Official portrait of Justice Clarence Thomas (Wikimedia Commons)
With the Supreme Court wrapping up its latest session, down one justice following the February death of Antonin Scalia, the Washington Examiner is reporting that Justice Clarence Thomas may be considering leaving the court following November's election.
According to Paul Bedard, who writes the Examiner's "Washington Secrets," Thomas has been considering retirement for some time prior to the death of his close colleague Scalia.
As one of the most conservative members of the court, a second vacancy would allow the next president to shape the future of the court for generations.
No source other than the Washington Examiner has verified Thomas is considering stepping down.
Trump attorney Alina Habba lashed out at prosecutors over a rumor that former Donald Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows has secured an immunity deal to testify against her client.
In an interview with Newsmax, Habba decried the very standard prosecutorial practice of pressuring witnesses to agree to immunity deals in order to secure indictments of other investigative targets.
"What we’re hearing is that [Meadows] was granted immunity," she said. "Effectively, he would be a key witness against the president and give testimony in opposition of him. As we've seen, time and time again, this is what they did to Allen Weisselberg in New York. This is what they do time and again to anybody that is close to the Trump world, because they have nothing."
Contrary to Habba's claim, Weisselberg never had to testify against Trump as part of his plea deal with prosecutors – and it's still not known whether Meadows has agreed to any such deal.
The Independent exclusively reported the Meadows' story Wednesday. No other outlet has confirmed it and Meadows' attorney called it "complete bulls----."
Nonetheless, Habba said this is all evidence of vast "weaponization" of the Justice Department to bring down the former president, who was also the first president in American history to have been impeached on two separate occasions.
"So, they have to squeeze people, scare people, and intimidate them into testifying and in the direction that they want," she complained. "It's very disturbing."
The Biden administration is launching a three-pronged plan to protect members of the LGBTQI+ community, including protecting their safety and civil rights, supporting LGBTQI+ children, and protecting students from book bans.
"Over a dozen states have enacted anti-LGBTQI+ laws that violate our most basic values and freedoms as Americans, and are cruel and callous to our kids, our neighbors, and those in our community," the White House said in a statement Thursday. "The Biden-Harris administration stands with the LGBTQI+ community and has their backs in the face of these attacks."
The initiative will be announced during President Joe Biden's Thursday evening Pride event, which Reuters reports will be "the largest White House Pride Month celebration in history." In a "a deliberate contrast to a cascade of Republican legislation and other attacks targeting LGBTQ+ people," President Biden will host "thousands" on the White House South Lawn.
"This year we're seeing a disturbing surge in violent threats against LGBTQ community organizations," Biden White House domestic policy advisor Neera Tanden told reporters. "In too many parts of our country, LGBTQ Americans are being targeted for who they are, and that, simply put, is discrimination."
President Biden has directed three federal agencies, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to "launch the LGBTQI+ Community Safety Partnership. The Partnership will work hand-in-hand with LGBTQI+ community organizations to provide critical safety resources to ensure these organizations can remain safe spaces for the community," the White House says. "In acknowledgement of the mistreatment that LGBTQI+ communities have often faced in interactions with law enforcement, the Partnership will also work to build trust between LGBTQI+ organizations and federal law enforcement agencies."
Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Kristen Clarke, will chair regular meetings with the U.S. Dept. of Justice's LGBTQI+ Working Group, focused on "issues related to discrimination against the LGBTQI+ community."
The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services on Thursday will "issue a Behavioral Health Care Advisory on Transgender and Gender Diverse Youth to provide evidence-based practices for mental health providers. HHS will also issue a guidance to states and communities on using federal funding to support mental health services for LGBTQI+ youth."
The administration points to the disproportionately large number of LGBTQI+ youth in the child welfare system, and notes that "far too often" they "experience trauma, including being exposed to so-called 'conversion therapy,'" which Biden has spoken out against before. HHS says it "will issue a Behavioral Health Care Advisory on Transgender and Gender Diverse Youth to provide evidence-based practices for mental health providers. HHS will also issue a guidance to states and communities on using federal funding to support mental health services for LGBTQI+ youth."
The White House also says it is working to "Shield LGBTQI+ kids and families from discrimination," and "Address LGBTQI+ youth homelessness." It also points to its efforts on "Protecting Americans from book banning," and "Uplifting LGBTQI+ communities."
In December, President Biden signed a law protecting same-sex and interracial marriages.
You can watch the video above or at this link, and read the entire White House announcement on its website.
US President Joe Biden (C-L) and First Lady Jill Biden (C-R) appear on the Blue Room Balcony with family members to watch fireworks from the White House on the day of the inauguration
US President Joe Biden (C-L) and First Lady Jill Biden (C-R) appear on the Blue Room Balcony with family members to watch fireworks from the White House on the day of the inaugurationUS President Joe Biden (C-L) and First Lady Jill Biden (C-R) appear on the Blue Room Balcony with family members to watch fireworks from the White House on the day of the inauguration(AFP)
After the former president's lawyers received a DOJ notice memorializing that their client is the target of an investigation into his handling of classified materials after leaving office, Trump took to his Truth Social platform to rage, "No one has told me I’m being indicted, and I shouldn’t be because I’ve done NOTHING wrong.”
He then added, "REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS MUST MAKE THIS THEIR # 1 ISSUE!!!”
As MSNBC's Steve Benen noted, Trump-supporting lawmakers can make threats but they have no power over stopping special counsel Jack Smith's endeavors.
Pointing out "Trump genuinely seems to believe that congressional Republicans have a role to play in his intensifying legal troubles," he recalled a previous letter sent by GOP lawmakers in April, who demanded a "'legislative solution," to be approved by Congress, is 'required' to prevent federal prosecutors from pursuing the case further."
That, he notes, never came to pass.
As for the former president's latest demands that GOP lawmakers stand between him and the DOJ, Benen wrote, "I honestly don’t know what he expects congressional Republicans to do. Congress has no control over who is or isn’t indicted. It’s possible that Trump has imagined a scenario in which lawmakers pass a bill to defund the special counsel’s office, thereby derailing the investigation, but even if the GOP-led House were to take up such a measure, it obviously couldn’t pass the Democratic-led Senate or receive President Joe Biden’s signature."
"What we’re seeing, in other words, is a desperate criminal suspect scrambling to find someone, anyone, who can help rescue him from a crisis of his own making," he added. "Whether Trump understands this or not, his pleas won’t work."