Fox News explains why America shouldn’t hear from Hunter Biden after Comer chickens out

House Republicans are still all-in on their plan to impeach President Joe Biden for Something Something Hunter Biden, even if they still haven't been able to work out the pesky details. But Hunter threw a wrench in the gears Tuesday morning with an offer to testify, in person, to the House Oversight Committee investigating him—but only if his testimony is public.

Crack Republican investigator and committee chair James Comer immediately shot that idea down, because at no point in the process did Republicans intend for Hunter Biden to actually respond to any of this. No, Republicans absolutely do not want Hunter to come in and testify publicly about their speculations and accusations.

Now Fox News and other Republican disinformation factories have to come up with some spin on why the House committee is right to not want the American public to hear Hunter's willing testimony. Acyn has the clip, so here's your shit show:

Fox News hosts trying to convince their viewers that a closed door deposition of Hunter Biden is better than a public hearing

— Acyn (@Acyn) November 28, 2023

Michele Tafoya: But I agree, I prefer hearings to be done behind closed doors, because I think they actually get to the heart of the matter, and they get some truth, and they can ask questions without preening for the camera, without all the grandstanding.

Yes, that's what the Republicans investigating the Something Something Hunter Biden conspiracy hate more than anything else: grandstanding. Comer and Jim Jordan are known nationwide for their unwillingness to do anything that looks like grandstanding. Republicans specifically selected lawmakers who would be least likely to tolerate grandstanding, which is why Comer and Jordan are joined on the committee by such level heads as—taking a deep breath here—Virginia Foxx, Glenn Grothman, Pete Sessions, Clay Higgins, Andy Biggs, Lauren Boebert, Anna Paulina Luna, Paul Gosar, and Marjorie Taylor “Absolutely No Grandstanding Here” Greene.

The House hearings on Hunter Biden are likely the most dignified and least showboating hearings to ever have occurred in any Congress anywhere, in fact. They ooze decorum like Jordan oozes concern for college athletes’ welfare.

Hmm. The chyron identifies Tafoya as a "former NFL sideline reporter." During her many years on the field, I wonder if she ever discovered a football game going on.

“That is my preference, and for Abby Lowell, for his attorney to say, ‘well you all use that to misinform, and to distort the facts,’ well you know what? You can do that too. After he comes out of his closed door session, you feel free to knock yourself out and you can distort too.”

Ah, and there we have the perfect encapsulation of the Fox News mindset: The truth isn't important! Nobody wants to see the truth for themselves! What's important is how partisans want to "distort" the facts, and the other side can distort the facts too, and then Fox will broadcast the distorted facts that it thinks are best and those are what you, loyal couch potato, should then base your entire mushy worldview around. That's how America is supposed to work.

It seems like just last week House Republicans were loudly crowing about how America needed to see all of the Capitol security camera footage from the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection—absolutely needed to see every bit of it (except for the bits they're going to withhold because of reasons and the bits where they're going to blur out faces so that nasty, nasty law-abiding Americans can't snitch on any more rioters than they've already snitched on). Now we're hearing that cameras and public broadcasts are bad and what Americans really want to know is what the loudest conspiracy freaks in Congress think they should know.

I mean, you can't say she's wrong here. Roger Ailes built a whole network around that idea and he died rich and only mildly discredited, shunned, and a social pariah.

“I mean, it's a silly argument and Comer has said, ‘fine, sit before us publicly, a public hearing, we will do that later. We want the closed door one first.’”

And if you can't trust Comer and Jordan to keep their word, who can you trust? Ask Jordan's old wrestling team: This is a man who's never told a lie.

“And I think it's totally, totally appropriate. Hunter Biden would love nothing more than to sit, have cameras pointed at him, and try to generate the narrative that he wants to form.”

That darn grandstanding Hunter Biden. He tricked Rudy Giuliani into possessing his criminally hacked computer files. He tricked the least grandstand-y group of House Republicans to ever exist into displaying his hacked, private nude photos during a public hearing. He tricked them into focusing obsessively on all of the lowest moments of his life, using all of his worst failures as tabloid fodder for the sake of discrediting his father. Now he's trying to trick them into allowing him to tell his side of the story, after years of Republicans broadcasting their own version?

The absolute gall.


Hunter Biden asks to testify publicly. House Republicans scurry away in a panic

Looks like Jared Moskowitz seriously got under James Comer's skin

Hunter Biden condemns Republican hoax-promoters: A ‘real threat’ to others ‘desperate to get sober’

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Hunter Biden condemns Republican hoax-promoters: A ‘real threat’ to others ‘desperate to get sober’

President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden has been the center of uncountably many Republican-crafted conspiracy theories, all of them after Donald Trump came to believe that Biden would be his 2020 general election opponent.

Hunter himself has mostly chosen to remain silent, but this past Thursday, he published an opinion column in USA Today condemning the effects the omnipresent Republican hoaxes might have on other substance abusers fighting to recover.

What troubles me is the demonization of addiction, of human frailty, using me as its avatar and the devastating consequences it has for the millions struggling with addiction, desperate for a way out and being bombarded by the denigrating and near-constant coverage of me and my addiction on Fox News (more airtime than GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis) and in The New York Post (an average of two stories a day over the past year).

The New York Post running two Hunter Biden stories a day for an entire year is evidence of a different sort of addiction. It's not clear why one is considered more disgraceful than the other.

The science of addiction and recovery has made great strides in just the past decade. However, far too few will ever experience the miracle of recovery unless we change the stigma around addiction.

For those of us who live in recovery and for those who love someone in recovery, we know how hard fought our newfound lives are in letting go of the shame and making amends.

The weaponization of my addiction by partisan and craven factions represents a real threat to those desperate to get sober but are afraid of what may await them if they do.

Notably, the younger Biden specifically names some of the worst offenders.

My recent haircut turned into a wild conspiracy to evade drug tests, tabloids steadily splash nude pictures of me on their covers, and even a member of Congress displayed revenge porn of me on national television.

My addiction doesn’t justify Steve Bannon and Guo Wengui posting altered nude photos of me with “editorial creativity over the pictures.” My addiction shouldn’t permit the likes of Rudy Giuliani or a former Peter Navarro aide to debase and dehumanize me for their own gains.

What Hunter Biden doesn't mention is that the hoaxes Republicans have imposed on him have the strong stench of criminal behavior—and not on his part. Trump's first impeachment came about because Trump withheld aid to Ukraine in order to pressure the Ukrainian president into announcing a supposed "investigation" of a Rudy Giuliani-pushed hoax targeting Hunter. The hoax was debunked before Trump ever made the move, but the extortion attempt continued anyway.

When Giuliani and other Republican operatives later announced they were in possession of stolen data they claimed came from a Hunter-owned "laptop," it became the focus of a new ecosystem of hoaxes and conspiracy claims. But it now appears far more likely that the leaked data was obtained through criminal hacking efforts—and that the "laptop" itself never existed.


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There is no laptop: Hunter Biden sues Rudy Giuliani

Fox News host did not expect his Biden conspiracy to get blown apart on live TV

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Prosecutors probe whether Giuliani was drunk when advising Trump. Does it even matter?

The New York Times and other outlets are reporting that federal prosecutors are taking a very close look at Rudy Giuliani's alleged drinking problems as they seek to prosecute Donald Trump for his illegal acts to nullify his 2020 presidential election loss. From the Times:

The office of the special counsel, Jack Smith, has questioned witnesses about Mr. Giuliani’s alcohol consumption as he was advising Mr. Trump, including on election night, according to a person familiar with the matter. Mr. Smith’s investigators have also asked about Mr. Trump’s level of awareness of his lawyer’s drinking as they worked to overturn the election and prevent Joseph R. Biden Jr. from being certified as the 2020 winner at almost any cost.

Whether Giuliani was notably, speech-slurringly drunk during the times he was offering advice to Trump on how to contest the election's outcome may go a long way in scrubbing out Trump's claims that he was only acting on the advice of counsel when he undertook those illegal acts. If Trump was aware that his alleged lawyer was Barney Gumble drunk during the conversations where Rudy was pushing bizarre election conspiracy theories and offering, the pair now claims, attorney-client advice on how to pursue them, then Trump could hardly claim he was a naive victim blindly following that advice. It would show that Trump ought to have understood from the beginning that he was listening to the ramblings of an impaired man.

Personally, I'm not seeing it. Trump had been using Giuliani to source and publicize a mountain of utterly crackpot conspiracy theories throughout the election. It was evident even by 2019 that Giuliani's claims ranged from sloppy factual blunders to obvious disinformation attempts to full-on fictions. After the Robert Mueller-led probe of Russian election interference concluded in 2019, Giuliani began insisting that the election had actually been interfered with by "Hillary [Clinton], [John] Kerry and Biden people colluding with Ukrainian operatives."

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One of the most bizarre of all Giuliani-pushed conspiracy claims was that Ukraine was actually the nation behind the hacks of Democratic National Committee servers, and that Russia had been framed by Ukrainian or American officials. Giuliani believed a Democratic National Committee server had been spirited to and hidden somewhere in Ukraine by the DNC themselves, their cybersecurity firm, or someone else.

Not only did Trump willingly believe it, he believed it enough to ask Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to investigate "the server" during the extortion-laden call that resulted in Trump's first impeachment.

Whether or not Rudy Giuliani was or wasn't sloshed enough to be an explosion hazard during this time seems hardly relevant; the man was transparently out of his gourd. He was spouting incoherent, looneytoons fictions long, long before election night, and not only was the national press awash with explanations of just how nonsensical and fraudulent Giuliani's claims were, Trump suffered through an actual bonafide impeachment as a direct result of believing Giuliani's delusional crap.

That would seem to suggest that Trump had every possible opportunity to realize Giuliani was giving him advice that was snow-globe-brain, television-static bonkers long before Giuliani was offering up advice on how to overturn an American election. Yes, it's possible that Giuliani was drunk the whole time; at best, that might show that a sober Trump is still stupider than a stumble-drunk Rudy.

Most of the Times story centers on the apparently widespread knowledge among Giuliani's peers and allies that he has had a devastating drinking problem for "more than a decade." "His consistent, conspicuous intoxication often startled his company," we are told a few years too late to do anyone any good, with "almost anyone in proximity" realizing that his drinking "has been the pulsing drumbeat punctuating his descent." But even then, half the article is devoted to how supposedly grand Giuliani was in his 9/11-punctuated heyday. It appears we will never be free of the hagiographies that have always brushed aside Giuliani's many past scandals in favor of a generic supposed heroism.

As for whether Giuliani was visibly and odiously drunk when he advised Trump to contest the election based on no evidence at all, though, it does appear to be true. The Times, again:

In interviews and in testimony to Congress, several people at the White House on election night — the evening when Mr. Giuliani urged Mr. Trump to declare victory despite the results — have said that the former mayor appeared to be drunk, slurring and carrying an odor of alcohol.

So there you go. It still seems to me that it hardly matters: Was it Drunk Rudy who called a vital press conference at the concrete driveway of Four Seasons Total Landscaping, or Sober Rudy? Was it Drunk Rudy who mistook some unknown substance for hair dye before rushing out to the press for a different press conference, or Sober Rudy?

I don't think we need to hold a match in front of his mouth to judge whether or not the man's judgment has been impaired these past few years. Trump may claim that he only did criminal things because his lawyers told him to, but it doesn't hold up when Trump chose those lawyers specifically because his White House legal team, Department of Justice legal team, and everyone else with common sense weren't willing to go along with plainly criminal acts like "seize the voting machines," "have Mike Pence declare you the winner by fiat," and "impose martial law."


There is no laptop: Hunter Biden sues Rudy Giuliani

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Jim Jordan’s based his career on enabling Republican crimes

With Donald Trump endorsing loud ally Rep. Jim Jordan for the speakership of the House, fellow Trump ally Rep. Steve Scalise's bid for the position may look futile. The whole point of Republicanism the last few years has been to purge anyone who might refuse to do what Trump says, so anyone with House Republican membership in 2023 is almost by definition there because they have promised to govern entirely from inside Trump's colon.

But Jordan's still got to make his own case. He had a go at it Friday morning, telling CNN reporter Manu Raju that the speaker's race will come down to "who can go tell the country what we're doing."

Jim Jordan trying to pitch himself as someone who can be the chief GOP messenger as he seeks to draw a contrast with Scalise. “I think this race comes down to … who can go tell the country what we're doing,” he told me Jordan weighs in on Trump endorsement

— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 6, 2023

The odds are nine in 10 that you've never before heard Jordan use an indoor voice, as opposed to his usual "shrieking toddler furiously demanding to know why his diaper just got heavier" voice. In terms of telling the nation what House Republicans are doing, that would become trivially easy under a Jordan speakership. Jordan has devoted his House career to one issue above all others: letting Republicans get away with crimes.

Jordan's skill in letting people get away with crimes is how he became the shrieking voice of Republicanism that he's become. In 2018, Jordan was named by multiple former Ohio State wrestlers as one of the school officials who had been aware of the sexual molestation of athletes by team doctor Richard Strauss. Faced with multiple accusers who relayed specific instances and conversations with Jordan, Jordan loudly denied everything and reportedly pressured at least one former student to lie about it. Soon, he and his office began claiming that it was his accusers who were lying, not him.

Jordan's star began to rise immediately after that. The caucus apparently went starry-eyed at the vehemence with which Jordan attacked his accusers, and Jordan soon became the angry sweating voice of every House committee, probe, and publicity stunt he could be wedged into.

It's not overstating things to say that allowing allies to get away with crimes has been Jordan's top congressional focus. Before the sexual abuse allegations surfaced in 2018, Jordan had already become a face of the Republican obstruction of the probe into 2016 Russian election interference, dismissing federal intelligence assessments with new assertions that the probe was a political ploy by Trump-hating government officials. By 2019, he had been stuffed into the House Intelligence Committee as a temporary measure to act as "attack dog" in the House impeachment hearings resulting from Trump holding up military aid to Ukraine in order to extort anti-Biden propaganda from the Ukrainian government.

He would play similar roles until January 2021, when he joined a seditious conspiracy to nullify a constitutional election on Trump's behalf so that Trump could fraudulently declare himself the winner. Jordan was one of 126 House Republicans who signed an amicus brief to a Texas-led lawsuit asking for the results of multiple Joe Biden-won states to be declared invalid.

On Jan. 5, 2021, Jordan contacted White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to promote the theory that then-Vice President Mike Pence could unilaterally block the counting of votes from Biden-won states. He is also known to have spoken "at length" with Trump on the morning of Jan. 6.

After insurrectionists had been removed from the Capitol on Jan. 6, Jordan was among those who still voted to contest the election's results.

Jordan later refused to testify about his own role and communications during the coup attempt, going so far as to defy a congressional subpoena demanding it.

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Jordan was almost certainly aware that the acts he helped facilitate were criminal. He was named as one of seven House Republicans who had probed the White House about potential pardons for House members who had facilitated what became a violent attempted coup.

His role in the post-failed-coup Congress has further congealed around support for Trump's criminal acts. When Trump was indicted in New York over hush money payments made during his 2016 campaign, Jordan demanded prosecutors' documents in the case—while coordinating his actions with Trump himself. Jordan similarly demanded the evidence against Trump be turned over after Trump was indicted in Georgia for his attempted election tampering.

Against the two federal indictments against Trump, Jordan's threats shift into the realm of the bizarre. He has thrown his weight behind plans to block funding from the federal departments and agencies behind the indictments. If the only way to keep Trump out of jail is to disband federal law enforcement efforts wholesale, Jordan and other coup supporters are willing to consider it.

It would be brazenly close to a criminal racketeering scheme if Jordan did not have the unique protections of Congress to hide behind. And all of that stands apart from his other major new effort: to impeach Biden or indict members of his family, even with faked evidence or none at all.

Jordan's view of law and order is consistent. For at least three decades, when faced with a crime committed by an ally, Jordan has sought to ignore it, cover it up, and attack those who discovered it. Against his enemies, there seems no evidence too flimsy for Jordan to claim as proof. It's an unambiguously fascist approach, to be sure, but in starker terms, it is simply crooked as hell. Jordan is on board with whatever criminality his allies may attempt and can be counted on to sabotage justice wherever he can.

There's a very good case to be made that it's Jordan who is the crookedest politician in Washington, D.C. Not Rep. George Santos, indicted though he may be. Not Sen. Bob Menendez, hidden gold bars or no. Jordan's acts to immunize Republican criminality don't stem from schemes of self-enrichment; he appears to truly believe that Republicans ought to be able to commit crimes for the sake of the Republican "movement," and that the movement is obliged to sabotage probes and indictments of those that do.

So that's what Republicans will be "doing" under a Jordan speakership: sabotaging laws outright to allow criminality in their own ranks. It's what he's based his career on. It's the reason Trump counts him as an ally. It's why Republicans embraced him and elevated him to begin with. And if the party is bent on becoming a criminal enterprise and coup-supporting opponents of democracy itself, they would be hard pressed to find a better spokesman than an abuse-enabling, crime-defending, unabashed crook.


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Fox News host suggests ‘Biden and his boys’ framed Sen. Menendez to, uh, sell jets

I've asked this before and I'll likely ask it again, but can anyone figure out what the hell Fox host Jesse Watters is going on about this time?

JESSE WATTERS (HOST): Primetime finally figured out why gold bar-Bob Menendez is being taken out. The president of Turkey, Erdogan, wanted to buy F-16s from us, but gold bar-Bob, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee put a hold on the jets. And now that the hold is lifted, Turkey's on an F-16 shopping spree.

Erdogan admitted it, saying this: "One of our most important problems regarding the F-16s were the activities of U.S. Senator Bob Menendez against our country." But it wasn't just a $20 billion sale that cleared, Turkey was holding up Sweden's application to NATO until they got their F-16s. And now that gold bar-Bob's gone, Turkey gets their jets, Sweden gets its NATO membership. Look how nicely things fall into place for Biden and his boys, when two gold bars are found in a Senator's house. Eh, it's probably a conspiracy theory.

That's the Media Matters transcription from Fox News' Oct. 2 broadcast of “Jesse Watters Primetime,” the program that replaced Tucker Carlson's show after Tucker got too big for his conspiracy britches and had to be sent to a farm upstate. And yes, there are elements of actual news stories rattling around in there. Now-indicted Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez did indeed use his chairmanship of the Foreign Relations Committee to block the sale of F-16 jets to ostensible NATO ally Turkey, a hold that Menendez based on Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's stonewalling of Sweden's NATO membership, "aggression against [Turkey's] neighbors," and dismal human rights record. It’s worth noting that the committee’s new chair, Sen. Ben Cardin, seems to be in no hurry to lift the block.

Erdogan was nearly giddy about Menendez's indictment, saying last week that his removal from the chairmanship "gives us an advantage."

From these facts, we get a Watters snowball of speculation that even he has to pass off as a conspiracy theory, though only after lodging it inside Fox News viewers' gullible heads. So President Joe Biden "and his boys" get things to fall into place by, uh, planting gold bars in a senator's house? Biden and his boys got Menendez "taken out," framing a Democratic senator for acts of corruption because, uh, Turkey really wanted those jets?

What the airborne monkey heck are you going on about, Jesse? Is it your genuine premise that an innocent and hapless Menendez was taken down by the Biden regime for offending Turkey's would-be strongman or for holding up a big defense contract?

Have you been guzzling any off-brand cough medicine lately, buddy?

Alas, this is par for the course for Fox News primetime hours and is one of the reasons why as far back as 20 years ago, studies concluded that watching the network somehow made viewers even less informed about the news than people who watched no news at all. The reason Watters was pushed into the primetime slot vacated by Carlson was because he best matched Carlson's own brand of flagrant racism and bizarre conspiracies, providing Fox with the best chance of keeping Carlson's viewers glued to their TVs.

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You would definitely be less informed after watching Watters’ latest rant. Turkey has not gotten its jets. Sweden is not yet a NATO member (though Turkey did relent on its opposition), and Turkey's "shopping spree" doesn't consist of anything more than wanting the jets they originally ordered. If this is a conspiracy by the so-called Biden crime family to dispose of a senator who was being too mean to Tayyip Erdogan, of all people, they may have to smuggle gold bars into a lot of other senators' houses.

The Menendez indictment has highlighted the conservative movement’s disbelief that anyone would want to prosecute felonies committed by "important" people. Watters and other conservative pundits appear to be totally flummoxed by the thought that prosecutors would indict someone not for political reasons but instead because doing crimes is illegal even if you're wearing a flag pin and proclaiming yourself above such laws. Instead, they speculate, Menendez must only have been indicted because he was getting in the way of international arms deals or because the Justice Department needed to frame an important Democrat for committing crimes so that their indictments of Donald Trump for committing other crimes would look more legitimate.

That's led to Republicans either clamming up or actively defending Menendez, even as a majority of Democratic senators have demanded his resignation.

Republican lawmakers launched an impeachment inquiry into President Biden as an evidence-free act of retaliation against Democrats for impeaching Donald Trump over the Jan. 6 coup attempt and other corruption. It's already clear they don't consider the rule of law to be anything but a tool to be used against political enemies, one to be hidden away again whenever one of their own gets caught doing a crime (or 10).

All of that said, Watters will likely get into huge trouble on this one from the higher-ups, and not for the reasons you might think. Watters is mocking Menendez as a goldbug, calling him "Gold Bar Bob," but precious-metals companies prodding conservatives into hoarding overpriced gold and silver are some of Fox News' most reliable remaining advertisers. Jesse is making fun of the network's most-valued viewers here, and you know network bigwigs aren't going to let that one stand.


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Even Fox News can’t spin House Republicans’ evidence-free ‘impeachment’ hearing

Fox News tries very, very hard to parrot Republican talking points, but there are a few things that even they can’t make themselves say. Host Neil Cavuto drew the short straw of having to tell his viewers that the House impeachment inquiry hearings—the "breaking news" that viewers were seeing on their screen—turned out to be a Grade-A nothingburger.

"I don't know what was achieved over these last six-plus hours," he confessed.

Hat tip to Acyn for the catch:

NEIL CAVUTO: All right. For the better part of six hours, I have been following these hearings, save an hour off to do my Fox Business show earlier today. I don't know what was achieved over these last six-plus hours. Welcome, everybody, I'm Neil Cavuto. I want to put in perspective here, though, and we are going to legally go through all the details, but James Comer, the Oversight Committee chairman, had said that there would be presented a mountain of evidence against Mr. Biden, he was referring to President Biden, but none of the expert witnesses today presented—yet—any proof for impeachment.

You think that's bad? He was just getting started.

Now to be clear, this was not about impeachment; this is about launching an impeachment inquiry. But it is worth pointing out that none of the witnesses today were fact witnesses. That means that none were involved in the investigation into the alleged activities in the first place. What's more, none of the witnesses testified today of direct knowledge of what Republicans have been claiming about Joe Biden.

In other words, that this—the way this was built up, where there's smoke, there would be fire. Again, I'm not a lawyer and I'm going to be talking to some darn smart ones in a moment, but where there's smoke today, we just got a lot more smoke.

We also say that the best they could say now, after this six-plus hours of testimony back and forth, is that they're going to try to get more bank records from Joe Biden and his son, says that they're needed to determine if a crime was committed. Understood. But none of that was presented today, just that they would need those records to further this investigation today, even though this occurs after months of Republican probes that failed to provide anything resembling concrete evidence.

That's Fox News’ initial reaction to Rep. James Comer's absurd and evidence-free "impeachment inquiry," as delivered by Cavuto after the hearing's close. Will Cavuto now get calls from network executives excoriating him? Will ex-host Tucker Carlson try to call in a few remaining network favors to get him fired for inappropriate truth-telling?

Honestly, it's not likely. Sean Hannity and a few of the network’s other most rabidly shameless hosts might give it a go, but there's no polishing this turd. Republicans still seem to be forgetting that at some point, in this tit-for-tat attempt at impeaching Joe Biden in retaliation for the two impeachments of Donald Trump, you do have to come up with some actual evidence for your frothing claims. Even Fox News might cut these turkeys loose at this rate.

Sign the petition: Denounce MAGA GOP's baseless impeachment inquiry against Biden


Watch Jamie Raskin shred the 'flying monkeys' running the impeachment inquiry

Republican impeachment inquiry gets off to a perfect start

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Senate Republicans offended by gym shorts, less so by public groping

To everyone’s horror, this weekend's big news revolved around video of Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert and her date vaping, taking flash photos, and groping each other in public during a performance of “Beetlejuice The Musical.” She got booted from a Denver theater for that, then ended up lying her ass off about it before she realized there was video, then shoved out a half-assed apology after the video was released and it showed much, much more than any of the rest of us wanted to see.

It’s no surprise that her colleagues on the right have responded with radio silence. In recent years, Republicans have honed an intentional strategy of “whataboutism” whenever one of their own gets caught in a scandal that would have political leaders calling for someone's resignation back when we all pretended politicians had a shred of decency. It's rote.

Russia boosted Trump's 2016 election with a bit of strategic hack-and-dump; Rudy Giuliani comes back with a new theory that Russia's enemy Ukraine was behind it all. Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner scores $2 billion in "investments" from Saudi royals immediately after departing the White House; suddenly House lawmakers are frothing with impeachment-level rage over the thought that President Joe Biden's son might have gotten a board position years ago based more on his name than his qualifications. Some Republican gets caught in a sex scandal, and that's enough for another two weeks of every other Republican in politics calling some other subset of Americans "groomers."

I'm not one who has much patience for "this thing is meant to be a distraction from that other news" claims, but a new Republican outrage at somebody not following The Esteemed Senate Dress Code came on conspicuously close to the weekend's video-assisted news of Boebert getting tossed from a theater for acts of public indecency that she would likely be prosecuted for if she wasn't a state big shot.

That's right: The latest Republican push is expressing public horror over a Democrat not meeting Senate dress code standards. Engaging in mammalian rutting behavior while the adults and children around you are trying to enjoy a high-priced musical production might count as a bit uncouth, in the same way that ransacking the Capitol might count as an ordinary tourist visit in Republican minds. But the sheer indecency of not following the dress code? Well, I never.

Police. Firefighters. Judges. Pilots. They all have uniforms. Ours is a suit and tie. We shouldn’t abandon it because it’s more comfortable to wear sweats.

— Mike Lee (@BasedMikeLee) September 18, 2023

Thank you for chiming in, well known Etiquette Master and Respecter of Our Institutions

— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) September 18, 2023

Axios reported that Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has told the Senate’s sergeant-at-arms not to enforce the dress code anymore. This led to thinly veiled as well as direct jabs at Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman, who is known to favor hoodies and gym shorts. The Pennsylvania senator was not particularly in the mood to take etiquette lessons from the House Revenge Porn Caucus.

Thankfully, the nation's lower chamber lives by a higher code of conduct: displaying ding-a-ling pics in public hearings.

— Senator John Fetterman (@SenFettermanPA) September 18, 2023

Yeah, this is the thing that will bring America down: not wearing formal attire when you're gleefully showing off stolen pictures of the president's son's penis on C-SPAN. Or wearing sweats when you're getting publicly mauled by your date in a manner that would get you fired as a strip club lap dancer, just after vaping in a pregnant woman's face, rather than wearing something classy.

This is the hill Republicans will die on rather than comment on the video that just 10 years ago would have resulted in the immediate resignation of any politician anywhere. Pay no attention to the humping couple in the theater: This guy over here doesn't have his tie on!

Sign the petition: Denounce MAGA GOP's baseless impeachment inquiry against Biden


Conservative youth convention no longer promoting Boebert appearance

Divorce is hard, new places are too: Read Boebert's BS apology for 'Beetlejuice' behavior

Lauren Boebert’s claims go up in smoke as new video emerges

What do you do if you're associated with one of the biggest election fraud scandals in recent memory? If you're Republican Mark Harris, you try running for office again! On this week's episode of "The Downballot," we revisit the absolutely wild story of Harris' 2018 campaign for Congress, when one of his consultants orchestrated a conspiracy to illegally collect blank absentee ballots from voters and then had his team fill them out before "casting" them. Officials wound up tossing the results of this almost-stolen election, but now Harris is back with a new bid for the House—and he won't shut up about his last race, even blaming Democrats for the debacle.

Chris Christie says he’s going to ‘find’ and ‘confront’ Trump. Good luck with that, buddy

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wasn't able to confront his rival presidential candidate, Donald Trump, during the first Republican debate since Trump decided he was too busy being indicted to show up. However, Christie has a plan for how to get his confrontation anyway.

"You think I'm gonna have a hard time finding Donald Trump?” Christie boasted on Tuesday. “You think that over the course of the next couple months I'm not gonna find him and confront him someplace?"

It's a terrible plan if you can even call it one, and it ain't gonna work, but Christie gets to do his tough-guy schtick and maybe egg Trump into angry-posting a bit. And there's an obvious flaw with this “plan”: Trump remains a lifelong coward. He simply doesn't show up where he might be confronted. He holds events at his own resorts, events where you have to pay to set foot on the grounds and where private security and Secret Service agents do not mess around with people who try to sneak in to "confront" a former president. And his rallies are set up with the most loyal of allies and paid for by state Republican parties so that his own campaign doesn't have to pay a dime.

Those Republican Party organizers are not going to let Christie into an event so that he can heckle guest Donald Trump, because that would put them on Trump's enemies list forever. So what's Christie going to do? Is he going to do the classic fake-mustache trick? Disguise himself as a caterer?

Honestly, if Christie really wants to confront Trump, his most likely move would be to simply insult Trump so much and so often as to drive Trump past his usual short-thumbed frenzies on Truth Social and into actually showing up to debate. Christie's whole motivation for running for president appears to be as a foil for Trump, so to Christie, manifesting instances where he can insult Trump to his face might be a campaign-existential goal.

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Kerry talks with Drew Linzer, director of the online polling company Civiqs. Drew tells us what the polls say about voters’ feelings toward President Joe Biden and Donald Trump, and what the results would be if the two men were to, say … run against each other for president in 2024. Oh yeah, Drew polled to find out who thinks Donald Trump is guilty of the crimes he’s been indicted for, and whether or not he should see the inside of a jail cell.

Impeachment inquiry null and void without House vote, confirmed by Trump’s DOJ

There's been a bit of fuss made over this, but it's important to put it in context so that's what we'll do. Yes, it's absolutely true: According to a binding opinion issued by the Justice Department, House impeachment inquiries are invalid unless the House votes to authorize them, meaning the Biden administration can take whatever subpoenas come from House Republicans in the next few weeks and summarily trash them. Sorry, none of it counts! Come back when you've taken a vote, Kevin.

That binding opinion was issued by Donald J. Trump's gloriously crooked Justice Department, and specifically by DOJ Office of Legal Counsel head Steven Engel. It was one of the many Trump administration efforts to dodge House subpoenas during the impeachment investigation that stemmed from Trump's move to block military aid to Ukraine until the Ukrainian president agreed to announce a sham investigation of Trump’s political opponents, including President Joe Biden. It came after Trump's team tried a great many other dodgy things to cover up Trump's extortion attempt, such as improperly classifying the phone call in which Trump did it, but technically, it's still on the books and Justice is currently obliged to tell Reps. James Comer, Jim Jordan, and the others to pound sand.

But, you know, legally pound sand. This would be the kind of invitation to pound sand that comes under a really nice letterhead, one that greatly details how the sand should be pounded and why, with a big ol' signature or two at the end of it. You can't tell me they're not selling raffle tickets inside Justice right now to decide who gets to put their name on that letter. Here’s a suggestion: Consider using a glitter pen.

Aside from its sublime trolling opportunities, however, this isn't a particularly useful little tidbit. House Republicans who once thought OLC opinions to be sacrosanct when they were written to protect Dear Leader's constant crookery will now declare the same legal stances to be communism if a not-Republican tries to follow them. Nobody among House Republicans gives a damn what their own supposed deeply held principles were a few years back, and a party that both attempted and is still conspiring to block investigations of an attempted coup really, really does not give a damn about what the lawyers have to say.

Remember, Jordan himself gleefully defied the authorized subpoenas of his own Congress demanding he testify about his role in Jan. 6, 2021. Nobody has ever claimed the former wrestling coach cares about what's legal and what's not, and nobody ever will. These are seditionists, not scholars.

A Biden administration attempt to troll Republicans with Engel's own binding legal opinion is also easily worked around, in theory. After launching the initial impeachment probe into Trump without a full House vote in 2019, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brought the matter to the House floor and got official authorization about five weeks later, on Oct. 31. It wasn't until the following January that a stonewalling Trump administration announced that they still didn't have to respond to any subpoenas issued before that vote because they weren't "authorized," and that's the stance they and Senate Republicans went into Trump's first impeachment trial with.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy could, in theory, set up a similar authorization vote whenever he wants. He's not doing that right now, because Republicans in non-hard-right districts do not want to take that vote and do not think they can win reelection after supporting an impeachment premised solely on the party’s revenge fantasies, so impeachment backers simply don't have the votes. But it's possible McCarthy could somehow develop actual leadership skills at some point, coming up with a trade that would goad them into it.

In the end, though, none of this particularly matters because House Republicans—and specifically the coup supporters in the caucus—don't have any "evidence" they want or need to find to begin with. The impeachment probe was announced after House Republicans pursued the same conspiracy theories pushed by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani to discredit the Ukrainian government and give Trump possible blackmail fodder that would help him win reelection. Republican investigators found not one damn thing, because there was nothing to find to begin with. Republicans can issue subpoenas as an extended fishing expedition, looking for any unreturned library books or unpaid parking tickets that they can spin into new frothing theories, but an "impeachment inquiry" so brazenly premised on retaliation rather than evidence will struggle to even define what information they're supposedly demanding.

None of this matters, in other words. It's political theater, and all the House coup-backers care about is that they can keep it alive, Giuliani-style, long enough to benefit indicted seditious crapsack Trump in his bid to win back power. Republicans need to claim Biden is corrupt precisely because Trump has been indicted in four separate venues. The evidence against Trump is so clear in each case that Trump could well be found guilty in all four of them, and the only defense House Republicans have for propping up a potential jailbird as president is by claiming that Actually, he's no more crooked than anyone else in Washington, D.C., so you might as well elect the felon you know.

Joe Biden's son claimed to be more of a bigshot than he was. Ooooh, what a scandal. Surely, there's never been a Republican failson to ever be caught doing that.

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Kerry talks with Drew Linzer, director of the online polling company Civiqs. Drew tells us what the polls say about voters’ feelings toward President Joe Biden and Donald Trump, and what the results would be if the two men were to, say … run against each other for president in 2024. Oh yeah, Drew polled to find out who thinks Donald Trump is guilty of the crimes he’s been indicted for, and whether or not he should see the inside of a jail cell.

Child poverty skyrocketed last year, thanks to GOP and Joe Manchin

The U.S. Census Bureau says that child poverty in this nation skyrocketed last year. Child poverty rates in 2021 had reached an all-time low of 5.2%. In 2022, however, that number soared to 12.4%.

The reasons child poverty in the United States more than doubled in a single year are not disputed. It’s because of the expiration of the Republican-hated expanded child tax credit and the shift away from providing direct monthly payments to at-risk families.

The Washington Post:

“By far this is the largest annual increase in U.S. history for both children and the overall population in terms of poverty, going back to 1967,” said Zachary Parolin, a senior research fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy. “In 2021 we had the lowest child poverty rate on record, largely due to the expansion of the child tax credit. It worked in reducing poverty; it worked in making life better for people. Then it expired, and Congress did not renew it. And now we are seeing the largest increase in child poverty in U.S. history. We are back to around where we were pre-pandemic.”

Also The Washington Post, same story:

Tuesday’s Census release is “a story of what could have been,” said Arloc Sherman, vice president for data analysis and research at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “The pandemic showed that we could stand up policies that could help families. These numbers underscore how much poverty is a policy choice.”

So there you go. We discovered a way to slash the number of children in poverty by over half, quick and simple. Then we stopped because Republicans and Sen. Joe Manchin demanded we stop. It won’t be enacted again so long as the same pro-coup Republicans are in control of the House and can stop it.

It’s because they don't care. There's no larger story there. We know how to lift children out of poverty. It's cheap and straightforward. But the people huffing and puffing for fossil fuel companies to get better tax treatment and for rich people to always pay less in tax each year than they did the year before do. Not. Care. They’ve never cared. They pride themselves on not caring. They go to church and quote from Bibles and will tell you up, down, and sideways how truly offensive it would be to feed children when the nation’s richest people could instead buy slightly larger private jets.

In a statement, President Joe Biden said, "Today's Census report shows the dire consequences of congressional Republicans' refusal to extend the enhanced Child Tax Credit, even as they advance costly corporate tax cuts. ... The rise reported today in child poverty is no accident—it is the result of a deliberate policy choice congressional Republicans made." That statement ignores Manchin's role in sabotaging the program, but it's true Manchin wouldn't be in that position if there were any Republicans in the Senate who have a flying damn about anything but the lobbyist class.

We can't spoil grade-schoolers by letting them eat, not when there are new defense contracts to be had and oil companies are practically withering away with the expense of having to pay a pittance to drill on public land.

"I will continue to fight to restore the expanded Child Tax Credits to give tens of millions of families the tax relief and breathing room they deserve," said Biden. This is the sort of statement that should make decent people curl up and die, because having to "fight" for a relatively cheap, obviously helpful program makes us sound like a garbage country filled with dirtbags rather than whomever your average flag-waver imagines themselves to be when they're watching Fox News or attending their little Trump rallies.

We could fix this tomorrow if we wanted. A couple of votes and a signature are all it takes. Republicans aren't going to do that, because they don't give a shit. They’d rather impeach Biden in retaliation for their guy getting indicted. They’d rather strip federal funds from those investigating Donald Trump. And then these assholes, almost every one of them, strolls into church on Sunday and claims to be better than everyone else.

We have seen this too many times, and we know exactly how it plays out. The cruelty is the point, and it's always been the point, and it's not going to change anytime soon because the more vicious politicians can be toward poor children, the more the conservative base giggles and waves their cheap imported flags.

Sign the petition: Child poverty has doubled. Bring back the child tax credit

Kerry talks with Drew Linzer, director of the online polling company Civiqs. Drew tells us what the polls say about voters’ feelings toward President Joe Biden and Donald Trump, and what the results would be if the two men were to, say … run against each other for president in 2024. Oh yeah, Drew polled to find out who thinks Donald Trump is guilty of the crimes he’s been indicted for, and whether or not he should see the inside of a jail cell.


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