The relationship started on an online dating site. Katsumi Iwasaki was enthralled by a person who claimed to be a US soldier stationed in Damascus, Syria. They quickly fell to emailing “sweet things,” Iwasaki said. The 81-year-old San Francisco man had been living alone after his partner of 22 years died of lung cancer, and the budding relationship “made me feel like I had a bright future.” After a few months of corresponding in late 2016, the person, who said his name was “James Lopez,” mentioned the gold — $1 million worth. Lopez needed money to ship a cache from Syria to San Francisco for s...
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On Wednesday, writing for The Washington Post, reporter Aaron Blake profiled many of the worst candidates to have run in the 2022 elections.
One of the common through-lines he identified? Former President Donald Trump backed all of them, sometimes against less controversial candidates in the Republican primary.
Among the candidates, Blake noted, were Christian nationalist and alleged January 6 participant Doug Mastriano for governor of Pennsylvania, for whom "national Republicans effectively conceded this race the moment Mastriano won his primary"; election conspiracy theorist and former Gen. Don Bolduc in the New Hampshire Senate race, who underperformed GOP Gov. Chris Sununu by 25 points; and white nationalist sympathizer Joe Kent, who "knocked out impeachment-supporting Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) in the top-two primary, thanks to Trump’s support, and then proceeded to lose a district Trump had carried by four points."
Blake Masters, Sarah Palin, and J.R. Majewski all similarly blew winnable or even Republican-tilted races — and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) came very close to losing a district that wasn't supposed to be competitive at all.
Then there was Kristina Karamo, a QAnon believer running for Michigan Secretary of State.
"Karamo, who rose to prominence thanks to baseless and false accusations about issues in the 2020 election, lost to the incumbent Democrat by 14 points," wrote Blake. "That’s the largest loss among the most prominent election deniers running for secretary of state, who themselves had a brutal election. It was also larger than the GOP’s deficit for governor (minus-10) and attorney general (minus-eight). Given that this is a state that was close in both the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, all three results are pretty shocking. But Karamo’s was the worst, and now she’s running for state party chair."
Some of Trump's picks, Blake noted, were so unelectable they couldn't even make it through their primaries, like David Perdue for Georgia governor, Janice McGeachin for Idaho governor, Mo Brooks for Alabama Senate, and North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn, who was thrown overboard by his own party after two years of causing controversies.
"A series of bad and almost always Trump-aligned candidates cost [Republicans] winnable races," wrote Blake. "The result is that the party actually lost governor’s mansions and failed to take control of the Senate, despite needing to gain just one seat to do so. You could also make a credible argument that its House majority should be at least somewhat bigger, but for shooting itself in the foot in some key races."
Morning Joe doesn't think DeSantis has the juice to win in 2024: 'He's going to get knocked out on the big stage'
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough isn't seeing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as a threat to former President Donald Trump that many do.
Trump himself sees DeSantis as his strongest challenger for the 2024 Republican nomination, although the governor hasn't officially entered the race, and the "Morning Joe" host debated their relative strengths with The Atlantic correspondent Mark Leibovich.
"Trump himself has a glass jaw, if we're going to throw that term around," Leibovich said. "Trump is not someone who takes well to that. He's deeply sensitive, and I also think that he's out of practice. I don't think he's as savvy, I don't think he's as vicious, I don't think that he's the unicorn that so many of us make him out to be."
The former president is beset by multiple criminal investigations and civil suits related to his time in office and his family business, and the panelists agreed those problems would absorb much of his focus away from a political campaign.
"The Republican bench isn't that deep," Scarborough said. "You get them all together -- oh, wow, okay, Trump, or DeSantis or [Virginia Gov. Glenn] Youngkin or whatever. I mean, Larry Hogan is far too moderate, too rational for this version of the Republican Party. You hear about this deep bench. Let's take them one at a time. Even Trump understands he's lost the suburban voters I talk about in northern Atlanta. There's a reason I talk about them. He's lost those voters, he's never going to get the suburban voters back in the Philly suburbs. You go down the line, he understands it's not happening. He could win the Republican primary, he's not going to win a general election."
"You then go to DeSantis, and if you believe every Republican in Tallahassee, if you believe every Republican that worked with him in the governor's association, you believe every Republican that worked with him in Congress, they'll tell you he doesn't have a personality," Scarborough added. "He's going to get knocked out on the big stage. That's what they say, not me, and then you go Youngkin, I hear some people saying he's not that effective a campaigner. Suddenly this Republican race that everybody thinks is going to be the 'thrilla in Manila,' suddenly you look a little closer, and you're thinking, man, this Republican race may be wide open after all."
Leibovich agreed, but said Scarborough is probably underrating Trump's chances of securing the GOP nomination for a third time.
"The default there is that, well, Trump could win the nomination," Leibovich said. "You say that almost as an aside, that's scary. I'm of the belief if Republicans want to stop Donald Trump, they need to stop Donald Trump. They have to stop outsourcing this concern to the Democrats, to the, you know, prosecutor X, counsel Y, and look, DeSantis might not fear Trump like others have, he might not need to fear Trump as others have. You need to swing hard at him, you need to go right at him. He's vulnerable on a lot of things."
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'Thought he was going to beat me': Herschel Walker hit with disturbing claims by yet another accuser
Yet another woman has come forward to detail disturbing allegations of abuse at the hands of Trump-backed Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker.
In an interview with The Daily Beast, longtime Walker girlfriend Cheryl Parsa detailed an incident in which Walker grew violent after she caught him with another woman back in 2005.
According to Parsa, Walker became enraged after she walked in on him with another woman and began swinging his fist at her.
"I thought he was going to beat me," said Parsa, who says she subsequently fled the room in fear before Walker could get the chance.
In addition to that violent incident, Parsa also claims that Walker would use his diagnosed mental illness as a justification for his poor behavior.
"He’s a pathological liar. Absolutely. But it’s more than that,” she told the publication. “He knows how to manipulate his disease, in order to manipulate people, while at times being simultaneously completely out of control.”
Walker has faced allegations of abuse from multiple woman and family members, although during his Senate campaign he has deflected from them by acknowledging his past mental illness and claiming that he has received treatment for it so that it is no longer an issue.
Parsa told The Daily Beast that she's come forward because she thinks it would be dangerous to give someone like Walker the power of being a United States Senator.
"He is not well,” she said. “And I say that as someone who knows exactly what this looks like, because I have lived through it and seen what it does to him and to other people. He cannot be a senator. He cannot have control over a state when he has little to no control of his mind.”