‘God’s Misfits’ Charged In Killing Of Moms In Custody Dispute

'God's Misfits' Charged In Killing Of Moms In Custody Dispute 1

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You know the origin of the term “God’s Misfits”? Evangelical pastors love to talk about how God uses His “misfits” to do his will. You can see why that idea would appeal to these violent knuckledraggers. Via the Associated Press:

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Two Kansas women who vanished as they tried to pick up children for a birthday party two weeks ago were killed over a custody dispute involving a group of anti-government Oklahomans calling themselves “God’s Misfits,” authorities said Monday.

Their vehicle was found March 30 along a rural Oklahoma highway with ample evidence of a bloody confrontation, setting off a multi-agency effort to secure the children’s safety while searching for the women and avoiding more violence.

Veronica Butler, 27, and Jilian Kelley, 39, of Hugoton, Kansas, had arranged with the grandmother of Butler’s two children to meet at a highway intersection on the morning of March 30 and pick up the 6- and 8-year-old.

I am always astounded at the sheer number of crazy people who can’t seem to find a non-violent solution to custody disputes. Nothing says “loving grandmother” like killing your grandbabies’ mother!

“Blood was found on the roadway and the edge of the roadway. Butler’s glasses were also found in the roadway south of the vehicle, near a broken hammer. A pistol magazine was found inside Kelley’s purse at the scene, but no pistol was found,” the affidavits said.

Investigators gathered evidence that the killings were planned, with Adams buying pre-paid “burner” cellphones to communicate and five stun guns at a nearby store. Her internet searches included asking about pain levels using the weapons, the affidavits said.

A teenage witness told authorities that Cora Twombly said that at one point, “the plan was to throw an anvil through Butler’s windshield while driving, making it look like an accident because anvils regularly fall off of work vehicles.”

The affidavits said Butler and Adams were in a “problematic custody battle.” Adams’ son was in a rehabilitation facility hours away in Oklahoma City, and Butler was allowed only supervised visits each Saturday. Kelley, the wife of a pastor in Hugoton, was Butler’s court-authorized choice to supervise visitations.

The abortion debate is giving Kamala Harris a moment. But voters still aren’t sold

The abortion debate is giving Kamala Harris a moment. But voters still aren't sold 2

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When a group of crossover voters was asked during a focus group about Vice President Kamala Harris, their assessments were brutal: If she is helping Biden, you don’t see it. She rubs me the wrong way. She was picked because she is a demographic. The big things she had, she failed.

The comments, fair or not, represent a problem for President Biden and for Harris, echoed in interviews with voters here in Arizona, a key swing state where Harris spoke on Friday. More than three years into the oldest president in history’s first term, his understudy has failed to win over a majority of voters or convince them that she is ready to step in if Biden falters, according to polls.

“Swing voters don’t like her,” said Gunner Ramer, political director for a group called Republican Voters Against Trump, which allowed The Times to view videos from three focus groups, including the crossover group that featured people who voted for former President Trump in 2016 and Biden in 2020.

It wasn’t just former Trump voters who were negative about Harris. In a focus group of Black voters who were disappointed with Biden, none raised their hand in support of Harris, with one participant calling her “the bad news bear.” A focus group of California Democrats, while they liked Harris, had to be prompted to discuss her and said she needed more influence and exposure.

Many of Harris’ allies and supporters say the judgments are influenced by racism and sexism, pointing out that other vice presidents stayed in the background with less scrutiny and saw their popularity tied to the top of the ticket. Some people in focus groups criticized her clothes or compared her to Hillary Clinton in comments that seemed to validate those concerns.

But her low popularity could pose a political problem that her predecessors have not faced, given the focus on Trump’s and Biden’s ages, 77 and 81 respectively. More than half of voters, 54%, said she is not qualified to serve as president in a March USA Today/Suffolk poll, compared with 38% who said she is.

“If there was a health event for either nominee, the VP is front and center in terms of people who may be on the fence, people who may dislike both candidates,” said David Paleologos, who conducted a USA Today/Suffolk poll that asked voters their assessment of Harris. “And there are a lot whose decision may hinge on a comfort level with the vice presidential choice.”

Harris has heard the criticism since she entered the White House to historic triumph in 2021. While she seldom responds directly, she has stepped up her appearances with core Democratic groups, often keeping a more robust campaign and travel schedule than Biden. Many allies believe her role as the administration’s leading voice on abortion rights will boost her and the Democratic ticket on an issue that helped carry the party to unexpected success in the 2022 midterm elections.

She spoke Friday in Tucson, three days after the state’s Supreme Court ruled that an1864 ban on abortion can be enforced in the coming weeks. She framed the Democrats’ case against Trump, who has claimed credit for shifting the Supreme Court against abortion rights and last week said each state should decide on the issue.

“Just like he did in Arizona, he basically wants to take America back to the 1800s,” Harris said.

Several voters said in interviews in Phoenix on Monday that they were not aware Harris was in their state just a few days ago, underscoring the challenge of getting attention as a vice president in an era of information overload.

“If she is coming for us, she doesn’t show it,” said Tracey Sayles, a 52-year-old Black Democrat.

Sayles voted in prior elections for Democrats Hillary Clinton and Biden but now says her choice is 50-50 in the coming election, despite calling Trump “vulgar,” because Biden “looks like he’s ill.” She would have driven to see Harris in Tucson if she’d known she was in the state, she said, but feels the vice president has been hiding.

Another voter who dislikes both Trump and Biden, Jeff Garland, said he has not seen much of Harris either.

“But from what I have seen of her, she doesn’t look like someone I want running my country,” said Garland, a 57-year-old retired member of the military who said he voted for Trump in 2016 and Biden in 2020 and planned to sit out 2024.

Kellie Hoverson, a 31-year-old Democrat, said she “was not thrilled about Biden” but was more bullish on Harris, despite hearing concerns from younger friends and relatives about her history as a prosecutor in California.

“I just want a woman president,” she said. “I just want to see it in my lifetime.”

Studies by the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, which works to advance women’s equality in politics, suggest women face an “imagination barrier” when they run for the highest executive offices, because voters have a harder time picturing them in the job than they do white men, who have historically held the posts.

“Men can tell and women have to show,” said Amanda Hunter, the foundation’s executive director.

Polls suggest Harris, who dropped out early in the 2020 presidential primary, has made strides with the Democratic base. Three quarters of Democrats had a favorable view of her in the USA Today/Suffolk poll, which showed a little more than a quarter of independents view her favorably.

Brian Fallon, who serves as her campaign communications director, said she “has proven to be a highly effective messenger on issues from reproductive freedom to gun violence prevention” and said she is “uniquely positioned to mobilize critical groups across the Biden-Harris coalition, including both progressives and independents.”

The fact that many voters say they remain unfamiliar with Harris is something her allies and advisors see as an opening, because it leaves room for persuasion when more voters focus in on the race in the early fall.

“This is not a one-speech or two-speech thing, this is four or five months of just putting in the work,” said Cornell Belcher, who served as one of former President Obama’s pollsters.

Belcher argued that the small slice of persuadable voters who give Harris her lowest marks won’t decide the race; it will instead be a question of whether Democrats can rebuild their coalition of young voters, women and people of color that delivered Obama his 2012 reelection and formed the backbone of Biden’s 2020 victory.

“I’m more worried about these younger voters taking the off-ramp, like they did in 2016,” he said, crediting Harris with her work reaching them in college campus tours and other outreach.

But there are questions there, too, with inconsistencies in polls of voters age 18-29, given the small sample sizes of subgroups. One poll conducted in early April by Emerson College showed Harris with pretty high favorable marks among those younger voters, nearly 49%, while another poll by the Economist taken a few days later showed only 34% of that age group viewed her favorably.

It’s unclear whether Trump, who has not targeted the vice president often, will pick up his attacks on Harris, who is unsurprisingly toxic among Republican base voters. “If they cheat on the election, it might be Kamala,” Trump said during a March rally in North Carolina, echoing his false claims of widespread election fraud.

He fairly quickly pivoted back to Biden: “We got enough problems with this guy.”

A senior advisor to the Trump campaign, Danielle Alvarez, called Harris irrelevant. “Political reality is that Biden’s under water and he is a failed president,” she said. ”She is certainly probably equal to him in those failures, but he is the target.”

Whit Ayres, a longtime Republican pollster, agrees that running mates do not generally impact votes but points to Sarah Palin in 2008 as an exception, in large part because polls showed dual concerns about John McCain’s health and Palin’s fitness for office. He argues that Harris, whom he characterizes as a walking gaffe, presents a similar problem.

“There may be plenty of time, but if you don’t have the ability to be more articulate and look like you’re ready to be leader of the free world, it’s going to be difficult to accomplish that,” Ayres said.

Harris is counting on that time. She is fairly busy with public events, but vice presidents, by design, don’t tend to draw much attention compared with the president.

As the campaign heats up, and Trump picks a running mate, they are likely to see more of her, and, potentially, in a different light.

“For people who have misgivings about her, ultimately the question for them is going to be how does she look as opposed to X?” said Joel Goldstein, a historian who studies the vice presidency. “Now, she’s measured against an ideal figure.”

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Column: Are Republicans who got pandemic debt relief hypocrites for complaining about student debt relief? Yes

Column: Are Republicans who got pandemic debt relief hypocrites for complaining about student debt relief? Yes 3

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You may have noticed over the last few days that the political world is in an uproar over President Biden’s dispensing of student debt relief.

It’s not so much that Biden implemented the relief program at all; what got politicians and pundits in a tizzy was that he called out the GOP naysayers in the House by pointing out that many of them had received business loans via the pandemic-era Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, that had never been paid back.

The White House tweeted out the forgiven PPP balances of 13 GOP House members critical of student loan relief, under the heading, “This you?”

The PPP helped people remain employed while the government literally shut down much of the economy,. Only an intellectual clown would compare that to what Biden is doing now with student loans.

— Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., recipient of $616,241 in pandemic relief

That’s a really unfair comparison, the argument goes, because the PPP loans were never intended to be paid back. Under the program terms, the loans would be forgiven if the money was used to support the workers of a small business that had been forced to close or curtail operations because of pandemic restrictions.

In other words, it’s said, the PPP money was never expected to be repaid. By contrast, student loans were taken out in full expectation that they would be repaid — if not for the handouts being distributed by the White House.

“The PPP helped people remain employed while the government literally shut down much of the economy,” Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), tweeted back in 2022, the first time Biden made this purportedly invidious comparison. “Only an intellectual clown would compare that to what Biden is doing now with student loans.”

Norman received $616,241 from the PPP, according to the White House.

There’s something to be said for the distinction made by the PPP-pocketing student relief critics, but not nearly as much as they claim. More on that in a moment.

This is just another example of how our political press is incapable of telling the forest from the trees, or how it’s perennially distracted by a shiny object. (Insert your own pertinent metaphor here.)

In this case, the shiny object is the idea that it’s Biden who is the hypocrite for comparing the PPP loans to student debt. This misses the bigger picture of how America’s economy is structured to benefit corporations and the wealthy — that is, the patrons of the Republican political establishment — at the expense of average Americans. The pundits who are flaying the White House for making the connection are merely buying a GOP talking point.

Not only right-leaning commentators are committing this error. Not a few progressive-minded writers are complicit. Here, for instance, is Jordan Weissmann of Semaphor, usually a percipient analyst of economics and finance: “The thing about this talking point is that I know everybody in the White House, including the [communications] shop, is smart enough to know how disingenuous it is.”

Let’s take a closer — and a broader — look.

The comparison between student debt relief and the PPP loans first emerged in 2022, when Biden first announced his plan to forgive up to $20,000 in student debt for households with incomes of up to $125,000. The White House then issued a series of tweets targeting GOP critics of student debt relief whose PPP loans had been forgiven.

The Supreme Court invalidated Biden’s original proposal in 2023. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for a 6-3 conservative majority that although the law gave the secretary of education the authority to “waive or modify” the terms of student loans, the White House had gone too far.

After that, the administration implemented a new program, the SAVE plan, that limited monthly repayments on student debt for most borrowers to as little as 5% of their income and ended payments for borrowers living near or below the federal poverty standard. After as little as 10 years, the balance on loans originally totaling $12,000 or less will be permanently forgiven.

The White House issued this roster of GOP politicians who criticized Biden’s student debt relief program but got their pandemic relief loans forgiven

(White House)

The issue erupted again a few days ago when Biden announced new features of his student relief program. They included waiving some accrued interest for borrowers whose balances had grown higher than their original debt, generally because their payments hadn’t covered the accumulated interest — an issue that affects more than one-third of all student borrowers, and two-thirds of Black borrowers.

Critics, again mostly Republicans, weighed in again with tendentious lectures on social media about the moral imperative of meeting one’s obligation to pay back a loan.

Rep. Andrew Clyde (D-Ga.), for instance, tweeted that Biden’s latest initiative, which will relieve student borrowers of about $7.4 billion in principal and interest, would “transfer millions more in student debt onto the backs of hardworking taxpayers.” Clyde called it “nothing more than a desperate attempt to buy votes with Americans’ hard-earned money.”

Clyde’s $156,597 PPP loan was forgiven.

That brings us back to the hypocrisy issue. It’s true that students who took out education loans are expected to repay them, and that business that took out PPP loans were led to believe that they would be forgiven — as long as they were used to support their payrolls through business closings and cutbacks.

But things are not so simple. Critics of Biden’s plan argue that the PPP loans were designed to address an acute economic disaster, which isn’t the case with student loans.

The student loan burden, however, has become an economic disaster. The total amount of outstanding student loans for higher education has ballooned over the last two decades to almost $1.8 trillion today, up from about $300 billion in 2000. Those loans are carried by about 43 million borrowers.

The burden has grown in part because the cost of higher education has exploded. That’s so even at public institutions: In 1970, the average tuition at public four-year universities was $358, or about $2,958 in today’s money. Since then, public university tuition and fees have grown to the point that working families can’t afford them without borrowing.

At UCLA and UC Berkeley, those annual costs come to $13,401 and $14,395 for state residents, respectively. It’s proper to note that the University of California was free to Californians until tuition charges were introduced under Gov. Ronald Reagan in the 1970s. Among the beneficiaries of the old system were former governor and U.S. Chief Justice Earl Warren, diplomat Ralph Bunche, L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley, and writer Maxine Hong Kingston, all children of low-income families.

Public university students today accumulate an average of $32,637 to receive a bachelor’s degree. The overall average of student debt reached $37,600 in 2022, more than double the average in 2007.

The economic implications of this burden are inescapable. Households burdened by high student debt often delay or forgo homeownership and face difficulties in starting a family or building up savings. The debt load also contradicts Americans’ cherished assumptions about the value of higher education.

“The whole premise of the main higher education industry is that a college degree pays off,” Marshall Steinbaum, an expert in higher education finance at the Jain Family Institute, told me in 2022. When some people are still paying off their student loans as they approach retirement, that premise loses some of its oomph.

As for the PPP, it was nothing like the unalloyed boon that its GOP defenders portray. The members of Congress who snarfed up loans by the six or seven figures (Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) tops the list of those called out as hypocrites by Biden with $4.4 million in forgiven loans) are beneficiaries of a program they themselves voted for.

Of the 13 on Biden’s list, three (Greene and Clyde of Georgia and Pat Fallon of Texas) hadn’t yet been elected when the PPP came up for a vote in April 2020; another, Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, didn’t cast a vote. All the others on the White House roster voted in favor. The measure passed the House 388 to 5. Representatives and senators could have exempted themselves from the PPP benefits, but they didn’t. Then they lined up for the goods.

Were the PPP funds invariably used as they were supposed to? There’s reason to be skeptical. Greene, who received a $182,300 PPP loan in April 2020 for her family construction business, donated $250,000 to her own congressional campaign the following June and August. The government subsequently forgave $183,500, including interest.

Did any of those donations come from the PPP? We’ll never know, because days before Biden took office, the Small Business Administration deleted almost all the database red flags designating potentially questionable or fraudulent loans subject to further review. That’s according to the Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog group that based its findings on a government database.

As many as 2.3 million loans, including 54,000 loans of more than $1 million each, thus may have received a free pass. The red flags included signs that a recipient company had laid off workers or were ineligible to participate in the program.

The SBA’s inspector general’s office later disclosed that it had “substantiated an unprecedented level of fraud activity” in the PPP program, but said the mass closeout, as well as the SBA’s habit of forgiving loans before reviewing them for potential fraud, would hamper the agency’s ability “to recover funds for forgiven loans later determined to be ineligible.”

A larger problem in the haste by politicians and pundits to flay Biden for his defense of student loan relief is that their view is too narrow. As I reported in 2022, many of the politicians wringing their hands over how student loan relief burdens ordinary taxpayers received their higher education courtesy of ordinary taxpayers — by attending public institutions at a time when they were overwhelmingly tax-supported.

That’s not all. Republican fiscal policies are almost invariably aimed to benefit corporations and wealthier Americans. The 2017 tax cuts are a perfect example. The richest 20% of Americans received nearly 64% of the tax benefits. The top 1% received a reduction in their average federal tax rate of 1.5 percentage points, worth an average $32,650 a year; the lowest-income 20% got a tax rate reduction of 0.3 percentage points, worth $40 a year.

Student debt relief, however, overwhelmingly favors low-income borrowers. According to a 2022 study done for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), $10,000 in student debt cancellation would reduce the share of people with debt by one-third among the lowest-income 20% and by one-fourth for households among the next 20%. But it would make almost no difference for the richest 10%.

Debt cancellation also would reduce racial gaps in household economics. A $10,000 debt reduction would zero out loan balances for 2 million Black families, the study said, reducing the share of Black individuals with student loans to 17% from 24%.

In other words, student debt relief is a boon for the most economically vulnerable American households. That can’t be said of the PPP program, and certainly not for the GOP tax cuts.

The debate over whether it’s “fair” to juxtapose student debt relief with the millions pocketed by GOP representatives and their patrons is, indeed, a story of hypocrisy. But the hypocrisy is not where our political press has claimed to find it. They should pay attention to what really drives conservatives to hate student debt relief so much.

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Granderson: How can evangelicals like Mike Johnson tolerate Trump?

Granderson: How can evangelicals like Mike Johnson tolerate Trump? 4

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At the 2016 Republican National Convention, when I told Donald Trump’s “God whisperer” Paula White that he referred to her as his pastor, she said she was his spiritual advisor — as if that were some sort of “get out of jail free” card for her. And yet White worked hard in our conversation to convince me that the foul-mouthed person on the campaign trail was godly.

Opinion Columnist

LZ Granderson

LZ Granderson writes about culture, politics, sports and navigating life in America.

Then came her turn to speak at the convention. Most of the seats were empty when White took the stage, which says a lot about the interest attendees had in the words of Trump’s spiritual advisor.

It was as if their minds were already made up.

This was after Trump referred to a book of the Bible as “Two Corinthians” in a speech at Liberty University, the private Christian college where Jerry Falwell Jr. was president before a sex scandal forced him to resign later that year. This was after Trump mocked a journalist’s disability. This was after he came down the escalator at Trump Tower and kicked off his campaign by bashing Mexico and Latinos before offering “and some, I assume, are good people.” Trump had shown what kind of person he was, and somehow still had evangelical Christians’ support.

But he must have feared there would be some limit to their capacity for cognitive dissonance, because he did not want evangelical voters to find out about his 2006 affair with Stormy Daniels. He paid her money to stay quiet days before the election. I don’t know if that’s what White spiritually advised him to do, but she went on to serve Trump at the White House, so she must have made peace with the deceit.

The reason Trump is on trial in New York isn’t because of President Biden or Democrats. It’s because he wanted to deceive a crucial bloc of voters and in doing so is accused of falsely claiming the hush payment as legal services on business documents. And he is accused of falsifying documents in connection with other crimes.

In other words, it’s not a witch hunt. It’s repercussions.

Now it appears it’s House Speaker Mike Johnson’s turn to find some sort of balance between his personal faith and his professional interest. The joint news conference between Trump and Johnson on Friday will most likely help Johnson keep his job — which was murky after Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene called his leadership into question — but it does nothing to erase the fact he’s aligned with a thrice-married adulterer who mocked Jimmy Carter the day after Rosalynn Carter, his wife of 77 years, entered hospice.

The image of Johnson standing at the lectern — as Trump stood behind him like a jack-o’-lantern the day after Halloween — was frightening. Unnerving. It was not a show of strength; it was another sign of how far some white evangelicals are willing to drag their faith through the mud just to be next to power.

Christians believe in a thing called grace, and Lord knows I’ve benefited from a lot of it in life. But Trump doesn’t express remorse for his affair with Daniels or the hush money spent to trick his Christian supporters. He has been found liable for sexual abuse. He’s bragged about grabbing women by their private parts and kissing them without consent.

The fact that Trump could be forgiven is irrelevant if he hasn’t changed or stopped his abuses or given any indication of regret. What we have in Trump is not a story of redemption but a clear account of who he really is and always has been.

In February during a rally, he said this about his opponent Nikki Haley: “Where’s your husband? Oh, he’s away. He’s away. What happened to her husband? What happened to her husband? Where is he? He’s gone!”

It was no secret: Haley’s husband was deployed overseas with the South Carolina National Guard, something she discussed openly at campaign events. Trump knew “what happened to her husband.” But he just gambled that some in his audience didn’t know and that he could score cheap political points by smearing a service member.

You don’t have to act surprised. That’s the kind of person Trump has always been, regardless of whether he had a “God whisperer” on staff. This is the kind of person Johnson cozied up to last week in a desperate grab at keeping his job.

I’m not sure what the former president’s current spiritual advisor is whispering in his ear these days, but by now it’s clear he doesn’t need to listen to get reelected.

@LZGranderson

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Raskin Hits Republicans For Allowing Putin To Dictate Our Foreign Policy

Raskin Hits Republicans For Allowing Putin To Dictate Our Foreign Policy 5

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Rep. Jamie Raskin took a whack at Republicans and Trump for doing Putin’s bidding with blocking aid to Ukraine. As I already discussed here, Rep. Mike Turner was trying to put a happy face on that aid making its way through the House this week.

Raskin wasn’t so optimistic during an interview with MSNBC’s Jen Psaki, and did a nice job of laying out just who’s running the show these days in the Republican party:

PSAKI: I know, we’ve also seen this movie before, but right now, House Speaker Mike Johnson is fighting to hang onto his gavel as the far right flank of the Republican Party threatens to take it away. And it says a lot about the Republican Party that the one person Speaker Johnson believed could get him out of this pickle he’s in is Donald Trump.

It says even more about the Republican Party that the one issue they figured everyone could really rally around is what they’re calling election integrity, which I’m putting in quotes because it actually means peddling conspiracy theories.

That’s the great unifying issue, the glue that’s keeping this party together. This time, Johnson and Trump pushed a bill to keep non-citizens from voting. Now that is already illegal, just so everybody knows, and very rare.

So that should be good news to the men who are apparently so concerned about it. But of course, it’s not really about this bill. It’s about, once again, laying the groundwork ahead of the election to challenge the results if Trump doesn’t like them.

And this focus on election interference really is so rich coming from Mike Johnson, who himself was an enabler in trying to help overturn the 2020 election, coming from Donald Trump, who is literally going on trial tomorrow for his efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.

Joining me now is Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland. He’s the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee. So I don’t even know how else to start other than when you were watching, if you watched, or if you saw clips of Mike Johnson standing next to Donald Trump spouting lies about election integrity, what was going through your head?

RASKIN: Well, you reminded me of Kevin McCarthy’s journey south to Mar-a-Lago, the $18 million palatial home Trump was bragging about, where he was on bended knee, begging for Trump’s support in raising money.

Johnson is on life support in the House because under the MAGA rules, anybody can move to vacate the chair and basically topple the leadership just by unilateral direction. So Marjorie, Taylor Greene can do it, Matt Gaetz can do it, Jim Jordan can do it.

And so Trump likes having Johnson over the barrel because he controls them. And so, for example, on Ukraine aid, which is so central, Trump can keep Johnson from bringing Ukraine to the floor. We are begging Johnson to bring Ukraine aid to the floor.

It would pass overwhelmingly with 60 or 70 percent of the votes. And so it means that Donald Trump is basically steering the bus. And of course, the person who’s steering Donald Trump is Vladimir Putin. It’s like Trump is the fourth branch of government and Putin’s the fifth branch of government.

And the Republicans can’t do anything unless Trump approves it. And Trump can’t do anything if his friend, Vladimir Putin, doesn’t want him to.

PSAKI: Which is exactly why it’s not gonna be in the package currently, that may move itself finally to the House this week.

RASKIN: We’ve been wanting to vote for $61 billion dollars and aid to the Ukrainian people who are completely under the gun and outgunned and they need artillery and it’s a very dangerous situation right now.

Republicans are going to find some excuse to try to block the aid to Ukraine. How Democrats counter that remains to be seen.

Trump Whines That His Criminality Is ‘An Assault On America’

Trump Whines That His Criminality Is 'An Assault On America' 6

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Donald Trump issued his usual idiotic garbage as he entered the court to begin the jury selection in Manhattan for his upcoming ‘hush money” trial.

A low-key Diminished Donald whispered to the mics before him.

This is an assault on America. Nothing like this has ever happened before. There’s never been anything like it.

Like many convicted criminals before him, Trump is claiming his innocence by attacking the US justice system as an affront to America? Trump appears to not be getting much sleep.

Every legal scholar said this case is nonsense. It should never have been brought up.

Another BIG FAT lie.

It doesn’t deserve anything like this.

It? Is Trump describing himself as an “it”? Like the family member from the Adams Family?

There is no case. And they’ve said it.

Huh? Who has said it, Jonathan Turley? Alan “I would have defended the Goldman’s” Dershowitz?

People that don’t necessarily follow or like Donald Trump said this is an outrage that this case was brought.

I don’t like Donald Trump and I think it’s justified.

People that don’t necessarily follow or like Donald Trump said this is an outrage that this case was brought. This is political persecution, a persecution like never before. Nobody has ever seen anything like it. And again it is a case that should have never been brought.

The case is about illegally paying off Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about your sex romp while you were married.

It’s an assault on America.

It’s a proper use of the legal system against a corrupt politician.

And that’s why I’m very proud to be here.

If you are proud to be there why have you fought against this indictment vehemently and tried to delay it until after the upcoming election?
Trump repeated the same words over again as if he forgot what he just said.

So I’m very honored to be here.

Honored? As usual Trump makes no sense. Just like when he decided to spew nonsense about the Battle at Gettysburg.

Noonan Warns Democrats Not To ‘Overplay Their Hand’ On Abortion

Noonan Warns Democrats Not To 'Overplay Their Hand' On Abortion 7

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Peggy Noonan proves once again she’s very bad at giving political advice, especially to Democrats. After basically admitting that Trump doesn’t actually give a hoot about the issue of abortion and that everything is “transactional” to him, Nooners had some words of warning for Democrats about not running too hard on the issue between now and November on this Sunday’s Meet the Press:

KRISTEN WELKER: Arguably, I think one of the biggest X factors as we sit here today is the issue of abortion. In your report, Carol, you also say abortion could make up the margin of difference in this case. Peggy, how do you see this? Trump has tried to sort of have it a number of different ways. He says Arizona went too far. But he’s not going to sign a national ban. How do you see this playing out?

PEGGY NOONAN: Look: Donald Trump has always been transactional. Oddly enough, I think a lot of his pro-life supporters understood he was transactional, didn’t mind it, because they liked the transaction.

I think we’re watching Donald Trump every day try to get from under the implications of his own act, having set up the process by which Roe v. Wade was removed. Trump wanted its return to the states.

The states seem to have made an awkward mess of it in some respects. He wants to get away from the mess. And so now he’s doing what he does. He’s a transactional fellow.

One thing I would tell the Democrats: I sense that they are just going, “Abortion. Abortion. Abortion.” That’s the plan for the next six months. That’s not going to look so great. Don’t overplay your hand. They’ve got public opinion at the moment, but –

Which was immediately shot down by Eugene Robinson.

KRISTEN WELKER: What about that?

EUGENE ROBINSON: Well, it looks like a pretty strong hand to me. I mean, if you look at elections that have taken place, the referenda on reproductive rights, elections in which candidates were on different sides of the abortion issue since the demise of Roe v. Wade, they have gone pretty heavily toward the Democrats.

And I think this is something that the Republican party is going to have to try to figure out. How do they get to where the American people are on abortion? Which is basically acknowledgment of a constitutional right.

KRISTEN WELKER: Yeah. A lot of Republicans talking about how to do exactly that.

Republicans are trying to figure out how to stop the bleeding, but it doesn’t matter what they come up with. It’s not going to work. Democrats would be well advised to listen to whatever Peggy Noonan recommends, and then do the opposite.

‘I Want My VOICE Back,’ Trump Screams To His 7 Million Followers

'I Want My VOICE Back,' Trump Screams To His 7 Million Followers 8

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Donald Trump kicked off his morning with a series of desperate social media posts on Trump Social about his criminal trial today. Interestingly, the Twice Impeached One keeps blaming President Joe Biden for his trials after he led a four-year crime spree at the White House and Mar-a-Lago, the latter of which is a crime scene. But if you’ve ever studied narcissism, then you know this is just another Monday for a raging narcissist.

Again, he’s claiming that Democrats are cheating in the 2024 election, setting the stage for an excuse when he loses again to President Joe Biden.

“The Radical Left Democrats are already cheating on the 2024 Presidential Election by bringing, or helping to bring, all of these bogus lawsuits against me, thereby forcing me to sit in courthouses, and spend money that could be used for campaigning, instead of being out in the field knocking Crooked Joe Biden, the WORST President in the History of the United States. Election Interference!” he wrote.

Note: Trump, not Biden is listed as the worst President in U.S. history. Also, Trump said he would self-fund his campaign in 2016. That was a lie, and he’s lying again.

“Russia is now calling for RESTRAINT in the war with Israel and Iran — AN ALL TIME CLASSIC!!!” he continued.

Stay focused, Donald. You can do it!

“Why didn’t they bring this totally discredited lawsuit 7 years ago???” he asked. “Election Interference!”

Note: Trump knows why. He was a sitting President at the time, and that provides certain protections. Lumpy took advantage of that.

“I want my VOICE back,” he screamed to his nearly seven million followers. “This Crooked Judge has GAGGED me. Unconstitutional! The other side can talk about me, but I am not allowed to talk about them! Rigged Trial!”

The GOP frontrunner, you guys:

He’s fighting for our freedom! So brave:

“When I walk into that courtroom, I know I will have the love of 200 million Americans behind me, and I will be FIGHTING for the FREEDOM of 325 MILLION AMERICANS!” he insisted.

The orange aberration has repeatedly broken the gag order, and he did it again by attacking the judge. I don’t know about y’all, but attacking the judge and his family doesn’t seem very Stable Genius-y to me. As for “election interference,” Trump’s projection skills are at an IMAX level. Trump tried to overturn the government by whipping his crowd of lint-licking, fire-breathing supporters into a frenzy to steal the election from Joe Biden. We saw it in real-time. It’s on video!

Hey, Donald. How’s your Trump Media stock doing?

Trump Orders His Poll Watchers To Get Violent On Election Day 2024

Trump Orders His Poll Watchers To Get Violent On Election Day 2024 9

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Donald Trump ordered his cult to do something if they believe election day 2024 is rigged during his rally in Schnecksville, PA on Saturday.

“Now they cheat so we have to give ourselves a lead. They cheat like hell, ” Trump lied. “When you see them cheating you get out there and start screaming. Start screaming.”

“The radical left democrats rigged the presidential election in 2020, and we’re not going to allow them to rig the presidential election of 2024.”

Trump’s morons claimed the election was stolen with fraudulent mail in votes. How is his weirdos supposed to see cheating? Will they hijack mail carriers? Post offices?

There was no voter fraud in 2020, and Trump knows it. There was no rigged election against him. Trump lost 2020 by 7 1/2 million votes to Pres. Biden. Trump then tried to overthrow the 2020 election with insane ideas spewing from the crack pots he surrounded himself with. Many of them are facing prosecution or have already plead guilty.

Trump’s is the most dangerous and disgusting presidential candidate in U.S. history.

He’s making a rebel yell call to the all nuts and evangelical cult members in all his rallies to attack poll stations, workers and voting booths.

If there is even a hint of a rumor from a tweet or Facebook post, an OANN crank claiming they heard something was fishy, people will get seriously hurt.

GOP Intel Chair Tries To Absolve Trump Of Holding Up Ukraine Aid

GOP Intel Chair Tries To Absolve Trump Of Holding Up Ukraine Aid 10

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GOP Intel Chair Mike Turner told Meet the Press host Kristen Welker he expects the aid package to pass this week with “overwhelming support,” but not before trying to absolve Trump for holding up the aid in the first place. Turner tried to blame the House, but we all know who they’re taking their marching orders from… Trump, and for a lot of them, Putin.

KRISTEN WELKER: As you know, this aid package that will provide aid to Israel, but also Ukraine, has been held up, has been blocked by former President Trump. Do you want to see the House speaker bring this to the floor for a vote this week? And has he given you any assurances that he will do so?

REP. MIKE TURNER: Well, it’s not been held up by Donald Trump, first off, let’s be clear. It’s being held up in the House by debates and deliberations in the House of Representatives. I think that the speaker has been very clear. He supports Ukraine funding. He supports funding for Israel. He supports the Asia package that’s part of the national security supplemental. And he has made it clear that he sees that the path is for that to come to the House floor, this week. I think it will have overwhelming support, both the Ukraine, Israel and Asia packages, not just because of what’s happened with Iran escalating the conflict in the Middle East, but because these are allies that need and deserve our support.

KRISTEN WELKER: As you know, Donald Trump has been on the sidelines, saying he doesn’t want to see that aid go to Ukraine, unless it’s in the form of a loan. But just very quickly, do you expect it to get a vote this week, congressman?

REP. MIKE TURNER: I do. And I expect it to pass. And, by the way, Donald Trump had said, on the humanitarian – the other – the support to the Ukrainian government, on the weapons, the military support, everyone has been very much on the side of understanding that we’re at a critical point. Russia is beginning to gain ground. Ukraine is beginning to lose the ability to defend itself. And the United States must step up and provide Ukraine the weapons that they need. And I think we’re going to see overwhelming support for that in the House this week.

Unless Trump demands they block it again. Here’s more on that from Politico following MAGA Mike’s visit down at Mar-a-Lago this week.

House to act on Israel aid, but Ukraine up in the air, after Iran’s attack:

Speaker Mike Johnson is vowing to take up aid to Israel following Iran’s Saturday drone attacks and renewed bipartisan pressure.

And that is fueling questions whether the GOP leader will also act on Ukraine aid, which comes as Ukrainian leaders warn they are running out of resources to combat Russia’s military aggression and as he faces ouster threats by some of his own membership.

In an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo,” Johnson said he plans to move forward with Israel aid bills this week, though he did not provide further details, noting they are “looking at the options on all these supplemental issues.”

When asked about Ukraine, Johnson did not say when it would be taken up or whether it would be tied to Israel funding. But he cited his recent visit with Donald Trump down at his Florida-based Mar-A-Lago resort, pointing to several ideas he previously floated including sending additional money to Ukraine as a loan.

Trump has “introduced the loan-lease concept which is a really important one, which I think has a lot of consensus, as well as these other ideas, the Repo Act, which is seizing the assets of corrupt Russian oligarchs to help pay for this resistance,” said the Louisiana Republican, noting they will pull together their own plan and send it over to the Senate. “I think these are ideas that I think can get consensus, and that’s what we’ve been working through.”

Johnson has been under pressure from both sides of the aisle to hold a vote on stalled military assistance for Kyiv for months. The Senate cleared a $95 billion foreign aid bill to help arm Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan in February, while House GOP leaders have only held votes on military assistance for Israel.

We’ll find out this week whether the Putin wing of the GOP is going to continue to hold up the aid, or whether Turner is correct on it passing.