Democrat mocks Greene after call for decorum: ‘She showed us a d‑‑‑ pic last week’

Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) mocked Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Ga.) call for decorum at a House subcommittee hearing Thursday, pointing to the congresswoman’s presentation of sexually explicit posters on a separate panel last week.

“Marjorie needs to remember she showed us a d‑‑‑ pic last week,” Garcia tweeted Thursday after Greene interrupted his remarks at a hearing on COVID-19 vaccine mandates to call for decorum.

The California Democrat displayed a tweet from Greene at the hearing, in which she compared vaccine and mask mandates to the yellow Star of David that Jews were required to wear by the Nazis in the lead-up to the Holocaust.

“We have seen this tweet behind us before,” Garcia said Thursday, gesturing to a poster of the tweet. “And this person, of course, sits on this very committee, who just actually gave some very irresponsible facts to our witnesses and the committee as well.”

“But just like [Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.] and other conspiracy theorists, members of this committee continue and continue to attack vaccines,” he added. 

Greene interrupted Garcia to make a point of order and asked that members “be reminded of the rules of decorum.”

Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), who serves as the chairman of the Oversight Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, appeared to read off a pre-prepared statement on decorum in response to Greene’s request.

“While vigorous disagreement is part of the legislative process, members are reminded that we must adhere to established standards of decorum and debate,” Wenstrup said. “It is a violation of House rules and the rules of this committee to engage in personalities regarding other members or to question the motives of a colleague.”

Garcia later recalled Greene’s display at a House Oversight Committee hearing with two IRS whistleblowers last week. The Georgia Republican held up posters featuring graphic sexual photos from a laptop hard drive that purportedly belonged to Hunter Biden.

Several committee members, including Garcia, questioned whether such images should be displayed at the panel, which was hearing allegations about the government’s investigation into the president’s son.

“Today’s hearing is like most of the majority’s investigations and hearings: A lot of allegations, zero proof, no receipts — but apparently, some d‑‑‑ pics,” Garcia said at the time.

These 11 senators voted against the must-pass defense spending bill

The Senate passed its version of the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Thursday night with widespread bipartisan support.

Just 11 senators — including six Democrats, one independent and four Republicans — voted against the must-pass defense spending bill, which next heads into the reconciliation process as the Democratic-led Senate and Republican-led House attempt to find a compromise.

The Senate version largely avoided the culture wars provisions in the House version, which passed almost entirely with GOP support, but it still authorizes a topline figure of $886 billion — a figure that was too high for some senators on both sides of the aisle. The topline figure last year was $816.7, up from $777.7 billion in fiscal 2022.

Here are the 11 senators who voted against the upper chamber’s version of the bill:

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.)

Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.)

Braun said Wednesday that he planned introduced several amendments to the defense spending bill, which he argued was driving government glut.

“It’s the most important thing we do here in the federal government, but we don’t do any budgets over there, we don’t do any audits,” he said in a video posted to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “It’s all part of the problem of why we spend too much money and then borrow it from future generations.”

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah)

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.)

Markey called the $886 billion defense spending package “ridiculous" and claimed that the “bloated budget does not advance our national security.” 

“The American people have repeatedly heard from Republicans that we need to cut government spending—for education, for health care, for food assistance—and now they are enthusiastically throwing funding to their defense contractor friends,” Markey said in a series of posts on X.

“While I am grateful that the NDAA passed tonight includes my language to compel the [Department of Defense] to take the overdose crisis among service members and their families seriously, I can’t support a package that inflates military spending at the expense of working and middle-class families,” he added.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.)

Merkley similarly described the defense budget approved under the Senate’s version of the NDAA as “bloated.” 

“I voted against the excessive military spending in the NDAA,” he tweeted Thursday night. “The already bloated defense budget does not need to be injected with additional billions of dollars.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

Sanders explained his opposition to this year’s NDAA on the Senate floor Wednesday, pointing to several crises that lawmakers are seemingly overlooking while approving the large defense spending bill.

“We have a planetary crisis in terms of climate change. Our health care system is broken and dysfunctional. Our educational system is teetering. Our housing stock is totally inadequate. And these are just some of the crises facing our country,” he said.

“And what is very clear, I think, to the American people and to many people here in the Senate and those in the House, we’re not addressing those crises," Sanders continued.

He argued that Congress votes to increase the military budget every year with "seemingly little regard for the strategic picture facing our country."

“It just happens,” he said. “We don’t worry about people sleeping out on the street, we don’t worry about people who don’t have any health care, we don’t worry about people who can’t afford prescription drugs.”

Sen. JD Vance (R-Ohio)

Vance said his vote against the defense spending bill was due to its commitments to provide Ukraine with “years of additional military aid.”

“I’ve worked in good faith throughout this process to secure as many wins for Ohio as possible, and I’m proud that many of those priorities have been included in the final version of the NDAA,” Vance said in a statement Friday. 

“However, I cannot in good conscience support the broader package, which commits the United States to years of additional military aid for the war in Ukraine,” he added. “It’s disappointing to me that these significant priorities that would benefit Ohioans have been bogged down with such deeply problematic foreign policy proposals.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)

Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vt.)

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)

Murray to GOP lawmaker who cursed at teen pages: ‘Learn to respect others, especially kids’

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) criticized the Republican lawmaker who cursed at a group of teenage Senate pages Thursday, suggesting that he should “learn to respect others, especially kids.”

“My message to the Senate Pages: This is one of the most amazing experiences you’ll ever have. Take it in. Learn a lot. And of course, have fun,” Murray posted on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

“My message to out-of-line Members of Congress who yell at Senate Pages: Learn to respect others, especially kids,” she added.

Early Thursday morning, Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-Wis.) yelled at the pages — a group of 16- and 17-year-olds who assist Senate operations — as they rested in the Capitol rotunda.

“Wake the f‑‑‑ up you little s‑‑‑‑. … What the f‑‑‑ are you all doing? Get the f‑‑‑ out of here," Van Orden said, according to a transcript written out by a page shortly after the incident. "You are defiling the space you [pieces of s‑‑‑],”

“Who the f‑‑‑ are you?” Van Orden asked. When one person responded that they were Senate pages, the Wisconsin Republican said, “I don’t give a f‑‑‑ who you are, get out.”

“You jackasses, get out,” he added.

The Senate pages were resting in the rotunda while the upper chamber worked on National Defense Authorization Act amendments Wednesday night into early Thursday morning. The high school pages generally rest in the area when the Senate works late.

Van Orden defended his actions in a statement to The Hill on Thursday, arguing that the rotunda should be treated with respect.

“The history of the United States Capitol Rotunda, that during the Civil War it was used as a field hospital and countless Union soldiers died on that floor, and they died because they were fighting the Civil War to end slavery. And I think that place should be treated with a tremendous amount of respect for the dead,” he said.

“If anyone had been laying a series of graves in Arlington National Cemetery, what do you think people would say?” he added.

Hawley on new Trump indictment: ‘We cannot allow this to stand’

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) slammed the new charges brought against former President Trump in the case over his handling of classified documents Thursday, arguing that “we cannot allow this to stand.” 

“It’s so brazen right now, what they’re doing,” Hawley said on Fox News. “It is really a subversion of the rule of law. I mean, they’re taking the rule of law, turning it on its head, and we cannot allow this to stand.” 

“The American people are not gonna be safe,” he added. “Our system of government is not gonna be safe if this is gonna be the new standard.”

The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a superseding indictment Thursday evening, accusing the former president of attempting to delete surveillance footage at his Mar-a-Lago property. It also included an additional Espionage Act charge based on a military document that Trump boasted of having in a 2021 meeting. 

The new indictment added Carlos de Oliveira, the property manager of the Mar-a-Lago resort, as a co-conspirator, accusing him of working with Trump and the former president’s other co-defendant Walt Nauta to try to delete the surveillance footage.

Hawley suggested that the DOJ is now “charging random people” following de Oliveira’s addition to the indictment and claimed that the new charges were brought in order to distract from Hunter Biden’s legal problems.

The plea deal that the president's son had reached with the DOJ over tax and gun charges was put on hold Wednesday, after the federal judge presiding over the case raised concerns about the agreement.

“Is it any coincidence that the DOJ rushes to add these new indictments today, after the Hunter debacle, after their own self-dealing and two-timing is exposed, after they tried to us the true extent of this plea deal,” Hawley said. 

“That gets blown up, and then it’s like, ‘Oh well, we’ve got to go indict Trump on something else,’” he added.

Cori Bush yells at Steve Scalise on House floor: ‘Your bills are racist’

Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) yelled at House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) on the House floor on Thursday, calling Republicans’ funding bills “racist,” after GOP lawmakers passed the first of 12 annual appropriations bills.

“Your bills are racist,” Bush yelled out, as Scalise touted the passage of the legislation allocating funding for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs and related agencies.

The comment was met with outcries from Republican lawmakers in the chamber and calls to strike Bush’s words from the official record.

However, the Missouri Democrat remained unapologetic about the outburst, tweeting, “I said what I said,” with a shrugging emoji shortly after the incident.

The Milcon-VA bill passed in a 219-211 vote Thursday, with every Democrat and two Republicans — Reps. Tim Burchett (Tenn.) and Ken Buck (Colo.) — voting against the measure.

The House legislation is virtually dead on arrival in the Democratic-controlled Senate, where appropriators are marking up their own spending bills.

With Congress set to adjourn this week for its monthlong August recess, lawmakers are facing a tight deadline to pass legislation funding the government by Sept. 30 and avert a government shutdown.

Coons warns of government shutdown: We will ‘scare the hell out of you’

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) warned on Friday that a government shutdown appears likely, as Congress faces down a September deadline to pass its annual spending bills.

“We are going to scare the hell out of you,” Coons said at the Aspen Security Forum, alongside Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and James Risch (R-Idaho). “We're really good at that.”

“On the debt ceiling, on default, we came right up to the end,” he continued. “We're gonna have a government shutdown because we're gonna fight between the House and Senate about appropriations. Maybe, I sure hope not. We keep coming right up close.” 

Lawmakers have until the end of September to pass the 12 annual appropriations bills to fund the government, but with the August recess approaching, they are staring down a tight deadline.

However, Coons suggested that bipartisan efforts, like those between himself and his Republican colleagues on Friday’s panel, will ultimately get the job done.

“In the end, it is exactly these kind of gentlemen with whom I am able to work and where we are able to continue to deliver sustained, strong, forward-leaning initiatives around strengthening our country, our defense, our military, our manufacturing and our system,” he said. 

“It’s really only because of the personal relationship that are at the core of the Senate that we’re still able to work,” he added.

Hunter Biden’s lawyer blasts IRS whistleblowers in scathing letter to GOP committee chair

A lawyer for Hunter Biden blasted two IRS whistleblowers who claimed there was political interference in the investigation into the president’s son in a scathing letter to the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday.

Biden attorney Abbe Lowell slammed Chairman Jason Smith (R-Mo.), alleging that the committee’s decision to release the testimony of the two IRS agents last week was “an obvious ploy to feed the misinformation campaign to harm our client, Hunter Biden, as a vehicle to attack his father,” according to the letter obtained by Axios.

Gary Shapley, an IRS supervisory special agent, claimed in an interview with the House Ways and Means Committee that Biden received “preferential treatment” and that the Justice Department “slow-walked” its investigation into the president’s son.

Two days before the committee released the transcripts, Biden agreed to plead guilty to two misdemeanor offenses for failing to pay income taxes in 2017 and 2018, in addition to entering into a pretrial diversion agreement on a separate charge of unlawful possession of a firearm while addicted to a controlled substance.

Lowell criticized Smith in Friday’s letter for improperly releasing tax and investigation information and disseminating “incomplete half-truths, distortions, and totally unnecessary detail” about Biden.

“It is no secret these interviews were orchestrated recitations of mischaracterized and incomplete ‘facts’ by disgruntled agents who believed they knew better than the federal prosecutors who had all the evidence as they conducted their five-year investigation of Mr. Biden,” Lowell said.

In the wake of the accusations by the IRS whistleblowers, Attorney General Merrick Garland has maintained that the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney overseeing the case, David Weiss, had full authority to decide what charges to bring against the president’s son.

After Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) floated the idea of an impeachment inquiry into Garland, the White House slammed House Republicans, suggesting that they were “desperate to distract” from their economic agenda.

Smith, alongside House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and House Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.), requested interviews with more than a dozen individuals involved in the Biden investigation on Thursday.

Boebert dodges Hannity question on Greene spat: ‘Marjorie is not my enemy’

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) on Thursday dodged a question from Fox News host Sean Hannity after a recent spat with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).

“Sean, I did not put my life on pause and leave my four boys and my now grandson to come here and just get in spats with people,” Boebert said. “I came here to legislate and to be effective for Coloradans — Coloradans who are suffering from the Democrats’ policy.” 

“Marjorie is not my enemy,” she continued. “Joe Biden’s policy, the Democrats, that is my enemy that I am combating right now.”

Greene reportedly called Boebert a “little bitch” on the House floor Wednesday over the Colorado Republican’s recent push to force a vote on impeaching President Biden, according to The Daily Beast. 

The Georgia Republican, who later confirmed the exchange, accused Boebert of copying her articles of impeachment against Biden, noting she has previously donated to and defended the congresswoman.

“I have defended her when she’s been attacked,” Greene told reporters. “She and I have virtually the same voting record. We’re both members of the House Freedom Caucus. We should be natural allies. But for some reason, she has a great skill and talent for making most people here not like her. And so, it’s her issue.”

House Republicans voted to punt Boebert’s impeachment resolution to the Judiciary and Homeland Security committees on Thursday, at least temporarily avoiding a vote that threatened to split the party.

Whistleblowers say IRS recommended felony charges in Hunter Biden probe, allege political interference

Two whistleblowers told a House panel that the IRS recommended additional felony tax charges against Hunter Biden and alleged that the case was slow-walked by prosecutors.

Gary Shapley, an IRS supervisory special agent, told the House Ways and Means Committee in testimony released Thursday that the IRS recommended felony tax evasion charges, as well as felony charges for filing false tax returns, against Biden.

Biden ultimately agreed to plead guilty to two minor tax crimes and to enter into a pretrial diversion agreement on a separate charge of unlawful possession of a firearm while addicted to a controlled substance, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

In Shapley's opening statement to the committee, he alleged that Biden received “preferential treatment” and said the Justice Department, then under the leadership of Trump appointee Bill Barr, “slow-walked the investigation.”

“After former Vice President Joseph Biden became the presumptive Democratic nominee for President in early April 2020, career DOJ officials dragged their feet on the IRS taking these investigative steps,” he said.

A second unnamed whistleblower, a special agent on the IRS criminal investigation team, said that the conduct of prosecutors since October 2022 “has honestly been appalling,” alleging that they slow-walked the case.

The Biden investigation was handled by U.S. Attorney for Delaware David Weiss, a Trump appointee who retained his role despite the common practice of presidents asking U.S. attorneys to resign at the start of a new administration.

“As both the Attorney General and U.S. Attorney David Weiss have said, U.S. Attorney Weiss has full authority over this matter, including responsibility for deciding where, when, and whether to file charges as he deems appropriate.  He needs no further approval to do so,” the Justice Department said in a statement Friday.

Chris Clark, an attorney for Biden, likewise suggested the investigation was thorough.

“Any suggestion the investigation was not thorough, or cut corners, or cut my client any slack, is preposterous and deeply irresponsible,” Clark said.

While Shapley’s statement suggested IRS agents were interested in probing a comment in a Biden WhatsApp message that referenced his father, Clark pushed back on any suggested President Biden had any involvement in his client's business dealings.

“The DOJ investigation covered a period which was a time of turmoil and addiction for my client. Any verifiable words or actions of my client in the midst of a horrible addiction are solely his own and have no connection to anyone in his family,” Clark said.

“Biased and politically- motivated, selective leaks have plagued this matter for years. They are not only irresponsible, they are illegal. A close examination of the document released publicly yesterday by a very biased individual raises serious questions over whether it is what he claims it to be. It is dangerously misleading to make any conclusions or inferences based on this document.”

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-Mo.) said Thursday that the whistleblowers’ testimony suggests Biden “received preferential treatment in the course of the investigation," noting that the president's son "has struck a plea deal that will likely keep him out from behind bars.”

The top Democrat on the committee, Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), called the allegations from the chairman “premature.”

“The Minority takes whistleblower allegations extremely seriously, but the fact is this exercise was not ready for primetime. Two interviews do not make an investigation when more than 50 employees were named, especially when you consider that one recanted key elements of his testimony earlier this week,” he said, noting an inspector general review of the matter is underway.

“It’s all premature, and the rush shows how pretextual this is. In this stunning abuse of power, Republicans relinquished the Committee to the fringes of their extremism, and without any regard for a legitimate legislative purpose.”

Shapley complained that DOJ concerns over Biden’s ties to his father hindered numerous investigative steps. 

He said prosecutors withheld the laptop from investigators - something he said was an unprecedented move. He said prosecutors were also hesitant to execute various search warrants, instead seeking cooperation from Biden’s legal team. He was also investigating possible tax violations from 2014 and 2015, complaining the delays hindered the chances of bringing charges on some of the most serious conduct given the statute of limitations.

"This investigation has been hampered and slowed by claims of potential election meddling,” Shapley said he wrote in a May 2021 memo.

Updated at 4 p.m.

NY Democrat on Schiff censure resolution: ‘You are the party of George Santos’

Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) criticized House Republicans on Wednesday over their resolution to censure Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), pointing to their lack of action against embattled Republican Rep. George Santos (N.Y.).  

“One of my colleagues says, ‘We will hold members accountable.’ You are the party of George Santos. Who are you holding accountable?” Goldman said during debate on the censure measure on the House floor.

“The guy is an alleged and acknowledged liar and indicted, and you protect him every day,” he continued. “Don’t lecture us with your projection and your defense of Donald Trump. It’s pathetic, and it’s beneath you and it’s beneath this body.”

Santos pleaded not guilty to 13 criminal charges last month for misleading donors, fraudulently receiving unemployment benefits and lying on financial disclosures.

The New York Republican previously admitted to embellishing his resume on the campaign trail, falsely claiming to have graduated from Baruch College and worked at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup.

The resolution to censure Schiff is expected to come to a final vote Wednesday evening, after overcoming a procedural hurdle earlier in the day. 

A previous effort to censure the California Democrat for his handling of investigations into former President Trump was blocked last week, after 20 Republicans joined Democrats in voting to table the motion.

However, Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.), who is leading the push, made several changes to the censure resolution and said she now has enough votes to secure its approval.