Trump 'trying very hard to pretend he actually won' after his big loss in Texas

State Rep. Jake Ellzey pulled off a major upset in the special election runoff in Texas' 6th district on Tuesday when he defeated Susan Wright, a fellow Republican who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump. But in a phone call with Axios on Wednesday, Trump tried to reframe the defeat in Texas as a victory for himself.

"I think this is the only race we've lost together," Trump said, referring to himself and the Club for Growth, which reportedly pushed him to endorse Wright.

But, according to Axios, the former president caught himself "mid-sentence" and quickly tried to change his language.

"This is not a loss, again, I don't want to claim it is a loss, this was a win," Trump said. "The big thing is, we had two very good people running that were both Republicans. That was the win."

The former president endorsed Wright in April. "Susan Wright will be a terrific Congresswoman (TX-06) for the Great State of Texas," he said in a statement. "She is the wife of the late Congressman Ron Wright, who has always been supportive of our America First Policies."

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman commented on the story on Twitter, saying that "Trump [is] trying very hard... to pretend he actually won."

GOP’s Lauren Boebert faces brutal backlash over ‘unbelievably ignorant’ tweet about COVID-19

Congresswoman Lauren Boebert on Wednesday deleted a tweet in which she downplayed the threat posed by the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, previously known as B.1.617.

"The easiest way to make the Delta variant go away is to turn off CNN. And vote Republican," the Colorado Republican wrote on the social media platform.

"Lauren Boebert proves once again that stupidity has a champion in Colorado," said Colorado state lawmaker Steven Woodrow in response.

The Delta variant was first detected in India, where it began circulating around April.

It is now present to varying degrees in at least 85 countries, according to the World Health Organization.

In Europe, the Delta variant initially gained a foothold in the United Kingdom, where it quickly outpaced the previous variant of concern Alpha, and now comprises 95 percent of all sequenced cases in England.

Delta is thought to be some 40 to 60 percent more contagious than Alpha, which itself is more contagious than the strain responsible for the first wave of COVID-19.

"We have referred to the Delta variant as being COVID on steroids. It is something that is much more easily spread and we believe it causes much more serious illness," CBS4 Denver Medical Editor Dr. Dave Hnida said. "The problem with this is that it really is a great masquerader."

Health officials identified the first Colorado case of the Delta variant on May 5 in Mesa County, which is part of the congressional district represented by Boebert.

Boebert ended up deleting her tweet about the Delta variant after she starting receiving backlash over her statement.

With additional reporting from AFP

Trump-loving candidate's staffers flee campaign over 'toxic' environment created by his girlfriend: report

Three fundraisers have recently quit the U.S. Senate campaign for Republican Josh Mandel in Ohio and, according to the Columbus Dispatch, at least two of them bailed out because of a toxic work environment.

That toxic environment is being blamed on the campaign's finance director Rachel Wilson, who is also in romantic relationship with Mandel. The two started dating in August of 2020.

Sources told the Columbus Dispatch that finance staff members have cried "on a regular basis" because of Wilson's behavior, which includes cursing out subordinates and demanding 12-hour workdays.

The abusive behavior is apparently not limited to Wilson and her subordinates. Mandel and Wilson also reportedly have had "blow-out arguments" about the campaign.

"They'd go out in the hallway and scream at each other," one source explained.

Mandel is a strident supporter of Donald Trump and has called on Congress to investigate bogus claims of election fraud in the 2020 election.

"I'm confident that the results of the commission's investigation of the 2020 election will prove what we all already know that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election," Mandel told the Washington Examiner last week.

He told local news outlet WKYC Channel 3 earlier this year that the election was "stolen" from Trump.

Josh Mandel announces bid for 2022 U.S. Senate seat in Ohio

'They have documents to prove more than you know': Michael Cohen says Allen Weisselberg is not needed for a Trump indictment

According to former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, a top executive at the Trump Organization is not a necessary component in the potential legal prosecution of the ex-president.

New York prosecutors are reportedly considering criminal charges against Allen Weisselberg, the longtime chief financial officer for the Trump Organization. Legal observers have noted that Donald Trump himself could face repercussions if Weisselberg decides to cooperate with the Manhattan district attorney's investigation of the Trump Organization.

Daniel Goldman, a former assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York who served as the lead counsel for House Democrats in the first Trump impeachment trial, predicted on Twitter that "if Allen Weisselberg does not cooperate with the Manhattan DA's office — and all indications are that he has not and will not — that office will not be able to criminally charge Donald Trump for any of the conduct under investigation."

But Cohen, who spent years working as Trump's "fixer," vehemently disagreed.

"Wrong!" Cohen wrote in response. "They have documents to prove more than you know or should be commenting on. Weisselberg is not the key to a Trump indictment."

Cohen has met with top officials from the Manhattan District Attorney's office several times this year.

Trump ally Roger Stone claims Secret Service tried to escort him to the Capitol on January 6

During an appearance Tuesday on Newsmax, Roger Stone denied having any involvement in the Capitol riot on January 6. Federal authorities are reportedly investigating whether Stone, a longtime confidante of former President Donald Trump, played a role in the incident.

"Let me stay this as categorically as I can," Stone said. "Any claim, assertion, implication or otherwise any accusation that I either knew about or was involved in any of the illegal acts in Washington, D.C. on January 6th is categorically false. There is no evidence to the contrary and an honest investigation will prove that."

He told Newsmax that he never left the grounds of the Willard Hotel, where he was staying.

"I do find it odd that shortly after the president spoke, the Secret Service contacted someone who worked for me by phone and told me that they wanted to escort me to the Capitol. I declined," Stone said.

"The Secret Service does not perform logistical tasks. I find it rather suspicious, to be honest with you," he added.

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WATCH: Biden swats down Fox News’ Peter Doocy for calling China’s leader his ‘old friend’

President Joe Biden snapped at Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy on Wednesday during a press conference regarding his summit with Russia's Vladimir Putin.

"You have spoken many times about how you have spent perhaps more time with President Xi than any other world leader," Doocy said. "Is there going to become a time where you might called him, old friend to old friend, and ask him to open up China to the World Health Organization investigators who are trying to get to the bottom of COVID-19?"

"Let's get something straight," Biden shot back. "We know each other well -- we're not old friends. It's just pure business."

Doocy noted that the Group of Seven (G7) leaders had called for a full investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus. "But China basically says they don't want to be interfered with anymore, so what happens now?" the Fox News reporter pressed.

Biden said that China was "trying very hard to project itself as a very responsible and very, very forth coming nation."

"They are finding it hard to talk about how they're helping the world in terms of COVID-19, and vaccines, they're trying very hard," the president continued. "Look, certain things you don't have to explain to the people of the world. They see the results. Is China really actually trying to get to the bottom of this?"


06 16 2021 13 50 18

‘She just owned Melania’: Jill Biden sets the internet ablaze with ‘Love’ jacket

Fans of First Lady Jill Biden were ecstatic on Thursday after seeing her wearing a jacket with the word "Love" on the back. The fashion choice was seen as a jab at former First Lady Melania Trump, who once raised eyebrows by visiting the U.S.-Mexico border in a jacket that stated "I Don't Really Care, Do U?"

"Jill Biden knows a jacket with words on the back will automatically draw comparisons to Melania, so it's fascinating that she would want a (not subtle) troll move to define one of her highest profile moments in the administration so far," tweeted Republican commentator Matt Whitlock.

"Hard to see that jacket and not remember former First Lady Melania Trump wearing the jacket that said 'I really don't care do you?' tweeted ABC News reporter Jordyn Phelps.

But other reporters noted that she had worn the jacket before:

Nevertheless, many people were happy to see the positive message:

CNN releases entire 40-minute phone call between Rudy Giuliani and Ukrainian presidential aide

CNN on Tuesday released a recording of a July 2019 phone call between Rudy Giuliani, US diplomat Kurt Volker, and senior Ukrainian presidential adviser Andriy Yermak.

During the conversation, Giuliani called for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to publicly open an investigation into Joe Biden, who was a Democratic presidential candidate at the time.

"During the roughly 40-minute call, Giuliani repeatedly told Yermak that Zelensky should publicly announce investigations into possible corruption by Biden in Ukraine, and into claims that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election to hurt Trump. These separate claims are both untrue," CNN reported.

A transcript of the call was published by BuzzFeed earlier this year.

Listen to the audio here.

'Lying' Lindsey Graham faces backlash after throwing his own family under the bus to bash unemployment benefits

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) faced blowback on social media after claiming Tuesday that members of his own family were not going to work because they were getting unemployment benefits.

The GOP senator said at a budget hearing that enhanced unemployment benefits, which were implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, were preventing people from returning to work.

Many people on Twitter assumed the Graham was lying about his family members. Others said that his comments showed that wages in the United States should be higher.

Trump melts down after Facebook announces 2-year-long ban: 'Our country can't take this abuse anymore!'

Former president Donald Trump blasted Facebook on Friday after the social networking website announced that he would be banned from the platform for at least two years.

"Our country can't take this abuse anymore," Trump said in a statement.

The two-year ban will be effective from January 7, when Trump was booted off the platform, and comes after Facebook's independent oversight board said the indefinite ban should be reviewed.

"Given the gravity of the circumstances that led to Mr. Trump's suspension, we believe his actions constituted a severe violation of our rules which merit the highest penalty available under the new enforcement protocols," Facebook vice president of global affairs Nick Clegg said in a post.

Facebook also said it will no longer give politicians blanket immunity for deceptive or abusive content at the social network based on their comments being newsworthy.

At the end of Trump's two-year ban, Facebook will enlist experts to assess whether his activity at the social network still threatens public safety, according to Clegg.

"If we determine that there is still a serious risk to public safety, we will extend the restriction for a set period of time and continue to re-evaluate until that risk has receded," Clegg said.

When Trump's suspension is lifted, he will face strict sanctions that could rapidly escalate to permanent removal from the social network for rule-breaking, according to Clegg.

"We know today's decision will be criticized by many people on opposing sides of the political divide," Clegg said.

"But, our job is to make a decision in as proportionate, fair and transparent a way as possible, in keeping with the instruction given to us by the Oversight Board."

Last month, the independent oversight board said Facebook was right to oust Trump for his comments regarding the deadly January 6 rampage at the US Capitol but that the platform should not have applied an "indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension."

Trump was suspended from Facebook and Instagram after posting a video during the attack by his fired-up supporters challenging his election loss, in which he told them: "We love you, you're very special."

The panel gave Facebook six months to justify why his ban should be permanent -- putting the ball in company chief Mark Zuckerberg's court and spotlighting weaknesses in the platform's plan for self-regulation.

Zuckerberg has stressed his belief that private companies should not be the arbiters of truth when it comes to what people say.

With additional reporting by AFP

WATCH LIVE: Trump’s former Pentagon chief to face grilling in House Oversight hearing over response to the Capitol riot

The House Oversight Committee is holding a hearing on Wednesday to examine the Capitol riot of January 6, 2021. The hearing will feature former Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller, who will be speaking about the insurrection for the first time under oath.

"This hearing will focus in particular on the Trump Administration's preparations in advance of January 6 and response to the attacks," the committee said in a statement.

"The hearing will also consider the response of federal and local law enforcement agencies to the attack, and the need to establish a bipartisan, "9/11-style" commission, so that Congress and the American people can fully understand the causes and circumstances that led to the January 6, 2021, insurrection."

In March, Miller told Vice News that Trump helped spark the attack on the U.S. Capitol building.

Watch live video below:

The Capitol Insurrection: Unexplained Delays and Unanswered Questions

The GOP is a 'diseased' and 'dangerous' party that is becoming even worse in the wake of Trump's defeat: longtime Republican operative

The Republican Party is now a threat to American democracy, according to evangelical conservative and former George W. Bush administration official Peter Wehner.

Wehner told CNN on Tuesday that he was not surprised at the reception that Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) received when he was booed at a recent Utah GOP convention.

"Mitt Romney has been another profile in courage," he said. "There are not many in the Republican Party. Adam Kinzinger is one, Romney, another, Liz is a third. I'm glad they're speaking out because it's important to be faithful to what you know to be true."

"But, look, this caucus, this truth caucus could fit in a phone booth these days for the Republican Party," Wehner continued. "And oddly, you know, it is almost as if Donald Trump and in last year or so, we might look back and say that he was a restraining force on the madness in the Republican Party. And that once he left, those poisons that had been unleashed just spread further and further."

"So… it's a diseased party and it's a dangerous party, and I am thankful for Liz Cheney and for Mitt Romney for speaking out," Wehner said. "I wish more would join them. But the Republican Party having essentially accepted Donald Trump's corruptions for the last five years became complicit in those corruptions and he became them. "

"There was all this talk during the Trump presidency that there would be restraining forces on Trump and that he would become more like them. In fact, it was the other way around. They have become like him, and it's a very, very sad thing to see."

Watch video below:

05 04 2021 14 19 42

Biden says he was blindsided by Giuliani raid: I had no idea this was underway – it was the DOJ’s independent judgment

President Joe Biden told TODAY show anchor Craig Melvin on Thursday that he had "no idea" about the FBI raid of Rudy Giuliani's home before it happened.

"I made a pledge I would not interfere in any way... to stop any investigation the Justice Department had. I learned about that last night when the rest of the world learned about it, my word," Biden said. "I had no idea this was underway."

"I'm not asking to be briefed," the president added. "That's the Justice Department's independent judgment. This last administration politicized the Justice Department so badly, so many of them quit, so many left because that's not the role -- that's not the role of a president to say who should be prosecuted, when they should be prosecuted, who should be not prosecuted. That's not the role of the president. The Justice Department is the people's lawyer, not the president's lawyer."

Investigators with search warrants combed Giuliani's residence and a separate office on Wednesday morning, seizing electronic devices.

They also seized a phone from a Washington attorney, Victoria Toensing, who has advised Trump and worked with Giuliani on Ukraine-related matters, according to news reports.

Giuliani, himself once a top New York prosecutor and then mayor of the city, was a personal lawyer for Trump when the president was impeached in December 2019 for seeking political help from Ukraine.

Giuliani spent months trying to help Trump find dirt in Ukraine on election rival Joe Biden and Biden's son Hunter, during 2018-2020.

But the investigation behind Wednesday's raid could be honing in on Giuliani doing paid work for Ukrainian businessmen at the same time, violating US laws against unregistered lobbying for foreign entities.

Two Ukrainian-born men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who helped Giuliani in those efforts were arrested in October 2019 and charged with illegally funneling large donations to a pro-Trump fundraising committee.

Watch video below:

04 29 2021 11 32 14

With additional reporting from AFP

WATCH LIVE: Verdict reached in Derek Chauvin trial

The jury has reached a verdict in the murder trial of former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin in George Floyd's death. It will be announced between 4:30 and 5 p.m. (ET).

Chauvin was captured on video kneeling on the neck of Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, for more than nine minutes.

He is charged with murder and manslaughter for Floyd's May 25, 2020 death, which sparked protests across the United States and around the world against racial injustice and police brutality.

Watch live coverage, via NBC News, below:

LIVE: Jury Reaches A Verdict In The Derek Chauvin Trial | NBC News NOW

The most compelling evidence in the case against Chauvin was the video of Floyd's arrest taken by a 17-year-old bystander, Darnella Frazier.

Prosecutors repeatedly showed excerpts from the video and in closing arguments, the state's attorney urged jurors to "believe your eyes."

"This case is exactly what you thought when you saw it first, when you saw that video," prosecutor Steve Schleicher said.

"This wasn't policing, this was murder," he said. "Nine minutes and 29 seconds of shocking abuse of authority."

Prosecutions of police officers are notoriously difficult in the United States because they enjoy what is called "qualified immunity," said David Schultz, a law professor at the University of Minnesota and Hamline University.

"Generally you can't hold police officers criminally responsible unless you can show they didn't follow department procedure or protocol, that they didn't act the way a reasonable officer would," Schultz said.

With reporting from AFP

‘You know nothing!’ Ex-cop explodes on Jim Jordan as House Judiciary hearing goes off the rails

Rep. Val Demings (D-FL), a former police officer, clashed with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) on Tuesday during a House Judiciary hearing.

"I served as a law enforcement officer for 27 years. It is a tough job. And good police officers deserve your support," Demings said. She then accused Republicans of only supporting police when it is politically convenient, prompting Jordan to interrupt.

"Did I strike a nerve?" Demings responded, adding that police officers should not be used as political pawns. "You and your colleagues should be ashamed of yourselves."

The outburst led House Judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) to plead with members of the committee to not interrupt one another.

"When you give a speech about motives and questioning motives... how do we address that?" Jordan protested.

"I have watched [police officers] live and die, and you know nothing about that," Demings said.

Watch video below:

Val Demings vs Jim Jordan

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