and said he’s praying for a full recovery and is thankful they caught the assailant.”

Maybe he’s in hiding because of that time he said in public that he’d like to hit Nancy Pelosi with an oversized speaker’s gavel the Tennessee delegation gave him: “I want you to watch Nancy Pelosi hand me that gavel. It will be hard not to hit her with it.”

The Tennessee delegation just presented @GOPLeader with an oversized gavel. “I want you to watch Nancy Pelosi hand me that gavel… It’ll be hard not to hit her with it,” he joked.

— Vivian Jones (@Vivian_E_Jones) August 1, 2021

That would be a great thing for reporters to ask McCarthy about, should he decide to come out of hiding.

Maybe they could get the odious Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), GOP House conference chair, to elaborate on her tweet about “wishing for a full recovery” for Paul Pelosi. Because Stefanik has made a cottage industry out of telling the public, Pelosi is a monster. Like when she tweeted a hideously altered image of Pelosi, making her look like a monster during Trump’s first impeachment.

Or when she pushed a bunch of Facebook ads targeting Pelosi, Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden and “Radical Democrats are planning their most aggressive move yet: a PERMANENT ELECTION INSURRECTION.”

Then there is GOP leadership’s embrace of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the insurrectionist who essentially called for Pelosi’s execution while she was running for Congress in 2018 and 2019. “She’s a traitor to our country, she’s guilty of treason,” Greene said in a video posted on Facebook in 2019. “She took an oath to protect American citizens and uphold our laws. And she gives aid and comfort to our enemies who illegally invade our land. That’s what treason is. And by our law representatives and senators can be kicked out and no longer serve in our government. And it’s, uh, it’s a crime punishable by death is what treason is. Nancy Pelosi is guilty of treason.”

She’s not just still a member in good standing, she had a front-row seat when McCarthy released the House GOP’s midterm election agenda.

Then you’ve got Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) bemoaning the attack, saying, “violence is never the answer for any grievance and every American should always be safe in their own home.” Because, of course, the issue here is crime, which is, of course, the Democrats’ fault, but anyway, thoughts and prayers.

Graham is up there with Stefanik in making attacks on Pelosi a hobby. He accused her of “taking a wrecking ball to the Constitution” over Trump’s first impeachment. He all but accused Pelosi of being responsible for the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Lindsey Graham: What did Nancy Pelosi know and when did she know it?

— Acyn (@Acyn) February 11, 2021

Which, of course, takes us to Graham’s BFF, lord and master, golfing buddy Donald Trump. The guy who attacked Pelosi at the National Prayer Breakfast after his first impeachment. “As everyone knows, my family, our great country, and your president have been put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people….” he said, with Pelosi sitting feet away. “So many people have been hurt.  And we can’t let that go on.”

Trump’s attacks on Pelosi were relentless throughout his entire siege of the White House, calling her “unhinged” in tweets, calling her “Crazy Nancy” and accusing her of “breaking all rules” in his impeachment. And, of course, blaming her for the Jan 6. attack (you didn’t think Graham came up with that all on his own, right?). 

“There would have been no January 6, as we know it, if Nancy Pelosi heeded my recommendation to bring 10,000 Soldiers, or the National Guard, into the Capitol,” Trump said in a statement earlier this year. “End the Unselect Committee January 6th Witch Hunt right now. Pelosi and the Dems are responsible!”

That’s what Republicans continue to endorse. That’s what led to an assassination attempt against Pelosi. These people aren’t going to take ownership of what they’ve created. But the very least the traditional press corps could do is hold them to account for it.

How should we be reading the 2022 polls, in light of shifting margins and past misses? In this episode of The Downballot, Public Policy Polling's Tom Jensen joins us to explain how his firm weights polls to reflect the likely electorate; why Democratic leads in most surveys this year should be treated as smaller than they appear because undecided voters lean heavily anti-Biden; and the surprisingly potent impact abortion has had on moving the needle with voters despite our deep polarization.

Lindsey Graham’s message in Georgia: ‘I want every liberal to be miserable come election night’

If you’re wondering how Republicans intend to fix the problems they keep complaining about—namely inflation, gas prices, and the downtrend in Americans’ overall financial stability—you’ll have to wait. Right now, they’re campaigning on complaining about those things, complaining about “the libs,” complaining about imaginary crime waves, and offering their own potential voters absolutely no relief from real problems. 

Take, for example, Sen. Lindsey Graham’s closing comments in Georgia. Now, it’s not new that Graham is saying something ignorant and controversial, but this week the Republican Senator has been on a real spree. Campaigning for GOP Senate candidate JD Vance, Graham joked about mass suicide on Tuesday, Business Insider reported.

"You got something really special here. This guy is going to change the Republican Party, change the Senate, all for the better," Graham said at a Republican-hosted dinner party, referring to Vance. "But here's some words that really rattle the Democratic Party. What's the worst thing the Democratic Party wants to hear? Chairman Jim Jordan. There are gonna be people jumping off bridges in San Francisco by the thousands. You know, New York City, they may literally shut down.”

According to News Nation, Jordan, currently the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, is the talk of the town since he has pledged to conduct investigations into the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) if the GOP retakes the House.

It doesn’t really matter why Jordan plans to investigate the FBI and DOJ (it’s for investigating Trump); what matters is how little these hypothetical future investigations matter to everyday American families, and how little interest the GOP seems to have in actually alleviating the issues they claim Democrats have caused. 

And, worse, given the increase in mental health issues across the nation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this joke is especially cruel. According to The Los Angeles Times, the Golden Gate Bridge has seen the highest number of suicides on any bridge in the country—with an average of 30 people dying each year from taking the jump.

We all know Republicans hate Democrats, but that doesn't excuse jokes about suicide and violence, and it doesn’t solve problems voters need solutions for.

And, of course, it’s not only Graham. This week, though, it is mostly Graham. In response to allegations that GOP Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker pressured not one but two women to have abortions, Graham joined Walker in hosting a press conference. 

Not only did Graham take that opportunity to support his awful friend, but once again took the chance to slam Democrats.

Graham: They're scared to death of Herschel Walker because if Herschel walker becomes a Republican, maybe every other young child in America of color might want to be a Republican.

— Acyn (@Acyn) October 27, 2022

If Herschel Walker becomes a Republican? At the end of the day, Walker has consistently failed to offer plans for the primary topics of his television ads—inflation, supporting small businesses, and increasing clean energy. Graham, too, has failed to focus on the issues he promised Americans that he will uphold. Instead, he has taken to the tactic of creating fear. Americans need more than petty name-calling, and that seems to be the totality of Republican ideas. 

By emphasizing violence and encouraging pain, he is appealing to voters who are in favor of such methods—in addition to normalizing that such tactics are okay. Of course, just like he has done with other comments like this one on suicide, he will claim it was all just a joke. But how is hoping for individuals to experience violence and wanting ‘every liberal to be miserable come election night' a joke? And how does it fix inflation?

Graham: I want every liberal to be miserable come election night.

— Acyn (@Acyn) October 27, 2022

Phrases of the same nature were called jokes before they led to events like Jan. 6, when individuals were hoping to harass, beat, and even kill Democratic members of Congress. 

Encouraging violence is not all Republicans have a trend of doing, though. Scapegoating names they know will rile up those who aren’t in tune with the news or truth is another tactic. Rep. Ralph Norman used this tactic this week when claiming that America was run by elitists—dragging Barack Obama’s name in and again revealing the only real plans Republicans have: Targeting Democrats with a barrage of baseless subpoenas. “We are going to subpoena as many people as we can,” he said, claiming that Biden was not running the country and that Obama and Eric Holder were. How are Obama and Eric Holder still living rent-free in his head almost 6 years after leaving office? What’s next? Will they drag Hillary Clinton in for questioning? (Probably, actually. Let’s not assume they have limits.)

Ralph Norman says a “cabal” led by Barack Obama and Eric Holder is secretly running the country: “Biden is not running this country. There is a cabal of unelected elitists who are running this country .. Barack Obama is involved .. Eric Holder ..”

— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) October 26, 2022

Norman said:

"And I think what he's saying is putting the country through impeachment, what you get could be even worse. We got our hands full. I don't — there’s no question about that. But we're going to subpoena as many people as we can: We are going to hopefully have consequences, starting with Mayorkas, Wray with the FBI, I mean a whole host of things. The whole administration is a rogue administration. And I guess we all know, Joe Biden is not running this country. There is a cabal of unelected elitists who are running this country. Probably Barack Obama is involved, probably Eric Holder and — but who knows. We know it's not Biden. But the impeachment deal is a long drawn out thing, and if there's anybody that was coherent they could take over, that would not ruin the country, but it's not possible with Kamala Harris."

Meanwhile, Democrats are again left to be the grown-ups in the room. Running campaigns and governing based on bipartisan ideals, even to the chagrin of the progressive left, and as usual, Democrats are tasked with the heavy lifting of creating legitimate policy positions and actionable ideas around health care, climate change, and national security. 

Related Story: Another woman has come forward with claims that Herschel Walker was involved in her abortion

If someone you know is struggling emotionally or having a hard time, you can be the difference in getting them the help they need. Dial 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

Far-right WA-03 candidate Joe Kent lists employer as a ‘tech start-up’ that seems to barely exist

Joe Kent, the Donald Trump-endorsed Republican candidate in Washington state’s 3rd Congressional District, clearly has a lot to hide. He’s done his best to cover up his multifarious connections to the right-wing extremists—including white nationalists, Proud Boys, and their cohorts—who provided him with his earliest and most vociferous support. He downplays the reality that he is a carpetbagger who only moved to the district across the state border from his hometown of Portland, Oregon, in 2021.

Now there are serious questions with real legal ramifications about how he’s being bankrolled—including doubts that his supposed employer is a real company—and instead of clarifying the issue, he’s been busily throwing up a smokescreen to throw off reporters and the public.

Kent’s dubious employment was exposed this week by William Bredderman of The Daily Beast, who went searching for the company from which Kent claims he receives an annual income of over $120,000—and came up empty-handed. Kent’s campaign first responded by giving vague assurances the company exists, and subsequently handed Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) a handful of photos of tax documents that raised more questions than they answered. No reporter has yet been able to actually speak with anyone from the company, and his former campaign manager told OPB that Kent doesn’t appear to actually work, but instead campaigns full-time.

The company, Advanced Enterprise Solutions (AES), is ostensibly registered in Delaware and operates out of Virginia. Kent has described it as a “tech start-up,” and says it works with 5G infrastructure. He also has repeatedly called it American Enterprise Solutions, including on his campaign filings.

Bredderman’s report—which was based on searches from county-level business registration records to databases of government contractors—focused primarily on finding a company by the latter name, and he only was able to speak with people at companies with that name who either said they had never heard of Kent and didn’t employ him, or companies that had no employees. When OPB reporters came calling, however, the campaign explained that the company instead used the former name, and that the appearance of the latter on campaign documents, and its use by Kent in his speeches, was simply a mistake they intended to correct.

However, no reporter has yet been able to speak with anyone from AES. Its only online presence is a brief report in the OpenCorporates database. The Kent campaign directed OPB to the Washington, D.C., law firm Ambrose Partners, which it said represents the firm that employs Kent.

The attorneys would only confirm that Kent “is employed by a U.S. company,” and would not identify it as AES or any other entity. They said the company “does not wish to be identified, only because while their employees are free as individuals to participate in politics, they as a company do not.” The law firm added that the employer “fully supports his patriotic pursuit of civil service as they do for all citizens regardless of political affiliation.”

Kent’s campaign provided OPB with a handful of photos of tax documents only showing the company’s name as Advanced Enterprise Solutions, based in Virginia, while redacting its tax identification number, but showing that it had paid Kent a salary of $122,000 in 2021 and $111,000 in 2020. However, the company does not have an active business license in Virginia, having failed to pay its annual fee last August.

When the Kent campaign filed its financial disclosure in April 2022, it reported Kent’s salary from “American enterprise solutions.” Kent’s senior policy adviser, Matt Braynard, told OPB that it was simply a typographical error and blamed himself.

“The typo is my fault and I accept full responsibility for the transcription error,” Braynard explained via email. “We will be updating/amending the report post haste.”

But Kent himself repeatedly called the firm “American Enterprise Solutions” at campaign events. Federal records, as Bredderman reported, show that he used that name to list his employer from May 2020 to July 2021 in over 30 donations he made to politicians and political organizations.

Braynard told OPB that Kent’s job is legitimate and he works regularly, and so did Kent in a phone interview. “I do have flexibility, and I can dictate my schedule. I don’t have a boss, you know, making sure I clock in and clock out and report at a desk somewhere,” Kent told OPB. “But it requires, you know, a fair amount of work on a daily basis.”

However, Kent’s former campaign manager, Byron Sanford, who oversaw the candidate electoral efforts through all of 2021, tells a very different story. In an interview with OPB, he called Kent’s employment a “phantom job,” and said that he spends most of his time campaigning.

“I really don’t think he put any actual hours into doing anything other than campaigning,” Sanford said.

Sanford described how Kent’s schedule was packed with media appearances on right-wing media, including Tucker Carlson’s and Sean Hannity’s Fox News shows and Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast. He also packed his schedule with campaign appearances; Kent has boasted that he has held over 240 “town hall” events.

“I think people should know that (Kent’s) using these funds to run for office,” Sanford said. “That money is coming from somewhere. It’s coming from this company that he doesn’t even work for.”

Both Kent and Braynard, unsurprisingly, dismissed Sanford—who currently works in Nevada for a political action committee that works to elect Republicans—as a jilted former staffer. Kent insisted the company is real and provides analysis of telecommunications infrastructure, but mainly works internationally. Its executive, he said, is a man named Sean Reed who he met through other veterans like himself, and who hired him in August 2019. He says he is a project manager for AES.

“We’ll go out and do mapping and survey and say ‘This is what the infrastructure is, it’s capable of this,’” Kent said.

How often would say he’s clocked in for work? Kent told OPB that “it varies.”

“There’s definitely work weeks that are lighter,” he said. “But then there are, you know, 30-hour work weeks, 40-hour work weeks.”

According to the most recent Federal Election Commission filings, Kent’s campaign has raised nearly $3 million dollars to date. FEC regulations threaten stiff penalties for providing inaccurate information.

Kent was joined this week on the campaign trail by former Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who recently renounced the Democratic Party and has subsequently become a favorite of far-right “populists” like Bannon, on whose podcast she also has appeared, while campaigning for Trumpist MAGA candidates.

“The reason I am here and not back home in Hawaii is because our very freedom and our very future is at stake in this election,” Gabbard told the crowd at a Kent event in the small town of Bucoda. “And I do not use those words lightly.”

Gabbard told the audience that Democrats and the Biden administration are undermining “God-given rights and freedoms enshrined in the constitution,” with the help of with “Big Tech” internet and social-media companies.

This kind of conspiracism—ranging from COVID denialism to election denialism and avid support for the Jan. 6 insurrectionists—has been a central feature of Kent’s campaign since its outset. A veteran of military intelligence whose wife, a Navy cryptologist, was killed in a Syrian suicide bombing in 2019, he first moved back to his native Portland that year and voted in Oregon’s elections in 2020, but moved to the rural Clark County town of Yacolt in early 2021, just before he announced his candidacy. He often has cited his military credentials to support the conspiracy theories he spouts—claiming variously that COVID vaccines are a globalist plot, that the 2020 election was fraudulently decided, that the FBI orchestrated the Jan. 6 insurrection—in his campaign speeches and at his “town halls.”

Braynard, who replaced Sanford as Kent’s campaign manager in January 2022, is a former Trump aide who organized a protest in Washington, D.C., against the continued detention of the Jan. 6 insurrectionists, who they called “political prisoners.” One of the keynote speakers at that September 2021 event was Joe Kent. Braynard is also a onetime campaigner for white-nationalist hero Patrick Buchanan, and worked for Trump’s campaign in 2015-16 (he says he was fired for seeking a raise). He has played a role in efforts to undo Trump’s 2020 defeat, including serving as an “expert witness” in challenges to election results in states like Arizona and Georgia.

Kent is so deeply immured in the conspiracist swamps that some of his early supporters have turned on him, claiming—mostly on the basis of his deep connections with military intelligence—that he’s secretly a CIA operative. One of them site up a website devoted to those claims and promotes a #JoeKentIsCIA hashtag, claiming Kent is a “deep state puppet.”

Moreover, Kent’s associations with conspiracists and far-right activists, including white nationalists, are extensive and varied. This is particularly the case with Kent’s long association with Joey Gibson, the founder and leader of the street-brawling group Patriot Prayer, which has an extensive history with a rotating cast of violent extremists and white nationalists. Many of Kent’s early campaign appearances—including a January 2022 rally against the COVID-19 vaccine based on misinformation—featured Gibson joining him on stage as a speaker.

Joe Kent, left, with Joey Gibson, right, at an event honoring a slain Patriot Prayer member.

Kent also was photographed socializing with Gibson and several of his Patriot Prayer cohorts at an August gathering at Cottonwood Beach near Washougal to honor the memory of Aaron “Jay” Danielson, a member of the group who had been shot to death a year beforehand by a Portland resident who was tracked down and killed in short order. Similarly, Kent shows up in a Patriot Prayer group selfie taken by one of the group’s more notorious figures, Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, a Proud Boy currently awaiting trial on multiple felony assault counts.

Later, Kent got into a well-publicized spat with notorious white nationalist Nick Fuentes after the latter’s infamous America First PAC convention at which a number of Republicans spoke. Fuentes also caught considerable attention for praising Russia’s Vladimir Putin and comparing him favorably to Adolf Hitler.

These remarks sent Kent—who has continuously embraced the America First label and its associated “Groyper army,” and reportedly had conversed with Fuentes about social media strategy—running for cover. Fuentes went on his popular podcast and described his conversation with Kent. One of Kent’s Republican opponents called on him to denounce the association with Fuentes.

Kent, who has a Twitter following of 125,000, claimed his opponents were “spreading lies about me,” and insisted that he condemned Fuentes’ politics. He said he didn’t seek the white nationalist’s endorsement “due (to) his focus on race/religion.”

About a month before the dispute broke out, Kent had been interviewed by David Carlson of the Groyper-adjacent white nationalist group American Populist Union (which shortly thereafter rebranded itself as American Virtue), a kind of competing far-right organization that embraces most of the ideological fundamentals of white nationalism but tries to eschew the incendiary rhetoric of groups like Fuentes.

After the feud broke out with the Groypers—culminating in Fuentes taunting Kent, “You’re not for white people. You’re not for America. You’re not for Christianity. You’re not for our heritage”—Carlson reinterviewed Kent, who repeated his reasons for distancing himself from Fuentes, more for strategic reasons than ideological ones.

Kent also began appearing on a variety of far-right programs with nationwide reach. He was a guest of Infowars’ Owen Shroyer on two occasions. He started appearing regularly on ex-Trump aide Bannon’s War Room podcast. On one of those occasions, he promoted his and Gibson’s January 2022 rally against “COVID tyranny” and the “forced quarantine.”

Kent defeated incumbent Republican Jaime Herrera-Beutler in the July primary after she was targeted by Trump for having voted for his impeachment in February 2021, and promptly began working hard to cover up these connections. He now faces a Democratic opponent, Marie Glusenkamp Pérez, who finished with the most votes in the top-two primary. However, Kent will be favored in a district that has trended Republican over the past couple of decades.

Gluesenkamp Pérez said the November race will be “a national bellwether for the direction of our country,” and denounced his ties to far-right nationalists, saying his “unapologetic extremism and divisive approach demonstrate he is unfit for public office.”

Ballots have already been mailed out in Washington state.

Fight the tide of Republican extremism with a better Democrat, Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez. Pitch in to her 2022 victory fund.