U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has asked U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to request an Interpol red alert notice for the arrest of Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro so he can be brought to the United States to face drug trafficking charges. Maduro is currently outside his country in the middle of an international tour claiming to represent Venezuela even though the United States and a large number of countries accuse him of stealing the 2019 presidential election, the Republican senator from Florida said in a letter also addressed to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. “As you know,...
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'Like the death of Stalin': Conservative outlines massive GOP brawl that will break out once Trump croaks
The Bulwark's Jonathan Last argues that the Republican Party is very likely to go through a massive power struggle if and when Trump dies, and he's skeptical that heir apparent Ron DeSantis will be the one who will take over the mantle.
"Once he departs, there will be a scramble to take over the Republican party," he writes. "The largest consequence of the Trump years is that the GOP has become an authoritarian institution. It is not a political party in any way recognizable within the American tradition. Instead, it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of one man."
The Republican Party faced an identity crisis in 1988, when President Ronald Reagan stepped down even as he was idolized by the GOP base.
However, Last sees little reason to believe that the party will behave after Trump as it did after Reagan.
"It seems unlikely that the GOP can revert to being a traditional political party," he argues. "Ergo, the post-Trump succession will look less like the 1988 Republican party search for a post-Reagan identity and more like The Death of Stalin."
In this sort of everything-goes knife fight, Last believes that "crazy Kari Lake," the conspiracy theory-touting GOP Arizona gubernatorial nominee, has an edge over DeSantis.
A member of the notorious Islamic State kidnap-and-murder cell known as the "Beatles" was sentenced to life in prison by a US court on Friday for the deaths of four American hostages in Syria.
El Shafee Elsheikh, 34, was given eight concurrent life sentences after being convicted in April of hostage-taking, conspiracy to murder US citizens and supporting a terrorist organization.
District Court Judge T.S. Ellis said Elsheikh's conduct "can only be described as horrific, barbaric, brutal, callous and, of course, criminal" as he handed down the sentence in Alexandria, Virginia.
Elsheikh, wearing large glasses, a black face mask and a dark green prison jumpsuit, gave no visible reaction to the sentencing.
The two-week trial of the former British national, which featured emotional testimony from former hostages and parents of the victims, was the most significant prosecution of an IS militant in the United States.
Diane Foley, mother of murdered hostage James Foley, in a statement to the court on Friday addressed Elsheikh, saying "your hate-filled crimes did not win... You have been held accountable for your depravity.
"Love is much stronger than hatred. I pity you Elsheikh for choosing hatred."
At the trial, the jury had deliberated for less than six hours before finding Elsheikh guilty for his role in the deaths of four Americans -- journalists Foley and Steven Sotloff and aid workers Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller.
Elsheikh and another former "Beatle," Alexanda Amon Kotey, were captured by a Kurdish militia in Syria in January 2018 and handed over to US forces in Iraq.
They were flown to the United States in 2020 to face trial.
Gruesome videos of beheadings
Kotey, 38, pleaded guilty in September 2021 and was sentenced to life in prison in April.
Another alleged "Beatle," Aine Davis, 38, has been deported to Britain from Turkey and remanded in custody on terrorism charges.
The fourth "Beatle," executioner Mohammed Emwazi, was killed by a US drone in Syria in 2015.
The hostage-takers, who grew up and were radicalized in London, were nicknamed the "Beatles" by their captives because of their distinctive British accents.
Active in Syria from 2012 to 2015, they are accused of abducting more than two dozen journalists and relief workers from the United States and other countries.
Ten former European and Syrian hostages testified at Elsheikh's trial accusing the "Beatles" of months of brutal treatment including beatings, electric shocks, waterboarding and mock executions.
Foley, Sotloff and Kassig were beheaded by Emwazi, and videos of their deaths were released by IS for propaganda purposes.
Mueller was initially held by the "Beatles" but was later turned over to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who reportedly raped her repeatedly.
IS announced Mueller's death in February 2015. The group said she was killed in a Jordanian airstrike, a claim disputed by US authorities.
Baghdadi died during a US special forces raid in 2019.
Ahead of Elsheikh's sentencing, British police revealed details on Wednesday of the years-long effort to identify the hostage-takers and bring them to justice.
Richard Smith, the head of London police's counter-terrorism unit, compared it to "putting together very small pieces of a jigsaw" and following a "trail of breadcrumbs."
Elsheikh declined to address the court on Friday but his attorneys said he intended to appeal the verdict on the grounds of "ineffective counsel."
© 2022 AFP
'Insane': Florida GOP candidate facing backlash after calling on citizens to shoot federal agents 'on sight'
A Florida Republican candidate for the House was suspended from Twitter in the final days of his campaign after advocating for Floridians to shoot federal agents on sight, Florida Politics reports.
Luis Miguel, who is running against incumbent Rep. Bobby Payne, was suspended after he tweeted, “Under my plan, all Floridians will be able to shoot FBI, IRS, ATF, and all other federal troops on sight. Let freedom ring.”
"I'm sorry to have to post this, but this man is running for office in my area. It's real. And it's dangerous," one Twitter user wrote in response to the tweet. "I believe we must turn the mirror in on the lies being used to stir up people for heinous purposes. Someone is going to get killed. My heart is broken."
Speaking to Florida Politics, Miguel said the suspension was permanent but “doesn’t affect (him) at all.” He then doubled down on his tweet, saying that it was justified because the IRS has been “weaponized by dissident forces.”
His call for shooting federal agents is still live in Instagram, where the remark has stirred up a number of negative comments.
"Getting desperate for attention? Or you just insane?" one Instagram user commented.
"This isn't helping our cause!" added another.