Katie Porter uses GOP’s oversight hearing to dismantle their Biden-bashing talking points

Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) on Tuesday turned the tables on Republicans during a hearing of the House Oversight Committee.

In particular, Porter zeroed in on fentanyl seizures at the United States-Mexico border and pointed to a large jump in seizures that she said occurred around June of 2020.

She then asked Chief Border Patrol Agent John Modlin if he could identify the cause of the surge in fentanyl seizures, to which he replied that he had no idea.

Porter then pointed out that it should be seen as a success that the federal government has succeeded in seizing more fentanyl to keep it out of American communities.

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"For me, as a mom, that is a sign of success," she said. "I don't want that fentanyl in this country. It is dangerous and kills people and makes our community dangerous. And to me, this is a sign that our Border Patrol and our agents... are doing their jobs. What I find interesting is, despite success here, what we are seeing is an effort to characterize seizures as failures."

Republicans have for the last several months used high fentanyl seizures to attack the Biden administration for lax border enforcement, even though such seizures mean that fentanyl will not be making its way into American communities.

Watch the video below or at this link.

Trump lawyer launches 'charm offensive' on judge who previously smacked down 'absurd' claims

An attorney representing former President Donald Trump on Tuesday launched what Law & Crime News reporter Adam Klasfeld described as a "charm offensive" on a judge who had previously shown little patience for the Trump legal team's arguments.

According to Klasfeld, attorney Joe Tacopina tried to ease tensions between Trump's legal team and U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is overseeing the civil lawsuit filed against Trump by E. Jean Carroll.

Among other things, Tacopina promised that there would be no more stalling tactics of the kinds that Trump's legal team has become famous for employing and he said he was ready to go to trial with the case, although he did ask for a brief delay to the start of the trial so he could witness the birth of his grandchild.

Judge Kaplan did not issue an immediate ruling on Tacopina's request, although the judge did indicate respect for the attorney , who has represented clients in his court in the past.

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The new strategy being used by Tacopina to smooth things over with Kaplan comes just a month after the judge smacked down the Trump legal team's "absurd" bid to get the Carroll lawsuit tossed out.

Trump's attorneys had tried to argue that the law Carroll was using to sue him, called the New York Adult Survivors Act, was unconstitutional on the grounds that it supposedly denied him due process under the law.

Kaplan, however, was having none of it.

"To suggest that the ASA violates the state Due Process Clause because the legislature supposedly did not describe that injustice to the defendant’s entire satisfaction in a particular paragraph of a particular type of legislative document – itself a dubious premise – is absurd,” wrote Kaplan.

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George Santos officially under investigation from House Ethics Committee

Scandal-plagued Rep. George Santos (R-NY) is now facing yet another investigation.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) confirmed to CNN's Manu Raju on Tuesday that the House Committee on Ethics has launched a formal inquiry into Santos, who is facing a massive array of scandals that include allegedly sexually harassing an aide, stealing money from a disabled veteran that was intended to care for his dying service dog, and lying about nearly every single aspect of his work, academic, and family history.

"Ethics is moving through, and if Ethics finds something, we’ll take action," McCarthy said of calls to oust Santos from his seat, which he won this past fall.

A caravan of Santos' constituents also traveled to Washington D.C. on Tuesday to demand his resignation, as recent polls have shown the vast majority of people living in his district want him gone.

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In addition to Santos' constituents, multiple New York Republicans have called upon Santos to step down, although McCarthy has so far resisted such calls and has said that Santos' status as a congressman should be between him and his constituents.

Black Colorado ranchers say racists are mutilating their animals

Two Black ranchers from Colorado were arrested recently on alleged stalking charges -- but they say they're actually the victims of a years-long intimidation campaign by their white neighbors and local police.

Local news station 9 News reports that Courtney and Nicole Mallery of El Paso County, Colorado say that their farm has been targeted for years by racist neighbors through "acts of vandalism and animal mutilation of their livestock."

They also claim that police have done nothing to help them and have instead arrested them on trumped up stalking charges -- an allegation that the El Paso County Sheriff's Office strongly denies.

"Unfortunately, there are still corrupt police and racist people out there who are trying to block minority farmers from using their agricultural land because of their race," the Mallerys claimed.

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Civil court records examined by 9 News show that Courtney Mallery has filed six restraining orders against various individuals in El Paso County, and also that one woman in the county applied for a restraining order against him that included an allegation of stalking.

The arrests of the Mallerys this week have now prompted the NAACP to get involved in investigating law enforcement actions.

Portia Prescott, president of the Rocky Mountain NAACP, tells 9 News that "I would really hope that the El Paso County Sheriff's department and several others in rural areas understand that we're taking this very seriously."

Logic behind Jim Jordan's 'hallucinatory' probes exposed

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) is leading a probe into the purported weaponization of law enforcement against American conservatives, even though this appears to be out of sync with Americans who tell pollsters their most pressing issues are crime and inflation.

Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent highlights some new polling that shows there's a certain kind of logic behind Jordan's strategy: While voters as a whole do not think that the FBI and other federal agencies are biased against conservatives, the Republican base absolutely believes it with a passion.

As Sargent writes, "If a large majority of conservatives believe the feds are persecuting them, as The Post poll suggests, that could incentivize Republicans to use hearings to activate those grievances with ever-more-hallucinatory inventions."

However, Sargent believes that this strategy could also blow up in Jordan's face given that it could "further alienate the large percentage of moderates disinclined to believe" his claims.

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In fact, according to the most recent Washington Post poll cited by Sargent, just 28 percent of all voters think that the "deep state" is out to get conservatives, which means that Jordan could be appealing to a very small slice of the electorate with his hearings.

Trump demands investigation of 'Marxists and Thugs' at FBI

Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday demanded that his allies in Congress launch an investigation into the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Department of Justice for launching criminal probes into him.

Writing on his Truth Social platform, Trump said that House Republicans needed to make investigating his purported persecution at the hands of the FBI their top priority.

"Republicans in Congress must investigate the abusive Weaponization of the FBI and Department of Injustice against the Democrats number one political opponent, ME (leading BIG in every Poll!), which has been going on for a long time, and is absolutely outrageous," he wrote.

Trump finished his post by lobbing personal insults at the FBI.

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"Don’t be afraid of the Marxists and Thugs," he demanded. "We must MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!"

Trump has been enraged at the FBI ever since agents executed a search warrant at his Mar-a-Lago resort last year to retrieve top-secret government documents that reportedly included information on another nation's nuclear weapons program.

Although both President Joe Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence are also facing scrutiny for their own handling of classified materials, Trump has been the only one so far to have accused the government of going after him for political purposes.

Shady accounting shines spotlight on former George Santos treasurer's other clients

Shady accounting tactics used by the former campaign treasurer for scandal-plagued Rep. George Santos (R-NY) are now raising questions about work she did for other clients, such as former New York gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin.

A new report from CNN highlights that both Zeldin and Santos shared a striking set of unusual expenses in their campaign finance reports: 21 payments on a single day that each total exactly $199.99, which CNN notes is "just one penny below the dollar figure above which campaigns are required to keep receipts."

Both Santos and Zeldin employed Nancy Marks as their treasurer, although Marks ditched Santos earlier this year after he came under a cloud of other scandals that revolved around fabricating his entire life story and allegedly ripping off a disabled veteran by stealing money he'd raised to care for his dying service dog.

Paul Krieger, a former federal prosecutor, predicted to CNN that Marks would come under prosecutors' scrutiny as they probed Santos' campaign finances for potential criminal violations.

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“Given her apparent history and relationship with Mr. Santos, I have to assume that any investigation of him will focus intensely on her role and her knowledge of how the fundraising was organized, accomplished and carried out especially in light of the fact that she’s now resigned,” he said.

Pro-LGBTQ Christian school forced to close after being 'bombarded by hate'

A Christian school in Kansas City is being forced to close after its donations almost completely dried up ever since it came out in support of LGBTQ rights.

The Kansas City Star reports that the Urban Christian Academy announced its support for LGBTQ rights last year and, by the end of the year, it had lost 80 percent of its funding.

"Before publicly supporting the LGBTQ community, Urban Christian Academy raised nearly $334,000 in December 2021," the Kansas City Star writes. "This past December, donations dropped to $14,800. All eight churches that helped fund the school withdrew their support."

Urban Christian Academy co-founder Kalie Callaway-George tells the Kansas City Star that she has no regrets about her decision to support LGBTQ rights even though it is forcing her school to close its doors.

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“We find ourselves in a season where we are running on very few resources and each time attention is brought to the issue we are bombarded by hate which further distracts from our ability to care for the scholars we have in our care,” she said.

Darnisha Harris, a parent who had children at the school, told the Kansas City Star that she is heartbroken to see the angry backlash.

"They don’t teach our kids anything about sexuality," she said. "The only thing I’ve heard my kids talk about is being kind and treating others with respect and taking accountability. It really, really hurt my feelings that people would be ignorant like that."

Florida man triumphs over his racist neighbor after recording his shocking antics

A Black man from Florida is finally getting justice against a racist neighbor who for years has been targeting him with racist harassment.

Florida-based news station Local 10 reports that Miami resident Alexander Tatum won in court recently after he spent years documenting the racist behavior of neighbor Jesus Hiedra, who has been shown on camera repeatedly hurling the N-word and flipping the middle finger.

In addition to this, Tatum has video showing Hierda spraying some substance onto his property that he believes was a chemical irritant that harmed one of his pet dogs.

After weighing all the evidence compiled by Tatum, the judge overseeing the case ruled in favor of a three-year restraining order against Hiedra, who will be prohibited from having any contact with Tatum and who will have to remain at least 500 feet away from his neighbor at all times except when entering and leaving his own house.

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Hierda is also not allowed to post complaints about Tatum in the internet.

Tatum told Local 10 that he feels justice has been served -- and now he can apparently enjoy spending time in his own neighborhood.

"“Peace of mind – mentally, nothing better than having some recourse to the situation,” he told Local 10.

School serves chicken and watermelon for Black History Month

A school lunch vendor has apologized to a middle school in New York after it changed its menu to serve chicken, waffles, and watermelon to commemorate the start of Black History Month.

The Washington Post reports that food vendor Aramark outraged parents at the Nyack Middle School when it altered its original February 1st menu offerings of cheesesteaks, broccoli and fruit to serve foods that have stereotypical associations with Black Americans.

Nyack Middle School Principal David Johnson called the vendor's choice of foods "inexcusably insensitive," which prompted an official apology from Aramark.

"The situation at that middle school was our mistake and never should have happened,” an Aramark spokeswoman said in a statement. “It stands in direct contrast to who we are as a company and our longstanding commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion."

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While the racially insensitive meal "never should have happened," it is also not the first time that Aramark has served up chicken, waffles, and watermelon on Martin Luther King Day in 2011 at the University of California, Irvine, according to NBC News.

The vendor also served students watermelon-flavored water on a 2018 Black History Month menu at New York University that also included barbecue ribs and collard greens.

FBI expected to search Pence's home for classified docs this week

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is expected to conduct a search at former Vice President Mike Pence's Indiana home this week to see if he is retaining any additional classified documents.

NBC News reports that the search is expected to occur in the wake of Pence attorneys finding a small number of classified documents last month that attorney Greg Jacob said were "inadvertently boxed and transported" to his Indiana residence.

Pence, President Joe Biden, and former President Donald Trump have all come under scrutiny for their handling of classified materials, as all three men were found to have retained documents with classified markings at their private residences.

Both Biden and Pence so far have pledged to openly cooperate with investigators in their search for the classified material.

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Trump, in contrast, has accused the FBI of being "thugs" who carried out an illegal "raid" at his Mar-a-Lago resort this summer when they retrieved boxes full of classified documents that reportedly included top-secret information about a foreign nation's nuclear weapons program.

There have so far been no criminal charges against any of the three men, although both Trump and Biden have special prosecutors looking into their handlings of the materials.

George Santos denies 'comical' sexual harassment accusations

Scandal-plagued Rep. George Santos (R-NY) got hit with yet another allegation of misconduct when a former aide accused him of sexual harassment.

CNN's Manu Raju reports on Twitter that Santos on Monday denied the latest allegations in an interview with fellow CNN reporter Kit Maher.

"It's comical," Santos said of the allegations. "Of course, I deny that claim."

Late on Friday afternoon, former Santos aide Derek Myers published allegations regarding the brief time he worked in Santos' office.

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According to Myers, Santos asked him if he had a profile on dating app Grindr just two days after he started working in the office.

Then, when the two were alone in Santos' office, the New York congressman allegedly "proceeded to take his hand and move it down my leg into my inner-thigh and proceeded to touch my groin" and asked him if he wanted to stop by his place of residence later.

Myers said he denied Santos' advances and tried to get him to focus on answering constituents' concerns. Five days later, his job offer at the office was rescinded.

Santos' denial of the allegations is sure to draw skepticism given that multiple reports have shown that he fabricated every major aspect of his life, including his academic history, his work history, and his family heritage.

Webb Telescope gets first-ever glimpse of forming stars in faraway galaxies

Thanks to the James Webb Space Telescope, researchers at Stockholm University have gotten a first-ever glimpse of stars forming in faraway galaxies.

According to Phys.org, the researchers used the telescope to seek out observable galaxy clusters, which are essentially a very intense cluster of stars that form the center of a galaxy.

"The galaxy clusters we examined are so massive that they bend light rays passing through their center, as predicted by Einstein in 1915," explains Stockholm University astronomer Adélaïde Claeyssens, who was a lead author of a study on the clusters published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. "And this in turn produces a kind of magnifying glass effect: the images of background galaxies are magnified."

This gave researchers the ability to observe the formation of galaxies as never before -- or, as Stockholm University astronomer Angela Adamo put it, "the telescope is a game-changer for the entire field of research and helps us understand how galaxies form and evolve."

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Of course, the images that scientists are observing from the forming galaxies actually occurred billions of years ago, as that is how long it took for the light of the galaxies to reach Earth. The oldest galaxy found by the telescope began its formation roughly 13 billion years ago, at which time researchers estimate that the universe was less than a billion years old.

Feds demand Herschel Walker's campaign fix accounting mess

It's been roughly two months since former NFL star Herschel Walker lost his bid to become a U.S. senator representing Georgia, but the Federal Election Commission says that his old Senate campaign committee needs to clean up its books.

In a letter sent Feb. 5 to Team Herschel treasurer Salvatore Purpura, FEC senior campaign finance and reviewing analyst Bradley Austin said that the Republican's campaign still had multiple problems in accounting for its finances and he demanded fixes be filed by no later than next month.

Among other things, the letter identifies inadequate explanations for contributions that exceed legal limits on individual donations, as well as incomplete accounting for contributions from organizations that are not registered with the FEC.

What's more, the letter says that the campaign has new mistakes in trying to correct some of its old mistakes.

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"The Commission notes the redesignation or reattribution of several contributions," the letter states. "Please amend your report to disclose the proper format for redesignations or reattributions. The first entry must disclose, as a memo entry, the information for the contribution as it was originally reported."

The FEC then goes on to write a lengthy list of contributors for whom the campaign committed had "disclosed the wrong amount and/or date" of the contributions.

The letter concludes by warning the committee that it will not get further opportunities to correct mistakes without potentially facing some kind of penalty.

"Please note, you will not receive an additional notice from the Commission on this matter," Austin writes. "Adequate responses must be received by the Commission on or before the due date noted above to be taken into consideration in determining whether audit action will be initiated. Failure to comply with the provisions of the Act may also result in an enforcement action against the committee."

It's not uncommon for federal political campaigns that raise a lot of money — Republican or Democratic — to receive a warning letter or two from federal regulators about problems with their finances, be them big or small.

But Walker's campaign committee, which is still technically active and open, received numerous warnings from the FEC over the past many months.

Walker, who lost in December to Democratic Sen. Rafael Warnock, still had more than $5 million remaining in his Team Herschel campaign account as of Dec. 31, according to federal records.

Read the full letter at this link (PDF).

Suicide pact family feared it would be 'the end' if Trump lost election: former acquaintance

A Pennsylvania family who police say died as part of a suicide pact last week were described by a former acquaintance of being "hell-bent" on seeing former President Donald Trump reelected in 2020.

In an interview with NBC News, Pennsylvania man Bret Stabley said that the Daub family -- 62-year-old James Daub, 59-year-old Deborah Daub, and 26-year-old Morgan Daub -- were conservative Christians who were "very, very huge" Trump supporters.

"They were just so hell-bent on Trump winning, like this could be the end if he doesn’t," said Stabley, who runs the pro shop at Bowlers Supply in York, Pennsylvania, where both Deborah Daub and Morgan Daub were longtime customers.

A neighbor of the Daubs, who spoke under condition of anonymity, confirmed their deep religious conviction and said that their front yard was "littered" with pro-Trump signs during election season.

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There is no evidence to link the family's suicide pact to the results of the 2020 presidential election, although police haven't provided many additional details about their deaths beyond the fact that the decision to take their own lives appeared to be a "joint decision."

"Police believe Deborah Daub shot and killed her husband and then was shot and killed by Morgan, who died by suicide," writes NBC News. "Police said there were no signs of forced entry or struggle and no evidence that anyone else had been present. An investigation into the deaths has been closed."

A note left by Deborah Daub makes reference to an unspecified "evil that has mounted against Morgan and the family."