During Wednesday’s hearing of the House Oversight Committee, a Democratic U.S. Congressman destroyed Republicans’ allegations of political interference from the U.S. Dept. of Justice with the IRS investigation into Hunter Biden, in a case involving his taxes.
U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), the Ranking Member on the Oversight Committee, slammed House Republicans: “Like every other try by my colleagues to concoct a scandal about President Biden, this one is a complete and total bust.”
Speaking to both of the GOP’s witnesses, who have been presented as whistleblowers from inside the IRS, U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) revealed that delays they felt were unnecessary in potential investigations into or prosecutions of Hunter Biden happened during the Trump administration, when Bill Barr was the Attorney General.
“You were concerned about the complexities of the election cycle and potential delays that arose in connection with the election cycle,” Congressman Krishnamoorthi said to one whistleblower, Gary Shapley. “You said at page 23, ‘And I remember there were always times where we were always on an impending election cycle. It was always the elections being brought up in early 2020. It was the presidential primaries.’ Now, sir. Joe Biden was not the president at that time either. Was he?”
“I mean, the answer to your question is no, he was not,” Shapley replied.
“You were talking about how the election cycle is delaying decisions by the prosecution. And it turns out that the delay in the election cycle was happening at a time when Joe Biden was not the president,” Congressman Krishnamoorthi continued.
“So, Mr. Ziegler, and you shared concerns about delays related to the election cycle. But at that time, Joe Biden was not the president,” the Illinois Democratic lawmaker added.
“I believe at that time he was the nominee for president,” replied Ziegler.
“Well, he was not the President was he? It’s just a simple question, sir,” Krishnamoorthi said.
“Can you rephrase the question?” Ziegler asked.
“Joe Biden was not the president, in the presidential primaries, in 2020.”
“Correct. That is correct,” Ziegler replied.
“Finally, Mr. Shapley. You said that warrants were ready as soon as April, 2020 to begin searching for records but actions weren’t taken with regard to those warrants. Again, Joe Biden was not the president in April of 2020. Was he?” the Congressman again asked.
“So I’m confused by a line of questioning. We’re talking about an election to which now President Biden was a part of, so he didn’t have to be the president to have election meddling,” Shapley alleged.
“No, but the question is this: Was he the president at that time, in April 2020?”
“It’s been asked and answered,” Shapley, appearing to grow angered, responded.
“And what’s the answer, sir?” said Krishnamoorthi.
“The election –” Shapley began.
“The answer is” Yes or no?” Krishnamoorthi pressed.
“No,” Shapley said, trying to push back.
“Thank you. Thank you. I yield back,” the Congressman concluded.
Watch below or at this link.
Krishnamoorthi: Biden was not the president, was he? It’s just a simple question sir
Ziegler: Can you rephrase?
Krishnamoorthi: Joe Biden was not the president during the primaries of 2020
(this is not going well for the GOP witnesses) pic.twitter.com/C2eVqH6z38
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 19, 2023
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R.I.P. Sandra Day O’Connor: Politicians, Reporters Mourn First Woman on Supreme Court
Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor passed away Friday morning in Phoenix, Arizona at the age of 93. She was the first woman on the Court.
The news was announced by the Supreme Court, which said that the former justice died of a respiratory illness combined with complications of advanced dementia.
“A daughter of the American Southwest, Sandra Day O’Connor blazed an historic trail as our Nation’s first female Justice. She met that challenge with undaunted determination, indisputable ability, and engaging candor. We at the Supreme Court mourn the loss of a beloved colleague, a fiercely independent defender of the rule of law, and an eloquent advocate for civics education. And we celebrate her enduring legacy as a true public servant and patriot,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in the statement.
Though O’Connor was appointed in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan and was conservative, she was known to be a swing vote in many major decisions. Her appointment was challenged from the religious right as she had been vocally against banning abortion and had supported the Equal Rights Amendment.
While she normally joined the Court’s conservatives, she would side with the liberal members of the court in 28 cases. In 1992, she was the deciding vote in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld the Roe v. Wade decision.
However, in 2000, she voted with the conservative majority on Bush v. Gore, which stopped the Florida election recount, keeping then-Vice President Al Gore from potentially becoming president. She retired in 2006, during President George W. Bush’s second term, and was replaced by conservative Justice Samuel Alito.
Politicians, pundits and journalists alike took to X (formerly Twitter) to mourn the passing of O’Connor.
“I’m sorry to hear of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor passing. I loved Evan Thomas’s recent bio, which showed off her can-do, self-starter, distinctly southwestern mentality. The first female Supreme Court justice (the original SCOTUSlady!), never a victim, & a model of civility. RIP,” wrote Anastasia Boden, director of the Cato Institute’s Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies.
I’m sorry to hear of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor passing. I loved Evan Thomas’s recent bio, which showed off her can-do, self-starter, distinctly southwestern mentality. The first female Supreme Court justice (the original SCOTUSlady!), never a victim, & a model of civility. RIP. pic.twitter.com/5EFuQykvSI
— A lady (@Anastasia_esq) December 1, 2023
“Today, we say goodbye to the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court and first female majority leader of a state senate. El Paso’s own Sandra Day O’Connor was instrumental in developing case law as a jurist, especially sex discrimination under Title VII,” Representative Jasmine Crockett (D-TX) wrote.
Today, we say goodbye to the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court and first female majority leader of a state senate.
El Paso's own Sandra Day O'Connor was instrumental in developing case law as a jurist, especially sex discrimination under Title VII. https://t.co/OxndeFrJVz
— Congresswoman Jasmine Crockett (@RepJasmine) December 1, 2023
“She blazed every trail she set foot on—defying the odds stacked against women in the legal profession to rise to become Arizona’s assistant attorney general, our first female majority leader in the state Senate, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge, and ultimately our first female justice on the United States Supreme Court. She brought her Arizona brand of pragmatism and independence with her to the Supreme Court and was often the swing vote on consequential decisions,” Representative Greg Stanton (D-AZ) wrote in a statement.
“Justice O’Connor was not perfect. But her drive for consensus & common sense, her love of family, and her career itself, having graduated from law school at 22 in 1952, are especially notable and laudable. May her memory be a blessing,” tweeted MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin.
Justice O’Connor was not perfect. But her drive for consensus & common sense, her love of family, and her career itself, having graduated from law school at 22 in 1952, are especially notable and laudable. May her memory be a blessing.https://t.co/HPxpmyKQUO
— Lisa Rubin (@lawofruby) December 1, 2023
“Sad news w the passing of fmr Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor She was a trailblazer for the high court &always worked to find consensus She was 1st justice I had honor of voting for as Senator Her contributions 2 the court will endure +she will be missed,” Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) wrote.
“Sandra Day O’Connor was a trailblazer whose life and career paved the way for so many others. Her service and dedication to our country will be long-remembered. My heart is with her family and loved ones today,” Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) said.
“I’m saddened to hear about the passing of former Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor. As the first female justice, she leaves behind a trailblazing conservative legacy. My prayers are with her family during this difficult time,” Representative Cory Mills (R-FL) wrote.
Featured image by Kyle Tsui via Wikimedia Commons.
The Christian Ziegler/Moms for Liberty Scandal Could Hurt Ron DeSantis
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis attempted to distance himself from Florida GOP Chair Christian Ziegler and his wife Bridget, the co-founder of Moms for Liberty—but his close involvement with them could spell trouble for him.
On Thursday, Christian Ziegler, elected this year as chair of the Florida Republican Party, was accused of sexual assault. The accuser is a woman who says she’s had a regular three-way sexual relationship with both Zieglers.
DeSantis told ABC News Thursday night that Ziegler should resign as chair.
“He’s innocent until proven guilty, but we just can’t have a party chair that is under that type of scrutiny,” DeSantis said.
Before Thursday, DeSantis was close with the Zieglers. In February, during DeSantis’ fight with Disney, he appointed Bridget Ziegler to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, a new board overseeing Disney’s theme parks in Orlando, according to Variety. DeSantis has not called on Bridget Ziegler to step down from either the district or her position on the Sarasota County School Board.
Last year, Christian Ziegler opened a rally for DeSantis, and has backed DeSantis’ using of the culture war to make a name for himself.
“All you have to do is Google Christian Ziegler Ron DeSantis, and you’ll see no one has been in the press more than I have promoting the governor and what he’s done because I think he’s done an outstanding job, especially on the cultural issues, which for me, are a big passion of mine,” Ziegler said in a March interview with CBS Miami.
DeSantis’ approval ratings as governor have been falling. In a poll taken in November, before the allegations against Christian Ziegler were made public, DeSantis’ overall approval had fallen four points since July, to a 49% approval rating. But among independent voters, his disapproval rating rocketed to 60%, a 14-point boost during the same time frame. Disapproval also grew by 10 percent, to 80%, among Black voters.
The allegations against Christian Ziegler are serious. Ziegler is accused of sexually assaulting the woman he and his wife and a standing sexual relationship with on October 2. He’s also accused of secretly recording video of their previous sexual encounters.
Though DeSantis has called on him to resign, other GOP leaders have supported Ziegler.
“If the allegations are true I’m pretty sure change will come at the [Republican Party of Florida] but I don’t believe it for a minute,” Lee County GOP Chair Michael Thompson told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. “Christian’s the chairman. Christian’s still the chairman of the organization until something else happens. We don’t anticipate Christian leaving as the chair.”
“Innocent until proven guilty,” Thompson added. “That’s what our justice system needs to get back to and that’s for everybody across the board, not just for Trump, not just for Ziegler… let’s not try to convict people in headlines. Let’s see the evidence.”
Moms for Liberty Deletes Statement Supporting Co-Founder Whose Husband Is Accused of Sexual Battery
The far-right Christian nationalist organization Moms for Liberty issued, then later deleted, a statement declaring support for its co-founder after her husband, the chairman of the Florida Republican Party, was accused of sexual battery by a woman who allegedly has had a consensual “three-way sexual relationship” with the married couple.
“The Sarasota Police Department is investigating a sexual battery allegation against Florida GOP Chair Christian Ziegler, a political bombshell in the home state of former President Donald Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis,” The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports.
“The alleged sexual battery occurred inside the woman’s home in Sarasota last month,” the nonpartisan Florida Center for Government Accountability adds, citing a police report. “According to sources close to the investigation, she said she and both Zieglers had been involved in a longstanding consensual three-way sexual relationship prior to the incident.”
The FLCGA also reports the “complaint was filed on October 4 and the alleged sexual battery occurred inside the woman’s home in Sarasota on October 2, according to the [police] report. Among the few words that went unredacted in the report are ‘rape’ and ‘sexual assault complaint.'”
“Christian Ziegler is also alleged to have secretly videotaped the sexual encounters between the couple and the woman, sources said,” the FLCGA added.
Bridget Ziegler, the Moms for Liberty co-founder and the spouse of Christian Ziegler, “has become a star within the MAGA movement,” the FLCGA notes, adding she was “personally endorsed for her school board seat by Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, who also appointed her in March to the state board that oversees the special district previously overseen by Disney World prior to DeSantis’s politically motivated feud with the entertainment company.”
Moms for Liberty was named an anti-government extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Thursday afternoon Moms for Liberty responded to the fast-spreading news reports, issuing a statement on the social media platform X saying they “stand with” Bridget Ziegler.
“Yet another attempt today to ruin the reputation of a strong woman fighting for America,” the group said, calling her a “badass” in a post that has since been deleted. Florida’s Voice confirmed the deletion.
In 2021, Donald Trump at a Florida rally thanked then-Florida GOP vice chair, now Chairman Christian Ziegler, calling him a “friend,” someone who “made our country great,” and a “warrior.”
Watch below or at this link.
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