Rudy Giuliani slammed for lying that Maxine Waters made a 'direct threat to the jury' in the Chauvin trial

On Monday, former President Donald Trump's longtime ally Rudy Giuliani posted a Twitter rant against Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), accusing her of making a "direct threat" against the jury in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minnesota.

Contrary to Giuliani's claim, Waters' claim that protesters should be "more confrontational" if Chauvin is acquitted is not actually a threat of violence, against the jury or against anyone else — and indeed, the judge in the case made clear that while he wasn't fond of her commenting on the case, it did not taint the jury.

Commenters on social media quickly scorned Giuliani, some of them reminding him he had said far worse at the "Save America" rally mere minutes before a violent pro-Trump mob invaded the U.S. Capitol.

US ambassador defiantly refuses to leave Russia: report

On Monday, Axios reported that John Sullivan, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, is refusing to leave the country — despite being "advised" by Kremlin officials to get out.

"Russia's foreign ministry announced Friday it would expel 10 American diplomats and bar current officials, such as Attorney General Merrick Garland, from visiting Russia," reported Jonathan Swan. "But the Russians didn't expel Sullivan. Instead, the Kremlin summoned him to meet with a top foreign policy official, Yuri Ushakov, who recommended he go back to Washington for consultations with Biden officials."

"Sullivan's view, according to people familiar with his thinking, is that if Putin wants him to leave, he'll have to force him," continued the report.

Russia imposed the expulsions in response to new U.S. sanctions on a number of the country's political and intelligence officials — a belated retaliation for the Solar Winds hack and military aggression in the Ukraine.

Also on Monday, US Defense Department spokesman John Kirby warned about the size of Russia's troop build-up on the border with Ukraine.

"It is the largest buildup we've seen certainly since 2014, which resulted in the violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity," Kirby told a news conference. "It is certainly bigger than the last one in 2014."

Lindsey Graham goes on Fox News to threaten China with war

On Fox News Monday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) engaged in a round of saber-rattling against China, naming a number of inarguable atrocities committed by the country — but even going so far as to threaten that the United States could declare war against them.

"What do you think we need to be doing in terms of sending China a clear message, given their increased military activity and all the different ways that they're challenging us on the world stage?" asked Ben Domenech, chief of The Federalist.

"Stand up for the Uighurs," said Graham. "Your father-in-law is rolling over in his grave now, the America John McCain fought for and was willing to die for is changing in front of us. I like what Trump did, he stood up to the Chinese. You steal our stuff, you're going to pay a price. Human rights still matters. Let the Chinese know that if you try to take Taiwan, we'll have a war and you'll lose it."

Trump, notably, did not express much interest in standing up for human rights, at one point even telling Chinese President Xi Jinping that he approved of the Uighur concentration camps.

Watch below:

Merrick Garland: Anger that spurred the Oklahoma City bombing is still at large in America

In an interview with ABC News' Pierre Thomas on "World News Tonight" released on Monday, Attorney General Merrick Garland discussed his experience prosecuting the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing — and warned that the anger and extremism that fueled that mass casualty event is still out there in the United States.

"There was a period after Oklahoma City where things seemed to be — at a lower level and ebbed," said Garland. "But this is the kind of problem you can never take your eyes off of. And the Justice Department is committed to being sure that we don't do that."

The Oklahoma City attack, carried out by a white supremacist extremist with a truck loaded with an explosive fertilizer compound, killed 168 people, including children in a daycare on the second floor.

Garland further compared the disaster to the 1921 Tulsa race riots that destroyed "Black Wall Street," arguing that it was the "same kind of hatred."

Watch below:

Roger Stone slammed by legal writer for trying to blame his tax delinquency on the 'Deep State'

On Monday, writing for Above the Law, legal writer Elizabeth Dye blasted longtime Trump ally Roger Stone's excuse for allegedly trying to dodge his taxes.

Stone, who was previously pardoned by Trump after being convicted of a number of charges in connection with the Mueller investigation, has been quick to blame the whole thing on a left-wing "Deep State" conspiracy.

"On Friday, the government sued Roger Stone and his wife Nydia in the Southern District of Florida claiming almost $2 million dollars in unpaid taxes and penalties, a suit which Stone was quick to characterize as harassment by evil Deep State Democrats," wrote Dye. "'This is yet another example of the Democrats weaponizing the Justice Department in violation of the rule of law,' Stone said Friday night. 'I will fight these politically motivated charges and I will prevail again.' Which is a bit confusing, since the last time he 'prevailed' by getting a presidential pardon after being convicted by a jury of his peers."

The other reason it's hard to take Stone seriously, noted Dye, is that Stone has already admitted to the tax liabilities he's being sued over.

"In May of 2017, he entered into an agreement with the IRS to start chipping away at $1.5 million in unpaid taxes through monthly payments of $19,485," wrote Dye. "It was only after he got indicted in 2019 for lying to Congress that he quit paying. That was right about the time he 'sold' his personal residence to a family trust. Only the family trust had no assets, so it needed an infusion of cash from an LLC of which Stone, his wife, and his son were the only members and which the family used as a clearinghouse for personal bills."

This arrangement, according to the IRS, was a "sham transaction" to "shield their personal income from enforced collection and fund a lavish lifestyle."

"In the end, Stone got a full pardon in December of 2020 for all his convictions," wrote Dye. "But his old buddy Donald Trump failed to do anything about the tax case, so now the OG ratf*cker may be SOL. You love to see it."

You can read more here.

'Nonsense': Former deputy AG demolishes Chauvin attorney's last-ditch attempt to use Maxine Waters to throw out the trial

On CNN Monday, former federal prosecutor and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Elliot Williams tore into Derek Chauvin's defense attorney Eric Nelson for trying to argue the calls to protest a not guilty verdict by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) are grounds for a mistrial — something Judge Peter Cahill promptly rejected.

"What did you make of how that came up at the very end after the jury already began deliberations?" asked anchor Wolf Blitzer.

"Look, Wolf, come on," said Williams. "This story has been front page news for the greater part of a year. Movie stars, members of Congress, presidents of the United States have commented on this trial. The idea that one member of Congress's statement a few days before the jury starts deliberating is somehow going to prejudice the jury is nonsense. The law presumes that jurors can take in and internalize the instructions from the court, and the court has instructed the jurors I guess twice at the beginning and at the end, number one not to watch the news, and number two anything they see to set aside, and they were picked on account of their ability to do so."

"Some of this, I think, to be candid, is about Maxine Waters, but at the end of the day, one famous person making a comment that's incompatible with the trial just doesn't throw the verdict," said Williamsn. "Now, the defense attorney has to make that objection now in order to be able to make it again on appeal if Chauvin is convicted, so some of that is just basic lawyering, but this — this is not grounds for a mistrial."

Watch below:

Elliot Williams smacks down Derek Chauvin's attorney for scapegoating Maxine Waters

WATCH: Judge smacks down Derek Chauvin's lawyer for arguing Maxine Waters caused a mistrial

On Monday, just after closing arguments in the Derek Chauvin murder trial for the death of George Floyd, defense attorney Eric Nelson attempted a last-ditch request to throw out the case, because — according to him — the public comments by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) that without a guilty verdict, "We've got to stay on the street, and we've got to get more active, we've got to get more confrontational" has prejudiced the jury.

"I just don't know how this jury can really be said to be that they are free from the taint of this, and now that we have U.S. representatives threatening acts of violence in relation to this specific case, it's — it's mind-boggling to me, Judge."

Judge Peter Cahill invited Nelson to make that argument on appeal if Chauvin is found guilty — but made perfectly clear he thought that argument didn't fly.

"I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case," said Cahill, but "I don't think it's prejudiced us with additional material that would prejudice this jury. They have been told not to watch the news. I trust they are following those instructions and that there is not in any way a prejudice beyond the articles that we're talking specifically about the facts of this case. A congresswoman's opinion really doesn't matter had a whole lot ... the motion for mistrial is denied."

Watch below:

Judge Peter Cahill rebuffs Derek Chauvin's motion for a mistrial because of Maxine Waters

‘Everyone in the Capitol is nervous’: Florida Republicans fear they’ll be swept up in Matt Gaetz investigation, lawmaker says

On Sunday evening, Jordan Zarakin of Progressives Everywhere on Substack released an interview with Florida state Rep. Carlos Smith, the first gay Latino member of the Florida legislature, in which they discussed the growing sex trafficking scandal surrounding Rep. Matt Gaetz.

During the segment, Smith noted that the Florida Republican Party, behind the scenes, is terrified that the investigation could sweep up more of their members.

"The web of corruption that Matt Gaetz, Joel Greenberg, and [Ron] DeSantis are all wrapped up in is really a web that appears to tie up the entire Republican Party of Florida," said Smith. "It seems like everyone in the Capitol is nervous about what the next revelation is going to be and who else is implicated in this sweeping saga of corruption that they've been a part of for so long."

"This is what happens when any particular party is allowed to stay in power for as long as Florida Republicans have," he continued. "It's not only about corruption, but they just get sloppy, they get lazy, and they get messy and arrogant. And I think that that's how Matt Gaetz got in trouble — he got arrogant."

Gaetz faces allegations that he transported a 17-year-old girl over state lines for sex acts. Authorities are also reportedly investigating whether drugs or campaign cash were involved in his alleged transactions with women for sex. Greenberg, a former Florida county tax official and close associate of Gaetz, has reportedly been cooperating with the Justice Department since last year.

Devastating CNN supercut shows Trump predicting a 'depression' if Biden becomes president

On CNN Monday, anchor John Berman released a supercut of the times former President Donald Trump warned that a Joe Biden presidency would mean the collapse of the U.S. economy — and business analyst Christine Romans contrasted it with the reality.

"So, remember when then President Trump predicted the stock market would tank if Joe Biden became president?" said Berman, playing the clips.

"If he's elected, the stock market will crash," said Trump in one segment. "Joe Biden, the radical socialist Democrats, would immediately collapse the economy," he said in another. "Joe will drive the market into a depression," said Trump in yet another. "Everyone knows that if Biden gets in, this market is going to crash," Trump went on confidently.

As Romans noted, this is not what happened at all.

"The reality is we're at the beginning of a great American comeback," said Romans. "Fact: a spring surge fueled by vaccination, warmer weather, reopenings, those $1,400 stimulus checks. Fact: a stock market at record highs, riding the wave of central bank support and stimulus from Congress. The Dow and the S&P 500 ended last week at record. The Dow is up nearly 12 percent this year. The S&P up a little more than 11 percent. That crash Trump promised if Joe Biden were elected, the opposite has happened."

As Romans noted, "The president gets too much credit and blame for what happens to the stock market." But, she said, "When he bragged about his own stock market gains, he cited the election. So we will do the same here."

Watch below:

John Berman and Christine Romans destroy Trump's prediction Biden would crash the economy

'Fox is not news': New CNN morning anchor debuts with blistering takedown of right-wing network

On her debut on CNN's morning segment, anchor Brianna Keilar tore into Fox News for its use of partisan chyrons to push far-right narratives against President Joe Biden.

"The chyrons, those headlines you see at the bottom of your screen? They are getting noticeably more creative," said Keilar. "Fox uses them to push their conspiracy theories that Biden is essentially senile ... other Fox banners imply that Biden basically belongs in a home, and one of their main experts literally called in from his retirement home in Florida. Another is this guy, the infamous Fox doc they have on to give a quote 'virtual medical examination' then reaching the evidence-free conclusion Biden is off his rocker, pushes the theory he is the puppet of a deep state."

"Fox reliably provides the public disservice of pandemic disinformation, and sometimes it uses pictures," continued Keilar, showing a number of other Fox chyrons and graphics. "Top health officials shown in straight jackets ... one year into the pandemic, despite undeniable evidence that masks work, Fox's chief science officer, Mr. Karlsson suggests they're a national security risk with the new headline. When the new president marked one year of grief and loss, fox got impatient, saying how dare the president not wrap up before the power hour cockamamie commentary."

"Sometimes they think they are lashing out, but actually they are inadvertently telling the truth about themselves, admitting the damage they wreak and the propaganda they peddle, like they're writing the autobiography of their network in thirty characters or fewer, give or take," concluded Keilar. "That Fox is not news, no matter what it calls itself."

Watch below:

Brianna Keilar slams Fox News for partisan chyrons

'We've got vials and vials in our freezer': pro-Trump counties have alarmingly low vaccination rates

On Saturday, The New York Times published an analysis of counties across the United States, revealing a sharp correlation between rates of COVID-19 vaccination and support for former President Donald Trump.

"Using survey data collected in March, the federal government recently created new estimates of hesitancy for every county and state in the United States," reported Danielle Ivory, Lauren Leatherby, and Robert Gebeloff. "In more than 500 counties, at least a quarter of adults might not be willing to get vaccinated, according to the estimates, and a majority of these places supported Mr. Trump in the last election. In the 10 states where the government projected that residents would be least hesitant to get a Covid-19 vaccine, voters chose Mr. Biden in the 2020 election. Mr. Trump won nine of the 10 states where the most residents said they would probably or definitely not get the vaccine."

Many individual cases of vaccine refusal are running rampant in pro-Trump counties, noted the report, are stark.

"In a county in Wyoming, a local health official asked the state to stop sending first doses of the vaccine because the freezer was already stuffed to capacity with unwanted vials," said the report. "In an Iowa county, a clinic called people who had volunteered to give shots to tell them not to come in because so few residents had signed up for appointments. In a county in Pennsylvania, a hospital set up a drive-through in the park, stocked with roughly 1,000 vaccine doses. Only about 300 people showed up."

And health officials are alarmed. "I just never in a million years ever expected my field of work to become less medical and more political," said Natrona County, Wyoming health department officer Hailey Bloom, herself a registered Republican. Sweetwater County, Wyoming health officer Dr. Jean Stachon agreed, saying, "It pains me to think that the governor of Michigan is begging for vaccines, and we've got vials and vials in our freezer."

Polling has found that vaccine hesitancy is strongest among Republicans, especially Republican men.

Trump himself helped put funding into developing the vaccines and was vaccinated himself, but has historically championed anti-vaccine conspiracy theories and spent most of last year downplaying the risk of the COVID-19 pandemic. The hostility to vaccines is now so ingrained in many pro-Trump communities that when Ivanka Trump posted a photo of herself being immunized earlier this week, her Instagram comments were filled with angry people rebuffing her call for people to get the shot.

You can read more here.

Marjorie Taylor Greene disavows 'staff level draft' of America First Caucus' plans in furious tweetstorm

On Saturday, following angry bipartisan backlash over the plan by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) to found an "America First" House caucus defending "Anglo-Saxon" principles, the first-term lawmaker took to Twitter to defend herself.

During the course of the defiant tweetstorm, Greene blasted the "sick and evil POS" in the media for the way they covered the controversy, and insisted that she didn't have anything to do with the explicitly white nationalist outlining document for the group attacking "post-1965" immigration, claiming that it was just a "staff level draft" she hadn't even seen before it was released.

Hawaii police chief gets slap on the wrist suspension over racist remarks about Asians: report

On Saturday, The Daily Beast reported that a Todd Raybuck, a police chief for the island of Kauai, Hawaii, has been suspended after repeatedly making fun of Asian people — but the suspension is for less than a week.

"The AP reports that Raybuck was accused of parodying an Asian person's speech and mannerisms, describing an employee's hairstyle as a Kung Fu look, and squinting and bowing his head while discussing why he didn't promote someone of Japanese heritage," reported executive editor Tracy Connor.

He has been suspended without pay for just five days — in part, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, because the Human Resources Department failed to find any evidence that Connor's denial of the promotion was actually based on racial animus or violated any civil service rules.

"I accept responsibility for my comments," said Raybuck, adding that he will use "this experience to expand my cultural awareness and increase my knowledge and understanding of different cultures."

QAnon lawmakers offer confounding reasons for voting against a bone marrow registry

This week, Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO), notorious for their sympathy to the QAnon conspiracy theory, were the only two representatives to vote against a bipartisan bill that reauthorizes a pair of programs establishing a national bone marrow registry — which allows patients with leukemia and other diseases that attack the immune system to receive lifesaving transplants.

According to The Daily Beast, faced with outrage and backlash, both lawmakers put out statements attempting to explain why they rejected the bill — but neither of their explanations made any sense.

Greene's spokesperson, Nick Dyer, put out a statement saying, "Nothing in this bill prevents the funding of aborted fetal tissue by taxpayers. It opens the door for the [National Institutes of Health] to use this bill to research the remains of babies who were murdered in the womb." However, this is a non-sequitur because the bill specifies procedures done with "adult stem cells," which by definition do not come from "aborted fetal tissue."

"That blood has been used successfully thousands of times to help treat diseases ranging from cancer to osteoporosis, is credited with saving lives, and is typically fine with anti-abortion groups," reported Matt Fuller. "Certainly, it was fine with the other 200 House Republicans who voted Thursday — almost all of whom consider themselves 'pro-life.'"

Boebert, meanwhile, claimed her objection was about cost. "This bill added hundreds of millions of dollars to the national debt, while not receiving a CBO score or going through the committee process," she told CNN. This is false, according to the Beast: "While it authorizes $31 million per year for the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program for the next five years — and $23 million per year for cord blood inventory program over that same period — the bill is not a spending measure. It will take an actual appropriations bill before actual money goes to the actual programs."

Greene and Boebert have been among the most controversial freshman members of the GOP House caucus. Greene, in particular, was stripped of committee assignments earlier in the year following unearthed social media activity in which she endorsed the killing of prominent Democrats.

GOP in disarray as far-right members rip the 'ignorance' of Marjorie Taylor Greene's latest stunt

On Saturday, it became clear that the fallout from Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) forming an "America First" caucus to uphold "Anglo-Saxon traditions" — immediately derided by historians as a racist dog-whistle — is fracturing the House GOP.

According to POLITICO Playbook: "All eyes are on House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, who last night tweeted his disapproval of the proposed new group — but who will no doubt be called on to do more to stop it entirely." But as the report noted, the situation is complicated for him: "A few years ago, McCarthy stripped then-Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) of his committee assignments over repeated racist comments." But in this case, Greene has already been stripped of her assignments, so it's unclear what he can and will do.

Meanwhile, according to Forbes, the "America First" Caucus has already been rejected by key members of the Freedom Caucus, an infamously far-right gang of lawmakers who include some of former President Donald Trump's most prominent loyalists.

"The hatefulness ... is only surpassed by its ignorance of American history and values," said Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), a major Freedom Caucus member, another, Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT) — one of the only two Black Republicans in the House — also confirmed to Forbes he wants nothing to do with the new group.

The America First Caucus' establishing document clearly outlines white nationalist ideology, including the idea of renouncing as un-American all immigrants who came to America after 1965, the year that the U.S. immigration system was reformed to eliminate explicit racial quotas.

You can read more here.

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Raw Story Investigates and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.