'They are a cancer': Lauren Boebert calls for Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger to be banned from GOP cloakroom -- and the House conference

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) joined a other members of the right-wing Freedom Caucus in demanding the expulsion of Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger from the Republican conference.

The pair each voted to impeach Donald Trump for a second time, and they are the only two Republicans serving on the House select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection, which Boebert has been accused of aiding by leading Capitol tours ahead of the riot and tweeting the location of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the siege.

"These members should not be allowed in our closed door private meetings or even the Republican cloakroom," Boebert said. "We had important meetings yesterday in the cloakroom. I saw Kinzinger in there. Why is he able to be part of those conversations while he goes back and confers with the opposition. Both of these politicians, Kinzinger and Cheney, have worked more with Pelosi than they have with myself, my colleagues or even [minority] leader McCarthy."

She spent a substantial portion of her remarks complaining about Kinzinger's criticism of her online and on television, and demanded him and Cheney banned from the cloakroom and expelled from the conference entirely.

"They are a cancer to our party and to our caucus and they most be expelled from our conference," Boebert said.

Jim Jordan brutally fact-checked for bashing Biden on masks: ‘The virus has mutated — keep up!’

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) took a shot at President Joe Biden after the Centers for Disease Control reinstated its recommendations for masking against coronavirus by fully vaccinated individuals.

The president had announced May 13 that fully vaccinated Americans could safely stop wearing masks in most situations, but the CDC issued new guidance that masks should be worn indoors regardless of vaccination status as the highly contagious delta variant is exploding in many areas of the country.

The CDC said that fully vaccinated Americans can "participate in many of the activities that they did before the pandemic" but advised people to wear a mask "in areas of substantial or high transmission" of the delta variant.

Jordan tweeted out a clip of Biden's pronouncement -- without any additional commentary or other context -- as House Republicans bristle at the return of mask mandates inside the U.S. Capitol, where many GOP lawmakers still refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Ohio Republican was smacked with a round of criticism and fact-checking.

REVEALED: Wayne LaPierre and his wife turned elephant they killed into trash can and handbags

New details have emerged about an elephant hunt that Wayne LaPierre and his wife took part in that was funded by the embattled NRA he leads.

Newly revealed emails show the couple arranged to have an elephant they killed on a 2013 hunt shipped from Botswana and have its body butchered and turned into trophies, and they tried to keep the shipment and related taxidermy work secret despite the involvement of multiple individuals and companies in various countries, according to records obtained by The Trace and published in partnership with The New Yorker.

"Taxidermy work orders containing the LaPierres' names called for the elephants' four front feet to be turned into 'stools,' an 'umbrella stand,' and a 'trash can,'" wrote The Trace's Mike Spies, who obtained the records. "At their request, tusks were mounted, skulls were preserved, and the hyena became a rug."

The couple felt secrecy was necessary, according to the emails, after hunting show host Tony Makris sparked public furor after killing an elephant on his NRA-sponsored "Under Wild Skies," which also filmed the LaPierre's hunt for an episode that never aired.

"The [taxidermy arrangement] represents a rare instance in which the gun group's embattled chief executive is captured, on paper, unambiguously violating NRA rules," Spies wrote. "The emails show that Susan directed the process while Makris's company, Under Wild Skies Inc., which received millions of dollars from the NRA, picked up the tab."

The records appear to confirm allegations by New York attorney general Letitia James, who has regulatory authority over the NRA and is currently seeking its dissolution, in a complaint filed last August that describes the trophy fees and taxidermy work as violations of the nonprofit's own rules, which cap gifts from contractors at $250.

The shipping and taxidermy cost thousands of dollars and benefitted the LaPierres only, and not the NRA.

"Susan noted that the couple also expected to receive, along with the elephant trophies, an assortment of skulls and skins from warthogs, impalas, a zebra, and a hyena," Spies reported. "Once the animal parts arrived in the states, the taxidermist would turn them into decorations for the couple's home in Virginia, and prepare the elephant skins so they could be used to make personal accessories, such as handbags."

'This is INSANE': GOP’s Thomas Massie dares Capitol police to arrest his staffers

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) dared U.S. Capitol police to arrest him and his staffers for refusing to wear masks.

The Kentucky Republican reacted to a letter from Capitol police chief Thomas Manger notifying officers they must enforce a mask order inside the halls of Congress for all legislators, staffers and visitors, although he specifically says they should not arrest lawmakers who refuse.

"Although this applies to Members of Congress, officers should not arrest any Member for failure to wear a mask or comply with the mask mandate," Manger said the letter. "Any member who fails to comply with a request to wear a mask should be reported to the House Sergeant at Arms' office."

Massie, however, may not have read the entire letter, which was posted online by Rep. Kat Cammach (R-FL).

"This is INSANE," Massie tweeted. "Might as well come into my office and arrest my entire staff. We are not wearing masks. I support the Capitol Hill Police, but the Chief of Police made a mistake here. The physician and the chief of police don't have this authority."

Massie is among a group of GOP lawmakers, including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Ralph Norman (R-SC), who have sued House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) over $500 fines levied for their refusal to follow the mask order recommended by the House physician.

QAnon cultists pretending to be dead tech mogul John McAfee in latest bizarre twist to right-wing conspiracy

QAnon cultists are pretending to be the late tech mogul John McAfee, who died last month in a Spanish jail, in the latest twist to the convoluted conspiracy theory.

The anti-virus software entrepreneur and fellow conspiracist died from an apparent suicide June 23 while awaiting extradition to the U.S. on tax charges, but QAnon adherents are setting up fake accounts on the right-wing Telegram platform claiming to be McAfee and angering prominent QAnon influencers, reported The Daily Beast.

"I Would Describe Myself As Quite Sane and Lucid, Which is Why I'm Still Alive. John McAfee," posted the largest of those accounts, which has more than 125,000 subscribers.

McAfee's Instagram account, which was run by others while he was jailed and has since been taken down, sparked a frenzy in the QAnon world when it posted a large "Q" graphic shortly after his death, and three Telegram accounts emerged in the middle of this month purporting to be the late software pioneer, whose widow, lawyer and the Spanish government have all confirmed is indeed dead.

"I have been in close contact with John's widow, Janice McAfee, who identified the body some weeks ago," said his former lawyer Andrew Gordon. "There is no reason to suspect John might still be alive, and certainly not that he would be running any Telegram channels which he did not open prior to his death."

The phony accounts have attacked Gordon and posted easily obtained documents, such as McAfee's gun license, as "proof" of their identity, and their sudden popularity has angered some longer-running conspiracists on the platform.

"I usually never call out people," posted one influencer with more than 145,000 followers. "But this one here needs to be called [FAKE] [INFILTRATION]."

That account then implicated the phony McAfees in a conspiracy theory involving China, and even some of the most prominent QAnon accounts have denounced the imposters.

"The John McAfee telegram account didnt [sic] announce anything at the end of the countdown," wrote Ron Watkins, who has denied the widely held belief that he controlled the original "Q" account. "None of the alleged 31 terabytes of deadman's switch data has materialized. Now his account is posting Q-style drops and signing them as McAfee. Be careful."

MSNBC's Morning Joe agrees Republicans are acting like 'morons' on masks 'to make a stupid political point'

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough ripped House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and other Republican lawmakers balking at the reinstatement of mask rules at the U.S. Capitol.

The Republican leader mocked the House physician for recommending the return of masks, prompting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to call him a "moron," and the "Morning Joe" host agreed.

"If they don't care about anybody else outside of their family, worry about their children, other people's children, their loved ones," Scarborough said, "as we had in a report earlier this week, in Alabama emergency rooms a lot more children this year than there were last year with the delta variant. I'm hearing the same thing out of Florida, emergency rooms and hospitals that the pediatric wards are finding a lot more of an impact for younger children this year than last year because of the delta variant."

Scarborough said GOP lawmakers were needlessly endangering children too young to be vaccinated to show loyalty to Donald Trump.

"There is so much at stake here, and I do expect more members, more members of the press getting angry about the fact that a lot of these jackasses are literally putting their children's lives in danger because they're trying to make a political point -- a stupid political point, but a political point all the same," he said. "It's like last year, in the middle of a pandemic that killed over 600,000 people, what was it, Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows, was making fun of -- Jake [Sherman], it may have been you -- 'You look funny in that mask.'"

Punchbowl reporter Sherman, a guest on the program, admitted he had been the target of Meadows' mockery.

"To which Jake said, 'We don't want to die,'" co-host Mika Brzezinski pointed out.

"We don't want our children to end up in the hospital," Scarborough added, "and we don't want our parents to die. This is not hard, Mika. It's not hard."

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Media leaks reported to CIA at alarming rate during Trump era -- especially when Mike Pompeo led spy agency

The Trump administration reported substantially more media leaks to the Justice Department and intelligence agencies than previous administrations, according to newly released data.

The Intercept obtained new data that shows Donald Trump's administration referred far more leaks -- called "crime reports" -- to the CIA, National Security Agency and Justice Department than previous presidential administrations as part of his relentless campaign against whistleblowers.

"A former CIA official pointed to the sheer frequency of leaks directly related to the Russia investigation," the website reported. "Media leaks about the Russia investigation were so commonplace that the former CIA official, upon being notified of one such leak in spring of 2017, recalled a senior CIA counterintelligence manager remarking, 'Well, that's another referral.'"

The CIA accounted for more than 64 percent of all referrals, primarily about the Russia probe, while the NSA accounted for just 15 percent.

The referrals spiked to 120 in 2017, when Trump ally Mike Pompeo led the CIA, and many reports involved leaks that had occurred months or even years before during the Obama administration.

"More than twice as many leak referrals were sent to the Justice Department during the first three years of the Trump administration than in any other three-year period in the last decade-and-a-half," the website reported.

House Democrats zero in on ex-Trump officials to question in Jan. 6 probe: 'Who was the ultimate organizer?'

House Democrats are confident they'll be able to question former Donald Trump aides in their investigation of the Jan. 6 insurrection, but they still have work ahead of them to secure testimony from some of the biggest names.

Lawmakers still haven't defined the scope of their investigation, but the Department of Justice has offered a legal opinion allowing Congress to seek witness statements from former Trump administration officials -- and they're focused on coordination efforts by extremist groups that led the assault on the U.S. Capitol, reported Politico.

"That means the likelihood of any resistance from the committee's work from former [Trump] employees or current employees is not an impediment," said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), the committee chairman.

The select committee members are especially interested in what happened in the days and weeks before the insurrection, with a particular focus on the planning and financing of the assault.

"[We] want to know who was the ultimate organizer and who paid for all of this action and how did it come about and are they still out there," said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD).

Panel members want to hear from witnesses who can describe "local, state and federal interaction in the run up to and on the day of Jan. 6," according to Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), and testimony from individuals who can describe the political influence on the Pentagon and intelligence agencies.

Other congressional committees, including the House Oversight and Reform Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee, are also investigating aspects of the insurrection, including Donald Trump's efforts to pressure the Justice Department to investigate baseless claims of voter fraud and potentially overturn his election loss.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), who chairs the Oversight Committee, released letters to former top Justice Department officials, including Trump's last acting attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen.

She also wants to hear from two former U.S. attorneys based in Atlanta who may be able to shed light on the ex-president's pressure campaign on Georgia officials to "find" enough votes to overturn his election.

Trump working behind the scenes to kill the infrastructure deal -- but nobody seems to care: report

It's "infrastructure week" again for former president Donald Trump, who's trying to make sure President Joe Biden fails at passing a sweeping spending bill, as well.

The twice-impeached one-term president has encouraged Republican lawmakers to walk away from negotiations and criticized Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for engaging in talks, but GOP senators told Politico they've asked Trump to stop talking down the deal and actually lend his support.

"The last time I told him there's not going to be any tax increases, and I'm of the opinion let's do a deal that's good for the roads, ports, and bridges -- let's do it," said Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC). "I appreciate the effort of everyone and I'm hoping we get there."

But Trump has made clear he won't support a bipartisan deal, and aides say he remains angry that he couldn't get a big bill passed while he was president.

"They had four years to do an infrastructure deal with someone who knows infrastructure and actually builds buildings," said one Trump aide. "I'm just speaking for myself, he hasn't said, 'Oh they should have done it with me,' but if they actually wanted infrastructure they would have done it when President Trump was in there."

Retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), who said Wednesday there's a agreement on the bill's broader outlines, and he asked the former president to get behind it, as well, but one GOP aide said Trump's behind-the-scenes efforts don't have much impact on negotiations.

"I don't think there's a lot there," said senior GOP aide. "It's not reverberating here. I don't think Rob Portman sees this and goes, 'Oh no, I have to give up.'"

Obscure rule could force Trump to leave Florida by 2024 if he wants Ron DeSantis as running mate

Donald Trump has hinted that he might choose Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as his running mate if he enters the 2024 race, but he might have to move again first.

The twice-impeached one-term president changed his residence to Florida in late 2019, while still living in the White House, but a rarely invoked constitutional provision in the 12th Amendment may force him to pull up stakes again if he wants the GOP governor on the ticket, reported the Tampa Bay Times.

"The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves," reads the provision.

In other words, Florida electors cannot vote for both a president and vice president who come from their state, and constitutional experts agree the provision is clear, if possibly outdated.

"Whether or not the requirement that you vote for someone other than someone from your state makes sense today, and it probably doesn't, the text is clear," said Vikram Amar, dean of the University of Illinois College of Law and a professor of constitutional law. "It's pretty anachronistic, but there it is, part of the text."

The amendment, which is rooted in the framers' concerns about handing too much power to individual states, would permit Trump and DeSantis to run on the same ticket, but would require one of them -- most likely DeSantis -- to give up Florida's 30 Electoral College votes, potentially turning his election over to a hyper-partisan U.S. Congress.

"It would be an impediment unless they took some action to deal with it," said Robert William Bennett, a Northwestern University law professor and expert on the Electoral College. "One action would be that Trump could give up whatever his place in Florida is. He certainly has credentials for being a resident of the state of New York, if not other places."

Dick Cheney moved to Wyoming in 2000, as George W. Bush picked him as running mate, and a legal challenge to Cheney's claim to Texas' electoral votes failed after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene, and legal experts expect a similar outcome if Trump changes his address before Nov. 5, 2024.

"People are allowed to move," said Akhil Reed Amar, a professor at Yale Law School. "If Trump wants to move, he can move. He has plenty of time to move, but it should be a real move. They shouldn't thumb their nose at the Constitution."

Woman wishes she could go back in time and get COVID-19 vaccine: ‘I didn’t think it would be this bad’

A 39-year-old North Carolina woman regrets waiting to get the coronavirus vaccine after she was hospitalized with a severe infection.

Eketrina Wilson thought her age would protect her from COVID-19, but she ended up in the intensive care unit and spent five days in the hospital after she was diagnosed July 17, reported the Winston-Salem Journal.

"I didn't think it would be this bad," Wilson said. "I thought it would be simple, and it's not."

Wilson's condition worsened past the point where some medications can be used to treat COVID-19, and doctors struggled to get her to the point where drawing a breath didn't cause pain.

"[Her oxygen levels dropped] even when going to the bathroom or talking continuously, more than a few sentences," said Dr. Kinchit Shah, one of the doctors who treated her. "We had a hard time getting her comfortable using oxygen and able to function."

Now that she's well enough to go home, Wilson urged others to learn from her experience.

"I was scared to get vaccinated," Wilson said. "It's not scary, it's just like the flu shot. You have to have it or you're going to get sick."

GOP-linked company’s COVID tests failed — so health chief suggested using them on ‘college kids’: Tennessee whistleblower

After an unproven company with Republican Party ties won a no-bid contract with Tennessee to produce COVID-19 tests, a whistleblower says the state health commissioner suggested using them on "healthier" people such as "college kids" after they proved unreliable.

Dr. Michelle Fiscus, who was fired this month as the state's top immunization official in a dispute over vaccinating teens, said she was shocked by the $26.5 million deal -- and even further shocked by health commissioner Lisa Piercey's reaction when the tests turned up false negative results as health officials had warned, reported WTVF-TV.

"I think everyone was pretty shocked when they found out that the contract was all but sealed," Fiscus told the TV station.

An Atlanta-based GOP political consultant contacted Republican Gov. Bill Lee's chief of staff, who then put him in touch with Piercey, who quickly signed off on the deal with Nomi Health despite what Fiscus describes as some obvious red flags.

"Unproven company dropping equipment off at the lab that the lab didn't vet," Fiscus said. "I think just a lack of understanding about what a lab of that quality has to go through to prove that the testing that it's doing is reliable."

Utah businessman Mark Newman pivoted his company, Nomi Health, into the test-making business early in the pandemic, but Fiscus said the point person for the deal stumbled during one of the first presentations before Tennessee's testing experts.

"He eventually said, 'Well, you know, we've only been doing this about four weeks,'" Fiscus said. "'I'm actually a Ring doorbell guy.'"

Fiscus alerted Piercey that the deal should be called off immediately because "it's a disaster."

"The optics of doing this are going to be horrible when we start testing minority populations with substandard testing," Fiscus said in a text to the health commissioner. "We have got to stop this."

Fiscus and others warned the tests were likely to produce false negatives, and she said they could not be used for HUD housing residents or other minority populations, but she was alarmed by Piercey's response.

"I wouldn't suggest that you use it in those populations," Piercey said by phone, according to Fiscus. "Use it in a healthier population, like college kids."

Fiscus said she was "appalled" and considered resigning over the situation, although the contract was eventually terminated -- with a $6 million taxpayer buyout to Nomi -- after the state's health laboratory confirmed the tests were too unreliable for use.

"She was going to put everything out to make sure that this contract went through and was successful -- and it didn't matter that the test was garbage, that the PPE was garbage," Fiscus said. "It was a $26 million contract -- none of that mattered. None of that mattered."

RNC scamming their own donors with shady solicitations: 'These are predatory tactics'

The Republican National Committee is preying on its own donors with dubious and duplicitous fundraising schemes.

The RNC sent out text messages and email this week to GOP supporters that made a fundraising request appear to be a "final notice" on an unpaid bill and urged them activate their "lifetime membership," while others falsely suggested contributions would support Donald Trump's lawsuit against social media companies, reported The Daily Beast.

"Taken all together, these are the kinds of predatory tactics you only see in the scammiest models," said Jordan Libowitz, communications director for government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

The new messages resemble shady schemes Republicans used in the last election cycle, including a late December email Donald Trump pushed out as he fought to overturn his loss, and raked in a half billion dollars between mid-October and the end of November.

"Since donors tend to be older and maybe less fluent with the internet, or can't see the fine print on their phone, these kinds of tricks seem intended to wring as much money out of a supporter as possible, regardless of that person's intent," Libowitz said.

The RNC set up a pre-selected option to make donations recur on a monthly basis, which is reportedly under investigation in at least four states, and donors who manage to navigate the tricky opt-out process are then smacked with a frantic pop-up graphic.

"WAIT!" the full-page graphic reads. "The Radical Left is so happy that you unchecked that box. Don't give them what they want!"

Democratic solicitations connected to President Joe Biden use similar tactics, including non-existent deadlines and guilt tactics, although they're generally less aggressive and less frequent, and request much smaller gifts and do not pre-select the recurring donation option.

'There's a cold ripple of fear running down the spine of Republicans on Capitol Hill this morning': MSNBC's Claire McCaskill

MSNBC's Claire McCaskill thinks Republicans would be wise to abandon Donald Trump before he brings down the entire party.

The Trump-endorsed Susan Wright lost her Texas congressional special election to fellow Republican Jake Ellzey, and "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough said that telling defeat comes against the backdrop of the first Jan. 6 select committee hearing that GOP lawmakers have sought to undermine.

"These so called conservatives are actually embracing the chaos, embracing the fascist violence, apologizing for it, trying to paper over it, trying to cover up the fascist violence, the fascist violence that had one goal, one goal, to overturn the legitimate democratic election result of November 2020," Scarborough said. "It's right here in front of us, and we can actually see as we saw in the last clip."

The evidence of Trump's complicity in the insurrection was strong enough to get him impeached a second time, and McCaskill said Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell and his fellow GOP senators are complicit, as well.

"Let's not let the Republicans in the Senate off the hook here, too," McCaskill said. "Remember, fewer than 10 of them voted for a bipartisan commission to make sure that we did certify the facts for American history, that we did make sure that no one had any questions based on party what actually happened, and Mitch McConnell killed the bipartisan commission. He got out there, he whipped his members, he told them not to vote for it. He told them they couldn't win the midterms if there was a credible body that uncovered the facts. He wanted to make sure that they could somehow try to shoehorn this into some kind of partisan effort, and that is how bad it is."

However, she said, Wright's loss should serve as a warning to them.

"I will tell you this, there is a cold ripple of fear running down the spine of Republicans on Capitol Hill this morning because Donald Trump's candidate lost last night," McCaskill said. "They have all been genuflecting for this ridiculous man that held the Oval Office, trying to say that they have to be for him because otherwise their party can't survive. [Sen.] Lindsey [Graham], Trump's guy lost, so let's just make sure that we realize that as this door begins to swing, we're going to see how many of them scramble to get out of the way."

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DC prosecutors zero in on Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka over inauguration fraud scheme

The District of Columbia's attorney general continues to investigate whether Donald Trump's inaugural committee illegally misspent more than $1 million.

The attorney general's office has filed a civil lawsuit against the 2017 inaugural committee and the Trump Organization, but discussions to resolve the matter out of court stalled earlier this month because investigators are intent on completing their work, reported The Daily Beast.

Now it's up to D.C. Superior Court Judge José López to rule on a motion filed by attorney general Karl Racine, who argued that the evidence he's already presented weighs heavily in his favor, similar to the summary judgment in a 2018 case against the Trump Foundation that led to the dissolution of the ex-president's charity.

Investigators suspect that Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and others funneled money from the inaugural committee to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, which allegedly overbilled the nonprofit committee for the family's personal gain.

The court case remains civil in nature, but the attorney general's investigators could refer evidence of criminal behavior to law enforcement for prosecution, and they will continue seeking additional testimony from Don Jr.'s college friend Gentry Beach and former Trump Organization employee Kara Hanley.

Beach allegedly arranged a block of hotel rooms at Madison Washington D.C. for the Trump Organization, which never paid the bill, and former Trump campaign official Rick Gates directed bill collectors to invoice the inauguration committee, which eventually paid $49,358.

Hanley, a former executive assistant for the Trump Organization, was also involved in that scheme, according to investigators.

Tom Barrack, the inaugural committee's chairman and longtime friend of the ex-president, was arrested last week and pleaded not guilty to charges that he secretly lobbied for the United Arab Emirates.

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