Watch yet another House GOP hearing go totally off the rails

A House Oversight Committee hearing into China’s “political warfare” against the United States went off the rails Wednesday when Republican Rep. James Comer interrupted Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin to push attacks on President Joe Biden and his family.

Raskin was using his allotted time to point out that the “smoking gun” whistleblower who Comer and Rep. Jim Jordan were hanging their entire impeachment case on was in fact a Russian mole.  

“That's just simply not true,” Comer interrupted. “But go ahead.”

It is true and the two did go ahead, in an argument that escalated and went on for more than five minutes. 

Of course, Raskin had the benefit of facts and reality on his side. When Comer, who chairs the Oversight Committee, tried to repeat a thoroughly discredited claim that Biden received money from Chinese interests, Raskin reminded him that it was then-President Donald Trump who actually received millions of dollars from China.

Raskin then called Comer’s bluff and asked him to put up or shut up on impeaching Biden, something fellow Democratic Rep. Jared Moskowitz has previously attempted. That led to this exchange:

Raskin: Where is your impeachment investigation? If Joe Biden took a $9 million bribe from China, why aren't you impeaching him for that?

Comer: Well, who says we're not?

Raskin: I can invite Mr. Moskowitz to come back in. Do you want to move for impeachment today? Because I thought that that was your main agenda item. You said it was the paramount priority of the committee?

Comer: No, this is a hearing on China. And you all have an obsession with Russia and Trump. It's disturbing.

Raskin: We can talk about China and Trump, or Russia and Trump --

Comer: --You need therapy, Mr. Raskin.

Raskin: No, no, you need therapy. You're the one who's involved with the deranged politician, not me. Okay? I've divorced myself from Donald Trump a long time ago. You're the one who needs to disentangle from that situation. 

And I will tell you this: If you believe that it would have been illegal for Joe Biden to take $5 million from Ukraine, it certainly would have been. What do you think about Donald Trump taking more than $5 million from the Chinese government while he was president?

At one point, when Comer claimed that the ongoing GOP investigations into the Biden family didn’t cost many millions of taxpayer dollars, Raskin snarked, "Oh, it's been for free? Okay. All right. Well, you know what, then? We get what we paid for it because you got nothing. You got nothing on Joe Biden."

When Comer tried to continue on with a new speaker and dismiss “Mr. Raskins,” Raskin vociferously demanded his time back—but not before putting Comer’s disrespect on notice:

Let me start with this. My last name is Raskin. Okay? We've sat next to each other for more than a year. You don't have to add the S. Number two, I would like my time restored. Number three, you have not identified a single crime. What is the crime that you want to impeach Joe Biden for and keep this nonsense going? Why? Well, what is the crime? Tell America right now.

You can watch the full exchange in the video below.

Zachary Mueller is the senior research director for America’s Voice and America’s Voice Education Fund. He brings his expertise on immigration politics to talk about how much money the GOP is using to promote its racist immigration campaigns.

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Watch Fox gush over Biden’s economy

News that the U.S. economy grew at a brisk 3.3% annual pace since October wasn't just good: It was great in a lot of ways.

On average, the economy grew a robust 2.5% in 2023—a year in which analysts practically tried to speak a recession into reality. No such luck. In fact, from the fourth quarter of 2022 to the fourth quarter of 2023, the economy grew 3.1%.

The combination of increasing consumption, low unemployment, and falling inflation even had a Fox Business reporter gushing over President Joe Biden's economy.

"It's a sweet spot," remarked Fox Business' Lauren Simonetti, calling consumption "formidable" over the holidays. "We're seeing an economy that is proving resilient—growing as inflation is moderating. That's why I'm calling this the sweet spot, right? Enough growth to cool inflation."

Thank you Dark Brandon!

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 25, 2024

The New York Times' Paul Krugman likewise dubbed it the "Goldilocks economy," neither too hot nor too cold. And Krugman predicts the country's inflationary woes are now over.

In other words, it continues to look as though the Biden administration is overseeing a "soft landing" for the economy—one that supposedly couldn't be achieved.

Indeed, the University of Michigan's survey of consumer sentiment surged to a reading of 78.8 in January, its highest level since July 2021 and a 21.4% increase from a year ago, according to CNBC. A big driver of that increase stems from consumers’ agreement with Krugman that inflation "has turned the corner," as survey director Joanne Hsu put it.

All of this good news is going to drive an already seething Donald Trump absolutely mad—particularly Fox Business analysts swooning over Biden's economy. The same Fox analyst also promised to scour the report "to see if there are signs that maybe the economy doesn't feel as, or isn't as resilient as it might seem."

Shorter Fox-speak: Stay tuned, Trump. We'll invent bad news one way or another!

For anyone who hasn't noticed, Trump is already getting increasingly erratic on his quest to fabricate bad news for Biden:

  • He's livid over his Republican rival Nikki Haley refusing to drop out of the GOP primary after New Hampshire.

  • He’s strong-arming the Republican National Committee into declaring him the nominee after a grand total of two state contests.

  • He's asking Senate Republicans to torpedo a potential border deal with the White House so he can spend the rest of year fear-mongering over a supposed "invasion" of immigrants spearheaded by Biden.

  • He's pushing House Republicans to impeach Biden so he can rail about Biden's supposed corruption.

  • He's rooting for an economic "crash," hopefully sometime very soon.

  • He's promising "bedlam" in the streets of America if he loses the election (a chaos candidate promising chaos if The People vote against chaos).

  • And he's agitating for full immunity from absolutely any action—including murder—he takes as president.

It's January, folks, and Trump is already coming off the rails despite the fact that he's basically cruising to the Republican nomination.

It's a palpable show of desperation sprung from a place of weakness. Trump knows New Hampshire and Iowa both exposed serious cracks in his general election voting coalition. The turnout and makeup of the electorate in both states suggests he isn't expanding the universe of Republican voters. He's simply culling the party down to a smaller, harder-right faction of the electorate.

In short, Trump's not adding, he's subtracting. And if he's going to ride that smaller slice of the electorate to victory, he's going to need to trash the country in every way possible in order to depress turnout for Biden.

That’s all fine by Trump because the main impetus of his every move is the sheer terror of spending his last living years in a jail cell. If he has to single-handedly unravel the country on his quest for freedom, so be it.

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Republican Rep. Andy Ogles faces serious ethics complaint

An ethics complaint filed by the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan watchdog group, is calling for a federal investigation into Republican Rep. Andy Ogles of Tennessee. The complaint asks that Ogles be investigated for the more than “$1 million of financial disclosure discrepancies [that] provide reasonable basis for OCE to investigate whether Rep. Ogles complied with the Ethics in Government Act (‘EIGA’) and House rules.” The Campaign Legal Center was founded by Trevor Potter, a former GOP commissioner on the Federal Elections Commission. Potter is still the watchdog’s president.

The complaint also requests an investigation into Ogles’ finances in light of the fact that “Rep. Ogles’ financial disclosure statements do not include the assets that he purportedly used to personally loan $320,000 to his campaign committee in April 2022.” The complaint goes on to explain that Ogles provides no sources for where he got that money. This mysterious loan first raised flags in November after it was reported that Ogles has not disclosed any “substantial investments,” nor has he reported even having a savings account.

Adding to the mystery was Ogles' omission of a $700,000 line of credit he reportedly opened in September 2022 with FirstBank. Ogles’ campaign responded to initial financial questions back in 2022 by claiming there were “issues retrieving bank records.” I guess these records are still hard to find.

Last year, Nashville’s NewsChannel 5 did a series of investigative reports on Ogles that raised all kinds of serious ethics questions. The complaint cites the results of these investigations as proof of a pattern of lying on the part of the congressman. The questions being raised about Ogles’ financial dealings are beginning to resemble those that eventually led to the recent expulsion of George Santos.

Some of the questions brought up during the investigation include:

  • Why did the Tennessee congressman lie repeatedly about his educational background, claiming he was an “economist” and allegedly lying about doing graduate work at prestigious business schools at universities like Vanderbilt and Dartmouth?
  • What happened with the missing $23,575 he raised for a children’s burial garden back in 2014?
  • What about the time he described himself as “a former member of law enforcement” who had done work "in international sex crimes, specifically child trafficking,” even though there is zero evidence in his résumé of any of those things?

Donald Trump’s swamp talk seems to have only drawn more and more swampy creatures into the Republican orbit. The CLC summarizes it best with the sentiment that “the similarities between Rep. Ogles and Rep. Santos should not be ignored.”

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Are the handful of GOP impeachment holdouts ‘centrists’?

A new Politico story gives a sliver of fresh information on House Republicans' push to impeach Joe Biden: Not only has just one Republican member announced he will vote “no” on a planned vote to formally authorize the so-far unofficial impeachment inquiry, but of the entire caucus, all except "about a half-dozen" members are now supporting the vote.

The opposing vote is from Rep. Ken Buck. He is nobody's idea of a moderate, but he has expressed repeated unwillingness to support efforts by his own party to nullify an American election and propagate hoaxes meant to delegitimize it. (Buck is also retiring from Congress at the end of his term.)

It's Politico's framing of the half-dozen holdouts that's a bit galling.

"House GOP chips away at centrist resistance on Biden impeachment inquiry," says the Politico headline.

Not sure how you can call the half-an-egg-carton of holdouts "centrists" on this one, Politico. Those six or so representatives hail from swing districts, the site reports, so the more appropriate designation might be "cowards."

It's not centrist to be undecided on whether or not an impeachment inquiry based on not even a shred of evidence of actual wrongdoing (but a whole lot of unhinged and provably false conspiracy theories) should go forward solely because the coup-attempting Donald Trump, now indicted in four separate jurisdictions, was impeached twice and Trump's also-coup-supporting admirers have been obsessed with inflicting revenge on everyone who ever caught Trump committing  alleged crimes. No, it's just cowardice. The undecided members are trying to gauge which will cost them more votes: supporting a clearly spurious and revenge-based impeachment and infuriating swing voters, or not supporting impeachment, which will infuriate the far-right elements of their base.

It's a tough call for sure, but it's not centrist. It's just a craven attempt to govern based not on principle but instead on what will best boost their own personal interests. By the same token, you could call a pickpocket who made off with their wallets a "centrist" because they ignored laws and morality to squarely focus on "What should I do if I want to have more money?"

And this bit is just maddening:

But some moderate Republicans argue that a lack of cooperation from Hunter Biden and other family members has forced the GOP’s hand. Formalizing the investigation would boost the GOP’s leverage in its pursuit of documents and witnesses, they say, and represents just one step in the process.

Come again? Hunter Biden is showing a "lack of cooperation" in disproving an ever-shifting range of conspiracy theories, most of them disprovable by even the most basic fact-checking?

How is he supposed to "cooperate" to disprove theories that have no supporting evidence to begin with? Republican hearings have brought forward "evidence," like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's public display of Hunter nudes almost certainly obtained through criminal hacking efforts in attempts to prove who-knows-what.

How is Hunter supposed to more fully "cooperate" with that probe? Do Republicans believe he must now strip naked in front of them, live and in person?

Well, Rep. Jim Jordan probably does.

The coverage of the Republican "impeachment" drive continues to be risible because journalists continue to note the utter lack of evidence as an aside or afterthought in stories that otherwise treat the Republican effort as a credible political process simply by virtue of Republicans willing it to be.

The story here is that despite a lack of evidence that the sitting president has done even a single untoward thing in relation to his son and despite increasingly circus-like efforts to promote hoaxes after Republican investigators could find nothing else, all but seven or so House Republicans support opening an impeachment inquiry anyway in a brazenly dishonest, politically crooked attempt to redirect attention from the unequivocal crookedness of their own coup-attempting, indicted, and openly fascist party leader.

The six or so possible holdouts aren't the story. The uniform corruption that has strangled nearly the entire Republican caucus, though, continues to be the story that will best predict the possible demise of American democracy itself.


Comer isn’t even trying as Jake Tapper makes fun of his Biden conspiracy theory on live TV

Comer's latest bombshell may be his worst dud yet

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

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Markos and Kerry give their thoughts on what the country is facing in 2024. The Republican Party is running on losing issues like abortion and repealing the ACA—with no explanation of what they plan on replacing it with. Trump has a lot of criming to atone for, and the Republican platform remains set on destroying democracy.

Rep. James Comer’s newest ‘smoking gun’ debunked in record time

Rep. James Comer put a considerable amount of product in his hair Monday before recording a video claiming to have new smoking-gun evidence of President Joe Biden’s corruption. Comer, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, dramatically announced that “Hunter Biden's legal team and the White House's media allies claim Hunter's corporate entities never made payments directly to Joe Biden. We can officially add this latest talking point to the list of lies. Today, the House Oversight Committee is releasing subpoenaed bank records that show Hunter Biden's business entity, Owasco PC, made direct monthly payments to Joe Biden.”

Sounds devastating. Right-wing media outlets excitedly pushed out the details, specifically that Hunter Biden set up “recurring payments” of $1,380 in late 2018. Besides being an extraordinarily small amount of money in the grand scheme of corruption, the thinnest digging revealed that Joe Biden was not president in 2018. In fact, deeper investigation reveals that Biden wasn’t even in any political office at the time!

Receipts were then posted that revealed Hunter Biden was paying his father back for helping to cover car payments while he was in between jobs. The three monthly payments totaled $4,140.

Thx to @yashar and @Fritschner for the heads up: these were reimbursements to Biden for car payments on a truck that Biden has paid while Hunter changed career paths. Big ol’ swing and a miss

— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) December 4, 2023

Selling out our country for three monthly payments of $1,380, eh? Comer’s list of embarrassments and Rep. Jim Jordan’s disastrous failure of an impeachment inquiry continues to float about as high as a whoopee cushion filled with water. In fact, every single smoking gun these guys announce seems to prove that President Joe Biden has been a very supportive father. He sure hasn’t helped his son-in-law get $2 billion in Saudi money, but we all can’t be that good at “winning.”

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Another Republican admits there is zero evidence of corruption on the part of President Joe Biden

Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo continues to tilt at Biden corruption windmills. On Tuesday, she had Republican Lisa McClain of Michigan on her show to dish the dirt on the Biden crime family! McClain is all-in on trying to prove President Joe Biden is corrupt—or at least create the appearance that he is corrupt. The big problem the right-wing-o-sphere continues to have is that not only do they lack a smoking-gun piece of evidence, they lack smoke entirely.

Bartiromo did what she does best: Create some misinformation before being informed there was no evidence to back those claims up, and then asking a direct question about evidence. In this case, that question was: “Have you been able to identify any actual policy changes that Joe Biden made as a result of getting money from China?”

McClain’s response? “The short answer is no.”

Spoiler alert: The long answer is also no. Bartiromo, a proven misinformation machine, has so little to go on these days it seems that the entirety of the project is to have some conservative “investigator” on, spout conspiracy theories, and then be told there is no evidence to support any of those theories.

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Rep. James Comer’s family business is shadier than anything involving Joe Biden

In the last two weeks, Rep. James Comer has claimed that President Joe Biden “laundered China money,” accused Biden of “influence peddling,” and issued subpoenas to members of Biden’s family. Comer has based these actions on the “discovery” of transactions that Biden made no effort to disguise, including a $200,000 loan Biden extended to his brother and which his brother later repaid.

However, as The Daily Beast reports, Comer was engaged in a series of business dealings with his own brother. Those dealings, which included a $200,000 payment, were nowhere near as straightforward as the dealings between Joe and James Biden. Comer’s deal involved not only a big payment but multiple land swamps, shell companies, and requests for special tax breaks.

As members of the Biden family were being accused of “shady business practices,” it seems that Comer has a forest's worth of shade.

In a press release about the check from Biden’s brother, Comer stated, “Even if this was a personal loan repayment, it’s still troubling that Joe Biden’s ability to be paid back by his brother depended on the success of his family’s shady financial dealings.” By this, Comer seems to mean that Biden was repaid soon after his brother received a payment from an American health care company.

But what happened between Comer and his brother is a lot more mysterious. According to The Daily Beast, Comer’s family has for years been identified in news accounts as owning “Comer Land & Cattle.” As of 2018, Comer listed this as an asset worth $3 million.

However, no such entity appears to exist in business filings. It reportedly did at one time, but there’s been no such business for years. At least, not legally. It’s not registered as a business in Kentucky. It’s not registered anywhere else. A past press release showed him as the owner of “James Comer Jr. Farms,” which also doesn’t appear on paper to be a business entity. Comer’s Facebook page also lists him as the owner of “Comer Family Farms,” which isn’t listed as a business entity in Kentucky, according to the secretary of state’s website.

Much of Comer’s business activity seems to follow inheriting land in Kentucky following his father’s death in 2019. But exactly what happened with that land is the opposite of transparent. In one case, Comer reportedly sold his interest in a piece of land to his brother, then bought it back five months later, slipping his brother $18,000 in the process. That purchase ran through a shell company owned by Comer, the value of which doubled in two years. That company appears to have dealt exclusively with agricultural land deals at a time when Comer was on the House Agriculture Committee.

Comer’s family also swapped large tracts of land in Tennessee. That includes handing his brother one tract valued at $175,000 as a “gift.” In exchange, Comer reportedly got another tract that The Daily Beast describes as “apparently more valuable” without recording the cost of that land. The value of these transactions appears to be larger than even the largest loan that Biden gave to his brother.

Comer also seems to have benefited directly from a “tobacco buyout” of land he purchased while serving on the Kentucky legislature’s Tobacco Settlement Agreement Fund Oversight Committee. This means that he helped set the rate for the purchase of his own property.

Much of Comer’s story seems to be a more rural version of the Donald Trump story. He started out making small land purchases with the help of his father and brother, inherited larger tracts of land when his father died, and has made millions engaging in land speculation. The difference is that for much of this time, Comer was either involved in the Kentucky legislature or the House Agriculture Committee in positions that gave him insider knowledge and a direct advantage.

Comer also has his own Trump-style bank connection. When he sought a line of credit up to $1 million, he found it at South Central Bank—the same bank where Comer had been on the board of directors for 12 years.

If all of this makes Comer look like a country mini-Trump, that’s probably a description that would make him proud. But it would also seem to make his family finances much more worthy of scrutiny than anything he’s claimed about Joe Biden.

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The band is back together, and it is a glorious day as Markos and Kerry’s hot takes over the past year came true—again! Republicans continue to lose at the ballot box and we are here for it!

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.


James Comer discovers another smoking water pistol

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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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.


House Republicans demanding Bragg's evidence against Trump have been coordinating with Trump himself

House Republicans swiftly act to obstruct on Trump’s behalf

It just got worse: Trump allegedly leaked classified nuclear submarine secrets to Mar-a-Lago guest

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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