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North Korea recently tested an extremely powerful nuclear weapon, raising questions about whether the U.S. intends to use military force against the rogue regime.

“Military action would certainly be an option. Is it inevitable? Nothing is inevitable,” President Donald Trump said Thursday afternoon at a joint press conference with the leader of Kuwait. “It would be great if something else could be worked out.” The president said, however, that if it comes to using force, the U.S. will ruin Kim Jong Un’s day.

North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test Sunday, claiming to have successfully tested a staged thermonuclear weapon. Test data suggests that North Korea tested a device with an explosive yield of roughly 150 kilotons. The North intends to mount this weapon on the new Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile, which can strike parts, if not most, of the continental U.S.

North Korea is moving closer to achieving its nuclear goals, and time is running out for the U.S. and its allies, which are still striving for a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

Trump explained that his administration would have to “look at all of the details, all of the facts” before pursuing the military option. The president warned last month that the military is “locked and loaded” to rain down “fire and fury” on North Korea if it forces America’s hand, but the administration remains committed to pursuing a diplomatic solution.

“We’ve had presidents for 25 years now,” Trump explained. “They’ve been talking talking talking, and then day after an agreement is reached, new work begins in North Korea, a continuation on nuclear [weapons].”

The president appears to have been referencing former President Bill Clinton’s approach to the problem — making a deal with North Korea, one which involved providing billions of dollars to Pyongyang in exchange for a nuclear freeze. The North negotiated in bad faith, began developing nuclear material, and tested a nuclear weapon roughly a decade later.

“I would prefer not going the route of the military, but it is something certainly that could happen,” Trump said, telling reporters about the power of the U.S. military. “Hopefully we aren’t going to have to use it on North Korea. If we do use it on North Korea, it will be a very sad day for North Korea.”

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    Congressional Committee Announces Investigation Into Ocasio-Cortez



    Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is under congressional investigation, the House Ethics Committee announced in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

    “The Acting Chairwoman and Acting Ranking Member of the Committee on Ethics have jointly decided to extend the matter regarding Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which was transmitted to the Committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics on June 23, 2022,” the committee said in a statement.

    The statement said that the “mere fact of a referral or an extension, and the mandatory disclosure of such an extension and the name of the subject of the matter, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee.”

    No information was released on why the committee was investigating Ocasio-Cortez.

    Ocasio-Cortez was the subject of two complaints submitted to the committee last year over her attendance at the Met Gala, the New York Post reported.

    One complaint alleged that Ocasio-Cortez violated rules because she accepted free tickets to the event, which would normally be allowed if it was a charity event and the tickets were provided by the organizers, the report said. However, the Post noted that the group that filed the complaint alleged Ocasio-Cortez should not have been allowed to accept the ticket because “invitations are controlled by a for-profit company” and “tables at the event are similarly sponsored by corporate entities.”

    The second complaint alleged that the dress Ocasio-Cortez wore to the event, which featured giant red letters stating, “Tax The Rich,” constituted accepting a gift that she was not allowed to accept because it was “directly related to AOC’s ‘position with the House’ as a highly visible and controversial Member.”

    “If AOC had not been a Member, she would not have been invited to the Gala and even if she would have been invited as a private citizen, the designer would not have made a special dress for her to wear at the event,” the complaint said.

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    Police Seek Occupants of Newly Identified Vehicle in Case of 4 Murdered Idaho Students



    The Moscow (Idaho) Police Department said Wednesday that detectives want to speak with occupants of a white 2011-2013 Hyundai Elantra that was near the off-campus home where four college students were brutally murdered on Nov. 13.

    a”Tips and leads have led investigators to look for additional information about a vehicle being in the immediate area of the King Street residence during the early morning hours of November 13th. Investigators believe the occupant(s) of this vehicle may have critical information to share regarding this case,” police said in a news release.

    “If you know of or own a vehicle matching this description, or know of anyone who may have been driving this vehicle on the days preceding or the day of the murders, please forward that information to the Tip Line.”

    The car’s license plate is unknown.

    Authorities have received 2,645 emailed tips, 2,770 phone tips and 1,084 digital media submissions during the investigation thus far, but still have not identified a suspect or located a murder weapon.

    Xana Kernodle, 20; Ethan Chapin, 20; Madison Mogen, 21; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were stabbed to death at the off-campus residence in the early morning hours of Nov. 13.

    Moscow Police Department Chief James Fry and other law enforcement officers were at the home on Wednesday packing up some of the personal belongings of the victims.

    “It’s time for us to get those things back that really mean something to those families and hopefully help with some of their healing,” he said.

    Five vehicles that were previously parked outside of the home were removed last week and taken to a city-owned lot for further evidence gathering.

    Investigators have appealed to the college town of about 25,000 to report anything out of the ordinary that could be related to the murders.

    “Your information, whether you believe it is significant or not, might be the piece of the puzzle that helps investigators solve these murders,” the Moscow Police Department said in a statement.

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    McCarthy’s Mission: 6 Changes that Could Be Coming Once Republicans Take Over the House



    Though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is facing opposition from within his party as he vies for the speaker’s gavel, he has laid out his priorities for a Republican majority next year as he looks to appeal to all corners of the Republican conference.

    He is specifically catering to the conservative House Freedom Caucus, to which most of his detractors belong. Here are six of McCarthy’s campaign promises that will likely soon be enacted in the House.

    Investigate DHS Secretary Mayorkas over the border crisis

    McCarthy said last month that a GOP-led House would investigate Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and threatened that he could face impeachment if he does not resign over his handling of the border crisis.

    “He cannot, and must not, remain in that position,” McCarthy said at a border press conference in November. “If Secretary Mayorkas does not resign, House Republicans will investigate every order, every action, and every failure to determine whether we can begin an impeachment inquiry.”

    Kick certain Democrats off committees

    McCarthy has said he will remove Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and Adam Schiff (D-CA) from the House Intelligence Committee and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the Foreign Affairs Committee.

    The move would address Swalwell’s past relationship with an alleged Chinese spy and Omar’s comments about Israel. McCarthy has said Schiff, the current chairman of the Intelligence Committee, lied about the investigation into former President Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia during the 2016 election. All three have publicly decried their possible ousting.

    This would also retaliate against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi kicking Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) off of their committees due to past conspiratorial social media posts in Greene’s case and alleged incitement of political violence in Gosar’s, as well as the Democrats’ rejection of McCarthy’s picks for the Jan. 6 select committee.

    Investigate Hunter Biden and COVID-19 origins

    McCarthy has promised to use the oversight power of the House majority to investigate President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “Hunter Biden’s laptop connects President Joe Biden to his son’s corrupt foreign business dealings, and House Republicans will investigate to what extent this connection impacts our national security — including whether President Biden has acted in our nation’s best interest or his own family’s self-interest,” an outline of McCarthy’s oversight priorities says.

    The COVID-19 investigation will look into the “CCP’s role in the spread of COVID and withholding information from the world,” “to what extent the American taxpayers have funded gain of function research in China,” and “the collusion within NIH to discredit the ‘lab leak’ theory and push natural occurrence against gathered data and evidence.”

    Create a select committee on China

    The Republican majority will also establish a new committee to evaluate the U.S.-China relationship on issues including the Chinese Communist Party’s role in fentanyl production and export, deceptive trade and business practices, and lobbying in America.

    End proxy voting

    The House instituted a rule change toward the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that allows members to cast votes on behalf of colleagues. Some Republicans hold that the rule is unconstitutional, and McCarthy tried to end it with a lawsuit that the Supreme Court ultimately rejected. With the new Congress, the Republicans are likely to get rid of proxy voting immediately and return to in-person votes only, though members on both sides of the aisle made heavy use of the practice.

    Roll back IRS changes

    Republicans railed against a provision of the Inflation Reduction Act passed in August that they said allowed for the hiring of 87,000 new Internal Revenue Service employees, and McCarthy will try to roll back the funding boost. However, any bill aimed at eliminating this funding wouldn’t pass the Democrat-controlled Senate.

    Other promises include the full reopening of the Capitol to the public, investigating why law enforcement wasn’t prepared for the Jan. 6 riot, and passing bills relating to culture war battles.

    If these promises are enticing enough for his Republican naysayers on Jan. 3, when the House will hold its speakership vote, remains to be seen. McCarthy’s majority stands at 222 seats to the Democrats’ 213 seats. He needs the support of at least half the House to claim the gavel, but a handful of hard-line Republicans are threatening his bid.

    Though another one of his oversight goals involves a more transparent budget, Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) said he wouldn’t be swayed after McCarthy rejected the Republican Study Committee’s plan to address the national debt.

    “Economic security is national security. I was not happy with the answer Kevin gave me about balancing the budget,” he said last month. “I don’t care who the speaker is. It could be Mickey Mouse, but if we have our way, we’re gonna have some firm economic mandates.”

    Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Matt Rosendale (R-MT), and Bob Good (R-VA) have also either said or strongly indicated they will not vote for McCarthy. Biggs has put himself forward as an alternate candidate for a second time after losing the party nomination to McCarthy.

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    LISTEN: Barstool Star – And Fox News Guest – Caught on Hot Mic Bashing Hosts, Mocking Audience



    Barstool Sports personality Francis Ellis bashed Fox News hosts Jesse Watters and Tucker Carlson — and mocked the network’s audience as stupid — on a hot mic just days after making an appearance on Watters’ show.

    Ellis, who hosts Barstool’s “Oops the Podcast,” may have created new fodder for his own show with the comments that aired on Tuesday’s episode of “Barstool Rundown,” accusing the network that has invited him on as a guest — multiple times — of “trafficking in hate.”

    Mediaite obtained the unedited audio, which can be heard below.


    Co-host Adam Ferrone, after signaling the end of the show, asked Ellis about his most recent hit on Watters’ show, “Jesse Watters Primetime,” on Monday.

    “He wanted me to talk about how Democrats in Massachusetts want to lower the voting age to 16,” Ellis answered, explaining that he had weighed in with a Q-Anon joke and one referencing “To Catch a Predator,” but that overall, he didn’t feel great about the segment. “I just couldn’t get my feet under me. And I was like, I’m trying too hard.”

    The hosts then asked what Ellis would do if Fox News offered him a “man-on-the-street” gig — mirroring how Watters had started out on the air with former network host Bill O’Reilly — and Ellis claimed they had offered that and he had turned them down.

    “But what if they offered you not just a segment, but what if they’re like, ‘Francis, we want you to do the eight o’clock to nine o’clock hour!’” Ferrone upped the ante, and Ellis said he would consider that.

    But then Ellis pivoted to attack Fox News — and the hosts who have given him airtime — saying, “Look, I got home. I talked my wife about it ’cause I was disappointed in myself and she was like, ‘Let’s be honest, like, do you want to be working with these f***ing people?’ She was like, ‘I watched the rest of his show — he’s a f***ing joke.’”

    “This is still part of the ‘Rundown,’” Ferrone said, and another voice confirmed, “Still rolling, baby!”

    “And then like, Tucker comes on and just screams,” Ellis continued. “It’s so weird. … They’re just trafficking in hate.”

    Ellis did not stop the attack, instead redirecting it toward the Fox News audience — which he suggested was comprised of people too stupid to realize that he was intentionally screwing with them.

    “I think last night I went into a place that I shouldn’t have gone to,” he admitted before adding, “No, because last night I was like, yes, the Democrats are like eating children beneath pizza shops. There are people watching that, who don’t know that I’m f***ing with them. They’re like, ‘Finally a young, handsome person is saying it!’”

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    Hospital Denies Life Saving Kidney Transplant to Dying 14-Year-Old Girl for Being Unvaccinated



    Duke University Hospital is now denying a life-saving kidney transplant operation to a dying teenager for refusing the experimental Covid-19 vaccine.

    Yulia Hicks, 14, was adopted by North Carolina Army Veterans Chrissy and Lee Hicks in 2021 after being brought from Ukraine to the United States in December 2018.

    Chrissy and Lee knew they were adopting a child with a genetic kidney condition that would eventually require surgery when they decided to bring Yulia home in January 2021.

    “She fit in right away with Lee and Chrissy’s 10 other children, 2 of which are also adopted,” according to a fundraising campaign created by Emily Grace. “14-year-old Yulia is outgoing and always positive despite the hardships in her life, to include the last 15 months of DAILY dialysis.”

    According to Grace, the Duke University Hospital denied life-saving surgery because of Yulia’s vaccination status.

    “Duke University Hospital REFUSED to conduct Yulia’s kidney transplant surgery because she is not vaccinated. A horrible injustice in itself, now the Hick’s family must pay for out-of-state travel and lodging expenses for not only Yulia and her mother but also her potential donor! The transplant process is not easy nor quick. Between the numerous pre-surgery tests, the procedure itself, recovery, and the years of regular appointments, the whole endeavor is now financially IMPOSSIBLE for the large Hicks family,” Grace said.

    Chrissy Hicks posted on Yulia’s website:

    We were hopeful that things would go our way. Today we were told that Yulia cannot have a transplant at Duke even if we have a live donor for her because of our refusal of the HPV and Covid vaccines. The HPV is new, we just learned of it yesterday. So here we sit contemplating our next steps.

    To think that a committee can determine someone’s life is terrifying. This is without a doubt medical tyranny. What has become of the medical community? How does the refusal of a shot that is known to cause many health issues AND does NOT stop the spread of a disease deny a 14 year a lifesaving therapy? How does that happen in America?

    Today we are sad. Tomorrow is a new day, and God is there with an answer for us.

    The Hicks and the Duke medical staff had a phone conversation in late November during which the latter made it clear that Yulia would not be considered for surgery until she had the vaccination, according to National File.

    “During the 15 min phone call, both of the Hicks parents wondered if what they were being told was the official hospital policy because between the members on the conference call that day, there was a great deal of confusion as to why the shot was being required of them or if it was, based on conflicting statements by the medical experts,” the outlet added.

    The Hicks family provided National File with a recording of a conversation.

    Watch the video below:

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    Joe Rogan Accuses Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson of Using Steroids: ‘Come Clean Right Now’



    Legendary podcast host Joe Rogan is urging actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to come clean about his alleged steroid use in response to a figure in the fitness world admitting last week that he lied about the issue.

    Rogan, who is also a UFC commentator, made the remarks about Johnson in reference to Brian Johnson, who goes by the “Liver King,” admitting last week that he “lied” and “misled” a lot of people about his own steroid use.

    “The Rock should come clean right now,” Rogan said on an episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast. “He should make a video in response to the ‘Liver King’ video. I need to talk to you because The Rock’s been lying. There’s not a f***ing chance in hell he’s clean. Not a chance in hell. As big as The Rock is at 50? He’s so massive, and he’s so different than he was when he was 30.”

    “There’s a responsibility you have to people who are listening to you,” Rogan continued. “If you don’t want to talk about it, that’s one thing. But if you do talk about it, there’s a responsibility you have to people listening to you, and I think you have to be honest about it, which is why I’m honest about it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking hormone replacement.”

    Rogan’s guest on the podcast, Derek from the YouTube channel “More Plates More Dates,” said Johnson suggests that he does not take steroids, although he has admitted to taking steroids in the past.

    Derek broke the story about the Liver King’s steroid use last week in a video in which he showed viewers an email that Liver King sent to him admitting that he takes thousands of dollars of steroids every month.

    Liver King later admitted that the story was true in a video that he posted online.

    “I’m making this video to apologize because I f***ed up, because I’m embarrassed and ashamed,” he said. “Because I lied and I misled a lot of people.”

    “Yes, I’ve done steroids,” he continued. “And yes, I am on steroids monitored and managed by a trained hormone clinician.”

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    Cartel Hitman Known for Decapitating Enemies Vanishes From US Prison



    A cartel leader and hitman fond of videotaping torture sessions and decapitating likely dozens of enemies has gone missing from a federal prison in Florida, where he was serving a 49-year sentence.

    As of November, Edgar Valdez-Villareal, a Mexican American cartel leader, had been mysteriously removed from the federal Bureau of Prisons website. He is now listed as “not in BOP custody” even though his release date is not until July 27, 2056.

    Valdez-Villareal, 49, is known by his underworld moniker “La Barbie,” and headed up the Los Negros, an enforcement group of the Beltran Leyva cartel — one of Mexico’s most ruthless underworld groups. At one point, he was a top lieutenant for the Sinaloa Cartel, run by convicted drug dealer Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman-Loera.

    Valdez-Villareal grew up in Laredo, Texas, and was given his nickname from a high school football coach because his blue eyes and light complexion made him look like a Ken doll, according to a report.

    “We called him Ken Doll, mostly because his hair was blond and kinky like the doll’s,” a friend from United High School told Rolling Stone in 2011. “The coach upped the ante to Barbie, and it took off like wildfire.”

    Fond of designer clothes and expensive watches, Valdez-Villareal eluded authorities for years despite bounties that totaled in the millions of dollars. After the December 2009 death of cartel leader Arturo Beltran-Leyva, La Barbie launched a brutal battle for control of the Beltran-Leyva cartel. As a leader of Los Negros, he participated in torture, which he often videotaped, and recruited police officers and rival cartel members as informants, according to Mexican news reports.

    During a particularly vicious phase of a turf war between cartels in Cuernavaca in August 2010, four decapitated bodies were found hanging from a bridge with a warning that anyone helping La Barbie would suffer a similar end.

    He was finally captured during a firefight with Mexican authorities at a rural home northwest of Mexico City in 2010. At the time of his capture, he was the only American citizen to have ever risen so high in the ranks of Mexico’s cartels.

    La Barbie moved to Mexico in the 1990s after being charged in the US with dealing marijuana, according to reports. He soon became one of the ruthless underworld enforcers in the battles between drug traffickers that left hundreds dead in Mexico.

    When working for the Sinaloa Cartel, Valdez-Villareal was asked by El Chapo to help bribe Mexican prison employees to get long johns to the cartel leader’s son. When two men took the bribe but asked for $500,000 rather than the original $100,000 fee, La Barbie ratted them out — leading to their torturous deaths.

    For years, he controlled the drug routes into Acapulco, moving two tons of cocaine into the US every month, according to reports. He was also responsible for much of the violence that erupted in the area. In addition to his own Los Negros hit squad, he recruited other gang members, including MS-13, to eliminate his rivals, according to US authorities.

    Valdez-Villareal was indicted in the US in 2010 and extradited to the US five years later, where he was found guilty of drug trafficking and money laundering.

    The question of why he is no longer in BOP custody was asked at the highest levels of the Mexican government last week.

    “It’s very strange what is going on in the United States with Mr. Villareal, who is no longer registered among those in custody and we want to know where he is,” said President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in a press conference. “There is no reason for him to leave prison because he was condemned to many years, unless there was some kind of an agreement.”

    Some experts on the Mexican cartels say that Valdez-Villareal could have made a deal with federal authorities.

    “He could be providing information on high-ranking cartel members, but even if this were the case I can’t see him being released from custody,” said Robert Almonte, a security consultant and former deputy chief of the Texas Police Department in El Paso. “He’s very dangerous. He’s killed people and he’s extremely violent and still has these connections to the cartels.”

    A spokesman for the Bureau of Prisons refused to say why Valdez-Villareal was no longer in federal custody, but told The Post that there could be many reasons. Inmates can be temporarily removed from the site if they are undergoing court hearings, medical treatments or unspecified “other reasons.”

    “We do not provide specific information on the status of inmates who are not in the custody of the BOP for safety, security or privacy reasons,” the spokesman told The Post.

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    Reality Star Doubles Down, Won’t Apologize For Saying Fat Nike Mannequins Are ‘Promoting Early Death’



    Reality star and personal trainer Daniel Holmes faced backlash over his comments claiming Nike glorifies obesity with plus-sized mannequins, but so far, he hasn’t backed down or apologized.

    The “Married at First Sight” star sparked controversy by posting an image of a larger-than-average mannequin outfitted in workout gear to his Instagram Stories page. “Those that say this is empowering are completely delusional,” he wrote in the caption. “It’s promoting early death. There is no power in that.”

    After getting several messages calling him out, Holmes clarified his statements and said they were taken out of context. But he didn’t apologize, backtrack, or say bodies can be healthy at every size, which is a common talking point from the fat acceptance movement.

    He acknowledged that many believe overweight people should be working out and shouldn’t be dissuaded from wearing workout clothes. But Holmes insisted that Nike was promoting that body type, not trying to encourage overweight people to exercise.

    The trainer said he wasn’t “body shaming” women with his post, saying instead that activewear companies that “promote obesity” should be the focus of everyone’s anger.

    “I’ve done a bit of a scan of all the crazy DMs and got a bit of an overview of what people were saying,” the reality show star said in a follow-up post. “And what people were saying was ‘what are people supposed to wear in the gym if they can’t promote overweight activewear.’”

    “Hey – clothes? It’s just the gym. It’s just a bunch of metal objects that you pick up. You don’t necessarily need to wear a particular brand of clothing to do that,” he continued. “That’s not the issue, it’s when brands start to cater to unhealthy body types — my concern is where does that lead?”

    Holmes also said his comments should be received “with compassion” because he knows losing weight can be challenging.

    “I understand it is quite difficult to lose weight. The steps in order to do it are relatively simple but to execute it is pretty difficult… I worked in the fitness industry for close to 10 years and it isn’t a new subject to me,” he said.

    The “MAFS” star concluded by slamming brands that promote “unhealthy” body types to make money, which is what he believes Nike is doing with the mannequins.

    “When we have brands that essentially promote this idea to make money, yes, I have an issue with that,” Holmes said.

    The comments were flooded with criticism from followers who thought people of all sizes should exercise in Nike activewear. They also called out the reality star for his past steroid use.

    “It’s a bit rich preaching about healthy lifestyles etc when you have abused steroids don’t you think?” one person replied.

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    Kari Lake on Lawsuit: ‘We’ll Take it All The Way to the Supreme Court’



    Arizona Republican Kari Lake has filed a legal challenge to the outcome of her gubernatorial race with Democrat Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. Lake believes she has an “exceptional” lawsuit and that she’s willing to “take it all the way to the Supreme Court” if necessary.

    Hobbs certified her own win over Lake on Monday with outgoing Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, Attorney General Mark Brnovich, and state Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Brutinel as witnesses, according to ABC News.

    With the certification complete, Lake has five days to file legal challenges in court.

    “We’re ready to go with what we believe to be an exceptional lawsuit. And we believe we will be victorious in that lawsuit,” Lake told Real America’s Voice “War Room” host Steve Bannon.

    “We’ll take it all the way to the Supreme Court if we have to. We will not stop fighting,” she continued.

    Over the weekend, Lake’s campaign issued a blistering response after being rebuked by a federal judge appointed by then-President Barack Obama, who also imposed a fine after filing an election-related lawsuit.

    U.S. District Judge John Tuchi of the District of Arizona rejected a Lake lawsuit earlier this year and then moved to fine her attorneys and those of Republican Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem last week.

    “Imposing sanctions, in this case, is not to ignore the importance of putting in place procedures to ensure that our elections are secure and reliable,” Tuchi wrote in his order. “It is to make clear that the Court will not condone litigants ignoring the steps that Arizona has already taken toward this end and furthering false narratives that baselessly undermine public trust at a time of increasing disinformation about, and distrust in, the democratic process.

    “It is to send a message to those who might file similarly baseless suits in the future,” Tuchi’s order noted further.

    That led to a fiery response from Lake’s legal team, which accused him of acting in a politically motivated manner while disputing his conclusions.

    “This case is not about money or gain,” said Lake campaign spokesperson Ross Trumble in a statement to media outlets. “It was essentially a public interest lawsuit seeking electoral integrity.

    “It is very, very rare to sanction a party in public interest suits. All in all, this reads like an angry Obama appointee who wants to send a message. The message is if you lose, shut up and don’t come to court. The message is not that you lost a case or acted in bad faith,” he added.

    Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz was one of the attorneys who joined the Lake and Finchem legal team, telling Law & Crime last week that he did so in support of election integrity.

    “I have not challenged the results of any Arizona elections. I have given legal advice about the future use of machine counting by companies that refuse to disclose the inner workings of their machines. I support transparency in elections,” he said.

    In an appearance on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast, Lake said she planned to “continue to fight for the people of Arizona” in spite of the federal judge’s sanctions.

    “This is not about me. I’ve said this all along; I’m just one voter, but I care deeply about Arizona. It is not fun to be in the middle of this,” Lake said. “But we have no other choice. I have no other choice but to stand up and fight right now for the people of Arizona. If I don’t, who will?”

    Late last month, Lake’s team filed a lawsuit against Maricopa County election officials seeking records pertaining to the recently concluded election.

    The lawsuit states:

    Plaintiff desires that every lawful vote be properly counted and every voter who was eligible to vote be allowed to vote. Unfortunately, due to Defendants’ failures, many eligible voters may not have been able to vote. Because Defendants were unable or unwilling to conduct a reconciliation of voter check ins against ballots cast of each polling center on election night in accordance with Arizona law and have now unlawfully refused to produce public records in response to two public records requests regarding how they administered the election, Plaintiff cannot determine that every lawful vote will be properly counted. The records Plaintiff requested in response to the numerous issues with Defendants’administration of the election are consistent with a parallel demand by the Arizona Attorney General for answers to questions about the Defendants’ actions.

    The suit named Stephen Richer, who is the Maricopa County recorder, and other officials and was filed in Arizona Superior Court. The suit seeks prompt release of certain information regarding how the elections were administered, “which featured widespread issues in the state’s largest county,” The Epoch Times reported.

    “Given instances of misprinted ballots, the commingling of counted and uncounted ballots, and long lines discouraging people from voting, as demonstrated in the attached declarations, these records are necessary for Plaintiff to determine the full extent of the problems identified and their impacts on electors,” the 19-page lawsuit says.

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    NYC Councilman Ditches Democrats Over Crime, Switches to GOP



    A freshman Democratic councilman in New York City announced Monday that he is switching his political affiliation to the Republican Party — saying he’s disenchanted with the far-left, soft-on-crime bent of his own party these days — and will take on a former ally for a redrawn Brooklyn district.

    The decision gives Bensonhurst Councilman Ari Kagan an opportunity to challenge incumbent Councilman Justin Brannan, the chairman of the powerful budget committee, during a general election where terms are likely to be more favorable than in a party primary.

    “The Democratic Party in New York was moving to [the] left at such a speed I couldn’t keep up,” said Kagan.

    “It’s not me leaving the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party very quickly started to leave me.”

    Brannan and Kagan are battling to represent the new new 47th District, which is anchored by Bay Ridge, the neighborhood Brannan currently represents in the 43rd District and which provides his political base.

    The new 47th District is then connected by a slender blockwide stretch of Dyker Heights to portions of Coney Island, Gravesend and Sea Gate, which Kagan currently represents.

    Kagan pointed to Democratic positions on criminal justice reform as one of the major reasons for his move, even though the controversial measures were passed and implemented and under fire before he ran and won on the party’s line in 2021.

    “I believe right now, the Democratic Party is doing everything possible in New York City to make everybody less safe,” he said.

    “Every month I found myself, like, ‘What am I doing in the Democratic Party?’” he said. “In my own district, in southern Brooklyn, everywhere I knocked [on] the doors people saying ‘When are you switching to the Republican Party?’”

    He declined to answer when pressed over why he’d decided against staying in the party and mounting a sure-to-be difficult challenge against Brannan in the Democratic primary.

    The move comes as the Democrats have faced mounting woes in southern Brooklyn amid anger of crime and quality of life issues locally and inflation and other economic woes nationally.

    Gov. Kathy Hochul narrowly edged Republican challenger Lee Zeldin in Bay Ridge, but lost many other parts of the district, electoral results maps show.

    And an analysis by the City University of New York shows that Republican Curtis Sliwa narrowly edged Mayor Eric Adams in the new 47th District during the 2021 election.

    Brannan, too, faced strong headwinds during his 2021 re-election, only narrowly turning away an unexpectedly strong challenge from Republican Brian Fox.

    Word of the switch ignited a back-and-forth between Brannan — who dominates Democratic politics in the neighborhood and nearby — and Kagan on Twitter.

    “Just going through some old photos,” Brannan wrote, posting a photo of Kagan holding one of his campaign signs.

    Kagan retorted: “I also keep some old pictures and more” and posted a photo from Brannan’s endorsement of him in 2021.

    At the press conference announcing his switch, Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) said he was glad to have Kagan joing the council Republicans.

    “We’re happy to have him as part of our conference,” Borelli said. “And I think he’ll do a great job serving the people of this district.”

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Conservatives React to Herschel Walker’s Georgia Senate Runoff Loss



    Conservatives had mixed reactions to Herschel Walker’s loss in Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoff race Tuesday night, with some blaming former President Donald Trump for pushing Walker to run and others faulting GOP leaders for not doing enough to help the onetime NFL great.

    The runoff against Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) was held after both candidates failed to reach the 50% threshold to win the seat outright during last month’s midterm elections. Warnock performed better this time around, improving his margin of victory from 40,000 votes to over 90,000.

    “One of the things I said is when they call the race, I said those numbers don’t look like they’re going to add up,” Walker said in a concession speech. “I don’t want any of you to stop believing in America. I want you to believe in America and continue to believe in the Constitution and believe in our elected officials. Most of all, continue to pray for them.”

    Reaction to the loss was mixed online with many blaming Trump, others blaming Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, and some blaming Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

    Walker launched his campaign bid after Trump repeatedly urged him to get into the race, including in a public statement back in March 2021.

    “Wouldn’t it be fantastic if the legendary Herschel Walker ran for the United States Senate in Georgia?” Trump said in a statement. “He would be unstoppable, just like he was when he played for the Georgia Bulldogs, and in the NFL. He is also a GREAT person. Run Herschel, run!”

    Walker’s 23-year-old son Christian Walker blamed Trump for the GOP’s failure to take the seat, saying that it was Trump who got him in the race.

    “The Truth: Trump called my dad for months DEMANDING that he run,” Christian Walker tweeted. “Everyone with a brain begged him: ‘PLEASE DON’T DO THIS. This is too dirty, you have an insane past… PLEASE DONT DO THIS.’ We got the middle finger. He ran.”

    “Republicans, we say we don’t play ‘identity politics’ and then you ran this man mainly because he was the same skin color as his opponent with no background other than football,” he added. “A boring old Republican could have won.”

    Notable responses included:

    • Joey Jones, Fox News: “Republicans lost the seat much more than Democrats won it (again). At some point, perhaps, they’ll learn.”
    • Scott Jennings, political strategist: “Georgia may be remembered as the state that broke Trump once and for all.”
    • Erick Erickson, Georgia-based radio host: “When @GOPChairwoman claims only the RNC worked in Georgia remember @BrianKempGA kept his ground operation going. @LeaderMcConnell poured $11 million into the state. The RNC didn’t do as much, but McDaniel will want credit to save her job. It’d have been a blowout but for Kemp. … No RNC Chair in the history of the whole party has lasted as long as Ronna McDaniel without seeing at least one winning election season. She took the job in 2017, and the GOP has lost every election cycle since.”
    • Ann Coulter, political author: “I sure hope Trump has some more brilliant ideas for can’t-miss Senate candidates. Omarosa maybe? Carrot Top? Ghislaine Maxwell?”
    • Caleb Hull, political commentator: “I hope we go into the next election with the realization that telling your base that their vote won’t matter because the election will be stolen isn’t a great strategy for winning… We had a layup this year and blew it. Time to move on.”
    • Robert Davi, actor: “The GOP is basically BRAINDEAD in my humble opinion! They are culturally tone deaf – and they have not come up with solutions! The messaging in the GOP is like Mitch McConnell a tired unenergetic uninspiring bore!!!!”
    • Joe Concha, The Hill: “Not surprising. If Herschel couldn’t win with Kemp on the ballot, he wasn’t winning in a runoff without him. Full picture: GOP gains a narrow majority in the House. Democrats gain one seat overall in a 50-50 Senate. Unpopular president in the WH. No party is winning right now.”
    • AG, political commentator: “Walker being a bad/inexperienced candidate meant he couldn’t fundraise himself, NRSC wasted all their $, and then Trump ate up all the small donors but then spent barely anything to back the guy he pushed on everyone.”
    • Andrew Egger, writer: “I’m sorry, but ‘Senate Republicans didn’t do enough to help Herschel Walker’ is the most insane take I can imagine. Senate Republicans set aside every difference to try to lug Walker across the finish line! He proved himself unluggable!”

    Other tweets that contained interesting tidbits of information included:

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    Lee Zeldin Announces Whether He Will Challenge Ronna McDaniel for RNC Chair



    GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin, who came very close to upsetting Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul last month in the predominantly blue state of New York, announced on Wednesday that he’s holding off – for now – on running for Republican National Committee chair, in what would be a direct challenge to current RNC chair Ronna McDaniel.

    Zeldin, who’s been mulling an RNC chair bid for nearly a month, made his announcement on Twitter and in a statement.

    “RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel should not run for a 4th term. I won’t be running for RNC Chair at this time with McDaniel’s reelection pre-baked by design, but that doesn’t mean she should even be running again. It’s time the GOP elects new leadership! It’s time for fresh blood!” Zeldin wrote.

    Zeldin’s decision comes as Republicans continue to lick their wounds from a disappointing showing in the midterm elections, having failed to win control of the Senate, securing only a razor-thin majority in the House of Representatives, and losing key governors races and control of a handful of state legislative chambers, in what was supposed to be a “Red Wave” election.

    And GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker’s defeat on Tuesday night to Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia’s high profile runoff election brought more criticism on the Republican Party and McDaniel.

    Zeldin, who emphasized the issue of crime in his campaign, lost to Hochul by six-points in the New York showdown. It was the best showing by a Republican gubernatorial nominee in the Empire State in 20 years, since GOP Gov. George Pataki won re-election.

    Zeldin’s performance is being credited with helping to boost Republicans to key victories in U.S. House races in New York state, flipping blue seats red -which was a key factor in the GOP’s capturing of the House majority.

    An attorney and officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, Zeldin was first elected to the House in 2014, representing a congressional district in Suffolk County covering the eastern end of New York’s Long Island. Zeldin was a strong supporter of former President Donald Trump during Trump’s tenure in the White House.

    Last month McDaniel announced that she would seek a fourth two-year term steering the national party committee, which is unprecedented in modern times.

    Following the 2016 election, a newly elected Trump chose McDaniel – who at the time was the chair of the Michigan GOP – to steer the national party committee. She was re-elected in 2019 and 2021.

    The full RNC membership of 168 committee members will vote on the next chair when the national party organization holds its winter meeting next month in southern California. Under party rules, the two top posts must be held by one man and one woman. McDaniel’s camp recently released a list of over 100 RNC committee members – well more than the number needed to secure re-election – that they said were supporting the incumbent chair.

    Zeldin argued in his statement that “change is desperately needed, and there are many leaders, myself included, ready and willing to step up to ensure our party retools and transforms as critical elections fast approach, namely the 2024 Presidential and Congressional races.”

    But he acknowledged that “the issue is Chairwoman McDaniel’s re-election appears to already be pre-baked, as if the disappointing results of every election during her tenure, including yesterday in Georgia, do not and should not even matter.”

    A spokesperson with McDaniel’s re-election bid pointed out to Fox News on Wednesday morning that Nebraska GOP chair Eric Underwood just endorsed McDaniel’s campaign for another two-year term, bringing to what they say are 108 endorsements.

    “I am honored to offer my support for her election and look forward to working with Ronna over the next 2 years to achieve our American (and Nebraska) First goals,” Underwood wrote in a statement.

    But sources in Zeldin’s world continue to question how firm that support may in a secret ballot vote and in the wake of Tuesday’s results in the Georgia Senate runoff election.

    McDaniel currently has two challengers.

    Harmeet Dhillon, an attorney who is also an RNC committee member from California and who served as a Trump campaign legal adviser, announced her bid on the Fox News Channel on Monday night.

    “Republicans are tired of losing, and I think that we really need to radically reshape our leadership in order to win,” Dhillon said in an interview on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

    Dhillon told host Tucker Carlson “we really have to modernize to compete with the Democrats dollar for dollar in the ways they fundraise, the way they deliver their ballots to the ballot boxes.”

    Last week MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who’s a strong supporter of Trump’s unproven claims the 2020 presidential election was rigged and stolen, announced he would challenge McDaniel.

    Another Trump ally, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, has also said she’s weighing a run for national party chair. And former Trump White House adviser Mercedes Schlapp, the wife of American Conservative Union leader Matt Schlapp, also mulled a bid for chair.

    With McDaniel and her declared or potential challengers all having ties to the former president, sources in Trump’s political orbit tell Fox News that as of now, it’s likely the former president will remain neutral and not weigh in on the race for RNC chair.

    Go deeper ( 3 min. read ) ➝


    Top Cop Breaks Down in Tears, Explains Why He’s Not Sharing All Idaho Info



    The chief of the Moscow, Idaho, Police Department became emotional discussing his personal connection to the investigation into the slayings of four University of Idaho in an exclusive on-air interview with Fox News.

    Moscow Police Department Chief James Fry sat down with Fox News’ Alexis McAdams on Tuesday, more than three weeks after the four University of Idaho students, Ethan Chapin, 20, Xana Kernodle, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were fatally stabbed in a King Road house near the college campus between the hours of 3 and 4 a.m. Police have said they don’t have a suspect and haven’t recovered the “fixed-blade knife” they believe was the murder weapon.

    Reiterating his commitment to solving the quadruple homicide, Fry said he will continue to insist that “no stone will go unturned” as investigators zero in on a timeline of the Nov.13 incident.

    “This case is not going cold. We have tips coming in, we have investigators out every day interviewing people. We’re still reviewing evidence, we’re still looking at all aspects of this,” he told Fox News in an interview that aired on “The Story.” “I said early on that no stone will go unturned, and I mean that. We are going to continue. This case is not going cold.”

    In a rare moment for the police chief, Fry began to tear up when asked about his personal connection to the case, offering the public a glimpse into the mental toll the gruesome crime has taken on his department and the community.

    “I’m a dad with daughters, and it’s tough,” he said. “We’re human. We don’t go to these and just turn it off. It affects us. But we have a job to do, and we’re going to continue to do that job, going to continue to push forward.”

    Fry’s comments come as some family members of the victims are complaining publicly about the pace of the investigation and the limited information police are sharing with the public.

    Steve Goncalves, the father of Kaylee Goncalves, told Fox News last week that he has lost confidence in the investigation, blaming poor police communication and conflicting messages from the department, which he said have raised “more questions than answers.”

    His wife, Kristi Goncalves, also expressed frustration with the investigation, saying over the weekend that some individuals were cleared by police “very fast that maybe should not have been.”

    Fry said that little information is being released to protect the cases’ integrity but insisted that investigators are using every available resource and doing everything in their power to find the killer.

    Addressing Kristi’s complaint, Fry said the department has re-interviewed some individuals up to three times, noting that a “cleared” individual can still be called back to speak with investigators if the evidence supports it.

    “We always have the option of re-interviewing,” he said. “We’ve actually re-interviewed people two or three times because we’ll get tips, or we’ll get information that we need to verify again, and sometimes we need to ask the questions just a little bit different to ensure that we’re getting the proper information to continue on with this investigation. So, that happens regularly in all investigations.”

    At the conclusion of the interview, Fox News host Martha McCallum asked McAdams whether it appears police on the ground know more information than the limited amount they’ve shared with the public.

    “Do they seem to be lost at this point for ideas or [are they] really honing in on something? McCallum asked.

    McAdams said that police have confirmed to her that they are narrowing down a “pretty good timeline, and they’ve got a pretty good amount of information.”

    “They say just because they’re not releasing so much information doesn’t mean they don’t have it,” McAdams reported, adding that police have relayed to her that “if they didn’t have information, that’s when they would go to the public and say some of these little bits and pieces more about who they think this person is … if this person is even a man or a woman.”

    McAdams said police investigating the case feel they’re “on the right track,” adding that they’ve gathered “a lot of evidence, and we feel good about the direction this case is heading.”

    Go deeper ( 3 min. read ) ➝


    Janitors’ Union Called a Strike Outside Twitter, So Elon Musk Canceled Its Contract and Fired the Janitors



    Janitors hired to clean at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, California, protested after 20 employees were fired, so the social media company bought by Elon Musk fired the rest of them.

    Critics of Musk are outraged that he would fire the workers just weeks before Christmas.

    “Our cleaning contractor at Twitter was told by Twitter that they are cutting the contract,” said Olga Miranda, union president for the janitors. “So we have about 48 families out of work. And it just so happens that it’s three weeks before Christmas.”

    A representative from SEIU Local 87 told the New Republic that 20 janitors were told on Friday that they were fired with no notice and that they were fighting for wages, “benefits and job protections.”

    By Monday, the union organized a strike with the rest of the janitors against the firings, saying the company was violating local cleaning regulations. They also said they were locked out of the building.

    On Tuesday, Twitter cancelled the contract with the janitors, leading his critics to claim that he was in violation of local laws.

    The unemployed janitors are protesting in front of Twitter headquarters while holding signs that read “proud to be union” and “justice for janitors.”

    The California Labor Federation, which represents 1,200 California unions, decried the action in a statement on its Twitter account.

    “Twitter doesn’t seem to understand how important it is to keep a clean house and respect the people who take out the trash,” it said.

    Other employees fired from Twitter said they were filing lawsuits against Elon Musk after he insensitively fired them and caused so much pain and anguish.

    “The way Elon Musk executed the layoffs was really inhumane,” said former employee Amir Shevat. “At a certain point I was told that as a manager that I might felt fired if I just gathered my team just to answer questions.”

    “He chose to fire so many of us during a difficult time period in the tech industry,” said Adrian Trejo Nunez, another former employee.

    They are suing for severance packages that were promised before Musk’s acquisition of Twitter but which were not delivered to the fired employees.

    Here’s more about the janitors’ protests at Twitter:

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Superintendent Fired After Scathing Grand Jury Report Into Rapes Committed by Boy Wearing a Skirt



    Loudoun County Superintendent Scott Ziegler was fired by the school board Tuesday night in response to a grand jury report on the district’s handling of two sexual assaults committed by the same student.

    The Northern Virginia district drew national attention last year after a father accused it at a school board meeting of covering up his daughter’s sexual assault in which a biological boy wearing a skirt raped her in the girls’ bathroom. The suspect then transferred to another school in the district and assaulted another girl, and faced charges in both cases.

    The father alleged the district had attempted to cover up his daughter’s assault to advance its transgender policy, which had been subject to parental protests at LCPS school board meetings.

    The grand jury report released Monday said the district was looking out for its own interests instead of the best interests of its students and that the school system “failed at every juncture.”

    LCPS displayed a “stunning lack of openness, transparency and accountability, both to the public and to the special grand jury” about its response to the sexual assaults, according to the report, which also condemned Ziegler for denying at a June 2021 school board meeting that he had any knowledge of the first assault, which had occurred in May of that year. The second assault was committed in October 2021.

    Ziegler had said at the board meeting that “the predator transgender student or person simply does not exist,” and, to his knowledge, “we don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms.”

    But in an email dated May 28, the same day as the initial assault, the superintendent alerted school board members that an assault had been reported.

    The grand jury’s report explained that the district failed at several points to “step in and alter” the sequence of events that led to the second assault. It also said the grand jury did not find a “coordinated cover-up” between school officials and the school board but that the second assault “could have and should have been prevented.”

    “A remarkable lack of curiosity and adherence to operating in silos by LCPS administrators is ultimately to blame for the October 6 incident,” the report stated, adding that LCPS “bears the brunt of the blame.”

    According to emails detailed in the report, senior district officials privately met to discuss the first assault and linked it to Policy 8040, which allows students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity.

    The grand jury concluded its report by giving LCPS eight recommendations to follow going forward to increase school safety, transparency and communication.

    The investigation is now complete, and no indictments have been issued.

    The grand jury heard testimony from over 40 witnesses and reviewed over 100 pieces of evidence in their investigation. The report noted that the LCPS school board attempted to “thwart, discredit and push back” against the investigation.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Coroner Releases Final Autopsy Report for Actress Anne Heche, Revealing Her Cause of Death



    Actress Anne Heche was not driving while impaired by illegal drugs on the day she crashed her car into a Los Angeles-area home, starting a fire that led to her death.

    Heche, 53, was driving erratically on Aug. 5, striking an apartment building with her small vehicle before driving into the house in Mar Vista, California.

    Unofficial accounts in the media theorized that she had drugs in her system at the time. Reports also emerged that the initial police investigation focused on the case as a possible felony DUI incident, according to the New York Post’s Page Six.

    Heche was conscious for a few moments after the crash, but then entered a coma from which she never woke. She was declared brain dead a week after the crash, and her organs were harvested on Aug. 15.

    On Tuesday, the report from the Los Angeles County Department of the Medical Examiner-Coroner said there were no drugs in her system at the time of her accident, according to People.

    “The hospital admission blood showed the presence of benzoylecgonine, the inactive metabolite of cocaine, which means she used in the past but not at the time of the crash,” a representative for the coroner’s office said.

    There were traces of cannabis use in Heche’s urine, but it was “not detected in the admission blood and is consistent with prior use, but not at the time of the injury,” the representative said.

    At the time Heche died, there was fentanyl in her system, but the report said it was “obtained after she received treatment at the hospital and therefore is consistent with therapeutic use.”

    “This is supported by the lack of fentanyl in the blood specimen drawn at admission to the hospital,” the report said.

    No alcohol was found in her system, according to TMZ.

    The coroner’s office estimated Heche’s vehicle hit the house at about 80 mph.

    The burns she sustained prevented her body from properly absorbing oxygen, leading to what is known as “anoxic brain injury,” which was given as the cause of her death.

    Heche also had a fractured sternum that the report said made it “painful while breathing when she was in her vehicle,” according to Page Six.

    The coroner’s office estimated Heche was trapped in her car for about 30 minutes. The actress suffered second-degree burns on 12 percent of her body, the report said.

    The house into which her vehicle crashed was destroyed in the fire that followed.

    The owner of the home, Lynn Michele, has since sued Heche’s estate for $2 million, according to Page Six.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Democrat Raphael Warnock Defeats GOP Challenger Herschel Walker In Georgia Runoff



    Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) has defeated Republican challenger Herschel Walker in Georgia’s 2022 Senate runoff election. DecisionDeskHQ called the race at approximately 9:48 p.m.

    Neither Walker nor Warnock secured more than 50% of the vote during the general election, thus triggering the runoff election held on Tuesday. Warnock’s victory follows a disappointing midterm election from Republicans across the United States, aside from several bright spots in the Georgia and Florida gubernatorial races.

    Many pre-midterm polls and analyses predicted a “red wave,” with Republicans taking the House by a wide margin, and even the Senate by two to four seats, but following the midterm, Democrats have held the Senate.

    This is Warnock’s second runoff after he defeated GOP candidate Kelly Loefller in the 2020 race, which was also not decided on the day of the general election — however, there were some changes to the voting process this time around.

    Under The Peach State’s 2021 voting reform law signed by incumbent Governor Brian Kemp (R), the state of Georgia shortened the time between the day of the general election and the runoff election from nine weeks to just four. Similarly, the bill also condensed early voting from more than two weeks to just one week.

    More than 1.8 million Georgians voted early in the state’s Senate runoff election scheduled for December 6, including a record-high 353,000 voters on Friday, the final day of early voting.

    The official numbers from the Secretary of State recorded 1,868,127 early voters. The total revealed that more than one million female voters voted early, according to the state’s statistics.

    The number of early voters was below the total from the recent November midterms in Georgia, when about 2.5 million voters cast their ballot before Election Day.

    Despite the high level of early voting, the total is still lower than in the 2020 presidential election, when approximately 2.5 million Georgia residents voted early. Midterm elections generally draw smaller numbers of voters, with the state reflecting lower numbers experienced nationwide between the 2020 and 2022 elections.

    In reaction to the turnout, Georgia’s Secretary of State’s Chief Operating Officer Gabriel Sterling told CNN over the weekend, “There’s obviously a lot of enthusiasm. Both Democrats and Republicans can point to the turnout models and say, ‘that’s good for us’ so nobody knows what’s going to happen.”

    The post-general election campaigning saw big stars from both parties turn out for their respective candidates.

    Kemp — who defeated Democrat gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams this year — sat down with CNN to express why he was showing up for Walker during the runoff.

    “The runoff now is a very simple choice,” Kemp said at one point in the interview. “You know, are you going to vote for somebody that’s been with Joe Biden 96% of the time, or are you going to vote for somebody that’s going to go up there and fight for Georgia? And that’s the way I’m voting.”

    As noted by CNN, Kemp was more hands-off during the general election. Walker was the only state-wide GOP candidate to not win outright on election night in 2022.

    On Warnock’s side, Democrat heavyweight former President Barack Obama campaigned for the incumbent in the final stretch.

    During one stop, Obama mocked Walker for a story he recently told about vampires and why he would want to be a werewolf instead. The 44th president said that Walker can be anything he wants to be — just not a United States senator.

    The former president compared Walker to a “crazy” “Uncle Joe.”

    “We all know some folks in our lives, who we don’t wish them ill will. They say crazy stuff and we’re all like, ‘Well, Uncle Joe, you know what happened to him,’” Obama said to laughs from the audience. “They’re part of the family, but you don’t give them serious responsibilities.”

    Throughout both the general and run-off campaign, polls showed Warnock and Walker neck-and-neck.

    Go deeper ( 3 min. read ) ➝


    Police Respond to Emergency at Home of Ted Cruz After His Daughter Reportedly Self-Harmed



    Firefighters and police reported to the home of Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas on Tuesday night over a report that one of his daughters had harmed herself.

    Sources within the Houston Police Department confirmed to KHOU-TV that they were called to the home in Houston, Texas, over “self-inflicted cutting.”

    They told KHOU that a police investigation found nothing criminal but that one person was transported to a hospital and is expected to recover.

    Cruz and his wife, Heidi Cruz, have two daughters, Catherine, 11, and Caroline, 14.

    A separate report from KTRK-TV said his older daughter had sustained stab wounds to her arms.

    The senator is in Washington, D.C., as Congress is still in session.

    A spokesperson for Cruz’s office released a brief statement about the incident.

    “This is a family matter, and thankfully their daughter is okay,” the statement read. “There were no serious injuries. The family requests that the media respect their daughter’s privacy at this time.”

    In January, the senator’s daughter Caroline, then 13, came out as bisexual and said she disagreed with much of her father’s politics.

    The teen said people are quick to judge her over her Republican dad’s politics, despite the fact that she often opposes his conservative views.

    ‘A lot of people judge me based upon him at first glance,’ she said in a TikTok. ‘But I really disagree with most of his views.’

    She also revealed the perks and downsides of having a parent in the public eye, calling out their media team for editing the length of her shirt on the family Christmas card.

    The teenager made the video, which was re-shared on Twitter. Caroline’s TikTok account went private after her video blew up, but not before social media users took screengrabs of her bio, in which she listed her pronouns as she/her and indicated that she identified as bisexual.

    When another user questioned about her sexuality and whether Cruz was aware of it, Caroline replied: ‘I haven’t told him yet, I’m kinda nervous to tbh but I don’t think he would be mad about it.’

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Democrats Make Major Concession on Vaccine Mandate



    Congress is poised to use the annual defense policy bill to eliminate the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate — a major concession by President Biden’s Democratic allies that helps clear the way to passing the sweeping package before year’s end.

    In a compromise with Republicans, House Democrats are allowing language into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that repeals the coronavirus vaccine mandate for U.S. service members a year after it was enacted, House Armed Services Committee ranking member Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) confirmed to The Hill Tuesday.

    The bill, which lays out how an $847 billion Defense Department top line will be allocated in fiscal 2023, is tentatively set to be released as early as Tuesday evening and voted on by the House Thursday, Rogers said.

    Asked if he believes the language will stick amid all the last-minute jostling over the bill, Rogers replied: “Yes.”

    Republican lawmakers for months have pushed back on the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin first installed in August 2021.

    Since then, thousands of active-duty service members have been discharged for refusing the shots, according to the latest Pentagon numbers.

    House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who is vying for the Speaker’s gavel in the next Congress, said on Sunday that the NDAA “will not move” unless the mandate for the military is lifted through the bill.

    The compromise is effectively a loss for the White House and Pentagon, which have both opposed using the NDAA to repeal the vaccine mandate.

    “We lost a million people to this virus,” Austin told reporters traveling with him Saturday, as reported by The Associated Press. “A million people died in the United States of America. We lost hundreds in DOD. So this mandate has kept people healthy.”

    House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Tuesday strongly supported the Pentagon’s mandate, but also emphasized that the art of compromise means that no side gets everything it wants. For Democrats, he said, that might mean they have to give up the mandate to pass the bigger package.

    “It’s a question of how can you get something done,” he told reporters in the Capitol. “We have a very close vote in the Senate, a very close vote in the House, and you don’t just get everything you want.”

    The concession by Democrats on a mandate they once championed zealously highlights how attitudes surrounding the vaccines have shifted since the coronavirus struck almost three years ago.

    “The politics on that have changed,” said Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Texas), another member of the Armed Services panel. “If this were 2020, it would be a different story.”

    One thing not expected in the bill, however, is language to reinstate troops, sailors and airmen who were discharged or received penalties for declining the vaccine, a provision GOP lawmakers hoped to insert in the legislation.

    Instead, lawmakers on the House and Senate Armed Services committees are planning report language for the bill that allows the Pentagon to evaluate service members affected by the mandate, Rogers said.

    “There’s no statutory language, but there’s report language that tells the [Defense Department] to ascertain everybody that’s been adversely affected by the vaccine mandate and what it would take to make them whole and get that to us next year. Then we can decide if we want to try to do that or not,” he said.

    “Some people aren’t going to want to come back to the military, but if they do, what would that look like? How many people are we talking about?”

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    ‘The Twitter Files’ Compromised After Lawyer Involved In The Controversy Was Behind Vetting The Files



    The release of the initial installment of “The Twitter Files” late last week was reportedly compromised after the journalist responsible for releasing the files revealed Tuesday that a lawyer caught up in the controversy allegedly vetted the files before sending them to journalists.

    Twitter CEO Elon Musk released internal company communications through journalist Matt Taibbi on Friday about the company’s censorship of the New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story during the 2020 presidential election and about how the platform removed content at the behest of the Democrat Party.

    Contained in the batch of files, which Taibbi released in a lengthy Twitter thread, was an email from former Twitter Deputy General Counsel Jim Baker about how the company should handle the Hunter Biden laptop story.

    “I support the conclusion that we need more facts to assess whether the materials were hacked,” Baker said in the email. “At this stage, however, it is reasonable for us to assume that they may have been and that caution is warranted. There are some facts that indicate that the materials may have been hacked, while there are others indicating that the computer was either abandoned and/or the owner consented to allow the repair shop to access it for at least some purposes. We simply need more information.”

    Taibbi failed to mention in his initial release that Baker was the former FBI general counsel involved in Russia-related investigations into former President Donald Trump.

    The next installment of the Twitter files was supposed to happen over the weekend, but became delayed for a reason that was unknown at the time.

    Taibbi now says that the reason for the delay was that it was discovered that Baker was responsible for vetting the files that were released to him and journalist Bari Weiss.

    Musk immediately fired Baker upon learning the news. “In light of concerns about Baker’s possible role in suppression of information important to the public dialogue, he was exited from Twitter today,” Musk tweeted.

    Taibbi tweeted, “On Tuesday, Twitter Deputy General Counsel (and former FBI General Counsel) Jim Baker was fired. Among the reasons? Vetting the first batch of ‘Twitter Files’ – without knowledge of new management.”

    “The process for producing the ‘Twitter Files’ involved delivery to two journalists (Bari Weiss and me) via a lawyer close to new management. However, after the initial batch, things became complicated,” Taibbi said. “Over the weekend, while we both dealt with obstacles to new searches, it was @BariWeiss who discovered that the person in charge of releasing the files was someone named Jim. When she called to ask ‘Jim’s’ last name, the answer came back: ‘Jim Baker.’”

    “Baker is a controversial figure. He has been something of a Zelig of FBI controversies dating back to 2016, from the Steele Dossier to the Alfa-Server mess. He resigned in 2018 after an investigation into leaks to the press,” Taibbi continued. “The news that Baker was reviewing the ‘Twitter files’ surprised everyone involved, to say the least. New Twitter chief Elon Musk acted quickly to ‘exit’ Baker Tuesday.”

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