Quit Picking on the Republicans

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Former U.S. Rep. George Santos sues late-night host Jimmy Kimmel
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Published Feb 17, 2024 • Last updated 23 hours ago • 2 minute read

NEW YORK (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. George Santos alleged in a lawsuit filed Saturday that late-night host Jimmy Kimmel deceived him into making videos on the Cameo app that were used to ridicule the disgraced New York Republican on the show.


The lawsuit filed in U.S. district court for the southern district of New York names Kimmel, ABC and Walt Disney Co. as defendants. A Disney representative listed as a media contact for the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show didn’t immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment.


Santos, who was expelled from the House of Representatives last year after being charged with multiple counts of fraud and stealing from donors, is suing over alleged copyright infringement, fraudulent inducement, breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

Kimmel misrepresented himself to induce Santos to create personalized videos “capitalizing on and ridiculing” his “gregarious personality,” the lawsuit alleges.

Through Cameo, Santos received requests from individuals and businesses seeking personalized video messages. Unbeknownst to Santos, Kimmel submitted at least 14 requests that used phony names and narratives, according to the complaint.

Starting in December the videos were played on a segment, “ Will Santos Say It? ” the suit says.


In one of the clips, Santos offers congratulations to the purported winner of a beef-eating contest, calling the feat of consuming 6 pounds (2.7 kilograms) of loose ground beef in under 30 minutes “amazing and impressive.”

“Frankly, Kimmel’s fake requests were funny, but what he did was clear violation of copyright law,” Robert Fantone, an attorney for Santos, said in an email.

Santos is seeking statutory damages totaling $750,000 for the five videos he created that were played on the show and various social media platforms. He also asks for other damages to be determined at trial.

The ex-lawmaker faces a slew of criminal charges, including allegations that he defrauded campaign donors, lied to Congress about his wealth, received unemployment benefits while employed and used campaign contributions to pay for personal expenses like designer clothing. He also is alleged to have made unauthorized charges on credit cards belonging to some of his donors.

Santos pleaded not guilty to a revised indictment in October.

On Tuesday, Democrat Tom Suozzi won a special election for Santos’ former seat.
 

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U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert’s son facing possible felony charges in string of vehicle break-ins
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Colleen Slevin and Jesse Bedayn
Published Feb 28, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 2 minute read

DENVER — The oldest son of U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert is suspected of being part of a group of friends who used credit cards stolen from cars to make purchases at gas stations and McDonald’s, according to court documents released Wednesday.


Tyler Boebert, 18, was identified as a suspect after being spotted in a surveillance video at a gas station store with the group when one of the stolen cards was used for a purchase by someone else, according to his arrest affidavit. He was wearing a hoodie from Shooter’s Grill, the restaurant once owned by Lauren Boebert, and was also recognized by police from previous encounters, the document said.


The name of the other person using the stolen credit card, believed to be a juvenile, was redacted.


Police in the small western Colorado city of Rifle announced Tuesday that Tyler Boebert had been arrested in connection with a recent string of vehicle break-ins and property thefts and was facing possible felony charges of criminal possession of identification documents involving multiple victims and conspiracy to commit a felony. He also faces over 15 additional misdemeanor and petty offenses, police said in a statement.


Boebert was released Wednesday after appearing in court briefly by video from jail, wearing a black-and-white striped uniform. Defence lawyer Peyton Miller told Magistrate Jill McConaughy that prosecutors had agreed for his release without bail, and McConaughy agreed to allow that. No charges have been filed against him.

A prosecutor told McConaughy that juveniles were suspected of being involved in the theft and use of credit cards, and the judge ordered that the names of any of them be redacted from the affidavit.

Miller is a lawyer for the state public defender’s office, which does not comment on its cases to the media. She did not address the allegations during the court hearing.

In a statement, Lauren Boebert said she loves her son and he “has been through some very difficult, public challenges for a young man and the subject of attention that he didn’t ask for” but should also be held accountable like anyone else.


“It breaks my heart to see my child struggling and in this situation, especially when he has been provided multiple opportunities to get his life on track. I will never give up on him and I will continue to be there for him,” she said.

Lauren Boebert, a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump, used to live in a town near Rifle, a city of about 10,000, but switched districts in December to run in a more solidly Republican district after facing a tough reelection bid back home.

Earlier this month she obtained a temporary restraining order against her ex-husband after accusing him of threatening to harm her and entering the family’s home without permission. It was the latest in a series of flare-ups between her and Jayson Boebert. In seeking the order, she cited the family turmoil as another reason for her move to Windsor in her new district.
 

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Mitch McConnell will step down as U.S. Senate Republican leader in November
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Michael Tackett
Published Feb 28, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 6 minute read

WASHINGTON — Mitch McConnell, the longest-serving Senate leader in history who maintained his power in the face of dramatic convulsions in the Republican Party for almost two decades, will step down from that position in November.


McConnell, who turned 82 last week, announced his decision Wednesday in the well of the Senate, a place where he looked in awe from its back benches in 1985 when he arrived and where he grew increasingly comfortable in the front row seat afforded the party leaders.


“One of life’s most underappreciated talents is to know when it’s time to move on to life’s next chapter,” he said. “So I stand before you today … to say that this will be my last term as Republican leader of the Senate.”

His decision punctuates a powerful ideological transition underway in the Republican Party, from Ronald Reagan’s brand of traditional conservatism and strong international alliances, to the fiery, often isolationist populism of former President Donald Trump.


He said he plans to serve out his Senate term, which ends in January 2027, “albeit from a different seat in the chamber.”

McConnell’s voice cracked with emotion as he looked back on his career and said it was time for a new generation of leaders. Dozens of members of his staff lined up behind him on the back wall of the chamber, some wiping away tears, as family and friends looked down from the gallery above. Senators from both parties — most of them taken by surprise by the announcement — trickled into the chamber as he spoke and shook his hand after he finished.

Aides said McConnell’s announcement about the leadership post was unrelated to his health. The Kentucky senator had a concussion from a fall last year and two public episodes where his face briefly froze while he was speaking.


“As I have been thinking about when I would deliver some news to the Senate, I always imagined a moment when I had total clarity and peace about the sunset of my work,” McConnell said. “A moment when I am certain I have helped preserve the ideals I so strongly believe. It arrived today.”

The senator had been under increasing pressure from the restive, and at times hostile wing of his party that has aligned firmly with Trump. The two have been estranged since December 2020, when McConnell refused to abide Trump’s lie that the election of Democrat Joe Biden as president was the product of fraud.

But while McConnell’s critics within the GOP conference had grown louder, their numbers had not grown appreciably larger, a marker of McConnell’s strategic and tactical skill and his ability to understand the needs of his fellow Republican senators.


McConnell gave no specific reason for the timing of his decision, which he has been contemplating for months, but he cited the recent death of his wife’s youngest sister as a moment that prompted introspection. “The end of my contributions are closer than I’d prefer,” McConnell said.

But his remarks were also light at times as he talked about the arc of his Senate career.

He noted that when he arrived in the Senate, “I was just happy if anybody remembered my name.” During his campaign in 1984, when Reagan was visiting Kentucky, the president called him “Mitch O’Donnell.”

McConnell endorsed Reagan’s view of America’s role in the world and the senator has persisted in face of opposition, including from Trump, that Congress should include a foreign assistance package that includes $60 billion for Ukraine.


“I am unconflicted about the good within our country and the irreplaceable role we play as the leader of the free world,” McConnell said.

Against long odds he managed to secure 22 Republican votes for the package now being considered by the House.

“Believe me, I know the politics within my party at this particular moment in time. I have many faults. Misunderstanding politics is not one of them,” McConnell said. “That said, I believe more strongly than ever that America’s global leadership is essential to preserving the shining city on a hill that Ronald Reagan discussed. For as long as I am drawing breath on this earth I will defend American exceptionalism.”

After his speech, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, congratulated him in a brief speech, saying that she admired him “for stepping forward when it wasn’t popular to do the right thing for our country and our world.”


Trump has pulled the party hard to the ideological right, questioning longtime military alliances such as NATO, international trade agreements and pushing for a severe crackdown on immigration, all the while clinging to the falsehood that the election was stolen from him in 2020.

McConnell and Trump had worked together in Trump’s first term, remaking the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary in a far more conservative image, and on tax legislation. But there was also friction from the start, with Trump frequently sniping at the senator.

Their relationship has essentially been over since Trump refused to accept the results of the Electoral College. But the rupture deepened dramatically after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. McConnell assigned blame and responsibility to Trump and said that he should be held to account through the criminal justice system for his actions.


McConnell’s critics insist he could have done more, including voting to convict Trump during his second impeachment trial. McConnell did not, arguing that since Trump was no longer in office, he could not be subject to impeachment.

Rather than fade from prominence after the Capitol riot, Trump continued to assert his control over the party, and finds himself on a clear glidepath to the Republican nomination. Other members of the Republican Senate leadership have endorsed Trump. McConnell has not, and that has drawn criticism from other Republican senators.

McConnell’s path to power was hardly linear, but from the day he walked onto the Senate floor in 1985 and took his seat as the most junior Republican senator, he set his sights on being the party leader. What set him apart was that so many other Senate leaders wanted to run for president. McConnell wanted to run the Senate. He lost races for lower party positions before steadily ascending, and finally became party leader in 2006 and has won nine straight elections.


He most recently beat back a challenge led by Sen. Rick Scott of Florida last November.

McConnell built his power base by a combination of care and nurturing of his members, including understanding their political imperatives. After seeing the potential peril of a rising Tea Party, he also established a super political action committee, The Senate Leadership Fund, which has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in support of Republican candidates.

Despite the concerns about his health, colleagues have said in recent months that they believe he has recovered. McConnell was not impaired cognitively, but did have some additional physical limitations.

“I love the Senate,” he said. “It has been my life. There may be more distinguished members of this body throughout our history, but I doubt there are any with more admiration for it.”

But, he added, “Father Time remains undefeated. I am no longer the young man sitting in the back, hoping colleagues would remember my name. It is time for the next generation of leadership.”

There would be a time to reminisce, he said, but not today.

“I still have enough gas in the tank to thoroughly disappoint my critics and I intend to do so with all the enthusiasm which they have become accustomed.”
 

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George Santos, expelled from Congress last year, says he is running again
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Published Mar 08, 2024 • 1 minute read

WASHINGTON — Former U.S. Rep. George Santos, who was expelled from Congress in December and faces federal charges of defrauding donors to his 2022 campaign, has announced he is running for the House again.


Santos, a Republican who is just the sixth member to be ousted by fellow House members, posted Thursday night on X that he will challenge Republican Rep. Nick LaLota, who represents a district on New York’s Long Island that is different from the one Santos represented before he was expelled.


Santos made the announcement after attending President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address and mingling with former colleagues who voted to kick him out of Congress following a blistering report by the House Ethics Committee.

Santos, who had previously said he would not seek elective office again, said on X that he decided to challenge LaLota in New York’s 1st Congressional District, on eastern Long Island, after “prayer and conversation” with friends and family.


“Tonight, I want to announce that I will be returning to the arena of politics and challenging Nick for the battle over #NY1,” Santos posted.

Santos filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission designating a campaign committee and declaring his intent to challenge LaLota in the Republican primary in June.

LaLota, a leader of the effort to expel Santos, responded on X, “If finishing the job requires beating him in a primary, count me in.”

Democrat Tom Suozzi, who had represented the seat that Santos won in 2022 but stepped down to mount a failed run for governor of New York, won the district back in a special election last month.

Santos has admitted to lying about his job experience and college education during his previous campaign.

He has pleaded not guilty to charges including lying to Congress about his wealth, receiving unemployment benefits he didn’t deserve, and using campaign contributions to pay for personal expenses like designer clothing.

A judge has tentatively scheduled the trial for September, after the primary.
 

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Missouri candidate with ties to KKK can stay on Republican ballot, judge rules
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Summer Ballentine
Published May 17, 2024 • 2 minute read

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A longshot Missouri gubernatorial candidate with ties to the Ku Klux Klan will stay on the Republican ticket, a judge ruled Friday.


Cole County Circuit Court Judge Cotton Walker denied a request by the Missouri GOP to kick Darrell McClanahan out of the August Republican primary.


McClanahan is running against Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, state Sen. Bill Eigel and others for the GOP nomination to replace Gov. Mike Parson, who is barred by term limits from seeking reelection.

McClanahan’s lawyer, Dave Roland, said the ruling ensures that party leaders do not have “almost unlimited discretion to choose who’s going to be allowed on a primary ballot.”

“Their theory of the case arguably would have required courts to remove people from the ballot, maybe even the day before elections,” Roland said.

McClanahan, who has described himself as “pro-white” but denies being racist or antisemitic, was among nearly 280 Republican candidates who officially filed to run for office in February, on what is known as filing day. Hundreds of candidates line up at the secretary of state’s Jefferson City office on filing day in Missouri, the first opportunity to officially declare candidacy.


The Missouri GOP accepted his party dues but denounced him after a former state lawmaker posted photos on social media that appear to show McClanahan making the Nazi salute. McClanahan confirmed the accuracy of the photos to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

In his decision, Walker wrote that the Republican Party “has made clear that it does not endorse his candidacy, and it remains free to publicly disavow McClanahan and any opinions the plaintiff believes to be antithetical to its values.”

“I’m not sure they ever actually intended to win this case,” said McClanahan’s lawyer, Roland. “I think the case got filed because the Republican Party wanted to make a very big public show that they don’t want to be associated with racism or anti-Semitism. And the best way that they could do that was filing a case that they knew was almost certain to lose.”


The Associated Press’ emailed requests for comment to the Missouri GOP executive director and its lawyer were not immediately returned Friday. But Missouri GOP lawyers have said party leaders did not realize who McClanahan was when he signed up as a candidate back in February.

McClanahan has argued that the Missouri GOP was aware of the beliefs. He previously ran as a Republican for U.S. Senate in 2022.

In a separate lawsuit against the Anti-Defamation League last year, McClanahan claimed the organization defamed him by calling him a white supremacist in an online post.

In his lawsuit against the ADL, McClanahan described himself as a “Pro-White man.” McClanahan wrote that he is not a member of the Ku Klux Klan; he said received an honorary one-year membership. And he said he attended a “private religious Christian Identity Cross lighting ceremony falsely described as a cross burning.”
 
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