The belief that Donald Trump will become the Republican Party's kingmaker since his re-election loss will be put to the test in a key Ohio district in 2022's midterm election reports Politico.
As Republicans flock to Trump Mar-a-Lago resort to court the former president for both his endorsement and support from his cash-flush PAC, Trump is reportedly focused on seeking retribution against any Republican in the House or Senate who voted to impeach him just prior to the 2020 re-election.
In Ohio, Trump's GOP target is Rep. Anthony Gonzalez who has amassed a war chest of his own and will likely face a Trump-anointed primary challenger with a thin resume other than a Trump endorsement and a wealthy family.
"In a normal political world and in a normal political time, a second-generation Cuban-American former NFL player from the Rust Belt with an MBA from Stanford would be considered practically by definition a rising GOP star," Politico's Michael Kruse wrote. "But Gonzalez's impeachment decision made him a traitor in the eyes of the man who is manifestly the unofficial leader of the party. It's the reason Trump wasted no time endorsing Max Miller—a former aide with next to no name ID plus an arrest record—to try to take out Gonzalez. And it's why the 16th District of Ohio is now a singular early battlefield in the former president's intensifying intraparty war."
While one Trump-aligned political consultant stated, "Max is going to beat the hell out of Anthony," others who live in the district say not so fast.
"As battlefields go, Ohio as a whole is more red than purple, and so is the 16th District—but it's replete as well with warning signs for Trump that his quest for retaliation might succeed only in further tearing the party apart," Kruse wrote. " [Miller] is an electoral novice and the scion of a wealthy, politically connected family from the opposite side of Cleveland in a city in which many believe that divide still matters. And since he announced his bid, his critics say, he's been hanging around the Trump stronghold of Southeast Florida more conspicuously than he's been out and about in Northeast Ohio."
According to Gonzalez ally, the incumbent is not going to go down without a fight, saying, "It ain't gonna be pretty. It's just not."
With Kruse writing, "All of this makes Ohio's 16th worth watching as an early, distilled look at the potential limits and pitfalls of Trump's shoot-first, aim-later style, his personality-driven, fealty-fueled, viscerally scattershot politics of retribution," David Pepper, the former chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, added, "It's a perfect example of how Trump could really hurt not just the near term but the future of the Republican Party. It's all about a loyalty test to him that almost will put targets on the backs of some of their best people."
As for Miller's arrest record, Politico reports, "He was charged with assault and disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in 2007 after a fight in which he punched another man in the back of the head and ran from police. He pleaded no contest to a pair of misdemeanors, and the case was dismissed on account of a program for first offenders. He was charged with underage drinking in 2009, the case dismissed due to the same program. And he was charged with disorderly conduct in 2010 following a fight after leaving a hookah bar in the wee hours in which he bloodied his wrist by punching a glass door," which is sure to become a central theme in Gonzalez's campaign
You can read more about the battle between the two here.
'I'm selling the pee tape as an NFT': Bill Maher lists '24 Things You Didn't Know' about Vladimir Putin
With Russia threatening to invade Ukraine, comedian Bill Maher on Friday mocked former president Donald Trump's relationship with Vladimir Putin.
"Putin is known to be secretive, but when we interviewed him for this, he was an open book," Maher said on his HBO Real Time program, introducing a Putin-themed version of the segment "24 Things You Didn't Know About Me."
No. 1 on the list was, "I'm selling the pee tape as an NFT."
The list also included, "I own a small hotel chain in the United States called the Trump Organization."
24 Things You Don't Know About Vladimir Putin | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO) www.youtube.com
Federal law enforcement agencies on Friday released their first post-Jan. 6 report designed to help people spot potential violent extremists among family members, friends and peers.
"The lengthy 'see something, say something'-style public service announcement comes at a time when federal law enforcement has pumped out warnings of unsophisticated — but potentially lethal — attacks by lone actors that provide law enforcement with a sparse paper trail," CBS News reports. "The booklet lists 42 'indicators' that range from 'unusual goodbyes or post-death instructions" to 'surveilling potential attack targets' to 'isolating oneself from family and peers, particularly if citing violent extremist doctrine or ideology.'"
Other indicators listed in the 34-page booklet include "posing with weapons and imagery associated with violent extremism in photos or videos," and "deleting, hiding or manipulating social media as part of an effort to plan a specific act of violence," Axios reports.
"Members of the community such as relatives and peers are almost always the first to pick up on hints of violent motivations and are 'often best positioned to witness signs of mobilization to violence,'" according to Axios.
CBS News notes that while the report is not specifically tied to the Capitol insurrection, "families and friends of defendants have played an outsized role turning in relatives after learning of their alleged involvement in the breach."
"In one such instance, prosecutors say Guy Reffitt of Texas, who was indicted on multiple counts including obstructing the official proceeding of counting electoral college votes, threatened his children after they learned of his alleged involvement in the attack," the network reports. "Reffitt allegedly told his son and daughter following January 6, 'If you turn me in, you're a traitor and you know what happens to traitors...traitors get shot.'"
Read the full booklet here.
A federal judge has sentenced a California man to jail for sending dozens of racist death threats to anti-Trump politicians.
In a rare move, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg rejected the Department of Justice's recommendation of probation, and sentenced 71-year-old Michael Anthony Gallagher to four months behind bars.
Gallagher "spent some four years sending dozens of racist death threats on personalized, handmade postcards," the Mercury News reported Friday.
He pleaded guilty in August to mailing a threatening postcard, signed "KKK," to California Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who is Black.
Gallagher's threat to Waters was among at least 75 he sent to politicians across the country who were critical of former president Donald Trump.
“We’re going to hang your head off the Washington Monument, you piece of Communist (expletive)," Gallagher once wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He also threatened to shoot Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Nevertheless, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Tartakovsky recommended a term of one year of probation.
“This is based on a number of factors, beginning with Mr. Gallagher’s prompt admission of guilt and genuine contrition, which includes his statement to an agent after the search of his house that he had been ‘scared straight,’" Tartakovsky wrote. “Other factors include his age, his lack of a prior record, the absence of evidence that he had any intent actually to carry out any of his threats, his insignificant likelihood of re-offending, and the sufficiency of the conviction itself to provide general and specific deterrence.”
In an apology letter, Gallagher wrote: “Throughout the last presidency, I was impacted by the political polarization of our country. That’s when I started on the reproachable path of mailing threatening postcards, for which I am painfully sorry and ashamed. I think I believed I was sending a message about my political views. But now I realize that these views and my conduct were terribly misguided and shameful.”
Gallagher is scheduled to report to jail in March after being sentenced in December. A transcript from his sentencing hearing wasn't available, the newspaper reported.