Pelosi calls Trump indictments ‘exquisite,’ ‘beautiful’

Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the federal indictments against former President Trump "exquisite” and “beautiful and intricate” in a new interview published Monday. 

“The indictments against the president are exquisite,” Pelosi said in an interview with New York magazine. “They’re beautiful and intricate, and they probably have a better chance of conviction than anything that I would come up with.”

Pelosi was referring to the two latest indictments against Trump unveiled by special counsel Jack Smith.

Last week, Trump was arraigned on four criminal charges related to his efforts to cling to power after losing the 2020 election. In June, he was indicted over his retention of classified documents after he left the White House.  

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges in both cases.

Pelosi, as Speaker at the time, pushed for an inquiry into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, ultimately creating the Jan. 6 select committee, which many credit with providing the basis for the latest indictment against Trump on related charges.

In the interview, which was conducted Friday afternoon, Pelosi resisted taking credit for any of the work of the committee, apart from appointing its members. She praised the panel for providing a “beautiful balance” in its approach and a “seriousness of purpose.” 

Pelosi warned in the interview about what she saw as the dangers of another Trump term in the White House.

“Don’t even think of that,” she said when asked in the interview. “Don’t think of the world being on fire. It cannot happen, or we will not be the United States of America.”

“If he were to be president,” she added. “It would be a criminal enterprise in the White House.”

Pelosi last week called the latest charges against Trump “heartbreaking,” noting in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, “It’s heartbreaking for our country to have a president of the United States with this list of charges against him.”

Raskin says Trump ‘met his match’ in special counsel Jack Smith

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said Sunday he thinks former President Trump has “met his match” in special counsel Jack Smith, as Trump has managed to avoid facing repercussions for actions he’s taken in the past, including in the events surrounding Jan. 6.

“I think that he's met his match now in his special counsel, who is holding him to the letter of the criminal law,” Raskin said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Raskin pointed to Trump’s second impeachment, when all 50 Democrats and seven Republicans voted to convict the former president — falling short of the necessary threshold — as an example of Trump avoiding repercussions.

“It was a 57-43 vote to convict him of inciting a violent insurrection against the Union, which was the most widespread bipartisan vote in American history to convict a president. And of course, Trump is bragging about the fact that only 57 senators voted to convict him of that. He beat the constitutional spread in his way,” Raskin said. 

Raskin noted that many Republicans who voted against convicting Trump still believed that Trump was responsible for his actions, but they voted against conviction because he was a former president. 

Raskin said he was hopeful the former president would now be held accountable.

Smith led investigations that resulted in two federal indictments against the former president, one for his alleged mishandling of classified documents and another related to his efforts to cling to power after he lost the 2020 election. 

Trump is also seeking another term in the White House and is currently the front-runner among GOP presidential primary candidates.

Democrat Goldman and GOP’s Donalds spar over Devon Archer coverage

Democratic Rep. Dan Goldman (N.Y.) and Republican Rep. Byron Donalds (Fla.) gave conflicting accounts of the closed-door testimony given by Hunter Biden’s business associate Devon Archer and over the news coverage of the testimony.

As conservative lawmakers claim Archer helped bolster their case against the president and his son, Goldman has emerged as a key figure in Democratic efforts to counter the GOP narrative.

“What he testified to yesterday completely absolves Joe Biden of any involvement in Hunter Biden’s business world. And notwithstanding whatever alleged smoke Chairman [James] Comer [R-Ky.] says there is, the witness testimony was very clear that Joe Biden was not involved in any of their business dealings, Joe Biden got no benefit, Joe Biden did not change any of his actions for the benefit of his son in any way, shape or form,” Goldman said in an interview Tuesday on MSNBC.

“Hunter may have, quote, promoted the illusion of influence [of] his father, but the witness was very clear that it was an illusion. There was no actual influence and what the evidence has shown in this entire investigation,” Goldman continued. 

After Donalds posted to X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, Tuesday morning complaining that cable news networks were not covering the testimony, Goldman fired back with a clip of his interview, writing, “Hey @byrondonalds, this must have happened before you woke up.” 

“That's cute @danielsgoldman,” Donalds wrote in a post on X. “I noticed that they had you on at the bottom of the hour, and no one is there to give the other side. Typical for @MSNBC. @RepJamesComer or I would had loved to get an invite.”

Goldman shot back, repeating his request for the panel to release the transcript of Archer’s testimony so the public can decide how damning it was.

“I think MSNBC wanted members who were actually present for the entire testimony, @ByronDonalds, and unfortunately I was the only one. In fact, neither you nor @RepJamesComer were there at all, so what value would you add? Unless you have the transcript… #ReleaseTheTranscript,” Goldman wrote on X.

A Republican aide to the House Oversight Committee told The Hill that the committee plans to release the transcript after a review process. The aide said the witness will have the opportunity to review the transcript for corrections before it is released.

Trump: McConnell freeze-up ‘a sad thing to see’

Former President Trump said it was “a sad thing to see” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) freeze at the podium during a press conference and called for new leadership atop the Senate GOP.

“We have to have that,” Trump said when asked whether he wants to see new leadership after McConnell’s freeze-up last week. Trump offered the comments in an interview on Breitbart News that aired Sunday.

Trump said it was “sad” to see McConnell freeze up, while continuing to criticize the way McConnell had led the Senate GOP.

“Well, I thought it was sad. At the same time. I think it's a shame that he went so far out to give Green New Deal money to Biden and the Democrats,” he said, adding, “But that was too bad. That was actually a sad thing to see. He had a bad fall, I guess and probably after effect of that, but it was also sad that he gave trillions and trillions and trillions of dollars to the Democrats to waste on the green New Deal.”

Trump added later about McConnell: “At the same time, I hope he's well.”

Trump and McConnell have repeatedly battled since the GOP leader staunchly criticized Trump for his actions on Jan. 6, 2021. McConnell did not vote guilty in Trump's impeachment trial but ripped him in a dramatic speech on the Senate floor at the trial's conclusion.

McConnell has also signaled his displeasure with Trump's influence in GOP primaries, which a number of Republicans argue was a factor in helping Democrats keep the majority in that chamber.

Trump's criticisms repeated his past attacks on McConnell and two pieces of legislation backed by President Biden. One is a bipartisan transportation bill that McConnell supported, but the chief climate provisions passed by the Biden administration were in the Inflation Reduction Act, which McConnell opposed and did not receive GOP support.

During a press conference last week, McConnell stopped talking mid-sentence and froze, prompting his colleagues to inquire about his well-being and pause the news conference momentarily, before McConnell returned and insisted he was “fine.”

McConnell, at 81 years old, has been Senate GOP leader for 16 years and in January became the longest-serving Senate leader in history, surpassing a record set by former Sen. Mike Mansfield (D-Mont.).

In his comments about the freeze-up, Trump did not comment on McConnell’s age — which has been raised often in conjunction with the incident — and attributed McConnell’s episode to the fall he had earlier this year, when McConnell suffered a concussion. Recent reporting has also indicated McConnell suffered additional undisclosed falls.

Nancy Mace says Biden impeachment talk puts House GOP majority at risk 

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) said Sunday that discussion of impeaching President Biden puts Republicans’ majority in the House at risk in 2024 — by jeopardizing members who represent districts that President Biden won in 2020.

Mace’s concerns come as Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) raised the possibility of opening an impeachment inquiry into President Biden, as House Republicans ramp up their efforts to investigate the Biden family. 

The rhetoric has come under scrutiny from some in the party, who view McCarthy’s recent efforts as an attempt to placate the conservative wing as he struggles to get consensus in his party on spending levels. 

“Well, I do believe we are, at this point, an inquiry is different from an impeachment vote and is another tool in the toolbox,” Mace said in an interview on "Fox News Sunday" with Shannon Bream, echoing the sentiment of McCarthy, who has tried to draw a clear distinction between “impeachment” and an “impeachment inquiry.” 

“I will tell you, every time we walk the plank, we are putting moderate members, members [in Biden-won districts]. We are putting those seats at risk for 2024. We are putting the majority at risk. And it's not just impeachment that does that. Other issues, like abortion, et cetera, also put those members on the plank,” Mace continued. 

Mace said it was still important to proceed with investigations of the Bidens, and that "whatever the evidence shows us, we ought to follow the facts, and we have to be better than [former Speaker] Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi really politicized the impeachment process.”

Pelosi served as Speaker of the House during the two impeachment trials of former President Trump. 

Mace continued: “We do not want to do that here. We have to show overwhelming, undeniable evidence in order to move this thing forward. And if we can't, then we should not. But if we do, then we ought to use every tool in the toolbox to make sure the American people see it for what it is, and we can hold everyone accountable.”

Raskin slams ‘preposterous’ idea that Biden drug control strategy should include ‘faith’

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) sharply rebuked a suggestion from Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) that President Biden’s national drug control strategy is flawed because it does not mention God or faith, calling that idea “preposterous” in a hearing Thursday. 

In a hearing examining the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s efforts to combat the overdose crisis, Raskin argued that mentioning God or faith would violate the U.S. Constitution, which specifically prohibits Congress from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.

“The gentleman is somehow looking for some kind of religious test, which is explicitly forbidden in the Constitution [for] people for public office, in the drug control strategy,” Raskin said, referring to Gosar. “Surely, [faith] can make a difference in terms of people's individual lives and individual paths to recovery. People will derive sources of strength from many different places, including religious faith, including their friends and their family, including psychology and so on.”

“But the idea that our drug strategy is flawed because it doesn't put religion in the center seems to me to be preposterous,” said Raskin, the top Democrat on the House Oversight panel. 

Raskin was responding to Gosar’s criticism that the Biden administration’s drug control strategy is flawed, at least in part, because it does not mention God and faith. 

“Biden's National Drug Control Strategy is 150 pages. The words ‘God’ and ‘faith’ are not mentioned one time. People need a purpose to be happy,” Gosar said, before seeming to suggest there was a connection between greater government assistance, a lack of faith in God and a rise in drug overdoses. 

Gosar quoted Democratic long-shot presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in saying “unemployment kills,” and added, “The left offers endless benefits. In other words, dependency. Because dependent population votes for the providers of those benefits. But a human being needs a purpose — a good job, the ability to provide for a family, a belief in a creator — in order to be happy.”

Manchin and Tuberville unveil bill making sweeping changes to college sports

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) unveiled legislation Tuesday that would establish a national standard for the handling of college athletes' name, image and likeness (NIL), two years after the Supreme Court decided the NCAA’s rules restricting certain student-athlete compensation were illegal.

The “Protecting Athletes, Schools and Sports Act” would require that collectives and boosters be affiliated with a college or school, prohibit inducements and give the NCAA the authority to prohibit certain NIL agreements, including those that would “involve alcohol, drugs, or conflict with existing school and conference licenses.” 

The NCAA would also have oversight over NIL activities and the authority to investigate them. The legislation also empowers the Federal Trade Commission, allowing the NCAA to report violations to the FTC.

It would also make changes to the transfer portal by requiring athletes to complete the first three years of academic eligibility before being allowed to transfer without penalty, with a few exceptions, according to a press release. 

The legislation would require four-year schools and colleges to offer health insurance to athletes who are uninsured for eight years after they graduate. Institutions whose athletics departments generate a certain revenue threshold would be required to pay out-of-pocket expenses. If the institution makes more than $20 million in athletics revenue, it would be required to pay expenses for two years; if it makes more than $50 million, it would be required to pay four years. 

Manchin, a former West Virginia University football player, and Tuberville, the former head football coach at Auburn University, said the legislation is a result of a years-long collaborative process during which time they heard from a wide range of stakeholders. 

“As a former college athlete, I know how important sports are to gaining valuable life skills and opening doors of opportunity. However, in recent years, we have faced a rapidly evolving NIL landscape without guidelines to navigate it, which jeopardizes the health of the players and the educational mission of colleges and universities,” Manchin wrote in the press release.

“Our bipartisan legislation strikes a balance between protecting the rights of student-athletes and maintaining the integrity of college sports. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to consider this commonsense legislation as a way to level the playing field in college athletics,” he added.

“Student athletes should be able to take advantage of NIL promotional activities without impacting their ability to play collegiate sports,” Tuberville wrote in the release. “But we need to ensure the integrity of our higher education system, remain focused on education, and keep the playing field level. Our legislation with Senator Manchin will set basic rules nationwide, protect our student-athletes, and keep NIL activities from ending college sports as we know it.”

The pair of senators included statements praising the legislation from NCAA President Charlie Baker, the Big 12 Conference, the Southeastern Conference and from presidents of universities to which they were connected.  

Last week, Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) also introduced draft legislation to tackle college athletics. It is similar to Manchin and Tuberville’s bill, but it also establishes a third-party entity to serve as the hub, rulemaker, investigator and enforcer of best practices and rules relating to student-athletes’ rights.

Boebert apologizes ‘for appearance’ of disrespecting Uvalde victims

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) offered an apology Saturday “for the appearance” of disrespecting children who died in the Uvalde shooting, after footage of the congresswoman discarding a tribute pin for one of the victims prompted a wave of harsh criticism.

“If anyone thinks that I was disrespecting a child who tragically lost their lives at the hands of an evil, evil person, I want to apologize for the appearance of that. But that’s not at all what it was," she said.

In a video that circulated late last week, an activist appears to hand Boebert a pamphlet and a pin. The pin honored one of the 19 children who died in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Another activist is heard saying to Boebert, who is well known as an advocate for gun rights and an opponent of gun control, that “we hope you take action on gun violence prevention.”

Boebert does not appear to respond to the two activists but can be seen in the video discarding the items in a nearby trash can as she continues walking.

The activist who posted the video said Boebert shook her head and said “no” when she gave her the pamphlet.

In the new video, Boebert accused the activist of being aggressive with her previously.

"I simply did not want to receive anything from this aggressive man who has been harassing me and my office,” Boebert says in the video. She also said she was wearing AirPods and told the person that she was "occupied."

She said her pastor inspired her to film the response video.

“Last week, there was a video of me throwing an item away that I had received randomly from somebody in the hallway. I was walking and had AirPods in, tried to tell the man that I was occupied, and he continued, and as he was handing me what turned out to be a memorial pin, I recognized him as a man who came at me very aggressively just a few weeks prior during a press conference,” Boebert said.

Boebert, one of the most vocal pro-gun members of Congress, immediately came under fire when the video first aired last week. Local news reported on the backlash from families of the victims and from political activists. 

Trump blasts Senate GOP for lack of action on Biden

Former President Trump on Monday criticized Senate Republican leaders for not being as critical of President Biden as House Republicans have been.

GOP House members have made a concerted effort to paint Biden and the Department of Justice as corrupt, using the DOJ prosecution of Hunter Biden for ammunition. They argue Hunter Biden received too lenient a sentence, among other things.

There have been staunch critics of both Bidens in the Senate GOP, as well, but the Senate GOP's leadership tends to be much more muted than the House on the issue.

“Joe Biden is the most corrupt President in the history of the United States, which is being undeniably proven in the House of Representatives every single day,” Trump posted on Truth Social Monday.

“But with all of these horrible revelations and facts, why hasn’t Republican ‘leadership’ in the Senate spoken up and rebuked Crooked Joe Biden and the Radical Left Democrats, Fascists, and Marxists for their criminal acts against our Country, some of them against me. How long does America have to wait for the Senate to ACT?” Trump added.

The House GOP tends to be more pro-Trump than the Senate GOP.

While the House is led by Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who is considering an effort to expunge Trump's impeachments, the Senate is led by a Trump critic — Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). The Kentucky Republican has been staunchly critical of Trump's actions on Jan. 6, 2021, and he has become a frequent target of the former president.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), who is a member of McConnell's leadership team, has endorsed Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) for president.

More from The Hill

Despite the relatively muted response, Trump has some strong allies in the Senate GOP.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) last week joined House Oversight Committee Republicans in releasing a copy of an unverified tip to the FBI alleging a scheme to bribe President Biden.

The release brought stern criticism from the FBI, which admonished Grassley and the other lawmakers over the release.

“We have repeatedly explained to Congress, in correspondence and in briefings, how critical it is to keep this source information confidential,” the FBI said in a statement.

The Biden administration has adamantly denied allegations of wrongdoing. 

“It is remarkable that congressional Republicans, in their eagerness to go after President Biden regardless of the truth, continue to push claims that have been debunked for years and that they themselves have cautioned to take ‘with a grain of salt’ because they could be ‘made up,’” said Ian Sams, White House spokesperson for oversight and investigations, in a statement after the release of the document.

“These claims have reportedly been scrutinized by the Trump Justice Department, a Trump-appointed U.S. attorney, and a full impeachment trial of the former President that centered on these very issues, and over and over again, they have been found to lack credibility,” Sams added.

Greene says it’s ‘unfortunate’ Boebert ‘leaked’ House floor spat to press

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) on Sunday accused Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) of leaking their tense argument in the House chamber to the press, calling it "unfortunate" that she did so.

“I find it unfortunate that Lauren Boebert leaked that conversation that we had to the press. But once she leaked it out, I had to confirm that that's, in fact, what I said,” Greene said in an interview on Fox News’s “MediaBuzz” with Howard Kurtz.

The Daily Beast first reported the argument between the two conservative lawmakers, citing two sources who saw the exchange and a third who was familiar with the matter. Greene confirmed the story later to reporters in which she called Boebert a “little bitch” after the Colorado lawmaker sought to force a vote on her impeachment resolution against President Biden. 

Since the sources in The Daily Beast story are unnamed, there is no public evidence that Boebert "leaked" the story. When reached for comment by the publication, neither lawmaker denied the reporting.

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

Greene has long pushed to bring impeachment articles against Biden — pledging to do so even before he was sworn into office. She introduced her impeachment resolution the day after he was sworn into office.

Greene said she was frustrated with Boebert since she had asked the Colorado congresswoman to support her impeachment articles — which she introduced in May for the 118th Congress — but Boebert had taken independent action without discussing it with other GOP members. 

“But here's the real issue: I've introduced articles of impeachment, and each time I do so, along with my other bills, I communicate with all of my Republican colleagues and ask for support by asking their co-sponsorship, because I co-sponsor many other Republicans' bills,” Greene said.

“In order to pass things on the House floor, we have to get 218 votes, and that means that we have to work together. I'd asked her to co-sponsor my articles of impeachment against Joe Biden on the border, and she never responded and, apparently, refused to do so,” she said.

“Then, when she introduced her own and forced them to the floor with a privilege resolution — without even having the courage to talk to any other Republican in our conference before doing so except Speaker McCarthy and, apparently, a few others — yes, we had a tense conversation when she confronted me about things I had said about it," Greene added.