ORLANDO, Fla. —Survivors of the mass shootings at Orlando's Pulse nightclub and a South Florida high school embraced Wednesday outside the club where 49 people were killed nearly two years ago. "We're all family," said Neema Bahrami, who was an event manager at Pulse at the time of the attack.
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who may face an ethics inquiry after accosting New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is now attacking her nemesis through the media, telling AOC through reporters, "you need to debate me" and "defend socialism to the American people."
Congresswoman Greene told The Washington Post's Jacqueline Alemany that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez "can't call me a bully because I'm trying to talk with her about policy that will change our economy... What she is a coward and a fraud and a fake."
"Ever since Jan. 6 they can't even treat us with respect and we were victims, too," added Greene, who was forced to deny having a role in the insurrection, added. "We didn't cause it. All these lies they say on and on and on. They need to be civil. None of them are civil to me," she said of Democrats.
Greene also attacked reporters, telling Alemany that the "behavior you're exhibiting is exactly the same type of behavior.... Actually, this is far worse."
Alemany says Greene was "equating her yelling at and chasing down" AOC "to engaging in dialogue with reporters on her walk to her car."
Greene continued her attack on reporters when Forbes' Andrew Solender posed a question to her.
"You've been asking Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to debate for quite a while. At what point does it become harassment to continue to ask her to do this thing that she keeps rejecting?" he asked.
"At what point does this become harassment?" was her response.
When Solender asked Greene if she is going to continue to ask Ocasio-Cortez to debate her, she replied, "Sure! She should debate me. She should defend socialism to the American people."
According to CNN's Manu Raju, Ocasio-Cortez compared Greene to "people that I threw out of bars all the time" when "I used to work as a bartender."
"So she throws out paying customers? Is that how she feels...?" Greene said when confronted with the quote.
"She's describing the behavior that you exhibited," NBC News' Sahil Kapur explained.
Greene went back to attacking the reporters.
"This behavior you're exhibiting is exactly the same type of behavior," she claimed.
Here's more of Greene talking with reporters, telling AOC through them "you need to debate me," and claiming she is "acting like a child."
Palm Beach County is bracing for possible Donald Trump indictments and arrests, said a Thursday report from Politico. Speaking to MSNBC, former senior prosecutor to Robert Mueller and FBI general counsel Andrew Weissmann noted that Florida could protect Trump, but it isn't without consequences.
Nicolle Wallace explained that Trump's legal problems are stacking up, and the criminal investigations would require that he appear in court in another state. It made Wallace think of a cartoon she saw showing Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) smuggling Trump out of Mar-a-Lago in an attempt to protect the former president. "If you can speak to what that means for Donald Trump. Does he have to stay in Florida and risk being arrested if he leaves the state?"
Weissmann explained that it isn't far off.
"So, this happens all the time in foreign countries where essentially you have people who are sort of imprisoned in a country," he said. "Here, Donald Trump would be imprisoned in Florida. If he went overseas, if he went to any other state, he would be subject to those laws, and so he would really have to stay in Florida. It certainly would be quite an interesting issue if he were to, for instance — this is way down the road — but if he tried to run again, he would not be inhabiting the White House in that situation because there would be papers seeking his extradition to New York."
Wallace noted that it is "unbelievably" and "would be funny if it didn't just reek of so much dirty business."
Another report Thursday revealed that New York prosecutors in the DA's office discovered that Trump signed checks that paid for the grandchildren of Allen Weisselberg to attend a prep school in New York. It was understood that it was part of Weisselberg's son's compensation package for running a skating rink for Trump. The fact that the case there has dived into Weisselberg's children and grandchildren made Trump biographer and Bloomberg columnist Tim O'Brien think that it is a "very advanced" financial fraud investigation.
"I think it includes tax fraud, accounting fraud and a number of other illegalities," said O'Brien. "You know, the compensating for tuition and not reporting it to the IRS, compensating for free apartments and not reporting it to the IRS, that's tax fraud and probably among the minor things that I think they could possibly get Trump for. And I think it shows -- you know, if there is an indictment of Donald Trump, they can serve those papers on him wherever he is. I think it will be -- you know, it is extraordinary that we're talking about extradition because Andrew can speak to that process more directly than I can. But I think they can get an indictment to him wherever he is and I don't think they're going to serve him with an indictment unless they believe they have a bulletproof case."
He said that he doesn't anticipate Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance to go that far out on a limb with such a historic case without it being perfect.
"The fact that it's gone this far down the tree that they're shaking Weissberg family members is a very strong indicator of how hardcore they are about this," O'Brien continued. "I think if it gets to the point of an extradition, it means they are seeking to arrest him and he's resisting arrest and then it will become a carnival undoubtedly and tragic-comic as everything is surrounding Trump because I don't think he'll have any hesitation to try to encourage his supporters to surround Mar-a-Lago to keep the police at bay."
Most criminals try to figure out how to give themselves up without being seen in public, he said, in Trump's case, he would likely do the opposite. He also doesn't think anyone would cover for Trump because he's hated so much in Manhattan, Palm Beach and Bedminster.
Wallace, however, said that after seeing how willing DeSantis was to overlook the health and wellness of his own state, she wouldn't be shocked to see him protect Trump over the law.
See the full discussion below:
Mueller prosecutor explains how Ron DeSantis could save Trump from prosecutors www.youtube.com
By Steve Holland and Michelle Nichols
WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - President Joe Biden said on Thursday he is pressing for a halt to violence between Israelis and Palestinians, but U.S. officials say they are resigned to the conflict continuing for some days to come.
Since taking office in January, Biden's foreign policy moves have largely been centered on China, Russia and Iran. The sharp escalation in violence between Israel and the Palestinian territories and a mounting death toll have forced the Democrat to launch a diplomatic effort aimed at restoring calm in a volatile region.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke by phone with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday, but U.S. officials said Abbas seems either unable or unwilling to rein in Hamas-led rocket attacks on Israeli targets.
As a consequence, the Biden administration has reached out to a number of regional Arab states to get them to exert influence on Hamas - labeled a terrorist organization by Washington - to stop the violence.
The U.S. strategy has been a basic one: Get the violence to stop, and restore what officials called a sustainable calm, but even that has been elusive.
Biden told reporters on Thursday that "there has not been a significant overreaction" by the Israelis to the attacks.
"The question is how they get to a point where there is a significant reduction in the attacks, particularly the rocket attacks that are indiscriminately fired into population centers," he said. "It's a work in progress right now."
U.S. officials are realistic that the violence is likely to persist if not intensify over the next couple of days, a U.S. official said.
Amid calls for the United States to do more and for Biden to step in more directly, it is unclear how the president could prevail on both sides in the protracted conflict he has tracked for decades as a U.S. senator and then vice president.
Biden shifted U.S. policy sharply in taking over from Republican Donald Trump, waiting weeks to talk to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time and re-emphasizing the need for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
PUTTING ON BRAKES AT U.N.
Trump had been a strong backer of Netanyahu and his White House negotiated normalization deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.
Democrats faulted Trump for ignoring the Palestinians, and Biden's statements about the violence have pointedly noted that Palestinians deserve freedom, peace and prosperity as much as the Israelis.
The United States has been isolated at the United Nations since it put the brakes on any public Security Council involvement to try to end the violence between Israel and Palestinian militants, leading some diplomats to question Washington's strategy.
Washington does not appear to have a "clear strategy" on how to broker a truce and "that is the real problem," said a senior Arab diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Truce efforts by Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations have so far offered no sign of progress and the United States is sending an envoy to the region.
The region is now experiencing the worst violence in years - Israel has unleashed an offensive against militants in Gaza after Hamas fired rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv over the clashes at al-Aqsa mosque during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
"Yes, it's a crisis, but it doesn't seem to me like everyone's running around like chickens with their heads cut off," said Jon Alterman, a former State Department official who is now director of the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
(Reporting by Steve Holland and Michelle Nichols; Additional reporting by Simon Lewis in Washington; Editing by Mary Milliken and Peter Cooney)
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