U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is insisting the only way there will be a “solution” to what Republicans are calling the “border crisis” is for Donald Trump to once again become president.
For months, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has been working with Senate Republicans, especially Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and U.S. Senator James Lankford (R-OK), to craft a bipartisan border deal that also provides funding to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan – a requirement of House Republicans.
Minority Leader McConnell has been adamant that funding for Ukraine is a national security priority. President Joe Biden agrees, and in a dramatic move agreed to trade concessions on border policy for Ukraine funding to help stop Vladimir Putin’s illegal war.
Earlier this month McConnell telegraphed a dire message to House Republicans, telling reporters, the “world is literally at war” and added, “in case anybody has forgotten.”
“So make no mistake about it,” McConnell continued. “This is the most serious international situation we have faced since the Berlin Wall came down,” 34 years ago in 1989. “We’ve got wars that we’re all familiar with. In the Middle East, and in Europe. Iran’s proxies in Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen attacking Israel. The Houthis actually attacking us, directly, in addition to shutting down where they can commerce in the Red Sea. Iranian proxies attacking us – our soldiers in Iraq and Syria. Russia is stepping up missile attacks in Ukraine, while we were gone. China of course watching all of this, concerned about next year’s election in Taiwan.”
Just days ago McConnell told Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson to prepare for a Senate bill on the border, Politico reported, that includes critical funding for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan as soon as this week.
That will not happen, and practically overnight, McConnell has changed his tune, specifically citing Donald Trump’s re-election platform.
“The politics on this have changed,” McConnell said, as Punchbowl News‘ Jake Sherman first reported. “We don’t want to do anything to undermine” Donald Trump.
Trump, who wants to run on the “border crisis,” is now “telling Republicans he ‘doesn’t want Biden to have a victory’ in 2024,” HuffPost reports, citing a source familiar with the bipartisan negotiations.
“Border security was a centerpiece of Donald Trump’s successful 2016 campaign,” ABC News reported Thursday, “and he is now repeating those messages (and in many cases going further than he did eight years ago, accused of echoing Hitler in saying immigrants are ‘poisoning the blood of our country’) to energize and unite his supporters against what Republicans have dubbed ‘Biden’s border crisis.'”
Senate Republicans for now are split.
Some far-right extremists, like U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), adamantly refuse to support the bipartisan Senate border deal, which has stalled and may be dead.
Senator Graham has found something of a middle lane, telling CNN’s Manu Raju that despite Donald Trump’s insistence that the only border deal any Republican should vote for must be perfect, he would support a “good” deal to improve the border situation.
But he also made certain to appease the ex-president.
“There will be no perfect deal,” Graham told CNN Wednesday night (video below). “There will be a good deal, or I won’t support it.”
“The solution to the border eventually will require a Trump presidency. But between now and then we can do some things that will make the border more secure.”
CNN’s Raju also spoke to hard-core conservative U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), who declared, “Biden has failed. We are here. We’ve been elected. We have election certificates. When you have an opportunity to make this country safer you take it and you don’t play politics.”
Watch below or at this link:
Trump urged Rs to reject anything short of ‘perfect’ deal on immigration.
Lindsey Graham on Trump’s demand. “There will be no perfect deal. … The solution .. will require a Trump presidency. Between now and then we could do some things that will make the border more secure.” pic.twitter.com/xQOlNyS8ua
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 25, 2024
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Vaccine-Laced Lettuce and Tomatoes? Tennessee GOP Lawmaker Worried
A Tennessee Republican state lawmaker says he’s worried Tennesseans might overdose on vaccines if they eat too many tomatoes.
State Rep. Scott Cepicky claims vaccines can already be added to foods like lettuce and tomatoes, and to tobacco products, so he has filed legislation to require grocery store items containing vaccines to be labeled.
“University of California Riverside has already perfected the ability to put human vaccines into our lettuce right now,” Rep. Cepicky told his fellow lawmakers Wednesday while discussing his legislation. “Also, tomatoes, has the ability to do that also per UC Berkeley. And then big tobacco, RJ Reynolds and stuff has perfected the ability to put a human vaccine in tobacco products.”
Cepicky, who has been endorsed by U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), warned, “there is no law, deeming those that when you go into a grocery store, you should know as a consumer, this head of lettuce is a head of lettuce. The head of lettuce right next week could contain a vaccine in it. All we’re saying is if it does have the vaccine in it, make sure it’s listed as a pharmaceutical so people can get the proper dosage.”
Facing some pushback from Democratic Rep. John Ray Clemmons, Cepicky went on to say, “This is more of a consumer protection bill right here, is to make sure that if you’re going in to buy tomatoes, and there’s a polio vaccine in there, that you are aware of what you’re buying has a polio vaccine. The problem you have is if it’s not treated as a pharmaceutical, being the size and difference between you and me, how many tomatoes do I have to eat to get the proper dosage versus how many tomatoes that you have to eat? And if you eat too many do you get a overdose?”
Asked if his legislation was necessity, Cepicky added, “Well, if you’d have a child that is allergic to a certain vaccine, and it’s not disclosed, when you go to buy that, that vegetable, whatever it is, and your child dies from that, I would think that having place is going to make sure that that is treated as a pharmaceutical so that the consumers know exactly what they’re buying.”
Anti-vaxers gained a foothold during the COVID pandemic, spreading false claims about vaccines. Last year the fact-checking website Snopes deemed it “false” that “mRNA from COVID-19 vaccines has entered the food supply via genetically modified plants bred to contain it or through the consumption of vaccinated livestock.”
“Claims regarding COVID-19 vaccines ‘in your salad‘ have persisted on the internet and recirculated due to misreadings or misinterpretations of several press releases or scientific research,” Snopes added, “Mike Flynn, during a September 2021 podcast appearance, referenced this research, describing it as ‘putting the vaccine in salad dressing.'”
Flynn, the former Trump U.S. national security advisor, is a far-right Christian nationalist and Trump MAGA activist.
Tennessee lawmakers voted to move Rep. Capicky’s forward.
Watch Rep. Capicky’s remarks below or at this link.
Tennessee State Rep. Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka) defends his bill to label vaccines (?) in food:
“When you go into a grocery store, you should know … This head of lettuce is a head of lettuce, the head of lettuce right next to it could include a vaccine in it.” pic.twitter.com/Q7fd33H05D
— Heartland Signal (@HeartlandSignal) February 22, 2024
‘Insultingly Stupid’: Trump’s Move to Toss Out Classified Docs Case Torn Apart by Experts
Lawyers for Donald Trump late Thursday night launched a multi-pronged effort to toss out of court Special Counsel Jack Smith’s prosecution of the ex-president in the classified documents case, which includes charges under the Espionage Act. Many legal experts were stunned, not only by the move, but by the shallowness of the arguments.
The motions will be decided by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, appointed by then-President Donald Trump during his last year in office.
“Mr. Trump’s lawyers made a barrage of legal arguments in seeking to circumvent a criminal case that many legal experts consider the most ironclad of the four against him,” The New York Times reported just past midnight, observing that some of the claims presented by attorneys for the indicted ex-president “tested the bounds of credulity or clashed with prior court rulings.”
“They attacked the law he is accused of violating, questioned the legality of the special counsel prosecuting him and argued that he is shielded from prosecution by presidential immunity,” the Times reported, adding that many of the arguments “appeared designed to delay the case from moving toward trial, a strategy that Mr. Trump has pursued in all of the criminal proceedings he is facing.”
Politico late Friday morning added the seven different motions filed were “a grab bag of arguments that the charges are legally faulty, that prosecutors have targeted him for political reasons and that the special counsel spearheading the case had no legal authority to bring it.”
Nearly two weeks ago Trump, citing his claim of “presidential immunity,” asked the U.S. Supreme Court to delay proceedings in Special Counsel Smith’s other court case against him, the election interference trial. The Court agreed to take up the case but has not released its decision.
Now, citing the same or similar arguments, Trump is plowing forward.
“Trump claims that he designated the classified materials ‘personal’ and he took his ‘personal records’ to Mar-a-Lago with him,” MSNBC legal contributor Katie Phang reported Thursday night.
Phang points to this section, the opening of Trump’s motion:
“President Donald J. Trump respectfully submits this motion seeking dismissal of Counts 1 through 32 on the basis of presidential immunity, as these charges stem directly from official acts by President Trump while in office,” it reads. “Specifically, President Trump is immune from prosecution on Counts 1 through 32 because the charges turn on his alleged decision to designate records as personal under the Presidential Records Act (‘PRA’) and to cause the records to be moved from the White House to Mar-a-Lago. As alleged in the Superseding Indictment, President Trump made this decision while he was still in office. The alleged decision was an official act, and as such is subject to presidential immunity.”
After the FBI executed a legal search warrant of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and resort in 2022, agents retrieved “11 sets of classified documents, including some marked as top secret and meant to be only available in special government facilities,” The Wall Street Journal reported at the time.
The federal government, in total, has recovered from Trump “more than 300 classified documents” with classified markings, totaling over 700 pages, The New York Times reported in August of 2022.
“Material about nuclear weapons is especially sensitive and usually restricted to a small number of government officials, experts said,” The Washington Post also reported at the time. “Publicizing details about U.S. weapons could provide an intelligence road map to adversaries seeking to build ways of countering those systems. And other countries might view exposing their nuclear secrets as a threat, experts said.”
Back in October, NBC News reported, Trump “allegedly shared sensitive information about U.S. nuclear submarines with an Australian billionaire who is a member of his Mar-a-Lago club.”
Meanwhile, legal experts were stunned by Trump’s attorneys’ overnight motion to toss the case.
“This motion is insultingly stupid,” wrote national security attorney Brad Moss. “Trump is arguing he designated all these highly classified records as PERSONAL records, and that he therefore had the right to keep them. Even if that was a plausible argument, this is a motion to dismiss: he can’t introduce news facts.”
Former U.S. Ambassador and former Obama “Ethics Czar” Norm Eisen, an attorney and CNN legal analyst, Thursday night wrote, “I just finished reading Trump’s absolute immunity motion in the MAL [Mar-a-Lago] docs case.”
“If this were allowed, POTUS could declassify all of our most sensitive secrets when leaving office & sell them to Putin 5 minutes later,” he noted, adding: “As bad as Seal Team 6 hypo[thesis] in 1/6 case.”
In a more in-depth examination, Moss explained, “If Trump’s immunity arguments in the DC and FL cases actually succeed, Joe Biden can do the following: 1) declare Trump a threat to election integrity and have him imprisoned immediately, at a minimum, 2) declare the entire Trump Org a threat to national security and seize all of its assets.”
He continues: “3) cancel the election, 4) if, by some chance, he is forced out of office, he can walk out of the White House with 15 moving vans full of every classified secret he wants and sell them to the highest bidder. And no one could do anything to prosecute him for any of it. He can pardon anyone he wants while in office and who helped him commit any illegal act he could think of to do #1-#3, and he can then claim immunity for himself if he is later indicted.”
Arrested Again: Ex-FBI Informant and GOP Former Star Witness Alexander Smirnov
Alexander Smirnov, the former FBI informant who was arrested just eight days ago and charged with lying to the Bureau about Joe Biden and Hunter Biden, has again been arrested, his lawyers state in an emergency court filing Thursday.
Smirnov allegedly used Russian intelligence to smear the Bidens, falsely claiming both Joe Biden and Hunter Biden had each accepted $5 million bribes. His claims were the basis of House Republicans’ impeachment investigation into President Biden.
But as NBC News’ Tom Winter reported, it’s a “mystery,” at least for now, why Smirnov was arrested again, his lawyers say, on the same charges as the first time.
Winter says earlier today at his attorneys’ offices in Las Vegas, Nevada, “Apparently agents showed up with a valid arrest warrant out of the Central District of California and took him into custody, but according to his attorneys, it was for the same exact indictment and the same exact charges that he had been previously hit with.”
CNN adds that the warrant “this time” was “signed by federal district Judge Otis Wright, who will oversee the criminal case out of California.”
The federal government asked for Smirnov to be detained but a magistrate judge allowed him to be released last week.
Winter reports that Smirnov’s attorneys say “they would like to know why” he was re-arrested, “and there’s no indication on the docket that the judge has granted some sort of emergency motion to remand him, basically to pull him off the streets because he’s violated his agreement.”
“So a bit of a mystery at this point,” Winter adds.
CNN notes that after his first arrest, “Smirnov was released by Magistrate Judge Daniel Albregts in Nevada on Tuesday with several conditions, including GPS monitoring and the surrender of his two passports.”
Politico’s Kyle Cheney posted the arrest warrant. See it below or at this link.
JUST IN: Alexander SMIRNOV, the former FBI informant charged with feeding false info about the Bidens, has been rearrested despite a magistrate’s release order.
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) February 22, 2024
Image: Screenshot of Smirnov with his face hidden from camera view
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