Tired of ads? Want to support our progressive journalism? Click to learn more.LEARN MORE

'How to screw up a pandemic': epidemiologist rips vaccine prioritization for rich folk

Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and health economist and an adjunct senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists, blasted the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines on Monday evening.

Dr. Feigl-Ding blamed the Trump White House for the failure, citing the vaccine rollout in a state with a Democratic governor and one with a Republican governor.

He first noted the vaccine rollout in Illinois under Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

"This is how to screw up a pandemic," he wrote.

He then turned his attention to Florida, which is led by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

"Different state, same crap," he wrote.

Clock is ticking for Manhattan DA to indict Trump before his term ends: report

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. will have to act quickly if he wants the indictment of Donald Trump to be part of his legacy, according to a new report.

"In the past year, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has raised only a few thousand dollars for his re-election. He hasn't attended any candidate forums held virtually ahead of this year's Democratic primary in June, and he hasn't publicly voiced a desire to run for a fourth term. People close to Mr. Vance said they believe he won't seek re-election, leaving a crowded field of eight candidates vying for the most prestigious law enforcement job in New York City," The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

"If Mr. Vance doesn't run, he would have less than a year to see through the highest-profile matter of his 11 years in office: the investigation of former President Donald Trump and his business. Manhattan prosecutors have said they are investigating alleged bank and insurance fraud by the Trump Organization and its officers, and recently subpoenaed records relating to Mr. Trump's Seven Springs estate, north of New York City, expanding the previously known scope of the probe," The Journal noted.

Vance has only raised $2,022 in the last six months and his campaign war chest has less than $4,200.

Trump offers his 'total endorsement' of Sarah Huckabee Sanders for Arkansas governor

President Donald Trump made his first post-presidency political endorsement on Monday as he settles into retirement in Florida.

Trump endorsed his former press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, for governor of Arkansas.

"Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a warrior who will always fight for the people of Arkansas and do what is right, not what is politically correct," Trump said in a statement issued by his political action committee.

"Sarah is strong on Borders, tough on Crime, and fully supports the Second Amendment and our great law enforcement officers," Trump said in his statement which resembled the types of endorsements he gave on Twitter before his lifetime suspension.

Her father, Mike Huckabee, served as Arkansas governor from 1996 until 2007.

WATCH: Pence aide reveals she was ordered to spy on Dr. Birx

Former Mike Pence aide Olivia Troye revealed she was ordered to spy on Dr. Deborah Birx during a Monday night interview on MSNBC.

"I was told I that I was to watch her," Troye told Chris Hayes. "That she was not to be trusted because she was a Matt Pottinger hire."

"And so here I am as a Homeland [Security] advisor saying, 'you're asking me to spy on this woman that I'm sharing an office with, who is on our team when we know this pandemic is out of control we know that people are going to get hurt and this is where the focus is?'" she explained.

Fox host defends QAnon as network continues to support lying -- even after Capitol insurrection

The far-right conspiracy theory QAnon was defended on Fox News on Monday.

The QAnon cult argues, without evidence, that Democrats are part of a Satanic, pedophile cabal that runs the world. Multiple supporters of the conspiracy theory took part in the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Fox News personality Tucker Carlson was not worried about dictatorship after Donald Trump tried to overturn the 2020 election, but was terrified that QAnon supporters are being held to account for spreading lies.

Carlson complained about the "mob of censors and hysterics and Jacobin destroyers all working on behalf of entrenched power to take total control of everything.

Trump attorney L. Lin Wood fired by pro-Trump teenager Nicholas Sandmann: report

Participating in Donald Trump's attempts to overturn the election continues to dog attorney L. Lin Wood.

"A Kentucky teenager whose 2019 face-off with a Native American activist in Washington went viral has fired his lawyer, a man who played a key role in Donald Trump's attempts to overturn his election defeat, according to court notices filed on Monday. The teen, Nicholas Sandmann, terminated lawyer L. Lin Wood from the team representing him in a series of lawsuits that accuse media companies like The New York Times Inc and CBS News Inc of inaccurately portraying the stand-off at the Lincoln Memorial on the day of a large anti-abortion protest," Reuters reported Monday.

Kentucky-based lawyer Todd McMurtry continues to represent Sandmann.

"I have ended my lawyer-client relationship with Mr. Wood and no longer wish to be represented by him," Sandmann wrote in court filings.

Wood has not backed down from pushing the conspiracy theories that culminated in the fatal January 6th riots at the U.S. Capitol. Trump was impeached for inciting the insurrection.

"In a statement shared on the Telegram app on Sunday, Wood said he expected Sandmann would 'abandon' him because of earlier social media posts in which Wood suggested former Vice President Mike Pence engaged in 'treason' and could 'face execution by firing squad' for formally recognizing the election victory of President Joe Biden," Reuters noted. "Wood said in the Telegram post that his comments about Pence were 'rhetorical hyperbole.'"

California has paid out $11 billion in fraudulent unemployment claims -- could rise to $30 billion

The state of California on Monday revealed the extent of fraudulent unemployment claims during the coronavirus pandemic.

"California has paid out a staggering $11 billion worth of fraudulent unemployment claims since the COVID-19 pandemic began last spring, California Labor Secretary Julie Su said Monday," The Sacramento Bee reports. "The fraudulent payments represent 10% of all payments for pandemic unemployment benefits, Su said. The percentage is likely to go higher. Another 17% of the dollars that have been paid out — more than $19 billion — are considered suspicious and 'a large number of that could be confirmed fraud as well,' she said."

"Most of the fraudulent claims have been made through the federally-funded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program," the newspaper reported. "PUA was designed to provide unemployment benefits to people who do not qualify for traditional unemployment insurance, such as independent contractors and small business owners. Recipients can currently get up to $750 a week in benefits."

Stu estimated that the Employment Development Department and local prosecutors have prevented $60 billion in fraudulent claims.

Politico reporters criticize their company for promoting bigotry by publishing Ben Shapiro: report

Politico continues to receive fallout from their controversial decision to publish Ben Shapiro.

"More than 100 Politico staffers signed onto a letter sent to publisher Robert Allbritton, expressing disgust with allowing right-wing firebrand Ben Shapiro to guest-author one day's edition of the Playbook, and with the outlet's subsequent handling of the fallout," The Daily Beast reported Monday, in what it billed as an exclusive.

"Earlier this month, the Beltway news outlet handed over the keys to its signature news product to Shapiro, a talk-radio host and pundit who has long been one of the most controversial voices in right-wing media, thanks in part to his incendiary comments about the LGBT community, Muslims, Black Americans, and Jews who support Democratic politicians. The guest appearance sparked immediate backlash and criticism from many in the media industry, including within Politico's own newsroom, where employees expressed outrage on Slack and during an all-staff editorial meeting following the guest column's publication," The Beast reported. "According to multiple Politico insiders familiar with the situation, the letter to Allbritton criticized the decision to publish Shapiro, claiming it had demoralized a substantial portion of the newsroom, but also railed against the responses to criticism offered by editor in chief Matt Kaminski."

"The staff letter, sent last week to Allbritton, maintained that Kaminski had not appropriately apologized for his responses, additionally referencing an email he sent to staff on January 15, which was obtained and reviewed by The Daily Beast. The top editor expressed regret for his initial response about "making mischief," but reiterated that publishing Shapiro was part of his hopes to "experiment and mix things up" in order to keep Politico "vital and vibrant" to its readers," The Beast noted. "In response, the letter's signees asked Allbritton how Shapiro's extensive record of bigotry can be considered 'vibrant' or 'vital.'"

Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein benefactor steps down as CEO of massive private equity firm: report

One of Jeffrey Epstein's biggest benefactors will no longer be CEO of a major private equity firm.

"The founders of Apollo Global Management, one of the world's biggest private equity firms, engaged in a brief power struggle this weekend over control of the firm, a rift that opened up after an inquiry revealed that one founder — Apollo's chief executive and chairman, Leon Black — had paid $150 million to the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein," The New York Times reports. "On Monday, Mr. Black announced his plan to step down as chief executive of the company this year."

"The review — ordered by the firm's board in October after The New York Times detailed at least $75 million in payments — found that Mr. Black had paid Mr. Epstein significantly more, according to two people familiar with the inquiry, who requested anonymity because the report was not public. The sum effectively bankrolled the disgraced financier's lifestyle in the years after his 2008 guilty plea to a Florida prostitution charge involving a teenage girl," the newspaper reported.

"The findings created friction between Mr. Black and one of Apollo's other founders, Joshua Harris, according to three people briefed on the discussions. One of the people said Mr. Harris believed that Mr. Black showed poor judgment in consorting with Mr. Epstein, and that the new findings would further hurt Apollo's reputation. In recent months, Apollo investors had begun openly questioning the financial ties between Mr. Black and Mr. Epstein, who died in 2019," the newspaper noted. "Apollo, based in New York, manages $433 billion for institutional investors, including pension plans and sovereign wealth funds."

'WalkAway' founder Brandon Straka arrested for Capitol riots after his own family called the FBI on him

Yet another far right extremist has been arrested for his role in the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Brandon Straka was charged with three counts by federal prosecutors: impeding law enforcement during a civil disorder, entering restricted grounds, and disorderly conduct with intent to disturb a hearing before Congress. He has been arrested.

Straka founded the "WalkAway Campaign" that sought to encourage Democrats to leave the Democratic Party and spoke at a "Stop the Steal" rally in D.C. the day before the riots.

The day after the riots, Straka criticized those on the right who were attempting to blame the riots on antifa.

The FBI said that "Witness-1" was a relative of Straka to pointed investigators to a video Straka had posted to Twitter. After the video was deleted from Twitter, the relative let the agent know there was a copy of the video posted to YouTube.

In the video, Straka was seen wearing the same clothes that he had worn the previous day while speaking at the rally.

Photos included in criminal complaint against Brandon Straka.Screengrab.

GOP's Lauren Boebert in ethics flap for accepting gun from Three Percenters militia

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) found herself in an ethics flap on Monday as controversy continues to dominate her first month in office.

The progressive political action committee Rural Colorado United posted video of Boebert being gifted a gun.

"Lauren Boebert breaks state and federal laws accepting gifted gun from white supremacist Stephen Moore on video. Illegal to accept gifts over $50 and illegal to gift guns in CO," Rural Colorado United posted to Twitter.

Less than two hours later, Boebert addressed the matter on Twitter, saying she planned to purchase the .40 S&W Glock from Colorado Boots on the Ground Bikers for Trump. She did not address the allegations of white supremacy, but praised the militia group as "patriots."

Kyle Clark of 9 News Denver was shocked about her "lack of awareness" and noticed what appears to be a "Three Percenters" militia patch:

Elise Schmelzer also noticed the "Three Percenters" militia patch:

Watch 9 News Denver's coverage:

Trump pardoned Steve Bannon -- Arizona should prosecute him anyway: columnist

Steve Bannon's pardon by Donald Trump was blasted by an Arizona newspaper columnist -- who is urging local prosecutors to correct the wrong.

"This wasn't about correcting an injustice, which is the reason presidents have pardon power. Like so many of Trump's pardons, this one intended to excuse a friend or ally from responsibility for his actions," Arizona Daily Star's Tim Steller wrote. "Further, it could potentially protect Trump himself. Without pending criminal charges against Bannon, federal prosecutors have no leverage to convince him to supply any incriminating evidence he might have against Trump."

"All in all, it was another abuse of the pardon power, which the founders intended to be corrected through impeachment of the president. Of course it is too late for that," he explained. "But justice for Bannon remains plausible, because the acts he is accused of are also considered state crimes, and state prosecutions aren't covered by the pardon. It only excuses him from prosecution under federal law."

He urged the Arizona Attorney General's Office or the Pima County Attorney's Office to "step in."

"You see, the conspiracy that federal prosecutors alleged has strong links to Arizona. You could almost say it started in Pima County. On Feb. 8, 2019, Bannon, Kolfage and others hosted an event at Quail Creek in Sahuarita that kicked off a new fundraising effort for We Build the Wall. About 300 members and guests of the Quail Creek Republican Club attended, applauding and donating enthusiastically," he explained.

"That night, Bannon told Star reporter Curt Prendergast "100% of this money is going to build the wall and the legal fight" to get the wall built. It was a pledge that the project repeated in online posts and in emailed appeals for donations," Steller continued. "But, if the indictment is correct, Bannon appears to have known that same night in Quail Creek that he and the others planned to siphon off money, through a nonprofit that Bannon controlled, to pay Kolfage and others."

Read his full case for prosecution.

Cindy McCain belittles the Arizona GOP after receiving official censure

The infighting among members of the Arizona Republican Party boiled over on Saturday during a contentious meeting.

"Kelli Ward, the fractious leader of the Arizona Republican Party, narrowly beat back significant competition on Saturday to win another two-year term as the organization's chairwoman despite the endorsement of former President Donald Trump," the Arizona Republic reported Saturday. "The closely watched result offers an early, state-level indication that Trump retains sway over the activist base of the GOP, though it is more tenuous. The election also suggests the longstanding divisions in the state party in the Trump era have not abated."

"The party members later passed three resolutions censuring high-profile Republicans: Gov. Doug Ducey, former Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain. It was another sign of the party's move to the right," the newspaper noted.

McCain, for her part, shrugged off the vote.

"It is a high honor to be included in a group of Arizonans who have served our state and our nation so well...and who, like my late husband John, have been censured by the AZGOP. I'll wear this as a badge of honor," McCain posted to Twitter.

Here's why Trump's threats to retaliate against Republicans have critical flaws

Former President Donald Trump is reportedly livid at Republicans who he views as insufficiently subservient -- including the 10 Republicans who voted for his second impeachment.

But the threats come as he is in retirement at Mar-a-Lago and there are flaws in his plan, as was documented by New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman on Saturday evening.

Haberman noted an advisor saying "he's golfing" when she asked about his efforts to recruit Republicans to primary the members of Congress he dislikes.

She also poured cold water on reports he is considering starting a "Patriot Party" to compete against Republicans.

"Creating a third party is actually really hard," she noted.

And it would make no sense to try to do both.

"And it is contradictory to say 'I'm doing a third party' as well as 'I'm primarying Republicans.' You might be able to do one but you can't do both. All this is to say that while people have learned the hard way not to dismiss Trump, not all of his endeavors are identical," she noted.

Read her full thread:

Madison Cawthorn tried to defend overturning the election on CNN -- but Pamela Brown shut him down

Controversial Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) appeared on CNN on Saturday where he attempted to defend his efforts to overturn the election that resulted in the fatal insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

But CNN anchor Pamela Brown repeatedly pressed Cawthorn to document his allegations of voter fraud -- which were rejected by the courts, the Electoral College, and a joint-session of Congress.

Cawthorn could provide no such evidence.

"Hold on, so you wanted to throw out millions of votes without actually seeing any concrete evidence of fraud?" she asked. "That's what you were doing when you were contesting the election, the intent there was throwing out millions of votes."

"Well, I disagree with you on that point, that was not my intent, my intent was to hold up the Constitution," Cawthorn argued, despite the fact he did vote to throw out millions of votes -- even after the deadly insurrection.


Madison Cawthorn www.youtube.com