WATCH: Maggie Haberman decodes Trump’s ‘carefully parsed’ statement about Matt Gaetz

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman said Friday on CNN that former President Donald Trump had carefully worded his statement about the scandals swirling around Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz (R).

In response to a New York Times report that claimed Gaetz had sought a blanket pardon, Trump issued a statement on Wednesday saying that "Gaetz has never asked me for a pardon." Trump added, "It must also be remembered that he has totally denied the accusations against him."

According to Haberman, Trump's first instinct was to defend Gaetz, who has been a loyal defender of the former president.

But "a number of the former president's advisers have cautioned him that is a bad idea," Haberman told CNN. "The charges against Gaetz are not, you know, the deep state or related to the kinds of alleged deep state, as Donald Trump would say, or to the kinds of investigations that Donald Trump faced when he was in office. This relates to sex trafficking and allegedly involves a minor, and so there has been repeated urging of caution to Trump."

"Trump's statement, if you notice, was somewhat carefully parsed. He said, Gaetz did not discuss a pardon with me. They did not discuss a pardon and he said he did nothing wrong. I think that's the bare minimum of loyalty he could show and he did not go any further, and that was notable."

Watch video below:

04 09 2021 07 04 46

WATCH: Lawyer goes berserk at Orange County education meeting after conservatives spread fake news about forced vaccines for kids

False rumors that officials were secretly planning to turn schools into mass vaccination centers lead to a flood of outrage at an Orange County Board Education meeting on Wednesday.

The rumor, which apparently spread via text messages and Facebook, claimed that children would receive mandatory COVID-19 vaccines at school without parental consent.

One resident who spoke during Orange County Board Education meeting claimed that the COVID-19 vaccine was as bad as the Holocaust.

"Hear me loud and hear me well," she said, "we will not be morphing our school campuses into COVID vaccine centers for delivery of an experimental medical protocol that killed every d*mn ferret in the last animal study they did until such time they had to abandon such study and then they didn't even do the study this time around, because we are the study."

"The last time humans launched a plan like this to conduct experimental medical protocols on vulnerable populations was in Joseph Mengele's direction," the woman, who described herself as a human rights lawyer, continued. "He was an MD known as the angel of death, okay? He was part of the SS and in 1943 he was assigned to Auschwitz where he saw an opportunity to conduct gene research focused primarily on children with no regard for the health or safety of the victim."

"This is off the internet, you can Google it. You know what else is gene research? Experimental COVID vaccines with the transgene inside of it," she added.

Orange County's Health director, Dr. Clayton Chau, held a press conference on Thursday to dispel the rumors, saying that "nobody can mandate" vaccinations against COVID-19.

Watch video from the Orange County Board Education meeting below:

Trump angrily lashes out at Biden for 'cruel and heartless' plan to create jobs by taxing the wealthy

Former president Donald Trump criticized his successor Joe Biden in a written statement on Wednesday, claiming the current U.S. president's infrastructure plan is an "attack on the American Dream."

"Joe Biden's radical plan to implement the largest tax hike in American history is a massive giveaway to China, and many other countries, that will send thousands of factories, millions of jobs, and trillions of dollars to these competitive Nations," the ex-president said. "The Biden plan will crush American workers and decimate U.S. manufacturing, while giving special tax privileges to outsourcers, foreign and giant multinational companies."

As a presidential candidate, Trump had vowed to implement sweeping infrastructure programs. But he failed to deliver on his promises once he got into the White House.

Biden's infrastructure plan would follow the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan signed into law earlier this month, which was aimed at helping the world's largest economy recover from the damage done by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Biden, who took office in January, vowed to pass a second bill aimed at improving infrastructure in the United States and creating jobs, and US media reported that would likely be divided up into two proposals costing a total of $3 trillion.

"We'll use taxpayers' dollars to rebuild America. We'll buy American products, supporting millions of American manufacturing jobs, enhancing our competitive strength in an increasingly competitive world," Biden said in the January speech announcing the two plans.

But Trump attacked proposed tax increases on the wealthy to pay for the infrastructure program, claiming it "is a strategy for total economic surrender."

"Joe Biden's cruel and heartless attack on the American Dream must never be allowed to become Federal Law. Just like our southern border went from best to worst, and is now in shambles, our economy will be destroyed!" Trump concluded.

View Trump's full statement below:

RSBN 🇺🇸 on Twitter

RSBN 🇺🇸 on Twitter

“Statement by Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States of America:"

With reporting from AFP

Proud Boys leaders nabbed by the FBI as the Trump-loving extremists face blowback over Capitol riot

Two leaders of the far-right Proud Boys group were arrested in Philadelphia and North Carolina this week over their involvement with the pro-Trump riot at the U.S Capitol, according to the New York Times.

Charles Donohoe and Zach Rehl are both accused of conspiring to interfere with law enforcement officers at the U.S. Capitol and obstruct the certification of President Biden's electoral victory.

Two other prominent Proud Boys -- Ethan Nordean and Joseph Biggs -- were also implicated as part of the conspiracy. The two men had previously been charged in relation to the attack.

"With the new conspiracy indictment, prosecutors have now brought charges against a total of 13 people identified in court papers as members of the Proud Boys. Federal investigators have described the group, which appeared in force in Washington on Jan. 6, as one of the chief instigators of the riot at the Capitol that left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer," the New York Times reported.

According to the publication, 13 members of the Proud Boys have been named in court documents related to the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Anti-abortion 'extremist' shows up at women's clinic with a gun – and shoots himself in the leg

A man protesting against A Woman's Choice healthcare clinic in Raleigh, North Carolina, accidentally shot himself in the leg on Saturday morning, according to local media reports.

Raleigh police said officers responded to a report of a shooting at approximately 9:17 a.m. on Saturday.

"Upon arrival, officers located an adult male suffering from a single gunshot wound who was transported for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries," the police said in a news release.

"Follow-up investigation revealed that the gunshot was fired from the victim's personal weapon and that the discharge was accidental. After consultation with the District Attorney's office, it was determined that he will be charged with possession of a firearm at a protest."

Despite the shooting, volunteers with the Triangle Abortion Access Coaltion told IndyWeek that police allowed the protest to continue.

"[Police officers] acted like everything was fine and normal," explained volunteer coordinator Kelsea McLain. "We are genuinely confused and concerned why the protest was allowed to continue uninterrupted. We are now at the point where we are very concerned RPD will do nothing to de-escalate and bring safety to the clinic until a patient or a volunteer or staff member is shot."

In a statement, the clinic said the incident was "deeply disturbing."

"While we don't know much about the intent of this anti-abortion extremist, we can't help but think about the increased violence, presence of guns, and blockades that abortion clinics across the country are experiencing during anti-abortion extremists' 40 Days for Life campaign. This is not an isolated incident."

Man at Raleigh protest accidentally shoots himself, police say

GOP's Kevin McCarthy dared to hold up racist Dr. Seuss imagery after his 'Green Eggs and Ham' stunt flops

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is being challenged to honestly address racially insensitive imagery found in six Dr. Seuss books after he posted a video of himself reading "Green Eggs and Ham."

Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced last week that it would stop publishing six book that contained "hurtful and wrong" depictions. But the publisher plans to continue selling popular titles like "Green Eggs and Ham."

"It's such bad faith behavior from an already bad faith party," MSNBC's Mehdi Hasan said Sunday. "Key fact, [there are] six books being withdrawn for racist anti-Chinese and anti-African imagery from the past -- not 'Green Eggs and Ham.' What's so fascinating is Fox News and Republicans have been obsessing about this for a week now while many Americans are hurting needing a COVID relief bill and they aren't even upset about it."

"They won't talk about what's in the books being withdrawn because they know it's indefensible and racist," Hasan added. "I'll make a challenge right here on your show. Kevin McCarthy… read from the books that are actually being withdrawn. Hold those books up, defend those images, I dare you."

While Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas described McCarthy's reading of "Green Eggs and Ham" as "inspired leadership," the stunt provoked widespread mockery.

Watch video below:

03 07 2021 13 40 20

Video catches entitled anti-masker claiming he's the real victim as he harasses Trader Joe's staff: 'I am so offended!'

A man in Texas filmed himself berating staff at a Trader Joe's grocery store after being denied entry for refusing to wear a mask. The video is now going viral on social media, where he is being derided as a male "Karen."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has lifted the mandatory mask mandate in Texas. But businesses in the state can still put their own COVID-19 safety rules into place.

"You're violating the law," the man claims in the video. "You're harassing me and discriminating against me because of my disability. You understand that? Do you understand the Americans with Disabilities Act?"

The anti-masker tells a Trader Joe's staff member that she was "reprehensible" for trying to enforce the store's mask policy, comparing her behavior to racism.

The man also accuses Trader Joe's of "holding him hostage" by not allowing him into the building, before walking into the store.

"I am so offended by this," he says after being confronted inside the building. "This is America at the end of the day."

Republicans are desperately scrambling for new sources of indignation and victimhood: op-ed

Republicans politicians see culture wars as their avenue back to power, according to The Washington Post columnist James Hohmann.

A chorus of Republicans have complained that President Joe Biden had accused two GOP governors of engaging in "Neanderthal thinking" over their decisions to rescind COVID-19 prevent measures. They also expressed outrage that Hasbro planned to drop "Mr." from its Potato Head branding and that Dr. Seuss Enterprises planned to cease printing six books that contained racist stereotypes.

"The familiar chorus of faux indignation from the bad-faith brigade illustrates more than just how reflexive and juvenile the discourse has become," Hohmann writes. "This week also put into stark relief how leading Republicans hope to fight their way out of the wilderness by leaning into grievance and picking culture war battles."

He adds that efforts to "capitalize on the cultural epidemic of grievance and victimhood" are "entirely rational," because they keep conservatives engaged.

Such battles also help to distract from the fact that Republicans are fighting against popular legislation. According to a Quinnipiac poll from February, nearly 7 in 10 Americans support the Biden administration's proposed $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, known as the American Rescue Plan.

"Republicans now face the familiar challenge of keeping their populist base riled up while opposing policies that would benefit many of those core supporters — this time without Trump," Hohmann explains. "Indeed, even as Republicans tried to convince their voters to take offense at Biden's Neanderthal label, they were voting en masse against a measure to extend unemployment benefits and send $1,400 checks to millions of households, while arguing against a $15 an hour minimum wage."

Biden and his aides, on the other hand, have mostly ignored the culture war battles.

"I don't think there is any danger in ignoring a debate on Mr. Potato Head and Dr. Seuss," John Anzalone, a Biden adviser and campaign pollster, told Politico.

Alabama official insists ‘I am NOT a racist’ amid backlash over joke about running over Black protesters

A councilman in Decatur, Alabama, is under fire over a post on Facebook in which he joked about running over Black protesters.

"Clearly, there are many mixed emotions about the situation but I will say this and I am going to make my myself clear on it, I am NOT a racist individual," Hunter Pepper wrote on his Facebook page Sunday in response to the criticism.

Pepper, 19, was elected to serve on Decatur's City Council in August 2020.

The controversial post was first reported by BamaPolitics this week. Responding to a news report about protesters threatening to shut down a mall over the police shooting of E.J. Bradford, Pepper wrote in 2018: "See I have to go shopping there next week and we gone play a game called red rover red rover you fools gone get ran over!"

"It's something that shouldn't be accepted," seven-term Decatur Councilman Billy Jackson said of Pepper's joke, according to

"If I made a comment like that, people would come out of the woodwork after me. I expect people will come out of the woodwork for his resignation. If he doesn't do it voluntarily, I expect people will request it."

In response, Pepper said he made the joke when he was 16 years old and was not planning on resigning.

"I will say this, yes that post involves violence but it most definitely and sure does not involve racism, it is most definitely a misquoted article," Pepper wrote. "I am most definitely in the wrong for making the post and the comments I made but no where and I mean NO WHERE does it say anything about racism, skin color, or targeting specific individuals."

Clash erupts on CNN as Jake Tapper confronts White House official over Khashoggi’s murderer

CNN host Jake Tapper on Sunday briefly sparred with White House communications director Kate Bedingfield over President Joe Biden's stance towards Saudi Arabia.

Biden had promised to hold senior Saudi leaders accountable for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi But has "declined to apply sanctions to the one the US intelligence community determined is responsible," CNN reported last month.

"President Biden will not directly sanction Saudi Arabian Crown Prince [Mohammed] bin Salman for his approval for of the operation to murder The Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi," Tapper said Sunday. "It's clear that President Biden believes maintaining America's relationship with the Saudis is more important than holding the crown prince directly responsible."

"Didn't the crown prince already make that calculation already?" Tapper continued. "That murdering Khashoggi was more important than the U.S.-Saudi relationship? Hasn't that decision that the murder is more important than the relationship already been made?"

"I would dispute the way you frame that," Bedingfield shot back. "I mean, President Biden has been very clear this was a horrific, unacceptable crime. It is not something that we as Americans are going to tolerate moving forward. He made that clear to the Saudi government. We made that clear at all levels of the administration. We've taken concrete step. We've sanctioned individuals and networks involved in that crime."

"But not MBS," Tapper interjected.

"But what we've done is we've also been transparent," Bedingfield said. "We have put forward the report that unequivocally details his role in this crime. That is something the previous administration didn't do."

Watch video below:

03 07 2021 09 16 11

GOP governor faceplants on CNN: Ending mask mandates is ‘following the data’

CNN host Jake Tapper grilled Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves on Sunday over his decision to lift mask mandates and COVID-19 related restrictions on businesses in his state.

"The governor's office is getting out of the business of telling people what they can and cannot do," the Republican governor announced on March 2.

Tapper started off his interview this weekend by telling Reeves that health experts were warning that "people will get sick and die" because of his decision. But Reeves insisted he was just "following the data."

"We know more people are likely to get sick and die without mask mandates and that is what the science says," Tapper said. "Why is this a tradeoff you're willing to make?"

But Reeves insisted his state was in good shape. He also lashed out President Joe Biden, who last week accused Reeves and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott of "Neanderthal thinking" for their decisions to end mask mandates and other measures designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

"Let's talk a little bit more about the data," Reeves told Tapper. "The fact is that at our peak, we had 1,450 Mississippians in hospital beds because of the virus. Today, that number is below 400. At our peak, we had 360 Mississippians in ICU beds. At this point that number is below 120. The fact is we have seen significantly reduced levels. and, oh, by the way, unlike President Biden who wants to insult Americans and insult Mississippians, I actually trust Mississippians to make good decisions."

Tapper then asked Reeves if he thought it was a good idea for the residents of his state to continue wearing masks, to which Reeves replied that he did.

"If you have not received the vaccination and you're going into a large crowd or if you're going out to dinner, I strongly encourage Mississippians and people across the country to wear a mask because I believe that it does, in fact, reduce the ability of individuals to spread the virus. No question about that," Reeves said.

"Only about 9% of Mississippi residents have been fully vaccinated – 9%," Tapper noted. "The governor of neighboring Alabama, Republican Kay Ivey, is extending her mask mandate another month. Why not do the same thing so you can get more of your constituents vaccinated before relaxing your measures? We all want to go back to normal. The fear is if you do this, it will take longer to actually get back to normal."

"Well, I should start by saying I love and appreciate Governor Ivey over in Alabama," Reeves replied. "She is a great friend of mine and has been for many, many years. But when you look at the numbers in Mississippi, it doesn't justify government intervention. It just simply does not. It doesn't justify statewide mask mandates. You've made a very valid point earlier that statewide mask mandates have been in effect in our state over the last six months and we are not going back to that."

Watch video below:

03 07 2021 09 28 04

‘Loser’ Trump brutally mocked after lashing out at ‘disloyal’ GOP senator: ‘Stupidest possible move’

Former president Donald Trump issued a statement on Saturday night attacking Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

"I will not be endorsing, under any circumstances, the failed candidate from the great State of Alaska, Lisa Murkowski," Trump told Politico.

"She represents her state badly and her country even worse. I do not know where other people will be next year, but I know where I will be -- in Alaska campaigning against a disloyal and very bad Senator."

Murkowski was one of seven GOP senators who voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial last month. The Washington Post has reported that Murkowski "is higher on [Trump's] list of enemies than other senators and lawmakers."

"Some people in his circle doubt, though, that he will be as much of a potent force in the race because traveling to campaign against her would require such a long flight, which Trump generally avoids," The Washington Post added.

Many commentators also expressed doubt that the GOP senator had any reason to fear Trump.

"This is a dumb place for Trump to show his strength," tweeted Mediaite columnist John Ziegler.

InsideElections reporter Jacob Rubashkin noted that "Alaska's new top-four, ranked choice voting system insulates Murkowski from any real threat of a GOP primary."

See some more reactions to Trump's statement below:

Here’s why QAnon didn’t show up for Trump’s ‘real inauguration’ on March 4

Security was bolstered in Washington, D.C., on March 4 after intelligence uncovered a possible plot to "breach the Capitol" by adherents of QAnon, who reportedly believed that Donald Trump would return to power on that date.

Some followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory believed Trump was cheated out of a second term and that March 4 would mark his victorious return to power to confront a secret global cabal of satanist liberals.

"We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4," the US Capitol Police said in a statement.

A handful of conspiracy theorists reportedly did show up to watch what they believed would be Trump's "true inauguration." But there was no large gathering of QAnon supporters and the day passed without serious incident. A new report in Politico sheds light on why.

In the days leading up to March 4, many influential voices in the QAnon movement warned that stories of Trump's true inauguration were a set up and a potential "false flag" operation.


The conspiracy theory about March 4 actually came from another conspiratorial movement: sovereign citizens.

"The entire thing was based on a misreading of a law from 1871, and even major QAnon influencers weren't buying into it, actively trying to persuade their followers that it was a hoax designed to make their movement look bad," Mike Rothschild, a QAnon researcher, explained to Politico. "It really had nothing in common with the January 6 insurrection — that was the culmination of years of Trump conspiracy theories that voter fraud was the only way Democrats could win the election."

The acting US House Sergeant at Arms, Timothy Blodgett, reportedly sent a memo to members of Congress last week advising them of potential protests surrounding March 4.

He said in the memo, however, that the significance of the date "has reportedly declined among various groups in recent days" and that violent protests are no longer anticipated.

But the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security saw the threat as serious enough to issue a joint bulletin Tuesday night warning of potential unrest on March 4 and March 6, DHS senior official Melissa Smislova testified to Congress.

With additional reporting from AFP

WATCH LIVE: Congress to grill Pentagon officials over their response to the Jan 6 insurrection

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is holding a hearing along with members from the Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday to examine the National Guard's response to the January 6 insurrection.

The hearing will feature William J. Walker, commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, Melissa Smislova, a senior official in the Department of Homeland Security, Jill Sanborn, the assistant director of the FBI's counterterrorism divisions, and Robert G. Salesses, a senior official in the Department of Defense.

Watch live video below:

LIVE on March 3 at 9 a.m. | Senate hearing on Jan. 6 Capitol riot

WATCH LIVE: FBI director Chris Wray testifies before Congress for first time since the Capitol riot

FBI Director Christopher Wray is set to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday for a hearing on the January 6th insurrection and domestic terrorism threats.

"Unfortunately, the FBI appears to have taken steps in recent years that minimize the threat of white supremacist and far-right violence, a grave concern that some of us have raised with you on numerous occasions in recent years," said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and several Democratic members in a joint statement.

"Additional reporting suggests that the FBI, at the behest of Trump appointees, diverted resources to investigate left-wing movements at the expense of adequately addressing the threat of violence by white supremacists and other right-wing extremists," they added. "These reports raise serious concerns about whether the FBI is allocating law enforcement and intelligence resources in a manner that reflects the scale of the threat posed by violent white supremacists, whom DHS has called 'the most persistent and lethal threat in the Homeland.'"

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. (ET). Watch live video below:

FBI Director Christopher Wray Testifies on January 6th U.S. Capitol Attack

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