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‘Darkening Clouds’ for Trump With Key Pence Aides Set to Lead Off House Hearings: Report

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According to an analysis by Slate’s Dennis Aftergut, the constant drip of information about former President Donald Trump and his administration’s involvement in the Jan 6th insurrection looks to turn into a flood when the House hearing on the Capitol riot kicks off on Thursday with three witnesses linked to former vice president Mike Pence poised to testify first for maximum effect.

As Trump and his allies prepare to do all they can to push back at the six scheduled hearings slated to be broadcast live, Aftergut wrote, a bad May for Trump is about to become a worse June for the former president.

“There are darkening clouds on his horizon,” wrote Aftergut. “On June 9, the Jan. 6 House Select Committee will hold public hearings as part of their ongoing investigation into the storming of the Capitol last year. In short order, the set of six scheduled televised sessions this month are likely to build momentum towards making the case that the president was directly involved in attempts to undermine the peaceful transition of power.”

“The steady dropping of shocking findings from the committee over the course of the past months suggests the sessions will likely have many viewers on the edge of their seats,” Aftergut added, and then suggested that the Pence associates could set Trump’s defenders back on their heels as they reveal the content of conversations between the former president and their former boss as Trump tried to get him to refuse to oversee the certification of the 2020 presidential election.

READ MORE: ‘Bad news for super MAGA’: Morning Joe says Jan. 6 probe is about to blow up Trump’s allies

“June’s hearings follow a series of escalations in Trump’s ongoing legal battles stemming from his attempts to undermine the 2020 election,” he writes. “May’s legal developments and the looming hearings suggest increasing pressures and prospects that Trump will face criminal charges, the committee’s lead-off witnesses will be three courageous Republicans working for Vice President Mike Pence, who supported his resistance to the multi-step conspiracy that Trump appears to have led and aimed at ending the lawful transfer of power: His staff attorney, Greg Jacob, Pence’s outside attorney, Michael Luttig, the eminent former federal Court of Appeals Judge, and Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff.”

Aftergut suggests that, after dropping several “bombshells” in the weeks precedinhg the hearings, the devil will be in the details as the committee makes their case for criminal charges againt Trump.

“While the final details are still being sorted, the upcoming hearings have two apparent goals. First, committee members intend to address Trump’s election meddling. And second, to elucidate the circumstances around the ‘hours of inaction‘ before Capitol police received backup from the national guard releasing a video telling his followers inside the Capitol to leave,” he wrote adding, “If the details coming out of the investigation are any indication, the committee is hard at work building their case.”

“If May’s news was any indication, this select committee’s hearings will tell an even more chilling story — beginning, middle and end — about how a criminal conspiracy nearly ended our democracy,” he concluded.

You can read more here.

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Rick Scott’s IVF Pledge Using His Own Grandkids Slammed as ‘Lie’ by Democrats

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U.S. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), running for re-election and running to replace Mitch McConnell as Senate Republican Leader, has put out a new seven-figure ad that uses his children and grandchildren as he pledges to protect in-vitro fertilization (IVF), but Democrats in the Sunshine State are accusing him of lying.

“My wife Ann and I have two daughters and seven perfect grandkids. Each is a precious gift from God. But sometimes families need help. Millions of babies have come into this world from IVF, in-vitro fertilization. In fact, our youngest daughter’s receiving an IVF treatment right now, hoping to expand her family. She and I both agree IVF must be protected. For our family, for every family,” Senator Scott says in his latest ad he’s also posted to social media (below).

Democrats are calling Sen. Scott out for what they say is a lie.

On Thursday, Scott voted against the Right to IVF Act, Democratic legislation sponsored by U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who blasted him on Friday: “You literally voted against my bill to protect IVF yesterday.”

READ MORE: Right Wing Justices Rule Ban on Gun Accessory Used in Major Mass Shooting Unlawful

On Thursday, Senate Republicans blocked Duckworth’s bill in a 48-47 vote. Only two Republicans, Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins voted with Democrats for the legislation.

“Rick Scott voted against protecting access to IVF — a miracle treatment that has allowed millions of Americans to start families,” Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried said in a statement that also includes his voting record and statements on IVF and other issues including abortion. “Scott has made it crystal clear that he will stop at nothing to rip away personal decisions from women and their families — and it will cost him his Senate seat.”

“Scott previously blocked legislation to protect IVF treatment that was introduced in response to the Alabama Supreme Court ruling that stored embryos have the same legal protections as children,” the Florida Democratic Party statement also reads. “Scott is now trying to cover up his anti-IVF record by touting an ’empty, symbolic’ resolution that would do nothing to actually protect IVF and spending millions to lie to Floridians about his phony support for IVF.”

The Florida Phoenix last week reported, “Scott, a Republican, will likely face former South Florida Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in November. Both candidates must get through their respective party primary elections in August.”

READ MORE: ‘Pyongyang in the Rotunda’: GOP Red Carpet Rollout for Trump’s DC Trip Likened to North Korea

“Mucarsel-Powell has been relentless in criticizing Scott’s record on abortion rights. Last week, her campaign issued a statement noting that the Scott had received an “A+” rating from Students for Life Action, an anti-abortion organization that opposes IVF.”

Political consultant Dana Houle observed, “If you’re running ads trying to convince people you’re not opposed to IVF (which in effect he is, since he voted against protecting it) you’re in pretty big trouble. It’s crazy to think that it’s likely that one of the decisive events of the 2024 campaign occurred in Alabama.”

That also appears to be the position of Florida Democratic Party executive director Phillip Jerez, who responded to Scott’s ad by asking, “Didn’t you vote AGAINST the IVF bill in the Senate yesterday?”

“Rick Scott is now putting up this 7-figure ad because he needs to work OVERTIME to lie to Floridians,” Jerez added. “He’s never won an election by more than 1% and never in a presidential year. Rick Scott is in trouble.”

David Simon, the well-known author, journalist, and screenwriter known for his colorful language, also responded to Sen. Scott: “Shitheel, you voted against the bill to protect IVF and then ran out to tweet this horseshit the next day. Even by our American standards of grifting, empty political hacks, this is wondrous.”

See Sen. Scott’s ad above or at this link.

RELATED: GOP Will Ban IVF if Trump Wins After Southern Baptists Condemnation: Expert

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Right Wing Justices Rule Ban on Gun Accessory Used in Major Mass Shooting Unlawful

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In a 6-3 decision along partisan lines, right-wing justices on the U.S. Supreme Court ruled a bump stock, an accessory used in America’s most-deadly mass shooting, that effectively turns an AR-15 into a machine gun, cannot be regulated under current law. Justice Clarence Thomas authored the majority opinion. The device is so dramatically lethal pro-gun President Donald Trump banned it in 2018.

“The Supreme Court just effectively legalized machine guns,” is the headline of Ian Millhiser’s report at Vox. He says Friday’s ruling “effectively legalizes civilian ownership of automatic weapons.”

“Bump stocks increase an AR-15’s rate of fire from 180 rounds per minute to 400-800 rounds per minute,” explained Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern, in response to Friday’s Supreme Court ruling. “They inflict mass carnage by allowing the gunman to shoot automatically, without pulling the trigger. Yet the Supreme Court declares that they do not create a ‘machinegun.’ ”

READ MORE: ‘Pyongyang in the Rotunda’: GOP Red Carpet Rollout for Trump’s DC Trip Likened to North Korea

Legal and gun experts might delve in to the mechanics of what makes a gun a gun, what makes a machine gun a machine gun, add in the conservative justices’ “textualism” and “originalism” theories where words are supposed to only mean what they meant when the Constitution, or, in this case, a law was written, but as Stern and Aaron Fritschner, the deputy chief of staff for a Democratic U.S. Congressman discussed (social media post below), the Supreme Court appears, they say, to have interpreted the plain language of words differently than their plain meaning to reach the conclusion they did:

Indeed, as senior advisor to the nonprofit organization Court Accountability and self-described “lapsed lawyer” Mike Sacks noted, in her dissent, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor joined by liberal Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson, wrote: “When I see a bird that walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck.”

Sacks adds, “Sotomayor calls out *every* *single* *one* *of* *her* *Republican* *colleagues* for abandoning their textualist ‘principle,’ in a paragraph that concludes, “Today, the majority forgets that principle and substitutes its own view of what constitutes a “machinegun” for Congress’s.”

Berkeley professor of public policy and former Cabinet Secretary Robert Reich wrote, “Koch-backed groups called on SCOTUS to overturn the federal bump stock ban. Clarence Thomas secretly attended Koch fundraising events, but of course didn’t recuse from this case — he wrote the majority opinion. Our nation’s highest court is beyond compromised.”

NBC News reported in December of 2018 that Donald Trump “had urged the federal government to ban bump stocks this past spring following a deadly Valentine’s Day shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead. However, the device gained notoriety when a lone gunman killed 59 people and injured at least 527 others attending a country music festival in Las Vegas in October 2017. The shooter, Stephen Paddock, had 22 semi-automatic rifles and 14 of them were equipped with bump stocks. They allowed him to fire the rifles continuously with a single pull of the trigger, resulting in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.”

That shooting to this day remains the deadliest mass shooting in modern day history.

See the social media posts above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Don’t Breathe Easy Yet’: Abortion Pill Safe Only ‘For Now’ Experts Say After SCOTUS Ruling

 

 

 

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Clarence Thomas Took Even More Billionaire-Paid Trips Than We Knew: Senate Report

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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas took even more billionaire-funded trips than he or investigative reporting have previously revealed, according to the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Democrat Dick Durbin, who says those trips were not disclosed via the Justice’s annual financial reporting forms.

Justice Thomas received an estimated $5.8 million in gifts over the past two decades, a large portion from billionaire Harlan Crow, the government watchdog Fix the Court revealed last week. It is not known if the additional trips Chairman Durbin’s investigation exposed are included in that calculation. The total of all gifts all justices accepted over 20 years, including “likely” gifts, Fix The Court reported, was $6,592,657.

“Thomas traveled on Crow’s private jet during trips in 2017, 2019 and 2021 between various US states, as well as on a previously known 2019 trip to Indonesia, during which Thomas also stayed on Crow’s mega-yacht,” CNN reports. “The newly revealed private plane trips add to the picture of luxury travel enjoyed by Thomas and bankrolled by friends of the justice who have ties to conservative politics.”

READ MORE: ‘We Do Not Remember When You Tried to Have Us Killed’: GOP Slammed for Trump Standing Ovation

Punchbowl News’ Andrew Desiderio adds the new information “was obtained via the [committee’s] subpoena authorization for Crow.”

“’Mr. Crow reached an agreement with the Senate Judiciary Committee to provide information responsive to its requests going back seven years,’ Crow spokesperson Michael Zona said of the information revealed Thursday,” CNN also reported.

Zona claimed Crow has “serious and continued concerns about the legality and necessity of the inquiry,” but “Mr. Crow engaged in good faith negotiations with the Committee from the beginning to resolve the matter. As a condition of this agreement, the Committee agreed to end its probe with respect to Mr. Crow.”

Watch CNN’s report below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Don’t Breathe Easy Yet’: Abortion Pill Safe Only ‘For Now’ Experts Say After SCOTUS Ruling

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