Mayorkas: ‘The number of people that are arriving at our border is at an extraordinary height’

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a new interview that the number of people arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border has reached an “extraordinary height.”

“The number of people that are arriving at our border is at an extraordinary height. There is no question about that,” Mayorkas told Sharyn Alfonsi in a forthcoming episode of “60 Minutes."

“But that is not unique to the southern border of the United States,” he continued. “There is tremendous amount of movement throughout the hemisphere, and in fact throughout the world.”

Mayorkas has faced intense criticism from Republican lawmakers over his handling of the southern border, with some calling for his impeachment.

“I think that we face a very serious challenge in certain parts of the border,” the Homeland Security secretary acknowledged in the "60 Minutes" interview.

However, he declined to call the situation a crisis, as many GOP lawmakers have described it.

“I have tremendous faith in the people of the Department of Homeland Security, and a crisis speaks to me of a withdrawal from our mission,” Mayorkas said. “And we are only putting more force and more energy into it.”

Encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border increased substantially under President Biden, with Customs and Border Patrol reporting nearly 2.4 million encounters from October 2021 through September 2022.

However, the Biden administration's new asylum policies aimed at discouraging Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan migrants from traveling through Mexico seem to have eased the influx slightly. Between December and January, encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border dropped by nearly 100,000.

Mask Off Moment: Pelosi Shredded After Suggesting Trump Needs to ‘Prove Innocence’ at Trial

The presumption of innocence is a fundamental tenet of the justice system in the United States. At least, it was.

The phrase “innocent until proven guilty” is something every American has heard uttered throughout their lifetime. It is a legal principle that puts the burden of proof on the prosecution to prove that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

As with many fundamental norms in the justice system, Democrats eschew such basic rights when it comes to their political opponents.

Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), in responding to the indictment against Donald Trump, ripped that mask off and suggested the former President must now “prove innocence.”

“The Grand Jury has acted upon the facts and the law,” Pelosi said in a statement.

“No one is above the law, and everyone has the right to a trial to prove innocence. Hopefully, the former President will peacefully respect the system, which grants him that right.”

Read that again – Trump now has a “right to a trial to prove innocence.” That’s not how that works, you ignorant buffoon.

RELATED: President Donald Trump Indicted by Manhattan Grand Jury

Pelosi Statement on Trump Indictment Leads to Ridicule

Sometimes it’s difficult to even know where to begin when a dyed-in-the-wool liberal lunatic makes such a ridiculous comment.

Fortunately, we don’t have to worry about that, since Pelosi was roundly condemned on social media for her remarks about the Trump indictment.

Attorney Eric Matheny kicked things off by stating the very, very obvious.

“Defendants in America don’t prove their innocence,” he wrote.

Author Alex Berenson was torn between being impressed that an elderly woman is seemingly writing her own tweets and full-blown panic that the same woman, a lawmaker, “has no idea how the law works.”

“The last time Americans had to ‘prove their innocence,’ we were governed by the British,” tweeted comedian Tim Young.

The political pundit known as the ‘Redheaded Libertarian’ spat fire at Pelosi in a smoking hot tweet.

“This is the most anti-American vomit that has ever exited your commie mouth,” she said.

I mean … maybe? Pelosi has a long and storied history with vomiting anti-American, pro-commie gibberish so, there’s that.

Pelosi’s Tweet Gets a Fact Check

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s tweet about Trump needing to “prove innocence” in regard to the indictment was slapped with a Community Notes disclaimer by Twitter.

“Ms. Pelosi mistakenly says that Trump can prove his innocence at trial,” the added context reads. “Law in the US assumes the innocence of a defendant and the prosecution must prove guilt for a conviction.”

Twitter commentators know that basic fact. One of the most powerful Democrat lawmakers in the land? Not so much.

But where did anyone get the idea that Pelosi was “mistaken”? 

This isn’t the first time prominent Democrats have struggled with the basic concept of the presumption of innocence.

Senator Cory Booker (D-Sparta), during the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, suggested he be replaced “whether he’s innocent or guilty” of fabricated sexual assault allegations.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-Golden Corral) at around the same time said Kavanaugh is “not entitled to those (due process and the presumption of innocence).”

Representative Eric Swalwell (D-Fang Fang) claimed that when the former President’s White House opted not to play the impeachment game by refusing to send documents and witnesses to mount a defense against the televised circus, this was an admission of guilt.

“We can only conclude that you’re guilty,” Swalwell stated.

“In America, innocent men do not hide and conceal evidence,” he added. “They are forthcoming and they want to cooperate and the president is acting like a very guilty person right now.”

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution enshrines the concept that someone is “innocent until proven guilty.”

The clause regarding self-incrimination was designed to prevent the accused from being forced to testify against themselves, leaving the burden of proving that a person has committed a crime to the government.

And Democrats across the board want to reverse that.

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Mike Pence responds to Trump indictment: It’s an ‘outrage’

Former Vice President Mike Pence called the Manhattan grand jury's decision to indict former President Trump on a campaign finance issue an "outrage" in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer that aired on Thursday night.

Pence, who would face his former boss in the GOP primary if he decides to run for president, said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's investigation into Trump for alleged hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels appears to be a "political prosecution." 

"I think the unprecedented indictment of a former president of the United States on a campaign finance issue is an outrage," Pence said.

In a historic development on Thursday, Trump became the first former U.S. president to face criminal charges. The charges concern a $130,000 payment made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, and another $150,000 payment made to former Playboy model Karen McDougal.


Hush money payments made to both McDougal and Daniels were revealed and reported by Fox News in 2018. Those payments had been investigated by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York and by the Federal Election Commission.

Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York opted out of charging Trump related to the Stormy Daniels payment in 2019, even as Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen implicated him as part of his plea deal for making an unlawful campaign contribution. Cohen claims that he arranged those payments to McDougal and Daniels at Trump's behest. The Federal Election Commission also tossed its investigation into the matter in 2021. Trump has denied any wrongdoing. 


"This evening we contacted Mr. Trump’s attorney to coordinate his surrender to the Manhattan D.A.’s Office for arraignment on a Supreme Court indictment, which remains under seal," a spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney's Office said in a statement Thursday. "Guidance will be provided when the arraignment date is selected."

Reactions to Trump's indictment have mostly fallen on predictably partisan lines. Republicans have expressed various forms of outrage. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., accused Bragg of doing irreparable damage to the nation and said he has "weaponized our sacred system of justice against President Donald Trump." Democrats welcomed the criminal charges as long-time coming, with Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the lead Democrat in Trump's first impeachment trial, saying the charges were just. 


"If justice demanded that Michael Cohen go to jail for a scheme directed by someone else, justice also requires that the person responsible for directing the scheme must answer for their offenses against the law — and that person is Donald Trump," Schiff said. 

Pence said that charging Trump is a "disservice to the country" and warned that the charges will divide Americans, noting that millions still support Trump.

"I think the American people will look at this and see it as one more example of the criminalization of politics in this country," he said.

Fox News' Brooke Singman and Marta Dhanis contributed to this report.

What happens if Trump is elected president while under indictment? ‘This is uncharted territory’

Former President President Trump was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury Thursday following nearly two weeks of anticipation after he said he expected to be arrested for alleged campaign finance violations. 

While Trump remains the clear front-runner in the field of Republican presidential candidates and shows no sign of slowing down his campaign, a myriad of questions remains about what a second Trump presidency could look like if he is elected while under indictment.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office was reportedly investigating alleged hush-money payments Trump made as a presidential candidate in 2016 to adult film star Stormy Daniels in 2016.

It was not immediately clear Thursday what charges were brought against the former president.


There are no constitutional restrictions keeping Trump from continuing his campaign and eventually moving back into the White House if he is elected while under indictment, which means the country is quickly moving into unknown waters. 

Ilya Shapiro, director of constitutional studies at the Manhattan Institute, told Fox News Digital there are no "hard and fast legal rules" on the process, which consequently gives a lot of breathing room for politics.

"Presumably, what would happen is the president's lawyers would move to hold the indictment in abeyance, just to pause it while he serves," Shapiro said. "I can't imagine that a president would be taken into custody and sentenced to prison while a serving president. There may well be impeachment charges at that point as well. It would be a political matter."

"Presumably, these charges can continue, but just as a matter of prudence, I would imagine a court would stay these kinds of charges as a matter of national security, not presidential privilege or something, but just prudential considerations, and given the nature of the charges, given that what we're talking about here is campaign finance violations, it's not it's not murder or something," he said.

"This is uncharted territory," he added. 

Andrew McCarthy, former assistant U.S. Attorney, echoed a similar sentiment when speaking to Fox Business’ Neil Cavuto.

"Anyone who tells you they know what would happen is the either delusional or lying," McCarthy said. "We've never had a situation like this. I don't think the Framers ever thought that there could be a situation like this. I think part of the reason they designed the Electoral College was to make sure something like this didn't happen. But you know, here we are."


Shapiro warned that an indictment could bolster Trump’s popularity and make him a "martyr."

"I mean, indicting Trump benefits only Alvin Bragg, raising his profile, and Donald Trump – consolidating his support and making him a martyr," Shapiro said. "I agree with the statement [Ron] DeSantis and some others have put out – it's politically charged. Even if the allegations are completely true, nobody's lauding that kind of behavior, but so many years later, going after this ticky tack campaign finance violation – there's no upside here for the American people."

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who pundits widely expect to launch a White House bid later this year but has yet to officially announce, previously criticized Bragg over the potential indictment and accused him of "pursuing a political agenda and weaponizing the office."

However, the governor also emphasized, "I don’t know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair. I can’t speak to that."

Even an average criminal case in New York can take from six months to more than a year to move from indictment to trial, meaning it could coincide with the 2024 presidential election and even into the next presidency.

As president, Trump would not have the constitutional authority to pardon himself of state charges. However, Congress could move forward with impeachment proceedings or trying to remove him from office via the 25th Amendment.

Trump declared himself the "most innocent man in the history of our country" during a rally earlier this month in Waco, Texas.

"The district attorney of New York under the auspices and direction of the 'department of injustice' in Washington, D.C., is investigating me for something that is not a crime, not a misdemeanor, not an affair," Trump told the crowd

Trump says DA Bragg’s ‘obsession’ with trying to ‘get Trump’ will ‘backfire’ after grand jury indictment

Former President Trump on Thursday reacted to his indictment, slamming Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for his "obsession" with trying to "get Trump," while warning the move to charge him will "backfire."

The former president and leading 2024 Republican presidential candidate was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury on Thursday after a years-long investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.


"This is Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history," Trump said in a statement. "From the time I came down the golden escalator at Trump Tower, and even before I was sworn in as your President of the United States, the Radical Left Democrats- the enemy of the hard-working men and women of this country- have been engaged in a Witch-Hunt to destroy the Make America Great Again Movement."

"You remember it just like I do: Russia, Russia, Russia; the Mueller Hoax; Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine; Impeachment Hoax 1; Impeachment Hoax 2; the illegal and unconstitutional Mar-a-Lago raid; and now this," Trump said, referring to the investigations that clouded his presidency. 

"The Democrats have lied, cheated and stolen in their obsession with trying to ‘Get Trump,’ but now they’ve done the unthinkable—indicting a completely innocent person in an act of blatant Election Interference," Trump said. "Never before in our Nation’s history has this been done." 

Trump said Democrats "have cheated countless times over the decades, including spying on my campaign, but weaponizing our justice system to punish a political opponent, who just so happens to be a President of the United States and by far the leading Republican candidate for President, has never happened before. Ever."

He slammed Bragg, saying he was "hand-picked and funded by George Soros, is a disgrace." 


"Rather than stop the unprecedented crime wave taking over New York City, he’s doing Joe Biden’s dirty work, ignoring the murders and burglaries and assaults he should be focused on," he said. "This is how Bragg spends his time!"

Trump shifted, pointing to President Biden. 

"I believe this Witch-Hunt will backfire massively on Joe Biden," Trump said. "The American people realize exactly what the Radical Left Democrats are doing here. Everyone can see it." 

He added: "So our Movement, and our Party—united and strong—will first defeat Alvin Bragg, and then we will defeat Joe Biden, and we are going to throw every last one of these Crooked Democrats out of office so we can MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"

Bragg has been investigating Trump for hush money payments made leading up to the 2016 presidential election. 

These include the $130,000 payment made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, and the $150,000 payment made to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, Fox News Digital has learned. 

Hush money payments made to both McDougal and Daniels were revealed and reported by Fox News in 2018. Those payments had been investigated by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York and by the Federal Election Commission (FEC). 

Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York opted out of charging Trump related to the Daniels payment in 2019, even as former Trump attorney Michael Cohen implicated him as part of his plea deal. The FEC also tossed its investigation into the matter in 2021.

Dems react to Trump indictment: Schiff calls it ‘sobering,’ Waters knew ‘Stormy Daniels would get him’

Some of former President Trump's biggest critics in the Democratic Party raced to weigh in on his historic indictment just minutes after he was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury on Thursday evening.

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee and a vocal opponent to Trump when he was in office, reacted with glee on Twitter.

"SO Trump finally got indicted! I predicted he would and I predicted that Stormy Daniels would get him! Sometimes justice works!" Waters wrote. 

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the former head of the House Intelligence Committee and the lead Democrat in Trump's first impeachment trial, called the moment "sobering" but indicated he believed justice was served.



"The indictment of former president Donald J. Trump by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office over his alleged participation in a campaign fraud and hush money scheme that already sent his former attorney Michael Cohen to jail is a sobering and unprecedented development," Schiff said in a statement to Fox News Digital. "But if justice demanded that Michael Cohen go to jail for a scheme directed by someone else, justice also requires that the person responsible for directing the scheme must answer for their offenses against the law — and that person is Donald Trump."

"The indictment and arrest of a former president is unique throughout all of American history. But so too is the unlawful conduct for which Trump has been charged, and for the even more grievous misconduct for which he is currently under investigation by a Department of Justice Special Counsel and the Fulton County District Attorney," he said.

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., urged Americans to remain neutral in a departure from his normally outspoken criticism of the right.

"The indictment of a former president is a somber day for America. It’s also a time to put faith in our judicial system. Donald Trump deserves every protection provided to him by the Constitution. As that unfolds, let us neither celebrate nor destroy. Justice benefits us all," the lawmaker said on Twitter.

Rep. Ted Lieu called for a similar hands-off approach, indicating that even the ex-president's harshest critics are treading cautiously around the historic news.

"Indicting a former President is a horrible precedent; the only precedent worse than that is to not indict Donald Trump if there is evidence that he committed crimes.This is a somber moment for America. We should let the judicial system do its job without interference," Lieu said Thursday evening.


Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., stressed that Trump had the same due process rights as any American citizen.

"This indictment isn't a trivial matter. A grand jury made up of everyday citizens decided that there is enough evidence to charge President Trump with a crime," the senator said. "Like every person charged with a serious crime, the former President has due process rights. He will have an opportunity to defend himself in a court of law before a jury of his peers."

Trump is believed to have been indicted in an investigation related to hush money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, totaling $130,000 and $150,000 respectively.


He's also being investigated by prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia over accusations of election interference in that state, and is the subject of two federal probes under the purview of Special Counsel Jack Smith.


Progressive "squad" member Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., denounced Republican attacks against Bragg as "racist" and called for Trump to never be allowed to hold public office again.

"Being indicted for falsifying business records with hush money is only the beginning of being held accountable for his crimes. Trump attempted to illegally overturn election results in Georgia and worked to incite the insurrection at the Capitol, both in an effort to overthrow our government to advance his fascist cause. His continued calls for protests following his arrest are just another dog whistle for his followers: destroy our democracy," Bowman said.

"Republicans will continue to claim this was a political arrest, but they can’t continue to hide behind their lies, misinformation, and racist attacks towards Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. It’s time that we ensure Trump is banned from running for any public office again and from there, finally take action to fix our democracy," he said.

Fellow Squad member Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., pointed out, "This is just one of many criminal acts for which Donald Trump is being investigated."

"Our democracy rests on the rule of law. When someone — no matter how powerful they are — is suspected of a criminal act, our justice system investigates, charges, and convicts them in accordance with due process," Omar said. "Make no mistake: the fact that one of the most powerful people in the world was investigated impartially and indicted is testament to the fact that we still live in a nation of laws. And no one is above the law."

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

Democrats hail, Republicans blast Trump indictment

The indictment of former President Trump by a Manhattan grand jury rocked Capitol Hill on Thursday, with Democrats hailing the decision and Republicans blasting what they described as a political witch hunt.

“The indictment of a former president is unprecedented. But so too is the unlawful conduct in which Trump has been engaged,” tweeted Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who served as lead impeachment manager during Trump’s first impeachment trial. “A nation of laws must hold the rich and powerful accountable, even when they hold high office. Especially when they do. To do otherwise is not democracy.”

Some Democrats, including House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), expressed their excitement on Twitter.

“SO Trump finally got indicted! I predicted he would and I predicted that Stormy Daniels would get him! Sometimes justice works!” Waters said.

Others stressed letting the legal process play out and that "no one is above the law."

"There should be no outside political influence, intimidation or interference in the case,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said. "I encourage both Mr. Trump’s critics and supporters to let the process proceed peacefully and according to the law.”

Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tweeted that “No one is above the law, and everyone has the right to a trial to prove innocence. Hopefully, the former President will peacefully respect the system, which grants him that right.”

“We must allow the judicial process to continue unimpeded and free from any form of political interference or intimidation," said Democratic Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.).

Republicans, meanwhile, jumped to criticize Bragg, with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) pledging to “hold Alvin Bragg and his unprecedented abuse of power to account” for “this injustice.”

“Alvin Bragg has irreparably damaged our country in an attempt to interfere in our Presidential election,” McCarthy tweeted. “As he routinely frees violent criminals to terrorize the public, he weaponized our sacred system of justice against President Donald Trump.”

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chair of the House Judiciary Committee and an ally of Trump, summed up the Republican reaction in a one-word tweet: “Outrageous.” And Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) — the chair of the Senate GOP campaign arm — called the indictment “a political prosecution.”

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), chair of the Senate GOP Conference, called the indictment a “politically-motivated prosecution by a far-left activist.”

“If it was anyone other than President Trump, a case like this would never be brought. Instead of ordering political hit jobs, New York prosecutors should focus on getting violent criminals off the streets,” Barrasso said in a statement.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) similarly called the indictment a “sham” and accused Democrats of “weaponizing government to attack their political opponents.” Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), chair of the House Republican Conference and the only member of House GOP leadership to endorse Trump, called the move “unprecedented election interference” and “a dark day for America,” adding that it would fuel support for Trump in 2024.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) took a more aggressive approach, seeking revenge.

“Our side chants ‘lock her up’ and their side is going to get a mug shot based on a witch hunt. It’s time to change that. Gloves are off,” Greene tweeted.

The Manhattan grand jury voted on Thursday to indict Trump on criminal charges stemming from his role in organizing a hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election, a source familiar with the proceedings confirmed to The Hill. The specific charges, however, remain unknown.

The indictment marks the culmination of a winding investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D), and the end of a days-long waiting game that began when Trump publicly predicted he would be indicted in the case last week.

A trio of House Republican committee chairs sent a letter to Bragg last week — after Trump’s social media announcement — demanding that he sit for a transcribed interview about his investigation. The lawmakers also asked that Bragg provide documents and communications regarding the probe.

Jordan — who also chairs the Judiciary’s Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government — expanded the congressional investigation into Bragg days later, requesting testimony from two prosecutors who resigned from the Manhattan case because of disagreements with Bragg.

"It's Trump derangement," Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) said leaving his Capitol Hill office Thursday evening. "It's an illness of hatred that just — it shouldn't be in American politics. I don't feel that way toward anybody."

Wilson said House Republicans will move "immediately" to uncover the details of Bragg's probe, and he has confidence that GOP investigators — notably Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Wis.), chairman of the Administration Committee who signed the letter to Bragg last week — will demonstrate that Bragg's prosecution has been politically motivated from the start.

"We're going to find out, from the inside, as to their correspondence and communications," he said.

Democrats, meanwhile,

Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.), who served as an impeachment manager during Trump’s first impeachment, said Thursday was “a somber day for our nation.”

“Former President Trump’s indictment reminds us that no one is above the law and that we are all afforded due process and equal protection under the law,” he added on Twitter.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) tweeted that the New York indictment “is only the beginning of being held accountable for his crimes.”

“Trump attempted to illegally overturn election results in Georgia and worked to incite the insurrection at the Capitol, both in an effort to overthrow our government to advance his fascist cause,” Bowman said, calling for Trump to be banned from running for public office again.

Trump is also the subject of investigations by the Fulton County, Georgia district attorney’s office — which is looking into his efforts to influence the outcome of the 2020 presidential election — and the Justice Department, which is probing the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol and the mishandling of classified documents.

Attorney General Merrick Garland in November appointed a social counsel to oversee the Justice Department investigations related to Trump.

At least one lawmaker took a softer approach to the news that Trump had been indicted on Thursday, noting that the Manhattan grand jury has not formally announced its decision to charge Trump in the matter.

“Just a reminder that there is no rule that you have to express your opinion before reading the indictment,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) wrote on Twitter.

Mike Lillis and Al Weaver contributed. Updated at 8:20 p.m.

Kentucky Senate convicts former prosecutor in impeachment trial

An ex-prosecutor accused of promising a defendant favors in court in exchange for nude images was convicted on three articles of impeachment Thursday, in the Kentucky Senate's first impeachment trial in more than a century.

Senators voted 34-0 to convict former state prosecutor Ronnie Goldy Jr. on each impeachment article. The action will bar Goldy from holding a future elected office in the state.

Goldy had failed to appear at a hearing last week before the Senate impeachment panel.

Goldy had served as commonwealth’s attorney for Bath, Menifee, Montgomery and Rowan counties. He resigned effective Feb. 28 after the impeachment articles were drafted. The House voted 97-0 last month to impeach Goldy.


An attorney who represented Goldy did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment.

Goldy has been embroiled in scandal since July, when the Courier Journal first reported hundreds of Facebook messages he exchanged with the defendant.

The defendant testified the Facebook messages were authentic and told a hearing officer for a bar inquiry commission that she and Goldy had sexual relations, with the prosecutor allegedly withdrawing warrants and getting her cases continued in exchange for the images, the newspaper reported.

In a written response to an inquiry from the House impeachment committee, Goldy defended himself by arguing that the nude photos and videos the woman sent him were "an extension of the friendship they had developed."

Trump’s standing among Hill conservatives dims ahead of ’24

Donald Trump is gaining strength in 2024 primary polls. The same can't exactly be said about his standing among Capitol Hill conservatives.

Just ask James Lankford, the Oklahoma Republican who openly admits that the former president's third bid for the White House is evenly cleaving the party in his blood-red state.

“About half of the Republicans I talk to want Trump to be able to get the nomination. And half of them say, ‘I want somebody besides Trump’,” the Sooner State senator said in an interview.

“They’re conservative,” Lankford added of his constituents, “but they’re dealing with personality there as well and are trying to figure out: Where do we go as a nation?”

Lankford is staying neutral in his state, where Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) bested Trump in the 2016 primary. And he’s got plenty of company. Even as the GOP’s right flank earns sway equal to the tea party era, most conservatives aren’t inserting themselves into the brewing clash between Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, an all-but-certain presidential contender bred by the pro-Trump House Freedom Caucus.

Interviews with more than 40 congressional Republicans — including 32 Freedom Caucus members — show a surprising number of Trump’s once-ardent supporters going quiet about whether they back him, despite new polling that shows him widening his primary lead. The small share of conservatives willing to endorse Trump right now suggests that the former president’s power base in the Hill GOP is at a nadir, even as DeSantis and other rivals have yet to ramp up their outreach.

And some congressional conservatives are getting unexpected reactions to their alternative picks.

Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), for instance, was one of the 20 doubters who initially blocked Kevin McCarthy from ascending to the speakership even as Trump supported the California Republican through 15 arduous ballots.

Then Norman surprised colleagues last month by backing former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley over Trump. And he, too, was in for a surprise when he informed Trump of his decision.

The former president, who is well known for grudge-holding, "was nice" about Norman's decision, he recalled in an interview. "‘Do what you have to do. You got a great family.’ And that's what he said,'' Norman recounted. He hasn’t heard from Trump since.

Trump has received a quintet of Senate endorsements, with potentially more to come, and is clearly looking to see if his old coalition of allies is willing to rally around him again. He unveiled endorsements from 11 House members in Texas this past weekend — and warned that those on the fence were encouraged not to come to his rally.

Yet overall, the show of support for Trump is far from decisive. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) is DeSantis’ only current backer — not much of a surprise, since DeSantis isn’t running yet — but few Hill conservatives are pushing the Florida governor to stay out of the race.

“I do want DeSantis to run,” said Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), who plans to stay “neutral” in the event her colleague, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), jumps in. “Even if DeSantis and Trump are very close philosophically, there's definitely a style difference there. And style is important.”

The reasons for the cool reception to Trump are myriad: He left office two weeks after a violent insurrection by his backers, and his meddling in Republican primaries backfired to help Democrats keep the Senate last year. He associates with white nationalists and has seemingly never-ending legal woes. For many Republicans, the need to win after a streak of losses supersedes old loyalties.

The House Freedom Caucus is composed of roughly 35 lawmakers, and about one-third of those members interviewed for this story are publicly supporting Trump again. That camp includes the group's former chair, Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).

Fourteen Freedom Caucus members wouldn’t say where they stand on the primary, either stating they're undecided as the race takes shape or declining to weigh in outright. The Trump-aligned group's current leader, Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), played a central role helping Trump challenge his 2020 loss.

But the Pennsylvanian demurred when asked whom he would back in 2024: “We got a ways to go … I really am just focused on my work” in the House.

Then there’s Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.), a Freedom Caucus member caught on camera waving off Greene as she sought to put him on the phone with Trump during the speakership balloting. Rosendale has no plans to make a presidential endorsement and he sidestepped concerns that a rift with Trump could hurt his chances in the state primary should he decide to challenge Democratic Sen. Jon Tester.

“We're not supposed to use telephones on the House floor. That's all I've got to say about that,” he said. (When he shrugged off the chance to talk to Trump in January, however, there were no rules governing the House floor.)

Fractures within the Freedom Caucus clearly emerged during the Trump administration, as the majority of the group shifted from libertarian ideology to a more MAGA-centric outlook. Now, some want to return to their former roots — which may well entail a different approach to 2024. One Freedom Caucus member, granted anonymity to speak candidly, described Trump as an unlikely pick.

In addition, the field that's shaping up is especially awkward in early primary states. Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) cited his ties to Haley and Scott in declining to answer. But Duncan also served in Congress with Mike Pompeo, Kristi Noem, DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence. And he knows Trump, as all Republicans do.

“My relationships with all those people really are more important to me than endorsing — early on — one of them. That could jeopardize my relationships,” Duncan said.

Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho) declined to address whom he'd support, instead contending it is a “good problem” to have multiple choices. Asked if he feared Trump attacking him if he ultimately backs someone else for president, he shrugged it off.

“He might, because that's just the way he is,” said the Freedom Caucus member. “But, if he wins, then we all hug again and keep on going.”

Across the Capitol, five out of 49 Republican senators are openly endorsing Trump: Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, Eric Schmitt of Missouri, J.D. Vance of Ohio, and Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma. Those on the sidelines at the moment range from Cruz, Trump’s 2016 rival turned ally, to Sen. Ted Budd (R-N.C.), whom Trump pushed to victory in last year's Senate primary.

Budd at least sounded warm to Trump’s candidacy, expressing “tremendous gratitude for how he helped” in the midterms. Cruz would only say he foresees “a full and vigorous presidential primary, and I am confident it won’t be boring.”

Some on-the-fence Republicans might be more willing to endorse Trump if he went back to talking about the economy. Take Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), who's a party barometer of sorts: A gubernatorial candidate and member of the conservative bloc that opposed Mitch McConnell for GOP leader. He also served as Trump’s biggest defender during his 2020 impeachment trial.

”If [Trump] would focus on what was going on pre-Covid, and not try to get the toothpaste back in the tube — which is not going to happen — I think he's got a strong argument to make,” Braun said.

Posted in Uncategorized

Why Hasn’t the GOP Yet Walked the Walk on Its Mayorkas Impeachment Talk?

By James Varney for RealClearInvestigations

It’s almost an understatement to say that Republican candidates campaigned hawkishly on border control in the runup to the 2022 midterms: As they decried the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs from Mexico, many vowed to impeach the man they largely blamed for the mess, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. 

Republicans have continued hammering Mayorkas since taking control of the House. Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, who called the flooding of more than 5 million illegal immigrants across the southern border since President Biden took office an “intentional” policy, has made several visits to the U.S.-Mexico border with other Republicans, and the House has held multiple hearings on immigration. 

RELATED: Mayorkas Supports ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban But Can’t Define ‘Assault Weapons’

But as winter has turned to spring, the GOP has taken little action to remove Mayorkas. Republicans Andy Biggs of Arizona and Pat Fallon of Texas  have each filed bills, but the House Judiciary Committee, from which any impeachment move must come, has not taken up either resolution. 

Conservative groups focused on the southern border told RealClearInvestigations that impeachment did not come up during recent meetings in Washington. 

“I just came from the Hill and a bunch of meetings with staffers and they’re reporting the same thing; one said the conference is split, with a lot of GOP ‘George W. Bush types’ who love the cheap labor for American industry and agriculture,” said Todd Bensman of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies and author of “Overrun: How Joe Biden Unleashed the Greatest Border Crisis in U.S. History.”  

Bensman calls it an “old story,” but cheap labor is only part of it. Republicans aren’t united on this issue because some fear that following through on impeachment talk will alienate the moderate swing voters that the GOP needs to remain in control of the House.

Even Republicans who have publicly attacked Mayorkas are now reticent about discussing impeachment. RCI reached out to 16 GOP House members for comment. Neither Biggs nor Fallon responded. Virginia Rep. Bob Good, a member of the Freedom Caucus who is co-sponsor of both resolutions, declined to comment on the record. Other outspoken administration critics such as Dan Crenshaw of Texas, Tom McClintock of California, and Matt Gaetz of Florida did not respond. 

Only two of the 16 Republican House members agreed to speak on the record.

“I have repeatedly called for his impeachment and am confident that Chairman Jordan will hold true to his word of impeaching Mayorkas for overseeing an unprecedented surge of illegal activity at our southern border,” Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona said.  

RELATED: Cruz to Mayorkas: ‘If You Had Integrity, You Would Resign’

Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania said Biden administration officials have lied about what they have done at the border but was more circumspect on impeachment, suggesting a wait-and-see attitude may be behind the aggressive rhetoric. 

“I’m not on the Judiciary Committee and it would have to come from there,” he said. “My hope is that at least some information will come from hearings because some members legitimately have some questions.” 

Perry and others said they would like to see the Judiciary Committee make the case for impeachment, a process Jordan appears to be favoring. For the moment, however, the only concrete step Republicans have taken is a symbolic gesture by Rep. Chip Roy of Texas to try to cut Mayorkas’ salary from the DHS budget. 

The bills filed by Reps. Biggs and Fallon contend that Mayorkas’s conduct meets the constitutional threshold for impeachment, “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Fallon’s bill, H. Res. 8, alleges that the secretary has violated the oath all cabinet members take to “faithfully uphold” the laws of the United States by failing to enforce: 

  • The Secure the Fence Act of 2006 that requires the DHS secretary to “maintain operational control over the entire international land and maritime borders of the United States.”
  • The Immigration and Nationality Act that requires the DHS secretary to “detain inadmissible aliens arriving in the United States or aliens who are present in the United States without inspection until processed.” Instead, it claims, Mayorkas’ “catch and release” approach has allowed more than “1,000,000 illegal aliens” into the country. 

While referencing those two laws, the Biggs resolution, H. Res. 582, also accuses Mayorkas of violating the Public Health Services Act by failing to protect U.S. citizens from “risk and exposure to and contracting Covid-19 by refusing to take necessary steps to prevent contagious illegal aliens from entering the United States.”  

In sum, the Biggs resolution concludes Mayorkas should be impeached because “his actions have subverted the will of Congress and the core tenets of the Constitution.” 
RCI reached out repeatedly to a dozen Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee seeking comment on a possible impeachment of Mayorkas and their reaction. None of them responded.

RELATED: Mayorkas Falsely Claimed Border is ‘Closed’ Ahead of Biden Trip to El Paso

Mayorkas has stated repeatedly he has no intention of resigning, a suggestion Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas made again Tuesday when Mayorkas appeared at a Senate committee hearing. “If you had any integrity you would resign,” Cruz said.

The volley came after the two got into a verbal spat over how truthful the administration has been about the border. Cruz cited comments by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre that people are “not walking across the border” along with photographs of people doing just that. “You claim you care, Mr. Secretary –– that is a lie,” Cruz said. 

Cruz again accused Mayorkas of dissembling after the DHS chief would not answer a question about whether Jean-Pierre lied. Mayorkas called Cruz’s accusation “revolting.”

Nevertheless, the department is bracing for a possible impeachment and taking steps for Mayorkas’ defense. A government contract was signed with the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton to provide legal assistance to the secretary; that contract would kick in only if the Judiciary Committee moved an impeachment motion to the House floor.

Debevoise & Plimpton did not respond to a request for comment about the arrangement. Biden administration officials familiar with it said it was necessary because the impeachment of a cabinet secretary is so rare none of its legal staff has any relevant experience. 

The terms of the contract were not disclosed, although officials pointed to examples in the past where House Republicans hired outside legal counsel to assist it on legislation that proved legally fraught.

A DHS spokesperson said the contract was necessary to “ensure the Department’s vital mission is not interrupted by the unprecedented, unjustified and partisan impeachment efforts of some members of Congress, who have already taken steps to initiate proceedings.”

History shows the House can move swiftly on impeachment if members choose to. The Democratic majority, along with a handful of Republicans, voted to impeach departing President Trump just one week after the post-election riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.  

RELATED: New U.S. Border Data: 284 Suspected Terrorists Apprehended So Far in Fiscal 2023

Defenders of the government’s current border policies say that the conservatives’ argument is flawed. The Biden administration’s approach is basically a relaxation of the Trump administration’s more stringent strategy. As such, they amount to policy differences between the two major political parties and fall far short of any “crimes and misdemeanors” that would justify impeachment.  

But, as RCI has previously reported, President Biden’s policies have marked a sharp break from his predecessor’s, since Biden’s first day in office, when he signed seven executive orders on immigration that, among other things, suspended deportations. 

Hans von Spakovsky, a senior fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation who co-authored the February report, “The Case for Impeachment of Alejandro Nicholas Mayorkas Secretary of Homeland Security,” defended the impeachment argument from liberals who deride it as purely political. 

“It inaccurately and incorrectly asserts that we are confusing the requirements of the Immigration and Naturalization Act with the Trump administration policies,” he said. “Our analysis is based not on disagreeing with the policies implemented by Mayorkas, but with his violation of federal immigration law.” 

“I think we have laid out in our paper what we think the basis is for impeachment,” von Spakovsky told RCI. They include the claims that Mayorkas:  

  • “deliberately defied and contravened the laws he is charged with faithfully executing.” 
  • “repeatedly abused the authority of his office, including by, among other conduct, enticing a flood of aliens to cross the U.S. southern border with his policies and Statements.” 
  • “betrayed the trust of the people by lying to Congress and withholding information and misleading the public in an effort to hide and suppress the nature and consequence of his abominable policies.” 

Von Spakovsky added that “the misguided priorities of Mayorkas have resulted in a huge backlog in the adjudication system that unfairly hurts the many thousands of U.S. citizens and lawful applicants whose immigration matters are delayed many months.” 

RELATED: There Have Already Been 1.6 Million Known Illegal Border Crossings This Fiscal Year

Although von Spakovsky and others argue impeachment is warranted “consistent with U.S. history and constitutional traditions,” it would also be a highly unusual move. Only one cabinet member has ever been impeached, President Ulysses S. Grant’s War Secretary William Belknap in 1876, but he resigned the same day the House voted unanimously against him.  

Attorney General Harry Daugherty in 1922 and Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon in 1932 also faced possible impeachment proceedings by the House, but the former resigned in 1924 and the latter left the cabinet and became U.S. ambassador to England. 

Impeachment supporters also point to the dangers the Biden administration’s porous border have created. In addition to the humanitarian issues of hundreds of thousands of people migrating through Mexico to the U.S., and the money they have paid to Mexican cartels to facilitate their passage, the southern border has become the main conduit for deadly illicit fentanyl.

Scott Perry said his constituents would like to see the Republicans do more than simply talk about the border crisis, though he noted that Mayorkas is the agent who carries out policies set by President Biden. 

“It’s chaos down there with the fentanyl and the cartels making millions of dollars,” he said. 

“Most of our constituents are distraught about that and want it fixed, and many would like accountability for how it occurred. Ultimately, the president is responsible so why not impeach him?” 

But as to what might actually happen with Mayorkas, Perry acknowledged he wasn’t sure. 

“My sense is that with the Judicial Committee holding hearings we are working toward those kind of things,” he said. “That will go to the fact-finding we need to have to convince some of our skeptical members.” 

Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire.

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