Here’s how Mitch McConnell outsmarted Trump — even though it created a major rift in the GOP

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has ignored complaints from Donald Trump and reached a deal with Democrats to extend the debt ceiling and avoid a government shutdown.

"We’re seeing some pretty significant fissures inside the Senate Republican Conference over the debt-limit strategy," Punchbowl News reported Wednesday. "Some of the "no" votes tell us that Republicans already helped Democrats raise the debt limit once and they shouldn't do it again."

Punchbowl noted the position of three Senate Republicans who are seen as hopefuls to be the next GOP leader. Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD) and Sen. John Cornyn are both backing McConnell's deal, while Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), the chair of the Senate GOP Conference, remains undecided.

"But there was “a lot of pushback” in the GOP Conference meeting on Tuesday where McConnell laid out the plan, according to Republicans sources. Sens. Richard Shelby (R-AL), Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) -- normally “safe” leadership allies -- all raised concerns, as did more hardline conservatives," Punchbowl reported. "Some Republicans seem to be struggling with voting no because the debt-limit process bill also includes language to delay Medicare sequestration cuts. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), a hardliner who one would expect to be against any debt-limit increase, questioned why any Republicans would vote against the measure."

READ: 'Fox News Christmas tree' goes up in flames as man is arrested for torching it

Punchbowl said the deal "seems to be sailing through the Congress quite easily."

But Trump is not on board, issuing a statement on Tuesday complaining about the "pathetic" strategy of Senate Republicans.

"USE THE DEBT CEILING TO WIN, AND MEAN IT THIS TIME!" Trump said, in all capital letters.

Republican senators have repeatedly sided with McConnell over Trump when the former president has demanded particular votes.

In October, Trump also tried to kill a debt limit increase.

READ: 'They get away with everything': MSNBC's Morning Joe bashes Robert Mueller

"Republican Senators, do not vote for this terrible deal being pushed by folding Mitch McConnell," Trump argued, shortly before he lost the vote as eleven GOP senators joined with Democrats on a procedural vote.

In August, Trump urged Republicans to use the debt limit as leverage to kill the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework. But his advice was rejected by nineteen Republicans Senators.

Here's how Trump can triumph over Jan. 6 committee — even while losing in court

Efforts by Donald Trump to stymie the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol could allow his allies the legal standing necessary to evade accountability, according to a new report.

"From his faux Resolute Desk at Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald Trump can still wield a wrecking ball that damages the congressional investigation of the insurrection—even if he loses his ongoing battle in the nation’s highest courts," The Daily Beast reported Wednesday.

Trump has referred to the select committee as the "crooked and highly partisan Unselect Committee of political hacks looking into the January 6th protest."

"Lawyers widely expect Trump will, indeed, fail at his attempt to assert 'residual' executive privilege to keep damning documents shielded from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. But constitutional scholars warn that judges appear poised to give him a slight opening that could severely delay congressional investigators and give resistant witnesses legal ammunition in their own court fights," The Beast reported. "The potential delays matter even more now that tight-lipped Trump loyalists are stacking up, with news in recent days that former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and ex-Assistant Attorney General Jeff Clark have put themselves on the same 'contempt of Congress' path of martyrdom as Steve Bannon for relying on the ghost of Trump’s executive privilege to defy subpoenas and refuse to testify."

READ: These are the documents Donald Trump doesn't want the House Jan. 6 panel to see: report

Attorney Kel McClanahan warned it appeared the three-judge appellate panel in the District of Columbia appears poised to try and build a legal "test" for balancing Trump's claims of executive privilege with Biden's efforts to get to the bottom of the Jan. 6 attack.

“They seemed to want to create a balancing test. It’s going to allow Trump to keep filing these lawsuits and keep delaying, delaying, delaying—all because the circuit may not say that there’s no way any former president could ever win," McClanahan explained. “If it isn’t shut down now, it’s going to play out in Bannon’s contempt trial, in motions to quash testimony."

On Nov. 9, Judge Tanya S. Chutkan ruled "Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President.” But that conclusion is being challenged in front of the appellate court.

Jonathan David Shaub, a law professor at the University of Kentucky, explained how any "test" could delay the investigation.

READ: 'Flaccid little cry baby': Legal experts weigh in on Trump’s lawsuit to block Jan. 6 Committee

“Trump is certainly claiming this residuum of power that has no identifiable source,” Shaub said. “If the court goes down the road of having judges decide which claim is valid, then Bannon has a much more legitimate argument that he didn’t have to comply until a court decided whose claim is more viable. It gives credence to this idea that there’s some question about who has the authority to allow Bannon or Meadows to testify.”

“If the judges say that this is a presidential authority that belongs to the current president, then… Bannon and Meadows have much less of a claim,” Shaub added.

Read the full report.

Trump considered spiking Kavanaugh’s nomination over ‘I like beer’ testimony: report

Donald Trump "strongly considered" withdrawing Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination, according to a new report by Politico.

"It wasn’t because of accusations that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford while in high school, but because he’d professed that he 'liked beer' during his hearings and was, in Trump’s estimation, being too apologetic," Meridith McGraw reported. "Meadows writes that Trump, a teetotaler who was 'extremely put off' by Kavanaugh’s professed affection for suds, proposed the idea of dropping Kavanaugh during a flight on Air Force One while Meadows was still a sitting congressman."

READ MORE: Susan Collins says she didn't hear Brett Kavanaugh's SCOTUS abortion comments

BuzzFeed News compiled a highlight reel of all the time Kavanaugh discussed his appreciation of beer.

Kavanaugh's "I like beer" remark was parodied by NBC's "Saturday Night Live" with Matt Damon portraying the conservative jurist.

"Look, I like beer. Okay. I like beer. Boys like beer. Girls like beer. I like beer. I like beer!" Damon shouted.


Man arrested for attempted murder for shooting teens throwing water balloons: report

Authorities in California have arrested a 63-year-old man for allegedly shooting at two teenagers for throwing water balloons.

Ridgecrest Police were called to the Ridgecrest Regional Hospital on Saturday evening after a 17-year-old and 18-year-old were reportedly the victims of the shooting, KBAK-TV reported.

Mark Shell was reportedly sleeping in his pick-up truck when the two victims threw water balloons at his vehicle.

"While inspecting his vehicle for damage, Shell noticed the victims had turned around and were driving back. He retrieved a 12 gauge shotgun from his vehicle," the network reported. "As the teens drove by him, Shell discharged his shotgun at the driver’s door, causing damage to the truck and minor injuries to the driver, according to RPD. Shell drove off in his truck."

READ MORE: Custody battle turns deadly when Texas man brings rifle into heated dispute caught on video

A few hours later, sheriff's deputies located Shell and took him into custody and seized a shotgun. As a convicted felon, Shell is not permitted to possess a firearm.

Shell was charged with attempted murder, assault with a firearm, felon in possession of firearm, felon in possession of ammunition, and shooting at an occupied vehicle.

Ghislaine Maxwell hard drive had been previously seized by law enforcement in 2007: Miami Herald reporter

The reporter widely credited with re-opening the investigation into Jeffrey Epstein reported on a new piece of information revealed in the trial of alleged co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell.

"A 2001 computer hard drive owned by Ghislaine Maxwell seized during 2019 raid of Epstein’s NY mansion had been previously seized by law enforcement in July 2007," Miami Herald investigative reporter Julie Brown reported.

READ MORE: Ghislaine Maxwell outsourced sex acts for Jeffrey Epstein, jury hears

"Thus far the only thing shown in court on the hard drives are emails from Ghislaine Maxwell in which she is complaining about the staff who worked at the house in 2001," she added.

In 2019, Brown reported on the secret deal then-U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta struck with Epstein, who at the time of her reporting was Donald Trump's Secretary of Labor.

Legal expert blames the Supreme Court as redistricting battle erupts between Texas and the DOJ

Republicans in the Texas legislature were blasted by leading legal analyst for discriminatory redistricting maps.

Election law expert and University of Texas Law Prof. Steve Vladeck explained the new dynamics one day after the U.S. Department of Justice field a federal lawsuit for violating Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

"The Justice Department sued Texas on Monday, challenging its newly drawn electoral maps at both the state and congressional levels. At its core, the lawsuit claims that Texas’ new maps discriminate against the state’s 'growing minority electorate.' And clearly, they do. The problem with the lawsuit is not its factual premise; it is the significant steps the Supreme Court has taken in the last eight years to make it easier for conservative states to get away with exactly such anti-democratic (and anti-Democratic) manipulation," he wrote. "Simply put, the latest front in the battle between the Biden administration and Texas reinforces just how fragile our democracy is becoming — and how directly the Supreme Court is responsible."

The 2020 Census found Texas had gained 4 million residents.

READ MORE: Texas newspaper slams GOP for locking Democrats out of power with new redistricting scheme

"Most of that growth came from minority groups, which now constitute a majority of the state’s population. Indeed, the statewide population of “Anglos” (non-Latino white Texans) was responsible for only 5 percent of that growth," Vladeck replied. "As Ari Berman has documented, Latinos, in contrast, make up 39 percent of the population but control only 20 percent of the districts. And only 2 percent of the districts have Black majorities, even though Black Texans are one-eighth of the state’s population. More fundamentally, the maps completely ignore the source of Texas’ explosive population growth, reducing the voting power of the very minority groups who are responsible for virtually all of the state’s gains in size."

Vladeck noted that the Texas maps would've been illegal until the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder ruling.

"Shelby County effectively nullified the preclearance regime, though it left a window open for Congress to update the coverage formula. But it did not affect Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act — the statute’s central substantive prohibition on voting rules that discriminate based upon race. Shelby County thus required litigants to bring individual challenges to individual state practices, but it did nothing to make those challenges harder to win," he explained. "In July, however, the Supreme Court’s decision in Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee made it harder to enforce Section 2, as well."

Vladeck says it is imperative for Congress to act.

READ MORE: Legal expert explains how DOJ could win challenge of 'racially biased' Texas voting law in right-wing Supreme Court

"How far that reasoning goes remains to be seen. In that respect, the Biden administration’s new suit against Texas may be a bellwether. If the Voting Rights Act can no longer prevent a state that gained seats in Congress almost entirely because of minority population growth from redistricting to reduce the voting power of those minority groups, it will be a powerful testament to how much the Supreme Court has denuded that landmark civil rights statute," he explained. "That the case has to be filed at all shows how imperative it is for Congress to fix it, even if eliminating the filibuster is the only way to accomplish such reform. So long as these maps remain in effect, they will provide only further evidence of the fragility of our democracy — and how increasingly unrepresentative our 'representatives' are."

Watch AG Merrick Garland announce the lawsuit:

Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against the State of Texas to Challenge Statewide Redistricting..

Trumpworld oligarch busted in the biggest sanctions-evasion scheme in US history is still living a ‘playboy lifestyle’ in Miami

A bombshell new investigation by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, Law&Crime and the Miami Herald revealed how a notorious figure is living a life of luxury in Florida while under protection of U.S. authorities.

"Facing 130 years in prison, infamous Turkish-Iranian money launderer Reza Zarrab took a plea deal in 2017 agreeing to testify in U.S. courts. Federal officials have since kept him out of the spotlight, while allowing him to lead a government-sanctioned life of luxury under a false identity in Miami," the Herald reported.

The investigation "found that Zarrab remains connected to his former criminal network and has received multiple unusual wire transfers from Turkey. Using fake identities, he’s invested in thoroughbred horses and a palatial equestrian facility, entering an industry rife with fraud and money laundering. U.S. officials declined to comment when asked if they have concerns about his activities or if he’s surrendered a dime of his fortune."

Zarrab has links to both Rudy Giuliani and Mike Flynn.

READ MORE: Turkish gold trader implicates Erdogan in Iran money laundering

"Dubbed the 'The Turkish Gatsby' by media there for his playboy lifestyle, Zarrab ran a vast money-laundering operation that channeled funds to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions against the Persian Gulf country. U.S. prosecutors offered a conservative estimate that his network moved at least $20 billion from 2010 to 2015 alone. Zarrab pleaded guilty to various charges related to fraud and money laundering," the newspaper reported.

"Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) was troubled by the report.

“I’ve long been concerned with how the Justice Department handled this case, and the appearance of political interference on behalf of Turkey influencing the department’s decision-making,’’ Wyden said. “This was the largest sanctions-evasion scheme in U.S. history, and the possibility that the U.S. financial system is being used to facilitate improper transactions for Reza Zarrab and other co-conspirators implicated in the scheme deserves the immediate attention of U.S. officials.”

Read the full report.

This high-stakes primary in Pennsylvania could determine Democrats’ swing state playbook

The two Senate Democrats widely blamed for stalling President Joe Biden's agenda have become a top issue in the Democratic primary in one of America's most closely watched midterm races.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have been resistant to Biden's agenda as he attempts to pass his Build Back Better agenda and pass voting rights protection.

"In the high-stakes primary for Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat, a debate is raging over what it means to be a loyal Democrat in the Biden era. How voters answer that question could help determine the new playbook for Democrats running in battleground states," Politico reported Tuesday. "The frontrunner in the Democratic contest, Pennsylvania’s Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, anchors one end of the ideological pole. He is harshly critical of the role that Manchin and Sinema have played in opposing major parts of President Joe Biden’s social spending bill. At the other end is moderate Rep. Conor Lamb, who has positioned himself against the party’s left wing."

State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta and Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh are also running while criticizing Manchin.

READ MORE: Trump's hardcore 'fanatics' are inadvertently sealing a win for swing-state Democrat

"Fetterman, a progressive who endorsed Bernie Sanders in 2016, is a tattooed, six-foot-eight former mayor of a struggling steel town. His supporters argue that he can win back working-class white and rural voters who’ve fled the Democratic Party with his populist message and not-your-typical-politician persona," Politico reported. "Lamb, who won a district that Trump carried by about 20 points, also makes the case that he has the ability to flip white working-class as well as suburban voters. But he cuts a more moderate profile. He personally opposes abortion (though he has voted to support abortion rights) and is a vocal critic of defunding the police. To him, Manchin is not a dirty word — he recently held a fundraiser with the West Virginia senator."

The frontrunner's approach seems to be connecting with the Democratic base.

"John Fetterman’s campaign war chest is dwarfing the coffers of his opponents early in the race for U.S. Senate," the Tribune-Review reported in October. "Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s Democratic lieutenant governor and former Braddock mayor, has outraised and outspent every other candidate in the crowded field vying to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, records show. From Jan. 1 through mid-October, Fetterman raised nearly $9.3 million — at least triple and up to more than 10 times what more than two dozen fellow candidates have raked in thus far, according to forms filed with the Federal Election Commission."

Lamb's team has attempted to label Fetterman a socialist, but Politico noted his campaign has failed to back up. the charge.

READ MORE: Republicans ‘scrambling’ to find the next Glenn Youngkin as they struggle to replicate their success in Virginia

Investors in Trump’s new company want to cash out as soon as possible: report

There are red flags that Trump's new media company may be a mirage that investors may pump and dump, according to a new report.

In his Popular Information newsletter, Judd Legum notes a number of red flags.

"Initially, TMTG suggested that Truth Social was based on "proprietary" technology. It was later forced to admit that the code was taken from Mastodon, an open-sourced decentralized social network that anyone can use," he reported. "TMTG was also subject to criticism for failing to announce 'anyone involved in building its supposed technology.'"

The company's purported launch date also came and went in November.

READ MORE: Inside the 'weird' world of DWAC -- Trump's already soaring social media SPAC

Legum noted the compromising situation he could be in if the money were coming from foreign power, like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

"But who is investing $1 billion in Trump's virtually non-existent company? TMTG does not say. They identify the source of the cash as "a diverse group of institutional investors." The identity of the investors is critical in light of Trump's future political ambitions. He may run for president again in 2024. What if, for example, the investors include the Saudi sovereign wealth fund?" he wondered.

Legum gave his analysis of the Private Investment in Public Entity (PIPE) fundraising effort currently underway.

"The structure of the PIPE deal, however, suggests that these investors are less interested in influencing a future president than fleecing retail traders for a quick buck," he wrote. "In other words, there seems to be a real push by these investors to flip these stocks immediately. The investors, whoever they are, seem to be keenly aware that time is not on their side. They want to be able to cash out before anyone gets too much information about how the company actually performs."

RELATED: Trading in Trump's new social media SPAC halted due to volatility

If it is a grift, it's Trump's base that will be stuck with the bill.

"It's a deal that makes Trump money and the investors money. The people holding the bag will be retail investors paying premium prices for a mirage of a company because they like Trump," he explained.

Read the full report.

Texas newspaper slams GOP for locking Democrats out of power with new redistricting scheme

Republicans in Texas were slammed in a hard-hitting editorial by the Houston Chronicle for redrawing political maps in a manner likely to keep Democrats from having any representation in Galveston County.

The new maps for Galveston, which is a suburb of Houston, redrew Precinct 3. The district has been served by Commissioner Stephen Holmes for over two decades.

"Holmes is the lone Democrat and only person of color on the court. Precinct 3 is currently about two-thirds Black and Latino, but under the new configuration, people of color will make up only a quarter of the voters," the newspaper reported.

This was not the county's first brush with scandal while redistricting.

READ: Congressional gerrymandering by Texas Republicans cut out the heart of Houston’s Asian community

"Galveston County has been through this before. A decade ago, the U.S. Department of Justice rejected its Republican-drawn maps before they were put into effect, finding they diluted minority voting power," the newspaper reported. "What’s different this time, though, is the county is not required to submit its maps ahead of time for the DOJ to review any impact on minority voting rights."

The critical section of the law was struck down in 2013.

"Why did the Galveston County commissioners redraw Holmes’ district? Was it to dilute minority voting power? Or were they just determined to drive out dissent by a Democrat? We can only guess, because the commissioners didn’t respond to our requests for comment," the editorial board wrote.

READ: Texas Senate approves congressional map that draws no new Black or Hispanic districts even as people of color fueled population growth

Seventh-grader dies by suicide after being told he'd go to hell for being gay

Grieving parents in Tennessee are urging everyone to get educated about bullying after their 12-year-old son, Eli Fritchley, took his own life.

His mother, Debbey, told WKRN-TV last week that her son wore his beloved SpongeBob sweatshirt nearly every day.

“I think probably because he was in the same clothes every single day that they used that as a weapon,” she said. “He was told because he didn’t necessarily have a religion and that he said he was gay that he was going to go to hell. They told him that quite often."

His father, Steve, said the bullying was "really abusive."

"I don’t think it was ever physical. I think it was just words, but words hurt. They really hurt,” he explained.

The Fritchleys now hope to launch a foundation to fight bullying and promote suicide awareness. Their GoFundMe page has received more than $12,000 donations so far.


Trump trained his MAGA base ‘to view reality as the crisis and violence as the solution’: report

Donald Trump has brainwashed his "Make America Great Again" base into rejecting reality and endorsing political violence, according to a new analysis published by The Washington Post.

Trump has continued to push his "Big Lie" of election fraud that incited the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

"Likewise, the crooked and highly partisan Unselect Committee of political hacks looking into the January 6th protest of the Election should spend their time studying the Election Fraud of 2020, also known as the Crime of Century," Trump said in a statement released Saturday.

Later that day, Trump tried to allege there was "massive election fraud," but awkwardly used a double negative that suggested he thinks he is "either very stupid or very corrupt."

READ MORE: Trump has raised an army of 21 million ‘committed insurrectionists’ — and they crave bloodshed

"Trump’s assertions about the election are some mix of self-care and delusion. He wants to believe he didn’t lose the election he lost, casting his behavior over the past 12 months with the sort of pathos that was obvious to outside observers in his speech at Mar-a-Lago. But he seems also to have convinced himself that maybe something did go wrong somewhere, which allows him to believe that his reaction isn’t solely about his ego. A former White House staffer told CNN last month that Trump at first knew Biden had won but then readily allowed himself to be convinced otherwise," Philip Bump wrote for The Post.

Bump noted a new bombshell report on how Trump raised an army of 21 million "committed insurrectionists."

"In a lengthy article for the Atlantic, Barton Gellman outlines how Trump’s delusion has swelled to encompass much of his party. Gellman staked out an important position on Trump’s willingness to subvert the election when he wrote an article for that magazine shortly before the 2020 contest in which he outlined a number of the paths Trump eventually explored for trying to wrench a victory from his loss. Now, he writes that Trump and his allies are both unchastened from the aftermath of the election and preparing to do better next time," Bump reported.

"At no point in time has Trump expressed any serious concern about the risk of right-wing political violence centered on the 2020 election. Even on Jan. 6, he patted the rioters on the head as he encouraged them to go home in one of his last social media posts before Twitter and Facebook decided that the risk he might foment more violence outweighed the value of extending him a platform. The riot on Jan. 6 was always inextricably downstream from Trump’s rhetoric and calls to action. Trump roused the rabble and then cheered the result," he explained. "The point is not that this all happened. It’s that it is happening. That, 11 months after the riot, Trump is saying the same things to the same people and getting a warm response. That he’s there at Mar-a-Lago making the same increasingly ludicrous claims to the same people in the same bubble even as he mulls a 2024 run and makes moves to continue to reshape the GOP. That’s the point."

RELATED: Here are 4 ugly personality traits Trump supporters share with their beloved president

Bump noted Trump's absurd delusion that the insurrection actually took place on election day, when voters chose Joe Biden.

"It’s self-serving nonsense, in the way that so much of what Trump says is. But it’s also an encouragement, yet again, to view reality as the crisis and violence as the solution," he wrote.

Read the full analysis.

Trump lashes out at Biden after media reports on his positive COVID test before first debate

Donald Trump lashed out at the media on Monday for reporting that former chief of staff Mark Meadows revealed in a new book that the 2020 GOP nominee tested positive for coronavirus before the first debate with Joe Biden.

Trump's statement, emailed to reporters after he was banned from social media for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection, came one day after The Washington Post published a deep dive into the fallout from Trump testing positive and then potentially going on to be the source of infections for other people.

"Trump and Meadows hid Trump’s positive test not just from the public, but also from his inner circle and from his top public health officials. He took part in a debate with Democratic rival Joe Biden three days later, never revealing the test result to Biden or event organizers," The Post reported. "One former senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to share a candid opinion, remarked, 'Everyone spent months trying to reconstruct the Rose Garden and it turns out it was good old Patient Zero, the president.'"

READ MORE: Melania Trump is implicated in White House cover-up of Trump's COVID test: columnist

"The Fake News continues to push the false narrative that I had Covid prior to the first debate," Trump wrote. He says the report is false because of a denial from Meadows, who is also the source of the initial report.

"There is no way of knowing whether the initial Sept. 26 coronavirus test was a false positive or, rather, the first true indicator of the virus that would fell Trump days later. Both Meadows and Trump have previously misled the public on a host of issues, including Trump’s covid status," The Post noted.

Trump went on to attack Biden and questioning the legitimacy of the sitting president who beat him in 2020.

"Biden goes around coughing on people all over the place, and yet the Corrupt News doesn’t even cover it," Trump complained. "They continue to shield Biden, who has been a disaster not just on Covid, where we have more deaths this year than last, but on the Border, the Economy, Inflation, Afghanistan, Gas prices, and everything else. Probably because he’s not supposed to be in office in the first place!"

Feds 'investigating' financing of Trump’s new media company: NY Times reporter

Efforts by former President Donald Trump to start a new media company are drawing scrutiny from federal investigators, according to New York Times business investigations correspondent David Enrich.

"Donald Trump’s new social media company and its special purpose acquisition company partner say the partner has agreements for $1 billion in capital from institutional investors. The former president launched his new company, Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) in October. He unveiled plans for a new messaging app called "Truth Social" to rival Twitter and the other social media platforms that banned him following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol," the Associated Press reported Sunday.

Trump is hoping his effort becomes a publicly listed company via a merger with Digital World Acquisition Corp (DWAC).

"The institutional investors were not identified in a press release issued Saturday by Trump Media and Digital World," the AP noted. "The money would come from "a diverse group" of investors after the two companies are combined, it said."

READ MORE: Inside the 'weird' world of DWAC -- Trump's already soaring social media SPAC

That financing deal is now under investigation, Enrich reported Monday.

"Securities regulators have opened investigations into the planned merger of a nascent social media company backed by former President Donald J. Trump with a so-called blank-check company that raised nearly $300 million in an initial public offering in September," he reported. "The investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority were disclosed Monday in a regulatory filing by Digital World Acquisition Corporation, the special purpose acquisition company that intends to merge with Trump Media Technology Group."

Digital World said it was cooperating with the investigation.

"Shares of Digital World were trading 1 percent lower following the announcement, at about $44.33 a share," he noted.

Republicans ‘scrambling’ to find the next Glenn Youngkin as they struggle to replicate their success in Virginia: report

Republicans saw success in Virginia's 2021 gubernatorial election after losing the White House and Senate in 2020, but are struggling to duplicate that model heading into the midterm elections, according to the National Journal.

"In the aftermath of Glenn Youngkin’s upset victory in the Virginia governor’s race, Republicans have been scrambling to find other candidates in the image of the outsider businessman who was able to keep some distance from former President Trump. As one Youngkin adviser told National Journal, the key to swing-state success is finding a Republican candidate who can check just enough of the necessary boxes to satisfy Trump supporters while also showcasing the promise of electability in a general election. Having millions in personal funds to spend on the campaign doesn’t hurt, either," Josh Kraushaar reported.

Youngkin, the former CEO of the private-equity firm the Carlyle Group, triumphed over former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) in November.

Kraushaar describes a few wealthy Republicans running statewide as "pragmatic business leaders," but the energy in GOP primaries has been focused on loyalty to Trump, not the ability to win over voters in general elections.

READ: Virginia Republicans ripped as ‘beyond disturbing’ for pledging allegiance to flag flown on Jan 6

"Despite Youngkin’s success, Republicans aren’t rushing to the corporate boardroom to recruit candidates. Blame the party’s current populist orientation and its instinctive mistrust of elites of all types. A recent Gallup poll found that only 18 percent of Americans trust big business and just 33 percent trust banks, with GOP voters showing just as much skepticism towards the business elite as their Democratic counterparts. Being exceptionally wealthy, as nearly all business leaders are, is often a turnoff for voters," he wrote.

He concluded that "Youngkin was a political unicorn who will be difficult to replicate for Republicans in the midterms. Not a lot of wealthy businessmen looking for their opportunity to run for office will have as much natural political talent as the Virginia governor-elect. And they’ll be contending with a Republican electorate that’s primed to distrust the financial elite. These days, it’s a safer bet that Republican voters will gravitate to a celebrity doctor with Trump’s knack for publicity than a hedge-fund manager introducing themselves to the public for the first time."

Read the full report.

Happy Holidays!