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Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics, your weekday look at the biggest stories in DC and beyond.
For decades, Democrats and Republicans alike have stood by Israel, almost unconditionally, insisting the country has a right to defend itself.
President Biden did that throughout the recent conflict as Hamas militants fired thousands of rockets into Israel. Now, Biden has pledged to help replenish Israel’s air defense system while promising humanitarian aid to Gaza, which was pounded by fierce Israeli airstrikes before a cease-fire took effect early Friday.
But this latest violence marked a shift in the American political debate over Israel. The criticism from the left was louder than in the past, with progressives pressuring Biden to speak up forcefully in support of Palestinians, who saw a far greater civilian death toll in recent days.
Every week political cartoonists throughout the country and across the political spectrum apply their ink-stained skills to capture the foibles, memes, hypocrisies and other head-slapping events in the world of politics. The fruits of these labors are hundreds of cartoons that entertain and enrage readers of all political stripes. Here’s an offering of the best of this week’s crop, picked fresh off the Toonosphere. Edited by Matt Wuerker.
Brian Beute had been a teacher for almost two and half decades when he got the idea in his head to run for local office. A week after Beute filed his paperwork to run for tax collector of Seminole County, Florida, the school where he’d worked for 17 years received an anonymous letter falsely accusing him of an improper relationship with a student. Soon, sock-puppet accounts appeared online parroting the same lie. Beute went on administrative leave, and two weeks later, an investigation by the Seminole County Sheriff’s Department cleared his name.
Beute went back to work, and kept campaigning. It would take almost eight months before local police, and later federal investigators, would unravel the scheme and ultimately arrest the man responsible for spreading those lies: Joel Greenberg, the Seminole County tax collector Beute sought to unseat. In addition to attempting to smear Beute as a pervert and a racist, Greenberg was later accused of a host of other crimes — 33 in total — including using drivers licenses confiscated by his office, embezzling and diverting nearly half a million taxpayer dollars to purchase cryptocurrency and sports memorabilia, and defrauding a Covid relief program. It was many months before Beute realized the investigation that started with Greenberg’s false accusations against him would ultimately threaten to take down a sitting congressman and one of former President Trump’s closest allies on Capitol Hill, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz.
The growing Republican blockade against the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the US Capitol insurrection on January 6 has crystallized the party’s fixation with the 2022 midterm elections.
Even on a grave matter of national security, the GOP has concluded that the political price for standing with former President Donald Trump is preferable to the electoral cost of breaking with the disgraced former President.
More than four months after Trump stoked the January 6 rebellion with his lies about the 2020 election, the vast majority of GOP lawmakers demonstrated this week that they see no upside for revisiting the dangerous events that unfolded at the Capitol even if it means that Americans will never get a full explanation of how close Trump’s supporters came to overthrowing democracy — findings that could prevent a similar incident from happening again.
The New York attorney general’s office has begun a criminal tax investigation into Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, CNN first reported Wednesday.
Why it matters: Weisselberg has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but investigators are pushing for him to cooperate with them in their investigation into former President Trump’s organization, per CNN and the New York Times.
A $100,000 reward is being offered for information leading to those responsible after seven nooses were discovered at the construction site of an Amazon distribution center in Windsor, Connecticut, in the past month.
The first incident was reported to police on April 27, after a hangman’s noose was found hanging from a steel beam on the second floor of the building, according toNew Haven ABC affiliate WTNH.
Two days later, five more ropes that resembled a noose were found on several floors throughout the building, WTNH reported.
The latest noose was discovered Wednesday afternoon at the site, hanging on overhead beams, according to WTNH. The incident occurred during a lunch break, when many workers had left the area, police said.
GOP Sen. Ted Cruz received a lot of criticism after sharing a Russian propaganda video on Twitter in an apparent attempt to criticize the idea of a ‘woke, emasculated’ U.S. military. MSNBC’s Brian Williams has the details.
Jennifer Weisselberg says the Trump Org. CFO, her former father-in-law, will flip on Trump in New York investigations
Jennifer Weisselberg said Allen Weisselberg, her former father-in-law and the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, will flip on Donald Trump.
Weisselberg was speaking to CNN Thursday about the New York investigations into the Trump Organization and the former president. Interviewer Erin Burnett asked her directly: “Will Allen Weisselberg flip on Trump?”
She responded with a simple “yes,” prompting Burnett to note there was “no hesitation” with her answer.
On Jan. 6, supporters of Donald Trump broke into the Capitol in an effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election. While doing so, some of them chanted “Hang Mike Pence,” citing the vice president whose support for their plot was deemed insufficient. They got dangerously close to being able to make good on that threat.
As they were marauding through the Capitol, Trump offered his first thoughts on the siege. He took to Twitter not to call off the dogs, but to attack Pence. It’s a tweet that, we’ve come to find out, came despite Trump apparently having been apprised of the danger Pence and others faced.
Despite all of this, Pence’s brother, Rep. Greg Pence (R-Ind.), on Wednesday voted against a bipartisan commission to look into what transpired that day.
Michael Cohen, former President Trump’s ex-lawyer, said he thinks Trump will turn on his family following news that the New York attorney general is investigating the Trump Organization in a “criminal capacity” as well as a “civil capacity.”
“I think Donald Trump is going to flip on all of them. What do you think about that? Including his children,” Cohen told host Joy Reid on MSNBC’s “The ReidOut.”
Cohen said that the “problem” with Trump is that “it’s never ever Donald Trump. It’s always somebody else.”
With Twitter taken away from him, former President Donald Trump has been largely out of the spotlight and unable to drive news narratives the way he did when he was president and on social media.
But Trump continues to have great influence with Republican elected leaders because of his continued popularity with the GOP base.
And he’s ramping up the messages he’s sending for all to see on the blog-like portion of his post-presidency website. What’s he focused on? Relitigating his election loss.
An analysis of Trump’s posts on the site shows that his entries have spiked so far this month and that overall a plurality of the statements have mentioned his 2020 election loss or baseless claims of fraud or have cited efforts at relitigating the results.
The announcement by New York Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday night that her office’s probe into The Trump Organization has evolved from a purely civil one to add a criminal investigation is a good reminder of the various legal entanglements facing former President Donald Trump as he works to keep control of the Republican Party and mulls a 2024 presidential re-run.
Although James’ office didn’t elaborate on what specifically led her office to make the investigation criminal, CNN legal analyst Elliot Williams offered this take on the move — and what it has to do with the ongoing investigation into the Trump organization by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance — in an interview on “New Day” Wednesday:
The House voted Wednesday to create an independent commission on the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, sending the legislation to an uncertain future in the Senate as Republican leaders work to stop a bipartisan investigation that is opposed by former President Donald Trump.
Democrats say an independent investigation is crucial to reckoning what happened that day, when a violent mob of Trump’s supporters smashed into the Capitol to try and overturn President Joe Biden’s victory. Modeled after the investigation into the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the legislation would establish an independent, 10-member commission that would make recommendations by the end of the year for securing the Capitol and preventing another insurrection.
Obama called Trump a ‘corrupt motherf—er,’ a ‘racist, sexist pig,’ and a ‘f—ing lunatic,’ a new book reportedly says
After leaving office in 2017, President Barack Obama, known for his affable nature, largely didn’t speak out against his successor, President Donald Trump.
But by the time the 2020 presidential campaign came around, the gloves were off.
With Joe Biden in the throes of a campaign to unseat an incumbent president, Obama made several high-profile campaign appearances for his former vice president where he slammed Trump.
He also voiced plenty of R-rated criticism of Trump behind the scenes, according to “Battle for the Soul: Inside the Democrats’ Campaigns to Defeat Donald Trump,” a new book by Edward-Isaac Dovere, a staff writer at The Atlantic. The Guardian on Wednesday reported on excerpts from the book, set to be released next week.
The parents of 54 migrant children have been found after being separated at the border under former President Trump’s administration, court records reveal.
Lawyers from the Department of Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union said in a court filing on Wednesday that it still has to locate the families of 391 children, down from the 445 it previously reported in April.
The parents of 277 of the remaining children are believed to have been removed from the U.S. after they were separated from their children, the lawyers wrote. The parents of another 100 children are believed to be in the U.S. and are being searched for.
New York Attorney General Letitia James is investigating former President Donald Trump’s business, the Trump Organization, “in a criminal capacity,” her office says, ratcheting up scrutiny of Trump’s real estate transactions and other dealings.
The state attorney general is joining forces with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who has been conducting a separate criminal inquiry into Trump’s business practices and possible insurance or financial fraud as well as alleged hush money payments to two women who said they had affairs with Trump before he became president.
Former President Donald Trump has spent his first five months away from Washington surrounded by a generously paid group of staffers, at least one of whom received a $32,000 raise over their White House salary, according to Freedom of Information Act records obtained by CNN.
As of May 12, the compensation for aides kept on by Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence, who received about 20% of the $2.6 million sum available to both men in accordance with the Presidential Transaction Act, totaled $1.26 million. The lump sum for transition activities, which is managed by the General Services Administration during a former president’s first six months out of office, is typically applied toward rent for a suitable office space, staff salaries and benefits, and printing and postage expenses.
Two questions have dominated politics throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Democrats and public-health experts have asked: What should we do? Former President Donald Trump, for his part, minimized the need to act. He instead spoke incessantly about a very different question: Whom should we blame?
In a series of Sunday television appearances, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the recently ousted GOP House leadership chair who’s been highly critical of former President Donald Trump, lashed out at party leadership for perpetuating the former president’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen and went as far as to say that some Republican votes in Congress were swayed by threats on their lives.
Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger became the first congressional Republican to call on his colleague from Florida, Rep. Matt Gaetz, to resign in the face of a federal investigation into sex trafficking allegations.
America’s CEOs need policies on the coming verdict in the Minneapolis police trial; the human rights dimensions of next year’s World Cup in Qatar and Winter Olympics in Beijing; and voting-access bills — all different — moving through statehouses around the country.
The 36-member commission will have six months to study potential changes to the high court like adding seats to the bench and imposing term limits for justices.
The former president’s instincts for red-meat political fights over governing and policymaking have left party leaders in a state of confusion over what they stand for.
Republican lawmakers are passing voting restrictions to pacify right-wing activists still gripped by former President Donald J. Trump’s lie that a largely favorable election was rigged against them. G.O.P. leaders are lashing out in Trumpian fashion at businesses, baseball and the news media to appeal to many of the same conservatives and voters. And debates over the size and scope of government have been overshadowed by the sort of culture war clashes that the tabloid king relished.
The Biden-led Environmental Protection Agency says Trump administration political officials “compromised” an assessment of chemical dangers and has replaced it with a new one they say “upholds the tenants of scientific integrity.”
Joel Greenberg, a central figure in the ongoing investigation into Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, is likely to strike a plea deal with federal prosecutors, his attorney and prosecutors said in court Thursday, potentially putting additional legal pressure on the congressman.
Greenberg’s possible cooperation with the Justice Department could provide investigators with key details as they work to determine whether Gaetz broke sex trafficking or prostitution laws himself.
Texas lawmakers advanced a restrictive election bill out of a House committee Thursday morning despite major criticism from Democrats, corporations and voting rights advocates.
The legislation would impose criminal penalties for errors during the election process, such as making it a felony for an official to give a voter an absentee ballot application or solicit the submission of an application if the voter does not request it first.
Mitch McConnell retracts his demand that corporations ‘stay out of politics’ amid outrage over Georgia’s voting law
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday retracted his demand that corporations “stay out of politics,” with the exception of political donations, as major companies protest Georgia’s recently-passed voting rights restrictions.
“I didn’t say that very artfully yesterday,” the Kentucky Republican told reporters of his comments earlier this week. “They’re certainly entitled to be involved in politics.”
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