WATCH: Defense secretary stomps Matt Gaetz for 'spurious' accusation on critical race theory
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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Wednesday disputed Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) after he suggested that the U.S. military is practicing critical race theory.

Gaetz confronted Austin about the academic theory during a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee.

According to the Florida Republican, critical race theory is the "number one concern" of military officers.

"I've heard those sentiments most frequently from units that are majority-minority," Gaetz claimed. "How should the Department of Defense think about critical race theory?"

"I don't know what the issue of critical race theory is," Austin replied. "We do not teach critical race theory. We don't embrace critical race theory. And I think that's a spurious conversation. We are focused on extremist behaviors and not ideology, not people's thoughts, not people's political orientation."

"And thanks for your anecdotal input," he continued. "But I would say that I've gotten ten times that amount of input -- 50 times that amount of input on the other side that has said, 'We're glad to have had the ability to have a conversation without ourselves and our leadership.'"

Gaetz interrupted: "It may be that you're receiving that input in the ratios you describe because it was your directive. It may be people are concerned about criticizing your decision."

The congressman then accused Austin of "hiring a critical race theorist" as an adviser.

"This is the first I've ever heard [Bishop Garrison] being described as a critical race theorist," Austin responded. "Let me just share one thing you brought up, Congressman, about the input that comes to me. I trust my leadership from top to bottom that they will give me fair and balanced and unvarnished input."

"And for you to say people are telling me what I want to hear, I get it," he added. "You know, maybe they are telling you what you want to hear."

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The Democratic-led Congress was blasted on Friday for going on vacation after failing to protect renters before a Saturday deadline.

"House Democrats on Friday failed to push through a last-minute extension of the federal eviction moratorium that expires Saturday, leaving town for a seven-week recess without holding a vote," NBC News reported. "About a dozen House Democrats opposed the measure and were unwilling to budge, two senior Democratic aides told NBC News."

The sponsor of the renter protection legislation, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reportedly disagreed about holding a public vote.

"Waters wanted a vote, which would have allowed progressive activists to blame specific Democratic lawmakers for its failure, while Pelosi didn't want to expose some of her caucus members to the wrath of the base, according to the second aide," NBC News reported. "Ultimately, the effort died when Majority Leader Steny Hoyer tried to pass the measure by unanimous consent — a process that doesn't require a vote — and a Republican member objected."

The House of Representatives is not scheduled to be in session until September 20th.

Here's some of what people were saying:


On Friday, The Daily Beast reported that new audio showed Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) tried to bring his Glock onto an airplane in February — an event that his campaign chalks up to an accident.

"The incident was first revealed in audio obtained by, a group trying to drive the far-right Cawthorn from the halls of Congress," reported Justin Rohrlich. "But according to the 25-year-old legislator's spokesman, the entire dustup was just a simple mistake. 'Five months ago, while boarding a flight, Rep. Cawthorn erroneously stowed a firearm in his carry-on (that often doubles as a range bag) instead of his checked bag,' Cawthorn spokesman Micah Bock said in a statement.

Bock added that the Glock was "secured and unchambered," and stressed that "Rep. Cawthorn endeavors to always follow TSA guidelines, and quickly rectified this situation before boarding his flight."

Cawthorn, one of the youngest people ever elected to Congress and known for a history of incendiary racial remarks, has invited controversy repeatedly since taking office, including with a claim that President Joe Biden could use door-to-door vaccination drives to "take your Bibles."

Former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election are "worse" than Watergate, according a longtime political journalist.

MSNBC's Ari Melber on Friday described the notes as "absolutely bombshell revelations" about Trump's attempts "to make the Justice Department not only back the 'Big Lie,' but overthrow the election and the government — all of this enabled by Republican lawmakers."

For analysis, Melber interviewed David Corn, the DC bureau chief for Mother Jones magazine.

"We've said the is a lot in the last 30, 40 years, Ari, but this literally is worse than Watergate," Corn explained. "In that instance, Richard Nixon was trying to cover up the investigation that would go into what his campaign did, a break in. And he asked the CIA to tell the FBI it was national security and they should not investigate, the FBI should call off the investigation. That's what he tried to do."

Corn then explained why Trump's scandals went to a whole different level.

"This is about overturning and subverting an election," he said. "It is quite clear what he's trying to get them to do, when they don't have the power to do it. these notes are not audio or video, they're bigger in a smoking gun tape in Watergate that ended Nixon's presidency."


David Corn

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