There's likely 'digital smoking gun evidence' on Republican's phone about Jan. 6: ex-Homeland Security aide

Former chief of staff for the secretary of Homeland Security, Miles Taylor, thinks that Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) is heavily involved with the plotting around the Jan. 6 attack. It was reported Tuesday that a "block" was placed on Perry's phone, which was seized by the FBI. The block is temporary until the federal appeals court decides whether the FBI should be able to possess it. A judge already agreed to the warrant for the phone previously.

Speaking about his work while at DHS, Taylor explained that Perry was seriously concerned about conspiracy theories radicalizing terrorists in the U.S. He also feared the ability of the FBI to get into Americans' phones.

"So, you know, we worked on this hard. Here's a quote from the report Scott Perry wrote with me: 'The unprecedented speed at which Americans are being radicalized by extremists is straining federal law enforcement's ability to monitor and intercept suspects,'" Taylor read. "And then in the leadup to Jan. 6th, what's Scott Perry doing? Fomenting conspiracy theories about Italian satellites that are radicalizing Americans and he's directly engaged in that. The irony is, at the time, he wanted to get into the phones of international terror suspects but now he's fighting like hell to prevent his phone from being looked at by federal law enforcement because it might attach him to that insurrection, that domestic terror attack on the United States Capitol. So, I think this is deeply hypocritical. Scott Perry knows better. When it was an international terrorist, he wanted to do anything possible to protect this country."

Perry is one of many Republican members who asked for a pardon for his activity around the 2020 election. Perry denied the report.

IN OTHER NEWS: New details on Fani Willis' potential indictment of Donald Trump revealed

“Rep. Scott Perry … has refused to testify here,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) said during one of the Jan. 6 committee hearings. “As you will see, Representative Perry contacted the White House in the weeks after Jan. 6 to seek a presidential pardon. Multiple other Republican congressmen also sought presidential pardons for their roles in attempting to overturn the 2020 election."

She revealed text messages between Perry and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

“Mark, just checking in as time continues to count down,” Perry texted on Dec. 26, 2020. “11 days to 1/6 and 25 days to inauguration. We gotta get going!” He went on to tell Meadows to talk to "Jeff," meaning Jeffrey Clark.

Wallace asked Taylor what he thinks is in Perry's phone that he's so desperately trying to block from the FBI.

"I think what's on his phone is digital smoking gun evidence of his close involvement in this plot," said Taylor. "We've already seen some of it. He's clearly one of the key players fanning the flames of the conspiracy theory that led to the attack. But there could be more damning evidence, more connections. What I worry about is potential ties to some of these extremist groups. We know other people in Donald Trump's orbit were directly engaging with the people who committed acts of violence. Was Rep. Perry? I think there's probably more for investigators to find there. It's probably one of the reasons the Justice Department has been seeking out that device. He's proven himself to be a key interlocutor in that."

See the full conversation in the video below or at the link here.

What is on Scott Perry's phone?

Watch: Former Justice Department lawyer thinks DOJ was way too slow in going after Trump

With the release of the deposition video of Donald Trump there is a renewed conversation about the former president's ongoing legal battles around his personal businesses.

While Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. testified "to their knowledge" about their time working for their father. There were a number of things that Ivanka couldn't remember, such as whether she met with bankers or if she sent the emails that were shown to her during the deposition. The elder Donald Trump, however, refused to answer on the grounds that it might incriminate him, which is itself incriminating because prosecutors can use that detail against him in trial.

Speaking to MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace on Tuesday, former FBI general counsel and senior prosecutor to Robert Mueller, Andrew Weissmann, explained that it has taken a very long time to getting started on financial charges for the former president.

"There has been such a long period where it appears that Donald Trump is circling the drain, but everyone has heard that over and over again and they're not seeing accountability," he explained. "Now when he was president it is important to know he could not under the department of justice 'guidelines' be prosecuted. That didn't, however, prevent either Manhattan or Georgia at the state level from bringing a case, and you do see signs of life, particularly in Georgia, that they are pursuing it."

Since he's not the president anymore, civil cases are surfacing from the New York attorney general and others.

"If I were still in the department I'd certainly be working damn hard on the case, but it would also be in the back of my head, there is nothing worse than bringing the case and losing," Weissmann warned. "So, the goal is to make sure that if you're in the department, if you're in Manhattan, if you are in Georgia, you are bringing a case that will stick. I think that is the phase we're in now. I know people may be tired of hearing that, but I think that all signs are that things are really ramping up and I think that's why you're seeing Donald Trump asserts the Fifth Amendment [rights] so many times."

He went on to say to ask everyone else on the panel, lawyers and reporters that if a prosecutor asked "did you commit financial fraud when you filed your taxes," they'd all be willing to say "no."

Former federal prosecutor Harry Litman went on to say that the civil standard to meet in court is a lot easier than in criminal. In a civil trial, the prosecutors must prove something using the "preponderance of the evidence." It's different from criminal cases demanding "beyond a reasonable doubt." He too echoed that Trump using his Fifth Amendment privilege is essentially evidence that will be used against him.

Litman disagreed with Weissmann that the DOJ was moving too slow, but Weissmann said he meant that they started out too slow with the white-collar crimes. Now, it seems, they're moving much faster.

See the exchange in the video below or at the link here.

Former DOJ lawyer thinks the DOJ was way too slow in going after Trump's white collar crimes

Here's why 'anxious' Trump is struggling to raise cash for 2024

Former President Donald Trump needs to get back on social media because his campaign is having a rough time raising money for his new campaign launch, according to a new report.

NBC News' Jonathan Allen reported that Trump is getting off to a slow start in terms of campaign fundraising. After staying largely quiet since his announcement, Trump finally left Mar-a-Lago for some weekend events. As of this week, Facebook has allowed Trump's campaign back on their platform so that he can fundraise there.

"He's kind of strapped for campaign cash. Mr. Trump raised $9.5 million in the last six weeks of 2022, which is $2 million less than in the six weeks before his launch," MSNBC's Hallie Jackson said.

Trump has hired a new digital firm, which should theoretically increase the digital fundraising efforts as the campaign kicks off.

IN OTHER NEWS: Stormy Daniels takes victory lap after Trump pens tirade about her on Truth Social

"If you look inside these numbers, there are about 300,000 donors he got money from," Allen explained. "99.48% of those are under that $200 limit which means that about 3,000 of his donors are people giving 200 or more. So, he's still got that small-dollar fundraising base. Donald Trump was anxious to announce, super anxious to announce. He wanted to do it as early as July [2022]. He ended up getting convinced not to do it before the midterms then as a result when he got out and announced the campaign right afterward, he's doing so in kind of fundraising doldrums. For all campaigns, they know after an election, it's hard to raise money."

He went on to explain that as a campaign, Trump has seen some "donor fatigue."

"He hits his donors with requests day in and day out and is going to have to get them rejuvenated," said Allen.

See the discussion about the report below or at the link here.

Trump's fundraising woes

Jamie Raskin warns McCarthy that releasing Jan. 6 videos might be hard on Republican egos

WASHINGTON — Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is threatening to release all of the videos associated with the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Congress and the attempt to overthrow the 2020 election. Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) promised to do the same during the 2022 election season but has been mum ever since.

There were a number of people who testified quietly and were not named publicly until the final report was released.

Raw Story asked Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who served on the committee, about the release of all of the information and he agreed that it's one of the new powers that McCarthy has.

"You know I think it would be — look, the presentation we made was gripping to the country," he said. "I think there are equally fascinating details that would emerge that way as Senator [Josh] Hawley (R-MO) found out."

IN OTHER NEWS: Jim Jordan facing blowback as he appears to ease off Big Tech crusade

The reference harkens back to a video shown briefly by the Jan. 6 committee of Sen. Hawley pretending to raise a fist in solidarity with the Jan. 6 attackers, but once they breached the Capitol, Hawley was filmed running across the building by security cameras.

The video resulted in mockery of Hawley, who has spent the past several months talking about masculinity and the need for young men to embrace their manliness by rejecting adult videos and video games. His book Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs is expected to be released in May. Given his focus on masculinity, his sprinting away in fear has turned into a library of meme mockery and the hashtag #HawlinAss.

"Let's just say there are a hundred different reasons something may not have been made public yet and it would all become public," Raskin said. "And those who are proud of what they did in that period will be able to remain proud and those who have something to be embarrassed about will presumably be nervous about the release of everything."

A Punchbowl News comment cited Raskin earlier saying that he is moving to ensure he can wear headgear on the House floor while he gets treatment for his cancer diagnosis. Raskin was seen wearing a bandana on Tuesday while on Capitol Hill. He argued to the site that if they didn't let him wear it he'd complain about the toupees of the other members violating the no head adornments rule. Punchbowl asked McCarthy about it and said he'd not heard anything about the request.

Raskin told Raw Story he was kidding around with that comment.

He finished his second chemotherapy treatment, he said and his doctors are optimistic he can beat it, he said.

Another person breaks into Mar-a-Lago

Court filings from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida revealed that another person was arrested for sneaking into Mar-a-Lago where former President Donald Trump lives.

The man, 25-year-old Joshua Warnock was observed entering the area on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, at approximately 12 p.m. and "walking up the pool deck staircase adjacent to the family suite."

The complaint, reported by WFLX, explains that Warnock was “insisting he needed to speak with FPOTUS Trump." He was escorted off of the grounds by police after refusing to leave.

Warnock then returned at approximately 6 p.m. where he said he “climbed up a big step” to try to connect with Trump a second time. Warnock’s lawyer said she had “concerns about his mental health."

IN OTHER NEWS: Trump team's inside joke about Lindsey Graham revealed

The case comes after Donald Trump was found to have top secret and classified documents at the luxurious resort that were accessible to members, but the club has also been infiltrated by several people, including a woman who was armed with digital spying equipment.

The View's Whoopi Goldberg unleashes on Republicans for lies about Paul Pelosi's attack

The co-hosts of "The View" were furious Tuesday when discussing the behavior of Republicans and right-leaning pundits who crafted conspiracy theories about the brutal hammer attack on Paul Pelosi.

A chorus of Republican officials and candidates ridiculed Mr. Pelosi and his wife, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, after the attack as the conspiracies spread. The 21 elected officials who mocked the Pelosi family haven't yet apologized or corrected the record, the Seattle Times reported. The paper published a graphic showing the specifics about each member, which has been pushed out by former Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).

Whoopi Goldberg highlighted the right-wing news, saying that they are "still trying to put more spin on it!"

After showing a clip of media personalities like Tucker Carlson, Goldberg fact-checked his commentary using the police report and information that was not part of the monologue by the Fox News host.

IN OTHER NEWS: Letitia James seeks Trump sanctions over 'demonstrably false' fraud suit response

She cited Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who has amplified conspiracies about the Pelosi attack.

"You know, you brought up Ted Cruz a little bit ago, and Ted Cruz did exactly to Nancy Pelosi's husband what you-know-who [Donald Trump] did to his wife, and his dad," Goldberg said. During the 2016 election, Trump attacked Cruz's wife as a corrupt Wall Street fraudster and alleged Cruz's father killed former President John F. Kennedy.

"Why doesn't he see that that's the same?" Goldberg asked. "All of that is the same when you say, oh, man. It's a love affair. It wasn't a love affair! Why are you making stuff up? We can't make stuff up. We have to apologize when we make stuff up, we're joking, or we say something in humor. If we say something in humor, they say, listen, you can't do that. Why are you allowed to laugh about the fact that somebody broke into this house, hit this man with a hammer, and y'all are kind of yucking it up while you're not watching your own show?"

Joy Behar pointed out that the GOP members are "giving cover to political violence" by making fun of it or refusing to condemn violence against political figures. She also noted that once political violence begins, it's the beginning of the end of democracy.

"What are the Democrats supposed to do?" she asked. "There is no bottom to this Republican Party. The hole is not deep enough for them to go into to be disgraceful, but the Democrats have to take the high road because there are people, like us, and people in our audience who need a place to go."

Former Republican staffer Alyssa Farah Griffin said that it's "wrong" and hopes someday to have a "civilized" Republican.

See the conversation below or at the link here.

Trump team's inside joke about Lindsey Graham revealed

Former White House aide Alyssa Farah Griffin revealed that, while she was serving in Donald Trump's administration, they had a "running joke" about Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

"The View" began Tuesday with talk about Graham's latest interview with the Fox network on his dedicated support of Trump, in which he said, "I know the downside of Trump, but let me tell you about the upside of Trump. There are no Trump policies without the man, Donald Trump ... I want him to have another shot. Unfinished business ... I'm for Donald Trump because I know what I'm going to get."

"The one thing I loved about the Lindsey Graham quote was 'we know what we're going to get with him,'" quoted Griffin, a View co-host. "What? Insurrection? We all saw that happen. Real quick, so I've always speculated it's about 30 percent of the GOP is always Trump, and a study came out that confirmed 28 percent of GOP primary voters are going to be with Trump. The only way to get rid of him is by targeting the other 70 percent of the party who wants to see a sane, reasonable candidate.

"You don't beat Trump by being Trump-like. And that's what he's trying to do. Maybe they'll, you know, just go after each other, but there is a lane for somebody who says, you know, I want to be a pro-governance, strong on national security kind of Republican to run. Those are who I'm keeping my eyes on."

Joy Behar quoted now-former Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI), who recently said that he knows folks in the GOP that are simply waiting for Trump's "mortal demise" so that they can move on.

But it was Sunny Hostin who wanted to know how Graham attached himself to Trump from the beginning.

"But I have had a question for Alyssa: what does Trump have on Lindsey Graham? Because you usually have a lot of the inside tea because she worked for the man. Unfortunately," said Hostin.

"So, I don't know what he has on him, but it was like a running joke among the people closest to Donald Trump, and frankly Donald Trump himself, that he could do anything and Lindsey Graham would be by his side," Griffin said.

A former lawmaker couldn't help but notice that the Graham/Trump relationship seems like a "domestic violence situation."

"What does he have on him?" Hostin asked again.

"It's kind of a sad legacy. I once really respected Lindsey Graham," said Griffin. "We are eye to eye on foreign policy matters. There's something about — I don't self-diagnose people — like, he needed to follow John McCain. John McCain is unfortunately no longer with us. So now he's just wagging to Donald Trump. I would encourage Lindsey Graham, be your own man. You don't need to follow this fool."

See the discussion below or at the link here:

George Santos says he will recuse himself from congressional committees

George Santos told the Republican Caucus Tuesday that he was willing to step down from committee assignments, Punchbowl News' Jake Sherman reported.

Political polls are coming in showing that 78 percent of the voters in Santos' district believe that he should step down, the Siena College results explain.

Sherman found it odd that only after so many headaches would Santos voluntarily step down from the committees when the caucus could have asked him to stand down earlier. Instead, Republicans refused to make any moves, Sherman said.

Santos has faced criticism as information was revealed showing that he lied about his identity, his religion, his family history, his mother, his experience, a possible fundraising scheme, his time wearing drag makeup and a sequined mini-dress, his income, employers, and other financial information. Meanwhile, he's being investigated for a possible crime in Brazil.

See the full report from MSNBC below or at the video here:

Geoge Santos offers to step down from committees

The story is still developing....

Bill Barr made Justice Department Trump's 'personal protection racket': NY Times columnist

David Firestone returned toThe New York Times editorial board this week to pen a column declaring it impossible for former Attorney General Bill Barr to repair his damaged image, particularly after the information about his Justice Department's corruption.

Firestone, the recently retired Executive Editor of NBC News, returned to his former home at the Gray Lady and immediately took aim at Barr.

"During his 22 months in office, he allowed his Justice Department to become a personal protection racket for his boss, Donald Trump, and left prosecutors, the F.B.I. and other law enforcement officials subject to the worst impulses of the president," began Firestone. "But then, in his 2022 memoir, Mr. Barr did an about-face, bashing Mr. Trump for lacking a presidential temperament and singling out his 'self-indulgence and lack of self-control.'"

The attempt to repair his image by standing up to Trump isn't something that can save him now or ever, Firestone argued, calling it a "hollow and self-serving turnabout."

Recent reports state that Barr "launched a counter-investigation into the origins of Robert Mueller’s report on the 2016 Trump campaign’s ties to Russia." The Times revealed Thursday that what really happened was "a staggering abuse of the special counsel system and the attorney general’s office."

On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee said that it would be holding its own hearings and investigations into the behavior of special counsel John Durham under Barr's direction.

"These reports about abuses in Special Counsel Durham’s investigation — so outrageous that even his longtime colleagues quit in protest — are but one of many instances where former President Trump and his allies weaponized the Justice Department," said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) in a statement. "The Justice Department should work on behalf of the American people, not for the personal benefit of any president"

Firestone closed by noting that Durham's probe was never able to secure any convictions, and in one instance was chastised by a judge for a filing that served no purpose but to propagate right-wing conspiracy theories he knew were lies.

He recalled the last time that Barr was at the Justice Department in 1992 when, during the Bush administration, "the Times columnist William Safire accused him of leading a 'Criminal Cover-up Division' in refusing to appoint an independent counsel to investigate whether the Bush administration had knowingly provided aid to Saddam Hussein that was used to finance the military before Iraq invaded Kuwait."

Firestone wrote that in the Trump case he did the opposite, appointing an "unnecessary special counsel" to "do the bidding of the Trump White House" and try "to steer the investigation to Mr. Trump’s advantage. His efforts came to naught, and so will his campaign to be remembered as a defender of the Constitution."

Read the full column at The New York Times.

Texas Republican says GOP will hold the debt ceiling hostage even if it's dangerous to do so

Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX) explained to CNBC on Monday that the Republicans have no choice but to hold the debt ceiling hostage, even if it means destroying the economy.

Squawk Box host Andrew Sorkin asked the House GOP Budget Committee chairman, "The question that I'd ask you is whether you think this debt ceiling is going to be used as a bargaining chip in a way that could turn dangerous?"

Arrington made it clear: "I believe it will and I believe it has to."

His colleague, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) has already said that he wants to use the debt ceiling crisis to usher in border security spending.

The House was already dealing with its own infighting after the far-right side of the House demanded dramatic cuts to Social Security and Medicare. It became big news, making the GOP look as if "they want to kill grandma," said one Democratic Senator. Finally, this week, Speaker Kevin McCarthy said that those cuts are off the table.

President Joe Biden has demanded a "clean bill," with no conditions attached, saying that if Republicans want to negotiate cuts they can propose their own plans and bills, but that the country shouldn't be held hostage in the interim.

See Arrington in the video below or at this link.

Maddow hammers sketchy behavior at Bill Barr's DOJ involving Michael Cohen

More questions are surfacing about why Michael Cohen went to prison for the hush money payments to Stormy Daniels but Donald Trump was never charged with anything. Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg has finally agreed to reconsider charging Trump for his personal involvement in shady business practices that resulted in 17 guilty convictions for his companies.

Now that the information is being revealed as part of that trial, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow harkened back to a book published by the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, who questioned possible corruption happening in the main Justice Department in Washington by trying to shelve any connection to not only Cohen's conviction but any connections to Trump.

"They pursued no charges against Trump. Instead, they told the court that this other guy committed the crime with Trump and for Trump and at Trump's direction, they prosecuted the other guy and sent him to prison and they never brought charges against Trump. Never said anything about it. Nor did Trump's business get prosecuted even though prosecutors spelled out in court the business was used to launder the funds that cohen and Trump used to commit the crime."

Meanwhile, David Pecker of the National Enquirer essentially did the same thing as Donald Trump, only he used private funds from a company to do it, and never went to prison because he made a "deal" with the prosecutors to say he met with Cohen on the issue. Now, Pecker is being forced to talk to the newly impaneled grand jury about this piece of the scandal.

The first part of the answers came from Geoffrey Berman, the former SDNY district attorney, who explained that he witnessed a lot of corruption at the Justice Department, particularly as it surrounded this case. It began with the DOJ officially reaching into the SDNY and taking over the probe, "to protect Trump in this case," said Maddow.

"Even though I was not overseeing the Cohen case, I still had to deal with other issues involving it, all of them deriving from the same source: Main Justice, and its attempts at interference," Berman writes in his book.

"When Bill Barr took over as U.S. Attorney General, in February 2019, six months after Cohen's guilty plea, he not only tried to kill the ongoing investigations we were engaged in, but incredibly, he suggested that Cohen's conviction on campaign finance charges should be reversed," Berman continued in the book. "Barr summoned my deputy who was overseeing the Cohen case, in late February to challenge the basis of Cohen's plea as well as the reasoning behind pursuing similar campaign finance charges against other individuals. He was told to cease all investigative work on the campaign finance allegations until main Justice determined there was a legal basis for the campaign finance charges to which Cohen pled guilty and until Barr determined there was a sufficient federal interest in pursuing charges against others."

Raw Story spoke to Michael Cohen after the Berman book was published in Sept. 2022 and asked about the details provided in the book. He was already at work on his own book, Revenge: How Donald Trump Weaponized the Department of Justice Against his Critics, which was published in Oct. 2022 and connected the links between his case, Berman's book and how he thinks Trump was able to manipulate the law through Attorney General Bill Barr.

Cohen's story got worse when he was allowed to be released to house arrest due to the COVID-19 crisis. Somehow, Cohen was given a nondisclosure agreement saying that he would only be released if he agreed not to speak publicly about the president or the case and wouldn't publish a book. Cohen refused and was swiftly sent back to prison. He lodged a lawsuit and the judge who got the case was aghast that the Justice Department would even suggest something. Since then, Cohen has been asking about who was behind that at the DOJ. Even after Merrick Garland took over the department, any government entity involved has refused to turn over any information requested by the press, members of Congress and when the House Judiciary Committee requested information.

One of the key pieces of information detailed in Berman's book is that they slashed the court details about Cohen's case from 40 page to about 21 pages ensuring that all mentions of "Individual 1," a.k.a. Donald Trump, was removed from the filings.

"And although they didn't want to go along with it, they went along with it and felt like they had to," said Maddow on Monday. "And if you've ever spent any time as an elementary school student on a playground with bully, you will know what happens when you let someone push you around like that. That, of course, is never the end of it. It just gets worse from there."

She cited that Berman goes on in his book to say that after appointing Barr, he personally intervened in the hush money investigations.

"While Cohen pleaded guilty our office continued to pursue investigations related to possible campaign finance violations, when Barr took over as attorney general in Feb. 2019, six months after Cohen had pleaded guilty, Barr not only tried to kill the ongoing investigations but incredibly suggested that Michael Cohen's conviction on campaign finance charges could be retroactively reversed," said Berman.

So, one of the first things Barr did as attorney general was to haul in the prosecutors in the hush money case to challenge the basis of Cohen's plea and challenge any further charges for the same, Berman explained.

"The prosecutor was told to cease all investigative work on the campaign finance allegations until the office of legal counsel, a part of Main Justice determined if there was a legal basis for the campaign finance charges to which Cohen pled guilty and until Barr determined there was a sufficient federal interest in pursuing charges against others," Berman's book continues. "The directive Barr gave the prosecutor which was amplified that same day by a follow-up phone call was explicit. Not a single investigative step could be taken, not a single document in our possession could be reviewed until the issue was resolved and if Main Justice decided there was no legal basis for the Cohen charges, the attorney general of the United States would direct us to dismiss the guilty pleas of Michael Cohen, a man who implicated the attorney general's boss, the president."

Berman admits that he tries not to make assumptions and bases his opinions only on the facts presented. This all raised questions for him.

More than two years later, none of what happened was investigated.

See clips from the Maddow opener below or at this link.

Trump Stormy Daniels payment case resumes beyond reach of Bill Barr's obstacles

part 2 corruption at DOJ under Barr

Veteran reporter goes there: Was 'crooked' Russia-friendly FBI spy the source of the Trump and Clinton lies to the NYT?

Veteran reporter Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Inquirer questioned the reporting from The New York Times that was published in 2016 during the campaign between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Among the many false things that the Times reported was the allegation that new emails were discovered related to Anthony Weiner's underage sexting case. None of the reporting was true.

MSNBC's Joy Reid said that the report "sparked a lot of questions, not just about the Justice Department's decision-making but also the FBI, because the push for that announcement was coming from the FBI's New York field office, which according to Reuters, had a faction of investigators based in the office known to be hostile to Hillary Clinton."

Last week, former FBI counterintelligence chief at the New York office, Charles McGonigal, was arrested and charged with money laundering and other concerns related to his relationship with a Russian oligarch.

"At the time, James Comey made his unprecedented public announcement in 2016, there was no bigger consumer of the Clinton email story than The New York Times," Reid explained. "They ran story after story on her emails in 2016, devoting two-thirds of the Gray Lady's front page to Comey's announcement. That was followed up a few days later with another helpful piece on Trump citing unnamed intelligence sources headlined Investigating Donald Trump, FBI sees no clear link to Russia. Something that would later be proven untrue."

Given McGonigal's charges, these stories are now being looked at in a whole new light. Writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Bunch penned a column about whether McGonigal was the source for those stories.

"We should be asking that," Bunch told Reid. "You know, that second story you showed about the lack of 'clear ties' between Trump and Russia. I mean, we now know that story was false. I mean, a key premise of that story was [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and Russia were not trying to help Trump win the election. Well, the U.S. intelligence community, not much after that, found that's exactly what they were doing. Who was misleading The New York Times? You know, clearly, that story hung on high-level intelligence sources. And McGonigal was basically the top spymaster in the New York office."

He also said that it appears the FBI field office in New York was also the "nexus of so much of this activity that was then leaked to the press and was overplayed by the media, especially by The New York Times. And polling bureaus said this absolutely was the decisive factor that swung enough votes in the last minute from Hillary. We should rethink everything we think we know about what happened that October. What the FBI was up to, now that we know they had this corrupt agent."

Reid noted that there were 34 people convicted that had ties to Russia from the investigations into Donald Trump and his ties to Russia during the 2016 election.

Bunch noted that Oleg Deripaska seems to be in the background of a lot of different things in the U.S., whether with Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign and now with this FBI agent.

"We now know Manafort was sharing important data from the trump campaign, polling data, and data that could have helped Russia's internet trolls know what states to target with their internet trolling," said Bunch. "He shared that with a suspected Russian intelligence agent who was also part of this triangle with Manafort and Deripaska. And how does this FBI agent who is supposed to be investigating Deripaska then end up working for him a year or two later? If that's indeed when it started. I would love to see the Times given its role in disseminating the bad information, go back. I think they should apologize for their bad coverage but they should also investigate how they were duped by these FBI agents and by their intelligence sources and share that with their readers."

He went on to say that he specifically singled out the Clinton emails piece of the story and that the media bought into all of it. They also excused Trump from a very real scandal that could have made a difference in the 2016 campaign results.

See the full conversation with Bunch below or at the link here.

The New York Times lies about Clinton and Trump

Kari Lake criminal referral sent to Arizona AG from secretary of state

Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake was referred to the Arizona attorney general for investigation on Monday afternoon. According to the referral, which came from Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, Lake violated state law by tweeting out copies of voter signatures in her tweets.

For the past several months, Lake has claimed that there was a conspiracy afoot and that she won the 2022 election, just as Donald Trump won the 2020 election.

Lake's tweet that is being targeted by the secretary claims that the GOP-led Senate confirmed that 40,000 ballots were illegal, showing examples of voters' signatures, which is against the law.

IN OTHER NEWS: Republican Nancy Mace offers her GOP colleagues some brutally blunt advice

"Nothing in this section shall preclude public inspection of voter registration records at the office of the county recorder for the purpose prescribed by this section, except that ... the records containing a voter's signature ... shall not be accessible or reproduced by any person other than the voter..." the office cited in the referral.

See the excerpt of the letter below or at this link.

Matt Gaetz pledges to release the deals he made with Kevin McCarthy to the public

There have been questions over the past several weeks about the deals that were made between Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) that would allow McCarthy to ascend to the Speaker post without objections from Gaetz and the far-right anti-McCarthy activists.

Gaetz dismissed any idea that those details were being hidden saying that many of them were discussed as part of the speeches on the floor or publicized. He went on to mention personnel and other such things that were part of the negotiation.

"That is something that has been reportedly written down and agreed to on the side, as sort of a side deal," said MSNBC host Ari Melber with a clip of Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC). "Let's get into this. Maybe we resolve it once and for all on live TV. You have a 55-page rules package. That part is public under the rules. We can put up reports on that we all know about. That then you have reporting after a secret three-page agreement. Reading here in from punch bowl. It's got 'other concessions including Rules Committee.' That's personnel, which you just referred to -- and other things."

Melber asked "point blank" if that three-page addition exists in writing somewhere. Gaetz said that it did.

RELATED: Matt Gaetz denies seeking a pardon from Trump during tense MSNBC grilling

"There were some offers they accepted, some he modified, some he rejected just like you'd seen in any negotiation," he said.

"I'll let you continue, but the question where I'm going is, why keep that secret?" asked Melber.

Gaetz said he'd answer questions about any of it.

"I appreciate you taking questions, but why not release the written product that exists and has currently kept secret? You have been talking about transparency. It's another one thing to hear it described and another thing for the now majority to release what the underlying material is... Why not commit to releasing the written agreement or getting it released tonight?"

"I have no objection. It was largely released to the conference and country when you saw the appointments to the committees. When you see which members populate, you're seeing — when you see floor votes you see that agreement. I can tell you we also have a vote on term limits, something that's popular in every zip code in America except Washington, D.C. We have a budget resolution to roll back to 2022 spending levels. We secured those things. I think they're critically important."

Melber followed up by asking if he was willing to release it in writing and Gaetz again agreed.

See the exchange below or at the link here.

Matt Gaetz says he'll turn over agreement with McCarthy

Watch: Matt Gaetz denies seeking a pardon from Trump during tense MSNBC grilling

Speaking to MSNBC on Monday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said that reporting about him seeking a pardon was false.

According to testimony under oath to the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack that Gaetz and others were meeting at the White House to coordinate on ways to stop the certification of the election. The Republicans who participated then asked for pardons involving that Dec. 21, 2020, meeting or other possible reasons. Gaetz said that nothing in that meeting was illegal or unconstitutional.

"Okay, then why after that meeting did you seek a pardon for yourself and others who attended that meeting?" asked host Ari Melber.

Gaetz claimed all of that was misreported.

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"What I've suggested is there were various groups of people President Trump was considering pardoning for a variety of reasons, and I was involved in a number of pardons, some like the Blackwater four. Some went a different direction like Joe Exotic. But in that particular discussion, there was nothing emerged were anyone sought a pardon," Gaetz said commenting that the DOJ has become "pretty weaponized."

"We'll do both, but just to be clear you're denying you sought a pardon for yourself?" Melber asked.

"Yes that's correct," said Gaetz.

Gaetz was caught on tape promising Roger Stone that he would secure him a pardon.

Melber showed a video of testimony under oath from Trump insiders who say otherwise.

"The question is, can you really say all of them are committing perjury, lying on you, A. And B, if a pardon was requested, why not tell us, what were you worried about, what was it you thought others might be indicted for?" asked Melber.

"Cassidy Hutchinson is a known liar," Gaetz charged. "There's testimony she's given that directly results in perjury, so I would certainly take exception with her testimony. I do not remember it the same way Eric Hirschmann does. I did have conversations with him about a group of people that could receive pardons, even including some of the people who may have committed a technical violation of law but weren't engaged in the violence Jan. 6th. I had a lot of conversations with [Johnny] McEntee about pardons for lawmakers. Whether or not lawmakers fell in those groups were discussed. But in terms of was I asking for something specifically for me? The answer is no."

See the video interview below or at the link here.

Matt Gaetz denies asking for pardon