Butterfly effect: How outrageous behavior by Matt Gaetz 'wingman' ended up ensnaring Florida congressman

Scandal-plagued Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is currently under investigation by federal law enforcement officials -- and it's all because his former "wingman" tried to frame a political rival for pedophilia.

The Washington Post has taken a deep dive into the origins of the federal probe into Gaetz and has found that it all began when longtime associate Joel Greenberg ran a smear campaign against Brian Beute, an Orlando-area teacher who in 2019 announced his intention to run for Greenberg's job as a local tax collector.

Specifically, Greenberg forged communications purportedly between Beute and a student in which Beute admitted to molesting the student and urged him not to tell anyone.

However, investigators quickly determined that the messages were faked and they concluded that Greenberg had produced them in an effort to kneecap Beute in the race.

Although law enforcement officials originally brought limited charges against Greenberg for his failed smear campaign against Beute, a broader investigation into his behavior allegedly revealed a pattern of lawlessness that now has the former tax collector facing 33 federal charges.

The key as far as Gaetz goes, writes the Post, was when investigators searched Greenberg's mobile devices and found evidence that he made payments to women that were allegedly made in exchange for sex.

This ensnared Gaetz, who made payments to Greenberg through his Venmo account that Greenberg would then pass on to women.

Read the whole report here.

Founding member of Oath Keepers set to flip on other Jan 6 defendants as part of plea deal: report

A self-described founding member of the Oath Keepers militia is getting ready to plead guilty for his role in the January 6th Capitol riots -- and then very likely cooperate in cases against his fellow rioters.

The Washington Post reports that longtime Oath Keeper Jon Ryan Schaffer has agreed to plead guilty and work with prosecutors against others implicated in the January 6th riots that left five people dead.

Schaffer, who prior to joining the Oath Keepers was best known as a heavy metal guitarist, will be the first defendant arrested as part of the January 6th insurrection to flip on his fellow rioters.

As part of the deal, Schaffer will plead guilty to two of the six charges leveled against him by prosecutors: Obstructing an official proceeding of Congress and trespassing on restricted Capitol grounds armed with a deadly or dangerous weapon.

According to Politico, Schaffer "was seen on camera deploying chemical spray at officers" during the January 6th riots.

Oklahoma stuck with over a million hydroxychloroquine doses after Trump-hyped drug proved to be a bust

Last year, former President Donald Trump regularly hyped up hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug that studies have repeatedly shown to be ineffective at treating the novel coronavirus.

Following the president's lead, many Republican governors invested big in the drug, and are now stuck with unused doses after the Food and Drug Administration revoked its emergency use authorization for treating COVID patients.

One such state was Oklahoma -- and as Oklahoma Watch reports, the state has an estimated 1.2 million doses of hydroxychloroquine sitting in a warehouse in an undisclosed location.

What's more, state officials are reluctant to say what it plans to do with all these unused doses, which are set to expire in December this year.

Hydroxychloroquine has several medical uses, including the treatment of malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. Oklahoma Watch notes that many lupus patients in the state had trouble getting the drug last summer as patients rushed to secure supplies of it while under the false impression it would be useful for treating COVID-19.

"By rough calculations, the state's supply of 1.2 million doses of the medicine would be enough to treat more than 1,600 lupus patients for a full year," the publication writes.

Read the full report here.

Proud Boy charged with pepper spraying Capitol cops catches COVID-19 in jail: attorney

A member of the Proud Boys who has been charged with pepper spraying a line of Capitol Police officers during the January 6th MAGA riots has contracted the novel coronavirus while in jail.

Politico reports that Proud Boy Christopher Worrell's attorney this week filed a brief arguing his client should be freed from pretrial detention after he came down with COVID-19.

Attorney Allen Orenberg argues that Worrell is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 due to his compromised immune system that has resulted from recent treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

"Given the pandemic and acute danger to Mr. Worrell, his continued detention amounts to impermissible pretrial punishment," Orenberg wrote. "The Government's interest in securing his appearance at trial does not outweigh his liberty interest in remaining alive and free from harm."

However, Judge Beryl Howell, the Chief United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, has questioned whether Worrell's risk from COVID-19 is as acute as he claims, as she noted that he attended the January 6th riots without wearing a mask at a time when the virus was spreading throughout the country like wildfire.

'Screaming' Ohio woman went on a punching-and-biting rampage after being asked to wear a mask: police

A woman in Ohio this week went on a rampage at a local grocery store after being asked to wear a face mask.

Local news station Fox 19 reports that 38-year-old Christeena Carpenter was arrested and charged with four counts of assault this week after going on a punching-and-biting spree at Clifton Market in Cincinnati.

Clifton Market Marketing Manager Garrett Meadows tells Fox 19 that Carpenter immediately started "screaming" at him when he asked her to put a mask on while inside the store.

Not content to simply defy the store's mask policy, Meadows said that Carpenter then tried to light a cigarette in the store, which employees asked her not to do.

It was at this point that she became physically violent and began punching store employees.

Meadows tells Fox 19 that customer soon came over and tried to restrain Carpenter, only to get bitten while trying to hold her down.

Officers from the Cincinnati Police Department eventually arrived and arrested Carpenter, who is due to be arraigned in court next week.

'God bless': Leaked data shows cop sent fawning ​message to Kyle Rittenhouse

A data breach at a Christian crowdfunding website shows that police officers have not only helped pay for accused Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse's legal defense, but one even sent him a fawning message praising him for his "courage."

The Guardian reports that data stolen from fundraising website GiveSendGo shows that several donations to Rittenhouse's legal defense were "associated with email addresses traceable to police and other public officials."

One donation that came from an email address for a police officer in Norfolk, Virginia included words of comfort for Rittenhouse, who has been charged with murder for fatally shooting two people during a Black Lives Matter demonstration last year in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

"God bless," the officer wrote. "Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You've done nothing wrong."

Looking at the big picture, The Guardian found that "in many of these cases, the donations [to Rittenhouse's defense] were attached to their official email addresses, raising questions about the use of public resources in supporting such campaigns."

GiveSendGo, which was set up as a crowdfunding site for Christian charity initiatives, has emerged as a notorious hotspot for far-right fundraising activities and has helped pay for expenses related to the notorious "Stop the Steal" rallies that spread bogus information about the 2020 presidential election being supposedly "stolen" from former President Donald Trump.

Lockdown-defying gym linked to hundreds of COVID infections and one death

A gym in Quebec City that has defied lockdown orders during the COVID-19 pandemic has now been linked to hundreds of cases, including one death.

The CBC reports that the Canadian health officials believe the Mega Fitness Gym 24H in Quebec City served as a super-spreader center for the novel coronavirus in the weeks before it was officially shut down for defying pandemic restrictions.

"To date, there have been 224 people infected at the gym, and another 356 related cases involving outbreaks at 49 workplaces," reports the CBC. "A 40-year-old man who trained at the gym has died."

The gym's owner, a man named Dan Marino, has grown notorious in recent months for attacking pandemic restrictions, and has even written social media posts questioning the effectiveness of masks and downplaying the severity of the pandemic.

Before it was shut down, Marino's gym was in violation of multiple health orders, including mandating that patrons maintain social distance and requiring employees to wear protective gear.

Raymond Tellier, an infectious diseases specialist, medical microbiologist and associate medical professor at McGill University, tells CBC that the mass outbreak from one single gym was nothing less than "stunning."

"This is the kind of setting where if you don't have proper ventilation and if you have too much crowding, you could indeed have a superspreading event linked to aerosol," he said. "This one is remarkable."

Americans are increasingly fleeing organized religion -- and it's not just college-educated white liberals

American society has recently seen a rise in people who don't have any specific religious affiliation, and a new analysis from FiveThirtyEight finds that it's not just college-educated white liberals who are fleeing the church.

In the past, Americans who count themselves as religiously unaffiliated have typically been college-educated whites, but FiveThirtyEight finds that the rise in non-affiliated Americans cuts across all demographics.

"The number of Americans who aren't religious has surged in part because people in lots of demographic groups are disengaging from religion — many don't fit that young, liberal stereotype," the website writes. "The decline over the last decade in the share of Black (-11 percentage points) and Hispanic adults (-10 points) who are Christians is very similar to the decline among white adults (-12 points), according to Pew. The number of college graduates leaving the faith (-13 points) is similar to those without degrees (-11 points)."

And while young people are still more likely to list themselves as unaffiliated compared to older Americans, the trends among Baby Boomers are still going in the direction of not being affiliated with any church.

The website also notes that America has long been an outlier among rich countries, which typically see a decline in religiosity as their GDP grows.

"But America may have always been destined to grow less religious," they conclude.

Read the full analysis here.

WATCH: Pat Robertson slams cops who can't tell difference between a hand gun and a Taser

Former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter is claiming that she fatally shot Daunte Wright because she accidentally mistook her service pistol for a Taser gun.

However, Christian conservative icon Pat Robertson found himself feeling incredulous that a veteran police officer would make such a basic error, and he even compared a hand gun with a Taser during a Thursday episode of the "700 Club."

"They're not making Tasers... in black, they're making them in yellow," Robertson said when he explained one of the differences between the two weapons. "She shot that poor guy to death... and if you can't tell the difference between those two things, it's crazy."

Robertson went on to explain that, while he is strongly supportive of police, they cannot keep killing unarmed suspects with such impunity.

"I am pro-police, folks!" he said. "I think we need the police, we need their service, and they do a good job. But if they don't stop this onslaught... they cannot do this!"

Watch the video below.

WATCH: Dr. Fauci schools GOP's Jim Jordan after he angrily complains about still having to wear a mask

Dr. Anthony Fauci on Thursday schooled Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) after he complained about still having to wear a mask because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

During a hearing in the House of Representatives, Jordan criticized Fauci for saying now is not the time to give up on wearing masks and maintaining social distancing, and he demanded to know when Americans could expect a return to normalcy.

"My message, Congressman Jordan, is to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as we possibly can to get the level of infection in this country low so that it is no longer a threat," said Fauci.

Jordan, however, demanded to have a specific metric for when Americans could get their "liberty and freedom" back from having to wear masks.

"You're indicating liberty and freedom, I look at it as a public health measure to prevent people from dying and going to the hospital," Fauci replied.

"You don't think Americans' liberties have been threatened in the last year, Dr. Fauci?!" an angry Jordan asked. "They've been assaulted!"

"This will end for sure when we get the level of infection very low," Fauci replied.

Watch the video below.

Catholic school apologizes after students mock Black football rivals as 'convicts' in social media post

A Catholic high school in San Diego has apologized after some of it students made racist social media posts referring to Black students on a rival high school football team as "convicts."

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that football players at the Cathedral Catholic High School posted offensive photos on social media in which they took aim at rival Lincoln High School, whose football team features a majority of Black players.

One social media post featured a Cathedral student wearing a shirt that read "Catholics vs. Convicts," while another post featured Cathedral players making gang signs.

Kevin Eckery, spokesman for the Diocese of San Diego, called the students' post "dumb" and said that Cathedral had reached out to Lincoln to apologize.

"This was not how you're supposed to conduct yourself, period," he said. "Bottom line is that this is an unacceptable way to communicate."

Cathedral Catholic Principal Kevin Calkins sent a personal apology to families of Lincoln students and chided the players for "showing both poor character and bad sportsmanship by posting and reposting two different social media posts with blatant racist overtones."

Derek Chauvin invokes 5th Amendment and says he will not testify at trial

Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin on Thursday invoked his 5th Amendment rights and said he would not testify at his trial for the murder of George Floyd.

Via CNN's Jim Sciutto, Chauvin also emphasized that it was his own decision to not testify at the trial.

With Chauvin's announcement, the defense in the trial officially rested its case.

Trump-loving Virginia candidate attacks her own party and tells followers not to trust its vote counts

Trump-loving Virginia State Sen. Amanda Chase sent out a message to followers this week attacking the Virginia Republican Party and warning them to not trust the results of its gubernatorial convention ballot counts.

Chase, a Republican candidate for Virginia governor who in the past has been forced to work from inside a plexiglass box over her refusal to obey the state legislature's mask rules, told her followers that the Virginia GOP will not deliver the "proper" results of its own upcoming gubernatorial convention, where she's pitted against six other Republican candidates.

"DO NOT TRUST THE PARTY TO DELIVER ACCURATE RESULTS!" reads the email, which was posted on Twitter by The Virginia Mercury's Graham Moomaw. "Who should you go to for the proper results? Me and my campaign!"

Chase also said her followers would know that the election was fixed if one of her rivals defeated her.

"Another hint to know if the results are fake are if Pete Snyder, who called [former President Donald Trump] a racist, 'wins,'" the email ranted. "If RPV declares him a victor it is FAKE NEWS!"

Chase is no stranger to spouting conspiracy theories about election fraud, as last year she called for the implementation of martial law after the electoral college certified President Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election.

WATCH: Confederacy enthusiast fumes after neighborhood kid educates him about flag's racist symbolism

A man who displays symbols of the Confederacy on his front porch grew angry recently when a young boy in his neighborhood educated him about the Confederate flag's racist symbolism.

The Confederacy enthusiast was sitting on his porch when a boy on a bicycle confronted him about the flag he displayed on his house, which was an amalgamation of the American flag and the Confederate battle flag.

"Why don't you YouTube what the flag actually represents?" the man asked the boy. "Do your research before you come to me and sound like a f*cking r*tard... It's a flag, it's not racist! Do your research!"

"Maybe you should!" the boy shot back.

Later on, the man took a camera and filmed the flag on his porch and fumed that anyone would consider the Confederate battle flag racist.

"Uneducated little b*stard," he said.

Watch the video below.

Josh Hawley ripped to shreds for 'bizarre and shameless' pledge of support for Capitol cops

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) received significant backlash this week after he praised the Missouri National Guard for their work in supporting Capitol police.

Hawley, of course, was one of the leading Republican senators to challenge the results of the 2020 election, which incited supporters of former President Donald Trump to violently storm the Capitol building on January 6th.

However, that didn't stop Hawley from posting a photo on his Twitter account of him standing in solidarity with members of the Missouri National Guard who were helping Capitol police guard the United States Capitol.

"Honored to meet with the Missouri National 220th Engineer Construction Company who've been proudly supporting Capitol Police — special thanks to Specialist Ben Laws and Sergeant Trey Lawrence for their outstanding service during the unit's deployment," Hawley wrote. "You make Missouri proud."

Hawley's followers were quick to remind him of his role in inciting the violent mob that necessitated the presence of the Missouri NH -- check out some responses below.

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