DeSantis backs Biden impeachment inquiry: ‘It stinks to high heavens’ 

GOP presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he supports an impeachment inquiry into President Biden, just a week after Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) floated the idea.

“And the inquiry into Biden, I think that they should pursue that,” he said in a Newsmax interview that aired Tuesday. “The corruption is just incredible with what's happened there.” 

McCarthy said last week that he expects the GOP-led investigations into the foreign business activities of Biden’s family to rise to the level of an impeachment inquiry. His comments prompted pushback from both sides of the aisle, with some Republicans calling a potential inquiry a distraction from other work.  

Republicans have been working to tie President Biden to the business dealings of his son, Hunter Biden. Closed-door testimony Monday from former Hunter Biden business associate Devon Archer added fuel to those allegations, with McCarthy saying it proved President Biden “lied” when he made campaign trail statements that he had never talked to his son about his foreign business dealings.

Democrats, however, said the testimony showed the opposite — that President Biden had never been involved in those business affairs.

DeSantis in the Newsmax interview also pointed to Hunter Biden’s art sales.

“He does these paintings, someone's paying him a million dollars. You know, my six-year-old daughter does better paintings than him — I don't see people paying her a million dollars for them. So, it stinks to high heavens, and they should get answers for all of that,” he said.

Republicans on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee have questioned Hunter Biden’s art sales and have asked for information about an agreement with the White House to keep the buyers of the artworks confidential.

DeSantis also said he wasn't concerned about a government shutdown if it meant cutting government spending. He said spending has gotten to this point because Republicans are “so worried” about a government shutdown.

“First of all, the government doesn't actually shut down,” he said. “They take nonessential workers, and then they don't work. But why do we have nonessential workers to begin with? I think it's ridiculous.”

Gaetz calls DeSantis ‘thirsty’ for inviting Harris to Florida amid curriculum drama 

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) called Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) “thirsty” for inviting Vice President Harris to their home state to debate over African American history standards approved last month.

“Imagine being desperate enough to be thirsty for a Kamala visit,” Gaetz posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, alongside the letter DeSantis sent to Harris inviting her to Florida.

DeSantis, who is vying to be the GOP presidential nominee in 2024, sent Harris a letter Monday inviting her to come to Florida to discuss the new rules for teaching Black history in the state. He said that he could meet with Harris as soon as Wednesday, adding that he hopes she is “feeling up to it.”

“In Florida we are unafraid to have an open and honest dialogue about the issues,” DeSantis wrote in the letter. “And you clearly have no trouble ducking down to Florida on short notice."

"So given your grave concern (which, I must assume, is sincere) about what you think our standards say, I am officially inviting you back down to Florida to discuss our African American History standards," he added.

Harris has been outspoken about the new rules, which require lessons on race to be taught in an “objective” manner that does not seek to “indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view.” She said during a trip to Jacksonville, Fla., that the state was “pushing propaganda” onto children over the new standards — which also mandates teachers instruct on “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied to their personal benefit.” 

DeSantis has pushed back on her comments, however, accusing Harris of creating a “fake narrative” with her remarks. Harris has stood by her criticism, saying Monday that it was “ridiculous” to have to say slavery had no benefits.

DeSantis has faced criticism from both Democrats and Republicans over the new history standards in the state. He has also come under scrutiny from Black conservatives, including fellow GOP presidential candidate Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C), who said in response to the new guidelines that “there is no silver lining in slavery.”

The Hill has reached out to DeSantis's office for comment.

Democratic senators challenge Alito to testify before Congress 

A pair of Democratic senators is challenging Justice Samuel Alito to testify before lawmakers, just days after the justice said Congress had “no authority” to regulate the Supreme Court.

Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) both called on the justice Monday to testify before lawmakers after Alito told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published Friday that Congress lacks the jursidiction to regulate the court. This comes as Democrats attempt to mandate stronger ethics rules since Alito and Justice Clarence Thomas have come under recent scrutiny for ethics controversies.

“If Justice Alito is willing to expound to the Wall Street Journal that Congress has no authority over the Court, he should come before Congress to tell us directly why—in testimony before the Judiciary Committee,” Blumenthal posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

“And while he’s there, we can talk about ethical lapses & a Supreme Court code of conduct,” he added.

Whitehouse reposted Blumenthal’s comments, adding that “Alito can also explain how it’s ethical to offer opinions on matters likely to come before the Court — that’s not what they tell us in confirmation hearings.”

Blumenthal and Whitehouse both serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee and have both been outspoken about the recent ethical controversies the Supreme Court has faced. Whitehouse also blasted Alito’s interview with the Journal in a separate post on X on Monday.

“And why would they not offer opinions about matters that might come before the Court? Right, because it would be unethical,” Whitehouse wrote. “To belabor the point, Alito just did something colleagues have called unethical, to protect his ability to do things that are unethical. Rich.”

Tuberville blasts Biden’s Space Command decision: ‘This is absolutely not over’ 

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) blasted President Biden’s decision Monday to keep the headquarters of the Space Command in Colorado, overturning former President Trump's decision to move it to Alabama.

“As soon as Joe Biden took office, he paused movement on that decision and inserted politics into what had been a fair and objective competition—not because the facts had changed, but because the political party of the sitting President had changed,” Tuberville said in his statement.

Tuberville is locked in a standoff with the Pentagon over its abortion policy, placing a hold on hundreds of Biden's military nominations in protest.

Some officials have said Alabama's restrictive abortions laws played into the Space Command HQ decision, though the White House said it was motivated entirely by concerns that a major move would undermine military readiness.

Tuberville wrote that it was “shameful” the Biden administration waited until Congress was in recess to make this decision, noting it came after the House and Senate passed versions of next year’s defense budget. The two chambers still need to hammer out a final version of the defense budget.

And he claimed that Colorado Springs did not even crack the top three sites for the headquarters in a review by the Air Force, trailing locations in Alabama, Nebraska and Texas.

“This decision to bypass the three most qualified sites looks like blatant patronage politics, and it sets a dangerous precedent that military bases are now to be used as rewards for political supporters rather than for our security,” he wrote.

Trump's initial decision to move the HQ to Alabama also prompted claims of political motivations from Democrats. Alabama overwhelmingly voted for Trump in the 2020 election and has two GOP senators, while Colorado voted for Biden and has two Democratic senators.

Tuberville on Monday said the fight to bring the headquarters to Alabama was “not over,” adding he hopes House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) will continue an investigation into the matter.

“This is absolutely not over. I will continue to fight this as long as it takes to bring Space Command where it would be best served—Huntsville, Alabama,” he said.

Rogers said in a statement that he will continue the committee's investigation into the relocation of the headquarters, also saying the “fight is far from over.”

“The Biden administration’s shameful delay to finalize the permanent basing decision for U.S. Space Command warranted the opening of a Congressional investigation," Rogers said.

"I will continue this investigation to see if they intentionally misled the Armed Services Committee on their deliberate taxpayer-funded manipulation of the selection process. I will continue to hold the Biden administration accountable for their egregious political meddling in our national security."

Other Alabama Republicans, including Sen. Katie Britt and Gov. Kay Ivey, also took aim at Biden’s decision Monday.

“President Biden has irresponsibly decided to yank a military decision out of the Air Force’s hands in the name of partisan politics,” Britt said in a statement. “Huntsville finished first in both the Air Force’s Evaluation Phase and Selection Phase, leaving no doubt that the Air Force’s decision to choose Redstone as the preferred basing location was correct purely on the merits."

“The White House choosing to not locate Space Command Headquarters in Alabama – the rightful selection – is very simply the wrong decision for national security,” Ivey posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “The fact that a CNN reporter is who first delivered the news to Alabama should say all.”

Schiff says McCarthy floating Biden impeachment to deal with ‘craziest’ Republicans in conference

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Sunday that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is floating an impeachment inquiry into President Biden to deal with the "craziest" Republicans in his conference.

"But what concerns me is, I think McCarthy may open an impeachment inquiry because he thinks it will lead off the steam with the craziest in this conference," Schiff said on "Inside with Jen Psaki." "But by doing it he is going to set a train in motion that he may not be able to stop. And, of course, McCarthy isn't thinking ahead. He's thinking, how I keep my speakership for another day, maybe another week."

McCarthy said last week he expected the House GOP's investigations into the foreign business activities of Biden's family would rise to the level of an impeachment inquiry. Democrats and a handful of Republicans have criticized his comments, with some members of his conference saying an impeachment inquiry would serve as a distraction.

Schiff, who served as the House impeachment manager during Trump’s first impeachment trial, noted Sunday that it was unclear whom the House GOP wanted to impeach or what they would impeach Biden for, pointing to GOP members who have discussed impeaching Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Attorney General Merrick Garland and now Biden. He also added that these "kind of faux investigations and this potential abuse of the impeachment power" are "devastating" to the country.

"I mean, for a long time it didn't appear clear that they even knew who they wanted to impeach," he said. "You know, did they want to impeach [Alejandro Mayorkas] or maybe Merrick Garland, or maybe Joe Biden, or maybe somebody else."

House Democrat says Biden pardoning his son would be a ‘mistake’

Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) said it would be a "mistake" if President Biden opted to pardon his son Hunter Biden who is facing federal tax charges after a plea agreement appeared to fall apart during an initial court appearance this week.

ABC's Jonathan Karl asked Goldman if Biden pardoning his son would be a "mistake," noting that Biden has not come out publicly to say that he would.

"Yes, and I don't think there's any chance that President Biden is going to do that, unlike his predecessor, who pardoned all of his friends, and anyone who had any access to him," Goldman responded.

"President Biden has restored the integrity of the Department of Justice," he added. "And I think you've seen that in this case, where he kept on and Merrick Garland kept on a Trump appointed US attorney to investigate the president's son, if there is not an indication of the independence of the Department of Justice. Beyond that, I don't know what what we could look for."

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has sharply suggested that the president would not pardon his son.

Hunter Biden is facing tax and gun charges and was expected to plead guilty to two misdemeanor counts of willful failure to pay income taxes after reaching a plea deal with the Justice Department last month. After the judge overseeing his case questioned the scope of Hunter Biden's plea deal, Biden pleaded not guilty during his first court appearance last week in order to give the legal teams more time to come up with a new agreement.

Republicans have compared the cases brought against the president's son and former President Trump, with many claiming the Justice Department is a "two-tier system of justice." House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) floated the idea of an impeachment inquiry into Biden in connection to his son and family businesses.

GOP lawmaker slams ‘war pimps at the Pentagon’ ahead of UFO hearing 

Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) slammed the Pentagon on the eve of a UFO-focused hearing slated to be held by a House Oversight subcommittee on Wednesday.

Fox News’s Martha MacCallum asked Burchett what people should expect from the hearing, where three witnesses will address the Oversight Subcommittee on National Security, the Border and Foreign Affairs. MacCallum also showed footage of the so-called “Tic Tac” videos that were released by the Department of Defense of suspected unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP).

“So this — the Tic Tac videos, which you showed earlier ... The military denied that that even existed, and then it was put out and they said they were fakes and then they eventually came around," Burchett said.

“The Pentagon is coming around because they smell dollars, man, the war pimps at the Pentagon, all they want to do is drain more dollars from us,” he continued. “We don't need any more dollars. All we need is transparency. That's the job of you all in the media and us in Congress.”

When reached for comment, Burchett doubled down on his criticism of the Pentagon to The Hill.

“You hear me talk about them all the time,” he said. “The industrial war complex always wants to hit a lick so they can go fail another audit or misplace the money. The Pentagon loses over a billion dollars a year. We can’t have that.”

During the hearing, titled “Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena: Implications on National Security, Public Safety, and Government Transparency,” lawmakers are expected to hear from three witnesses: David Grusch, the whistleblower who has accused the government of withholding information related to UFOs, Ryan Graves, the executive director of Americans for Safe Aerospace, and Rt. Commander David Fravor, the former commanding officer of the Navy’s Black Aces Squadron.

Frustrated lawmakers have been demanding more information on UFOs and UAPs after Grusch claimed that the government is holding some back.

Burchett, who has been a leading voice on getting more information on UFOs, said Tuesday that members have spoken to pilots who destroyed evidence in connection to the UAPs.

“We need to turn loose the files, and we need to quit with all the nonsense,” he said. “This is ridiculous. We have Mr. Grusch is a — he's a combat veteran and apparently he's decorated. You know up here in Washington that doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot obviously, but in Tennessee it sure as heck does. We value our veterans and we value their opinion.”

Jordan, GOP-led panel take steps to hold Zuckerberg in contempt 

The GOP-led House Judiciary Committee is moving forward with plans to consider recommending that the House hold Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg in contempt of Congress.

GOP members of the panel have accused Meta of not cooperating with its investigation into the company’s content moderation practices.

The committee announced Tuesday that it is slated to consider its report recommending Congress hold Zuckerberg for contempt during a Thursday session.

House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) launched an investigation in February into how tech companies communicate with the federal government. The vote Thursday comes after a series of hearings on the same topic from the House Judiciary Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.

A spokesperson for Meta said Tuesday that the company has sent more than 53,000 documents to the committee, a slight uptick from the more than 50,000 documents the company said it shared as of Monday.

"For many months, Meta has operated in good faith with this committee’s sweeping requests for information,” the Meta spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill. “We began sharing documents before the committee’s February subpoena and have continued to do so.”

“To date we have delivered over 53,000 pages of documents — both internal and external — and have made nearly a dozen current and former employees available to discuss external and internal matters, including some scheduled this very week,” the spokesperson said. “Meta will continue to comply, as we have thus far, with good faith requests from the committee."

Jordan subpoenaed executives from Meta, Alphabet, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft about their communications with the federal government starting in February. Since then, the weaponization subcommittee has held numerous hearings about the subject.

Durbin tests positive for COVID-19 for third time in past year 

Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat, said Sunday that he tested positive for COVID-19, marking the third time he has contracted the virus in the past year.

The diagnosis means Durbin will miss votes in the Senate this week before Congress is expected to break for the month of August.

“Unfortunately, I tested positive for COVID-19 today,” he tweeted. “I'm disappointed to have to miss critical work on the Senate's NDAA this week in Washington. Consistent with (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines, I'll quarantine at home and follow the advice of my doctor while I work remotely.”

The Senate is slated this week to consider the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which passed the House earlier this month along largely partisan lines. The legislation was met with sharp criticism from Democrats after GOP-sponsored amendments about abortion, transgender rights and diversity and inclusion initiatives were attached to the bill.

The Democrat-led Senate is likely going to reject the GOP-backed amendments to the bill, which was typically passed with bipartisan support in previous years.

Durbin also tested positive for the virus at the end of July 2022 and in March of this year. In recent months, COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths have remained low compared to the peak of the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While individuals can have immunity once contracting the virus, reinfections can be considered to occur as soon as 90 days after the first positive test.

Cruz opens a probe into Anheuser-Busch over Dylan Mulvaney partnership

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) opened and called for an investigation into Anheuser-Busch over its collaboration with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, saying that the company was potentially marketing its products to a younger audience through the partnership.

Cruz and Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) sent a letter to Brendan Whitworth, the Anheuser-Busch CEO and chairman of the Beer Institute, urging him to open an investigation into whether the company violated guidelines that prohibit beer companies from promoting their products to a younger audience. The Beer Institute is the beer industry's self-regulatory body that establishes buying and advertising guidelines for beer companies to follow.

The senators allege that Mulvaney's TikTok series, "Days of Girlhood," skews her audience to those whose ages are younger than the Beer Institute's guidelines.

The letter specifically pointed to various TikTok videos Mulvaney posted leading up to her partnership with Bud Light, where she posted a sponsored video of her drinking a can of beer.

"The use of the phrase 'Girlhood' was not a slip of the tongue but rather emblematic of a series of Mulvaney’s online content that was specifically used to target, market to, and attract an audience of young people who are well below the legal drinking age in the United States," the senators wrote.

They called on Whitworth to cut the company's ties with Mulvaney and apologize for allegedly marketing its products to an underage audience. The duo also asked for more information about how the company vets its partnerships, specifically its collaboration with Mulvaney.

"We would urge you, in your capacity at Anheuser-Busch, to avoid a lengthy investigation by the Beer Institute by instead having Anheuser-Busch publicly sever its relationship with Dylan Mulvaney, publicly apologize to the American people for marketing alcoholic beverages to minors, and direct Dylan Mulvaney to remove any Anheuser-Busch content from" her social media platforms, the senators wrote.

Cruz also reiterated the letter he sent while on "Fox and Friends" Thursday, accusing Anheuser-Busch of marketing its content to teenagers.

"We're calling on the Beer Institute to investigate the degree to which Anheuser-Busch knowingly was marketing to children in going down this road," Cruz said.