Clicky

Soros-Backed U.S. Attorney Resigns Following DOJ Ethics Investigation
Connect with us
Citizen Frank

Published

on

A high-ranking federal prosecutor in Massachusetts is stepping down after watchdog reports published Wednesday revealed she broke numerous Department of Justice (DOJ) policies by attempting to meddle in a local electoral race, joining a Democrat Party fundraiser where Jill Biden appeared, among other things.

In the 161-page report on Rachel Rollins’ alleged violations, Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s office said that she “fell far short of the standards of professionalism and judgment that the Department should expect of any employee, much less a U.S. Attorney.”

The former prosecutor, Rachael Rollins, may have potentially violated US law as well, The Wall Street Journal reports. One of “the most egregious transgressions” she committed was a suspected Hatch Act violation, according to the office.

Rollins’ campaign for district attorney was reportedly backed by George Soros, who has a history of funding elections for local prosecutors, including George Gascon in LA.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who infamously drew media attention over her self-admitted phony claims of having American Indian ancestry, commented in a joint statement with fellow Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) that the findings surrounding Rollins were “deeply troubling” and indicated they support her stepping down.

“It’s powerfully important that public officials follow high ethical standards and the Justice Department’s work on behalf of Massachusetts will continue uninterrupted,” Markey and Warren said.

As was alluded to by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Rollins’ nomination in 2021 proved to be contentious, as Vice President Kamala Harris had to step in and act as a tie-breaker for her to make it through a Senate vote. At the time, Republicans argued she is an extremist who will push policies that benefit violent criminals, pointing to her history as the district attorney in Suffolk County.

Cotton described her as not “only a pro-criminal ideologue,” but also someone with a “history of poor judgment and ethical lapses.”

Other alleged violations by Rollins reportedly include using her position of power to receive 30 free Boston Celtics tickets for local young basketball players while taking two for herself and phoning into a live radio show in December 2022 to talk about an imminent sentence for a defendant in a case she was recused from.

She also is alleged to have taken gifts in the form of nonfederal payment of travel expenses at least two separate times, used her personal cellular device to correspond with her workers on a regular basis, and of having joined a press conference with Democrat officials in response to the leaked Supreme Court decision that ultimately led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Advertisement
Click to comment

Top picks for you

News

Feds Discover Transcripts of Biden Chats with Biographer

The Department of Justice (DOJ) told a federal judge on Monday that it does have transcripts of President Joe Biden’s discussions with his biographer from the classified documents probe into the president after saying last month that it did not.

The DOJ filed a court document in which it says that it found transcripts of taped conversations between Biden and biographer Mark Zwonitzer, with whom Biden shared classified information, as part of an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) battle with the Heritage Foundation over access to materials from special counsel Robert Hur’s investigation of the president. DOJ’s disclosure that it does have transcripts of Biden talking with Zwonitzer contradicts its June assertion in court that “we don’t have some transcript that’s been created by the special counsel” and comes the day after Biden decided to quit the 2024 presidential race.

The DOJ discovered “in the past few days” that Hur’s office did have transcripts put together for some of Biden’s talks with Zwonitzer, which occurred while the writer was working on Biden memoirs published in 2007 and 2017, according to Politico. The Justice Department had previously asserted that reviewing dozens of hours of taped conversations for classified material is a far more difficult and time-consuming task than combing through written materials.

“In the past few days…the Department located six electronic files, consisting of a total of 117 pages, that appeared to be verbatim transcripts of a small subset of the Biden-Zwonitzer audio recordings created for the SCO by a court-reporting service,” DOJ Attorney Cameron Silverberg wrote in the Monday court filing.

Silverberg is the same DOJ attorney who said in court on June 18 that “we don’t have some transcript that’s been created by the special counsel that we can attest to its accuracy,” per Politico.

The DOJ has been bombarded by FOIA requests from news outlets and conservative organizations since Hur released his report on Biden’s mishandling of classified documents in February, which concluded that the president should not be charged for wrongdoing in part because he would be perceived by a jury as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.” Subsequently, the DOJ has not released the audio recordings of Biden’s October 2023 interviews with Hur to complement transcripts that have been released publicly and show that the president appeared to forget which years he was vice president and the year in which his eldest son passed away.

Democrats and Biden allies excoriated Hur and his report, asserting that language about the president’s mental acuity was gratuitous and that Hur was a partisan looking to undermine Biden with about nine months to go until Election Day. Biden quit the presidential race Sunday following a massive internal pressure campaign from other Democrats who worried that the American public may permanently perceive Biden to be too frail to win an election following his terrible performance at the presidential debate in late June.

Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝

News

Menendez to Resign from Senate Next Month

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) plans to resign from the Senate next month after being convicted in a bribery scandal last week, a source familiar has confirmed to The Hill.

The New Jersey Globe reported Menendez will step down effective Aug. 20. The Hill has reached out to Menendez’s office.

Menendez faces potential decades in prison after being convicted on federal charges of bribery, acting as a foreign agent and the rest of the 16 counts he faced for allegedly accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from business associates, including the owner of a company that prosecutors said benefited handsomely from Menendez’s influence over U.S. foreign policy.

The 70-year-old, who has held his seat since 2006, vowed to appeal the conviction. He had been planning to run for reelection as an independent in November.

“I have never violated my public oath,” Menendez said outside the courthouse after the trial. “I have never been anything but a patriot of my country and for my country. I have never, ever been a foreign agent.”

Menendez resisted calls to step down since the indictment was first handed down, at the time accusing the Department of Justice of trying to force him from Congress because of his “humble beginnings” as a first-generation Latino American, though he relinquished his post as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in accordance with Senate Democratic rules.

Once the verdict was announced, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who had previously stopped short of calling for Menendez’s resignation, said he should step down, as discussions of potentially expelling the New Jersey Democrat gained momentum.

More than half of the Senate Democratic Conference had called for Menendez to leave Congress prior to the conviction, as had New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D).

Over several weeks of trial, the government presented testimony that more than $486,000 in cash and $100,000 in gold bars were found in Menendez’s home by the FBI, and showed evidence that his wife — Nadine Menendez, who also faces charges but has yet to go to trial — frequently served as a go-between for her husband and the businessmen.

Prosecutors said the senator wielded his influence over U.S. foreign policy toward Egypt to help an associate, Wael Hana, obtain lucrative exclusive rights to certify American meat exports to Egypt as halal and also used his office to pressure the U.S. Department of Agriculture not to interfere with Hana’s monopoly.

They also accused Menendez of trying to intervene in the criminal prosecution of an associate of one of his co-defendants, and in return received a Mercedes-Benz worth $60,000.

Several superseding indictments accused him of conspiring to act as a federal agent of Egypt, accepting gifts from the Qatari government and conspiring to cover up the bribery scheme as prosecutors worked the case.

Menendez’s attorneys sought to pin the blame on the senator’s wife at times, contending she hid her dealings with the businessmen from him.

In his initial response to the indictment, Menendez said prosecutors had “misrepresented the normal work of a Congressional office. On top of that, not content with making false claims against me, they have attacked my wife for the longstanding friendships she had before she and I even met.”

“I have been falsely accused before because I refused to back down to the powers that be and the people of New Jersey were able to see through the smoke and mirrors and recognize I was innocent,” he continued.

Menendez had clashed with prosecutors previously, triumphing over an indictment brought nine years ago alleging he participated in a bribery scheme with a wealthy doctor, Salomon Melgen, who was later sentenced to 17 years in prison for a Medicare fraud scheme.

The Senate Ethics Committee later admonished Menendez in 2018 for having “knowingly and repeatedly accepted gifts or significant value from Dr. Melgen without obtaining required Committee approval.”

Prosecutors failed to secure a conviction of Menendez after his trial on bribery charges ended with a hung jury in 2017.

Go deeper ( 3 min. read ) ➝

News

WATCH: Police Release Bodycam Video of Fatal Shooting of Sonya Massey in Her Home

Sonya Massey ducked and apologized to an Illinois sheriff’s deputy seconds before he shot the black woman three times in her home, with one fatal blow to the head, as seen in body camera video released Monday.

An Illinois grand jury indicted former Sangamon County Sheriff’s Deputy Sean Grayson, 30, who is white, last week. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, aggravated battery with a firearm and official misconduct.

The video confirmed prosecutors’ earlier account of the tense moment when Grayson yelled from across a counter at Massey to set down a pot of hot water. He then threatened to shoot her, Massey ducked, briefly rose, and Grayson fired his pistol at her.

Authorities said Massey, 36, had called 911 earlier to report a suspected prowler.

The video shows the two deputies responded just before 1 a.m. July 6 at her home in Springfield, 200 miles southwest of Chicago. They first walked around the house and found a black SUV with broken windows in the driveway.

It took Massey three minutes to open the door after the deputies knocked, and she immediately said, “Don’t hurt me.”

She seemed confused as they spoke at the door, and she repeated that she needed help, referenced God and told them she didn’t know who owned the car.

Inside the house, deputies seemed exasperated as she sat on her couch and went through her purse as they asked for identification to complete a report before leaving.

Then Grayson pointed out a pot sitting on a flame on the stove.

“We don’t need a fire while we’re here,” he said.

Massey immediately got up and went to the stove, moving the pot near a sink.

She and Grayson seemed to share a laugh over her pan of “steaming hot water” before she unexpectedly said, “I rebuke you in the name of Jesus.”

“You better (expletive) not or I swear to God I’ll (expletive) shoot you in your (expletive) face.” He then pulled his 9mm pistol and demanded she drop the pot.

Massey said, “OK, I’m sorry.” In Grayson’s body camera footage, he pointed his weapon at her. She ducked and raised her hands.

Grayson was still in the living room, facing Massey and separated by a counter dividing the living room and kitchen. Prosecutors have said the separation allowed Grayson both “distance and relative cover” from Massey and the pot of hot water.

After Grayson shoots her, Grayson discourages his partner from grabbing a medical kit to save her.

“You can go get it, but that’s a headshot,” he said. “There’s nothing you can do, man.”

He added: “What else do we do? I’m not taking hot (expletive) boiling water to the (expletive) face.”

Noting that Massey was still breathing, he relented and said he would get his kit, too. The other deputy said, “We can at least try to stop the bleeding.”

Grayson told responding police, “She had boiling water and came at me, with boiling water. She said she was going to rebuke me in the name of Jesus and came at me with boiling water.”

During a Monday afternoon news conference, the family’s lawyer, civil rights attorney Ben Crump, called Grayson’s “revisionist” justification “disingenuous.”

“She needed a helping hand. She did not need a bullet to her face,” Crump said of Massey.

Asked why Massey told Grayson, “I rebuke you in the name of Jesus,” Crump said she had undergone treatment for mental health issues. He noted that she invoked God’s name from the beginning of the encounter and asked for her Bible after the deputies stepped inside.

During Massey’s funeral on Friday, Crump said the video, which he and the family had already viewed, would “shock the conscience of America.”

Massey’s father, James Wilburn, demanded the county court system be completely open with its investigation and prosecution and transparent with the public.

“The only time I will see my baby again is when I leave this world,” Wilburn said. “And I don’t ever want anybody else in the United States to join this league.”

Grayson, who was fired last week, is being held in the Sangamon County Jail without bond. If convicted, he faces prison sentences of 45 years to life for murder, 6 to 30 years for battery and 2 to 5 years for misconduct.

His lawyer, Daniel Fultz, declined to comment Monday.

In a statement, President Biden said he and first lady Jill Biden were praying for Massey’s family “as they face this unthinkable and senseless loss.”

“When we call for help, all of us as Americans — regardless of who we are or where we live — should be able to do so without fearing for our lives,” Biden said.

“Sonya’s death at the hands of a responding officer reminds us that all too often Black Americans face fears for their safety in ways many of the rest of us do not.”

Massey’s death is the latest example of black people killed in recent years by police in their homes.

In May, a Hispanic Florida sheriff’s deputy shot and killed Roger Fortson, when the Air Force senior airman opened the door of his home in Fort Walton Beach armed with a handgun pointed down. The deputy, Eddie Duran, was fired.

In 2019, a white Fort Worth, Texas, officer fatally shot Atatiana Jefferson through a rear window of her home after responding to a nonemergency call reporting that Jefferson’s front door was open.

Aaron Dean, the former officer, was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to nearly 12 years in prison.

In 2018, a white Dallas police officer fatally shot Botham Jean, who was unarmed, after mistaking his apartment for her own. Amber Guyger, the former officer, was convicted of murder and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Crump has represented families in each case as part of his effort to force accountability for the killings of black people at the hands of police.

Crump also has represented relatives of Earl Moore, a Springfield man who died after he was strapped face-down on a stretcher in December 2022. Two emergency medical professionals face murder charges in that case.

Go deeper ( 4 min. read ) ➝

News

Elon Musk Says His Trans Son Is ‘Dead’, ‘Killed by Woke Mind Virus’

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said he was “tricked” into giving consent for his child to go on puberty blockers, adding that he believes “the woke mind virus” figuratively killed his son.

Musk made the comment in an interview with Dr. Jordan Peterson on Monday after he was asked about his thoughts on doctors performing sex change procedures on children, a practice both Musk and Peterson described as “evil.” Musk said that his experience with his child Xavier, who now goes by Vivian Jenna Wilson, opened his eyes to what he called “the woke mind virus,” which he has since vowed to “destroy.”

“It happened to one of my older boys, where I was essentially tricked into signing documents for one of my older boys, Xavier. This is before I had any understanding of what was going on. COVID was going on, so there was a lot of confusion and I was told Xavier might commit suicide if he doesn’t…” Musk told Peterson.

“That was a lie right from the outset,” Peterson interjected.

“Incredibly evil, and I agree with you that the people that have been promoting this should go to prison,” Musk responded.

Musk said it wasn’t explained to him that puberty blockers are “actually just sterilization drugs” when he gave his consent for his son to undergo the treatment. He called the term “gender affirming care” a “terrible euphemism.”

“I lost my son, essentially. They call it deadnaming for a reason,” Musk said.

“The reason it’s called deadnaming is because your son is dead. My son Xavier is dead, killed by the woke mind virus.”

Puberty blockers have been shown to cause long-term fertility problems in boys, a preprint study from Mayo Clinic concluded earlier this year.

The study found that puberty blockers’ impacts may be permanent, disputing claims that such effects can be reversed.

After an extended pause, Musk added, “I vowed to destroy the woke mind virus after that.”

Vivian Musk came out as transgender in June 2022. Around that same time, the then-18-year-old filed a request to change names from Xavier to Vivian and take her mother’s last name, the Daily Mail reported.

“I no longer want to be related to my biological father in any way, shape or form,” Vivian said at the time.

Musk’s pledge to take on the “woke” left likely inspired his latest decision to move the California headquarters for SpaceX to Texas, after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law that will bar school districts from notifying parents if their child uses different pronouns or identifies as a gender that’s different from what’s on school records.

“This is the final straw,” Musk wrote on X, his social media platform, in explaining his decision. “Because of this law and the many others that preceded it, attacking both families and companies, SpaceX will now move its HQ from Hawthorne, California, to Starbase, Texas.”

Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝

News

Kamala Harris Secures Enough Delegates to Win the Democratic Nomination

Vice President Kamala Harris has secured the support of enough Democratic delegates to become her party’s nominee against Republican Donald Trump, according to an Associated Press survey, as top Democrats rallied to her in the aftermath of President Joe Biden’s decision to drop his bid for reelection.

The quick coalescing behind Harris marked an attempt by the party to put weeks of internecine drama over Biden’s political future behind them and to unify behind the task of defeating Trump with just over 100 days until Election Day. Prominent Democratic elected officials, party leaders and political organizations quickly lined up behind Harris in the day after Biden’s exit from the race and her campaign set a new 24-hour record for presidential donations on Monday.

Several state delegations met late Monday to confirm their support for Harris, including Texas and her home state of California. By Monday night, Harris had the support of well more than the 1,976 delegates she’ll need to win on a first ballot, according to the AP tally. No other candidate was named by a delegate contacted by the AP.

California state Democratic Chairman Rusty Hicks said 75% to 80% of the state’s delegation were on a call Tuesday and they unanimously supported Harris.

“I’ve not heard anyone mentioning or calling for any other candidate,” Hicks said. “Tonight’s vote was a momentous one.”

Still, the AP is not calling Harris the new presumptive nominee. That’s because the convention delegates are still free to vote for the candidate of their choice at the convention in August or if Democrats go through with a virtual roll call ahead of that gathering in Chicago.

Harris, in a statement, responded to the AP tally, saying she is “grateful to President Biden and everyone in the Democratic Party who has already put their faith in me, and I look forward to taking our case directly to the American people.”

Worries over Biden’s fitness for office were replaced by fresh signs of unity after a seismic shift to the presidential contest that upended both major political parties’ carefully honed plans for the 2024 race.

Speaking to campaign staff in Wilmington, Delaware, Harris acknowledged the “rollercoaster” of the last several weeks, but expressed confidence in her new campaign team.

“It is my intention to go out and earn this nomination and to win,” she said. She promised to “unite our Democratic Party, to unite our nation, and to win this election.”

She quickly leaned into the themes that will be prominent in her campaign against Trump over the coming 100 days, contrasting her time as a prosecutor with Trump’s felony convictions — “I know Donald Trump’s type,” she said — and casting herself as a defender of economic opportunity and abortion access.

“Our fight for the future is also a fight for freedoms,” she said. “The baton is in our hands.”

The president called into the meeting from his home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where he is recovering from COVID-19, to lend his support to Harris. He planned to talk about his decision to step aside in an address to the nation later this week.

“The name has changed at the top of the ticket, but the mission hasn’t changed at all,” Biden said in his first public remarks since announcing his decision to step aside, promising he was “not going anywhere” and plans to campaign on Harris’ behalf.

Biden said of his decision, “It was the right thing to do.”

As he handed off the mantle of leadership to Harris, Biden added: “I’m watching you kid. I love you.”

Harris was headed to the battleground state of Wisconsin on Tuesday as her campaign for the White House kicks into high gear. The event in Milwaukee will be her first full-fledged campaign event since announcing her candidacy.

The AP tally is based on interviews with individual delegates, public statements from state parties, many of which have announced that their delegations are supporting Harris en masse, and public statements and endorsements from individual delegates.

Locking up the nomination was only the first item on the staggering political to-do list for Harris after learning of Biden’s plans to leave the race Sunday morning on a call with the president. She must also pick a running mate and pivot a massive political operation that had been built to reelect Biden to boost her candidacy instead.

On Sunday afternoon, Biden’s campaign formally changed its name to Harris for President, reflecting that she is inheriting his political operation of more than 1,000 staffers and war chest that stood at nearly $96 million at the end of June. She added $81 million to that total in the first 24 hours after Biden’s endorsement, her campaign said — a presidential fundraising record — with contributions from more than 888,000 donors.

The campaign also saw a surge of interest after Harris took over, with more than 28,000 new volunteers registered since the announcement — a rate more than 100 times an average day from the previous Biden reelection campaign, underscoring the enthusiasm behind Harris.

Big-name Harris endorsements Monday, including from Govs. Wes Moore of Maryland, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, J.B. Pritzker of Illinois and Andy Beshear of Kentucky, left a vanishing list of potential rivals.

House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, who had been one of the notable holdouts, initially encouraging a primary to strengthen the eventual nominee, said she was lending her “enthusiastic support” to Harris’ effort to lead the party.

Harris, if elected, would be the first woman and first person of South Asian descent to be president.

The Democratic National Convention is scheduled to be held Aug. 19-22 in Chicago, but the party had announced before Biden dropped out that it would hold a virtual roll call to formally nominate Biden before in-person proceedings begin. The convention’s rules committee is scheduled to meet this week to finalize its nomination process with a virtual vote as soon as Aug. 1, the party announced on Monday, with the process completed by Aug. 7.

“We can and will be both fast and fair as we execute this nomination,” Jaime Harrison, the Democratic National Committee’s chair, said on a conference call with reporters.

The party said the virtual roll call would feature multiple rounds of voting on nominees if multiple candidates meet the qualification threshold. To qualify, candidates must have the electronic signatures of 300 convention delegates.

Go deeper ( 4 min. read ) ➝

News

The Cunning Ploy Devious Democrats Used to Sabotage Biden’s Campaign

The Democrat Party plot to get Joe Biden to drop out has been long in the works, a Biden insider claims.

That plan came to fruition on Sunday, when the 81-year-old president dramatically announced the end of his campaign before endorsing Vice President Kamala Harris.

However, a source close to Biden’s family is saying that the party put together a ‘palace coup’ over the course of recent weeks, with the president fighting it until he was threatened with being forced out.

The insider says that the disastrous debate against Donald Trump on June 27 – the earliest presidential debate in history – was part of the strategy, despite being publicly requested by Biden on social media.

‘That debate was a set-up to convince Democrats that he couldn’t run for president,’ the source told the New York Post.

Biden was often seen on split screen with his mouth agape and a blank stare during the showdown against Trump last month, immediately sending Democrats into a freak out.

Though publicly, most of the faces of the left stayed behind Biden, in the shadows, party powerbrokers were threatening to invoke the 25th amendment.

Section 4 of the amendment allows for removal of a president who is deemed incapacitated by any kind of illness, injury, or mental impairment.

One of the few trusted by Biden who believed he was being pushed out: troubled son Hunter, who became a gatekeeper for his father after the debate.

‘Hunter felt he was being set up and he was very concerned about his father. These people, these officials were not on Joe’s side,’ the source claimed.

They also said that it might not be a straight shot to the nomination for Harris, despite Biden’s endorsement.

The source claimed that Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona may be a popular pick of delegates, though the former astronaut has already endorsed Harris.

Once Biden was finally, officially convinced to get out, everything moved at the speed of light.

He was isolating with COVID at his $3.4 million holiday home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, when his shrinking inner circle handed him polling data showing he could no longer beat Donald Trump.

That was when they composed a letter saying it was time for him to step aside for the good of the future of the Democratic party.

Donors had pulled millions of dollars in funds, the list of Democrats telling him to drop out was growing by the day, and polls suggested that his chances of beating Donald Trump were dwindling after his disastrous debate performance.

Biden had previously insisted that he would only step aside if he was shown polling that proved Kamala Harris would fare better than him against Trump, or if he developed a ‘medical condition’. In the end, it was the first of those developments that sealed his fate.

Biden went to bed on Saturday night at the beach house, knowing he would announce his bombshell the next day.

At 1:45 pm on Sunday he began calling his senior staff at the White House and the campaign.

By that time he had already told Harris and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

At 1:46 pm, his campaign account posted a letter from the president announcing his decision even as he was still on the staff call.

Most of his staff – both in the White House and at the campaign – were shocked. They learned the news online, getting the alert when the @JoeBiden account posted the president’s missive.

It capped a chaotic 48 hours for the Biden family as they hunkered in behind their patriarch with a small, inner circle of longtime aides supporting them. Some were even reporting back to Jill Biden about those staffers deemed disloyal.

Meanwhile, Biden had veered from angry at the pressure from his party to acceptance of the situation.

And once his final decision was made on Saturday night, the rest moved quickly.

Biden called Harris directly to tell her the news.

He also had one-on-one calls with White House chief of staff Jeff Zients and campaign chair Jen O’Malley Dillon, according to reports. He would also speak with his Cabinet, Members of Congress, governors, and supporters.

But it all happened so fast many staff were hurt about the way they learned of the news, although they weren’t surprised by it.

Harris then announced she was running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Go deeper ( 3 min. read ) ➝

News

Key Takeaways from Secret Service Director’s Congressional Grilling on Trump Shooting

House members on both sides of the aisle left the Oversight Committee hearing on the shooting at former President Donald Trump’s rally feeling unsatisfied and frustrated with the lack of information from Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle.

Cheatle declined to provide specifics on how the shooter accessed the roof that allowed him to take aim at Trump and shoot the former president and three others, one fatally, before he was killed by a Secret Service sniper. She also deflected many questions and asked members to speak to the FBI, which is taking point on the federal investigation into the assassination attempt.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and several other members grilled and blasted Cheatle for her “lame” answers. Jordan at one point asked her if she was “guessing or lying” regarding the Secret Service’s denial of extra security for Trump.

Bipartisan calls for Cheatle to step down grow after disastrous hearing

Democrats and Republicans all agreed that the hearing was disastrous for Cheatle after she failed to provide concrete answers on anything related to the shooting. Frequent answers of “This is an ongoing investigation” caused many members to call on her to resign from both sides of the aisle.

After the hourslong testimony that yielded little to no results, ranking member Jamie Raskin (D-MD) joined Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) in asking for Cheatle to resign. Reps. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Byron Donalds (R-FL), and several others called on Cheatle to resign during the hearing.

A group of House Republicans, led by Rep. Nick Langworthy (D-NY), introduced a resolution during the hearing calling for Cheatle’s termination as director of the Secret Service.

Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL), who does not sit on the Oversight Committee, is planning to introduce impeachment articles against Cheatle.

“In light of Kimberly Cheatle’s unacceptable handling of the Trump assassination attempt, her disastrous appearance before the House Oversight committee today, and her refusal to resign, we have no choice but to impeach,” Steube said on X. “I will be filing articles of impeachment against Kimberly Cheatle this afternoon.”

Secret Service was told about ‘suspicious person’ at Trump rally multiple times before shooting

Cheatle said the agency was told about a suspicious person at Trump’s rally many times.

“I don’t have an exact number to share with you today, but from what I have been able to discern, somewhere between two and five times, there was some sort of communication about a suspicious individual,” Cheatle said.

She confirmed the suspicious person was photographed but told Raskin that the Secret Service distinguishes someone as suspicious and, separately, someone as a threat.

She said if someone had been considered threatening, “we never would have brought the former president onstage.”

Cheatle also said no one has been fired or put in a position to lose their job and would not answer whether she is prepared to fire anyone who was at the event when the investigation reveals specific security failures.

Top Intelligence Republican calls on Biden to fire Cheatle for being almost ‘culpable’ in Trump shooting

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH) said if Trump had been killed in the shooting, Cheatle would have not only looked incompetent but “culpable.”

“Because Donald Trump is alive today, and thank God he is, you look incompetent,” Turner said. “If Donald Trump had been killed, you would have looked culpable. There is no aspect of this that indicates that there has been any protection to Donald Trump.”

“Not only should you resign, if you refuse to do so, President Biden needs to fire you because his life, Donald Trump’s life, and all the other people which you protect are at risk because you have no concept of the aspect that the security footprint needs to be correlated to the threat,” Turner said.

Cheatle grades Secret Service protection of Trump an ‘A’ but acknowledges failures

House Education Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC), who called the rally shooting an example of a “cascade of failures” at the Secret Service, asked Cheatlewhat “grade” she would give the performance by the agency’s performance at the rally.

“As I’ve stated ma’am, this was clearly a failure,” Cheatle said. “I would grade the agents and officers who selflessly threw themselves in front of the president and neutralize the threat an ‘A.’ I think we need to examine the events that led up to, and prior to, that day.”

Cheatle has not visited site but called Trump to apologize

The director told members that she has not visited the site of the shooting but did apologize to Trump in a phone call after the assassination attempt.

Members of the House Homeland Security Committee visited the site on Monday while the oversight hearing was ongoing.

Members frustrated with Cheatle’s lack of detail after nine days

Many members laughed and shook their heads at Cheatle while she dodged questions on the shooting. When Cheatle said she could not provide specifics on the incident, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) asked, “Why are you here?” Rep. Lisa McClain (R-MI) also laughed and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) shook her head and said “unbelievable” when Cheatle offered similar remarks.

Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) questioned why it has been several days since the shooting and Cheatle has yet to provide concrete details to the public.

“The fact that it’s been nine days and these are simple questions to answer. … This is a joke,” Donalds said. “And, director, you’re in charge. And that’s why you need to go.”

Democrats were also taking issue with the absence of detail in Cheatle’s answers.

“We are currently in the midst of … an especially concentrated presidential campaign,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said. “So the idea that a report will be finalized in 60 days, let alone prior to any actionable decisions that would be made, is simply not acceptable.”

“It has been 10 days since an assassination attempt on a former president of the United States. Regardless of party, there need to be answers,” the New York Democrat said. “This is not a moment of theater. We need to make policy decisions, and we need to make them now.”

Rep. Summer Lee (D-PA) asked Cheatle if she “really plans to avoid answering questions” about the shooting, with Cheatle responding that once she had a report, she would come back and answer committee questions.

Moskowitz compares Cheatle’s performance to testimony at Education Committee’s antisemitism hearing

Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) gave Cheatle an “honest assessment” and said her testimony was not going well, relating it to the statements given by university presidents at the Education Committee’s antisemitism hearing.

“It didn’t go well, and the short end of that story was, the university [presidents] all resigned; they’re gone,” Moskowitz said. “That’s how this is going for you. This is where this is headed. This is — I don’t know who prepared you for this, I don’t know how many times you’ve testified in front of Congress, but a president was almost assassinated live on television … and this being your first opportunity — and I understand there’s an ongoing investigation and I understand there’s things that you can not talk about.”

“But the idea that we’re getting less than you did on television is something that Democrats, independents, or Republicans are going to find unacceptable,” Moskowitz added.

Khanna corrects Cheatle on resignation of Stuart Knight, head of Secret Service during failed Reagan assassination attempt

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) put Cheatle in the hot seat after correcting her on the path former Secret Service Director Stuart Knight took following the failed assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.

When asked what Knight did following the shooting, Cheatle said he stayed on as director. Khanna corrected Cheatle, stating that he resigned in 1981. Ultimately, Khanna said, he thinks Cheatle should resign.

“I just don’t think this is partisan,” Khanna said. “If you have an assassination attempt on a president, a former president, or a candidate, you need to resign.”

Biggs calls for independent commission while offering support for task force

While the House is poised to vote on a bill establishing a bipartisan task force to look into the assassination attempt, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) said he thinks Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) needs to take it a step further due to Cheatle’s lack of answers.

“I am calling, and I’ll support that, on the speaker to give us and put together a truly independent commission of qualified former Secret Service agencies, presidential and VIP Protective Services people who can actually conduct this kind of investigation and give us real answers because I don’t think you’re going to give us those answers,” Biggs said. “You should have come today ready to give us answers. I call upon you to resign today. Today.”

Go deeper ( 6 min. read ) ➝

News

Quinnipiac Poll: Trump 49%, Harris 47%

A race for president between former President Donald Trump and Vice President Kamala Harris is too close to call, according to a poll released Monday by Quinnipiac University.

“The dramatic reset at the top of the Democratic ticket does little to move the race as Vice President Harris enters the fray with numbers similar to President Biden,” said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy.

The former presumptive Democratic nominee President Joe Biden decided Sunday to step down from the race, saying he would not be running for reelection and instead endorsed Harris to take his place on the ticket.

One day later, Quinnipiac University pollsters asked likely voters who they would support: Harris or Trump, who accepted the Republican nomination as that party’s presidential candidate during the GOP convention last week.

“Harris and former President Trump are in a race that is too close to call with Trump receiving 49 percent support and Harris receiving 47 percent support,” the poll showed, according to a release. “There is no clear leader as the lead is within the margin of error.”

The poll, conducted July 19 through July 21, included 1,257 self-identified registered voters with a margin of error of 2.8 percent.

According to the poll, a majority of voters, 62 percent, believe that Biden dropping out of the presidential race was the right thing to do, the polls said.

A previous Quinnipiac poll, released June 26, put Trump four points ahead of Biden, 49 to 45 percent in a head-to-head match.

“The political heat rises in this steamy American summer of discord. Trump holds a narrow lead in the head-to-head matchup and is in a slightly better position when all the candidates are included,” Malloy said in June.

Biden has endorsed Harris, as have many other Democratic politicians, including most of Connecticut’s delegation.

“I believe Kamala Harris is the right person to move the Democratic Party and this nation forward,” said state Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven. “She is fiercely intelligent and highly capable of leading in this moment.”

The Democratic Party will formally select its presidential nominee at the Democratic National Convention at Chicago’s United Center beginning Aug. 19.

Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝

News

Beshear Endorses Harris Amid VP Speculation

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) endorsed Vice President Harris for president Monday morning amid speculation over whether he could serve as her running mate.

“I am excited to fully endorse Vice President Harris for the next president of the United States. The vice president is smart and strong which will make her a good president. But she’s also kind and has empathy, which can make her a great president,” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Beshear has boosted his profile among Democrats by winning the governorship of a ruby-red state.

He defeated a Trump-backed GOP challenger to win reelection last year in a state that former President Trump won in 2016 and 2020.

“The contrast between her and those running on the other side couldn’t be clearer,” Beshear said in his statement.

“The vice president is ready, she has my full endorsement, I’m going to do everything I can to support her.”

Endorsements have been coming in for Harris steadily since President Biden dropped out of the race Sunday and endorsed her to be his replacement.

While it is not 100 percent clear that Harris will not have a challenger, it appears more of the drama will be in picking her running mate, and a a slate of governors and senators could be considered for the role.

Go deeper ( < 1 min. read ) ➝

News

Kamala Campaign Raises $81 Million in First 24 Hours

Kamala Harris‘ presidential campaign raised $81 million in the past 24 hours, setting a record for the amount amassed in one day largely from small dollar donors.

Shortly after Joe Biden dropped out of the presidential race on Sunday and endorsed Harris, the vice president officially launched her campaign, with the Biden-Harris operation rebranded as Harris for President.

The campaign said that 888,0000 donors contributed in the past 24 hours, and 60% of them were making their first contribution of the 2024 cycle.

Harris said in a statement on Sunday that “my intention is to earn and win this nomination.”

So far, though, there are no other major rivals, as a succession of Democratic lawmakers and other elected officials have endorsed her candidacy. So too have a series of governors — including Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania and Gavin Newsom of California — who had been seen as potential rivals.

Harris appeared early today at the White House at a ceremony to honor NCAA athletes.

In brief remarks, she praised Biden, but did not talk about her candidacy. She then traveled to Wilmington, DE to thank campaign staff.

The Democratic National Committee has not yet said what the process will be for selecting the next nominee.

Go deeper ( < 1 min. read ) ➝

News

Biden Cancels 9 Trips, Won’t Return to White House Until Wednesday

President Biden has canceled nine trips that were scheduled for the next two weeks after suddenly dropping out of the 2024 race, according to reports by The Post.

Biden was scheduled to leave Monday for the West Coast, where he was to make stops in California, Denver, Houston and Austin – but all of those trips have been suddenly canceled, a White House source told The Post.

Biden, who has been isolating with COVID-19, was set to leave his home in Rehoboth, Del., on Monday, but extended his stay until Wednesday after announcing the end of his campaign the night before.

The source was not given any reason behind why the White House cancelled the trips.

Biden’s illness was not immediately connected to the decision, as presidential physician Kevin O’Connor on Monday said Biden had all but recovered from the illness.

“They started canceling stuff when he announced he wasn’t seeking reelection,” the source said, adding that the trips were a mix of campaign and official presidential stops.

“He was supposed to leave today to start the West Coast trip, but they extended his stay in Rehoboth until the 24th,” the source added.

Houston Mayor John Whitmire was anticipating a Biden visit on Thursday to discuss the Hurricane Beryl recovery efforts but said the trip was canceled last-minute.

“I don’t know if the press knows it, but President Biden was going to be here Thursday to recognize our preparation,” Whitmire said Sunday after the president dropped out of the race.

Biden was also tentatively expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, but he has no plans to return to DC.

The president’s next scheduled trip is tentatively set for July 31, where Biden will travel with Vice President Kamala Harris to an yet to be disclosed location, according to the White House source.

He is then set to travel to Chicago the next day and then doesn’t have anything on the calendar until the DNC convention, per the source.

Biden, 81, hasn’t been seen in public since Wednesday night when he was diagnosed with COVID. After the diagnosis, the president was seen struggling to get off Air Force One and into his motorcade.

Harris spoke to Biden’s COVID recovery in her speech speaking about his “legacy” on Monday at the White House. The vice president, who Biden endorsed to replace him as the nominee, said Biden “wanted to be here today.”

“He is feeling much better and recovering fast, and he looks forward to getting back on the road,” Harris added.

Harris flew to Delaware on Monday to say “hello” to the campaign staff, as she is taking over the 2024 bid after Biden’s drop.

Biden – with heavily slurred speech – called into the HQ meeting to speak to staffers and Harris, informing them that “the name has changed at the top of the ticket, but the mission hasn’t changed.”

Biden’s lack of physical presence or video address has led some to be alarmed about his whereabouts, with some Republican members of Congress calling for a “proof of life” check.

The letter announcing the suspension of his campaign was not mounted on official White House letterhead and the signature appeared to be electronically added.

A White House official said Biden received virtual briefings on homeland security and national security from Rehoboth on Monday.

Biden spokesperson Andrew Bates told The Post on Sunday that Biden “looks forward to finishing his term and delivering more historic results for the American people.”

Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝

News

Secret Service Director: Trump Assassination Attempt Agency’s Biggest ‘Failure’ in Decades

The director of the U.S. Secret Service told a House panel on Monday that her agency failed during the assassination attempt targeting former President Donald Trump.

“The Secret Service’s solemn mission is to protect our nation’s leaders. On July 13th, we failed. As the Director of the United States Secret Service, I take full responsibility for any security lapse,” Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle told the House Oversight Committee in prepared remarks after she was subpoenaed, adding that the shooting was the “most significant operational failure in decades.”

During the July 13 incident at a rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, a gunman fired at the former president, striking him in the right ear as well as killing one person and wounding two others.

“We must learn what happened and I will move heaven and earth to ensure an incident like July 13th does not happen again. Thinking about what we should have done differently is never far from my thoughts,” Ms. Cheatle said.

Her appearance before the panel occurred as numerous Republican lawmakers and at least one Democrat congressman have demanded that she resign from her position, saying that her agency did not do enough to provide security to the former president. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are among those who have called on Ms. Cheatle to step down.

The House Oversight panel’s chairman, Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), said Monday that the Secret Service underperformed in its “zero-fail mission,” saying there are questions that the agency “lacks the proper management” and also chided it for what he described as a lack of transparency. Instead of providing statements to the public, the Secret Service is delivering information through “whistleblowers” and “leaks” to the media, he said.

“It is my firm belief that … you should resign,” Mr. Comer told the agency director at the start of the hearing on Monday morning. “I urge Director Cheatle to be transparent in her testimony today,” he added.

However, in the midst of such pressure, Ms. Cheatle told ABC News in an interview last week that the shooting was “unacceptable,” stressing that her agency will cooperate with investigations and reviews into the near-assassination.

“I am the director of the Secret Service, and I need to make sure that we are performing a review and that we are giving resources to our personnel as necessary,” she told the network.

She also has, so far, resisted calls to step down, saying in an interview last week that “I do plan to stay on.”

The attack on Trump was the most serious attempt to assassinate a president or presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981. It was the latest in a series of security lapses by the agency that has drawn investigations and public scrutiny over the years.

President Joe Biden has ordered an independent investigation. The Homeland Security Department and a bipartisan independent panel have said they are also investigating the matter.

On Sunday evening, Ms. Cheatle said in a statement that she would cooperate with the independent review carried out by a so-called “Blue Ribbon Panel.”

“I look forward to the panel examining what happened and providing recommendations to help ensure it will never happen again,” the director said.

Trump Says He Wasn’t Warned

In an interview over the weekend on Fox News, former President Trump said he was given no indication that law enforcement had identified a suspicious person when he took the stage in Pennsylvania. Some rallygoers said in interviews after the attempted assassination that they saw the gunman on the roof before the former president walked out onto the stage and had alerted law enforcement authorities on site.

In an interview with Fox News host Jesse Watters, former President Trump said, “No, nobody mentioned it, nobody said there was a problem” before he took the stage and a gunman opened fire.

“They could’ve said, ‘Let’s wait for 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 5 minutes, something.’ Nobody said. I think that was a mistake,” the former president said.

He also questioned the security lapses and how the gunman was able to access the roof of the building. “How did somebody get on that roof? And why wasn’t he reported? Because people saw that he was on the roof,” he said. “So you would’ve thought someone would’ve done something about it.”

Local law enforcement officers had seen the man and deemed him suspicious enough to put out an alert on a tactical channel and witnesses reported seeing him scaling the building.

After the shooting, the FBI identified Thomas Matthew Crooks, 20, as the suspect. He was shot and killed by a Secret Service sniper moments after he opened fire.

Watch:

Go deeper ( 3 min. read ) ➝

News

Obama Does Not Endorse Kamala Harris for President

Former President Barack Obama did not endorse Vice President Kamala Harris on Sunday to be the Democrat Party’s presidential nominee after President Joe Biden announced that he was ending his reelection campaign.

Obama praised Biden in a lengthy statement for his “remarkable career in public service,” and said that he had “every right to run for re-election and finish the job he started.”

Read Obama’s full statement:

Joe Biden has been one of America’s most consequential presidents, as well as a dear friend and partner to me. Today, we’ve also been reminded — again — that he’s a patriot of the highest order.

Sixteen years ago, when I began my search for a vice president, I knew about Joe’s remarkable career in public service. But what I came to admire even more was his character — his deep empathy and hard-earned resilience; his fundamental decency and belief that everyone counts.

Since taking office, President Biden has displayed that character again and again. He helped end the pandemic, created millions of jobs, lowered the cost of prescription drugs, passed the first major piece of gun safety legislation in 30 years, made the biggest investment to address climate change in history, and fought to ensure the rights of working people to organize for fair wages and benefits. Internationally, he restored America’s standing in the world, revitalized NATO, and mobilized the world to stand up against Russian aggression in Ukraine.

More than that, President Biden pointed us away from the four years of chaos, falsehood, and division that had characterized Donald Trump’s administration. Through his policies and his example, Joe has reminded us of who we are at our best — a country committed to old-fashioned values like trust and honesty, kindness and hard work; a country that believes in democracy, rule of law, and accountability; a country that insists that everyone, no matter who they are, has a voice and deserves a chance at a better life.

This outstanding track record gave President Biden every right to run for re-election and finish the job he started. Joe understands better than anyone the stakes in this election — how everything he has fought for throughout his life, and everything that the Democratic Party stands for, will be at risk if we allow Donald Trump back in the White House and give Republicans control of Congress.

I also know Joe has never backed down from a fight. For him to look at the political landscape and decide that he should pass the torch to a new nominee is surely one of the toughest in his life. But I know he wouldn’t make this decision unless he believed it was right for America. It’s a testament to Joe Biden’s love of country — and a historic example of a genuine public servant once again putting the interests of the American people ahead of his own that future generations of leaders will do well to follow.

We will be navigating uncharted waters in the days ahead. But I have extraordinary confidence that the leaders of our party will be able to create a process from which an outstanding nominee emerges. I believe that Joe Biden’s vision of a generous, prosperous, and united America that provides opportunity for everyone will be on full display at the Democratic Convention in August. And I expect that every single one of us are prepared to carry that message of hope and progress forward into November and beyond.

For now, Michelle and I just want to express our love and gratitude to Joe and Jill for leading us so ably and courageously during these perilous times — and for their commitment to the ideals of freedom and equality that this country was founded on.

Go deeper ( 3 min. read ) ➝

News

Trump and JD Vance Accuse Dems of Leading ‘Coup’ Against Biden, Call to ‘Invoke the 25th Amendment’

Former President Donald Trump and his running mate, JD Vance, slammed the Democratic Party for leading a “coup” against President Biden — with the Ohio senator saying that if Biden isn’t fit to run for president, he shouldn’t be able to serve the rest of his term.

The GOP ticket commented on Biden’s seemingly declining condition and the news that he would not be running for re-election in a clip that aired Monday morning on Fox News, telling “Primetime” host Jesse Watters that Biden shouldn’t get to step down in a way that is only beneficial to his party.

When asked if Biden’s dropping out of the election was a “coup against Joe Biden,” Trump quietly replied with “Sort of,” before Vance jumped in.

“Yeah, I think it is. I mean, look, there’s a constitutional process, the 25th Amendment. If Joe Biden can’t run for president, he can’t serve as president,” Vance replied.

Vance continued voicing his opinion, saying, “And if they want to take him down because he’s mentally incapable of serving, invoke the 25th Amendment. You don’t get to sort of do this in the most politically beneficial way for Democrats. If it’s an actual problem, they should take care of it the appropriate way.”

The interview was taped Saturday before news broke Sunday that Biden was withdrawing from the 2024 general election and endorsing Vice President Kamala Harris as the presumptive new Democratic nominee.

The Ohio senator expressed a similar sentiment hours before Biden’s announcement, writing on social media that if the president wasn’t fit to campaign, he should not be trusted to remain in the White House.

“Not running for reelection would be a clear admission that President Trump was right all along about Biden not being mentally fit enough to serve as Commander-in-Chief,” Vance wrote on X.

“There is no middle ground,” he continued.

During the interview, Trump agreed when asked by Watters if he would investigate the “people that hid Joe Biden’s condition,” including the White House doctors who “keep giving him this wonderful report.”

Watch:

Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝

News

Axios: Biden Delayed Dropping Out Because He Doubted Kamala Could Win

President Biden hesitated to drop his re-election campaign in part because he and his senior advisers worried that Vice President Kamala Harris wasn’t up to taking on Donald Trump, according to three Biden aides familiar with recent talks about his plans.

Biden, 81, ultimately decided to withdraw under pressure from the party and endorsed Harris, but his private anxieties reflect broader questions among some Democratic leaders about Harris as their nominee this November.

This next week will be critical for Harris, 59, to prove doubters wrong as she moves quickly to try to clear the field of potential challengers for the Democratic nomination.

Biden, Bill and Hillary Clinton and many Democratic lawmakers quickly endorsed Harris, but others — including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and former President Barack Obama — did not immediately do so.

“We will be navigating uncharted waters in the days ahead,” Obama said in a statement. “But I have extraordinary confidence that the leaders of our party will be able to create a process from which an outstanding nominee emerges.”

Harris’ time as vice president has been occasionally rocky, defined in part by large staff turnover, retreating from politically risky responsibilities, and mocking from some Beltway insiders.

Much of Harris’ staff has turned over in the past 3½ years.

About half of the vice president’s staff is paid by the Senate, which requires regular disclosures. Of the 47 Harris staffers listed in 2021, only five still worked for her as of this spring, according to the disclosures. Her full staff list is not publicly disclosed.

During Obama’s first term, then-Vice President Biden had far more staff stability, as 17 of 38 of his aides stayed with him over a similar period, according to the disclosures for staff paid by the Senate.

Former Harris aides told Axios the high turnover is partly because of how the vice president treats her staff.

Some former aides said Harris had high standards that some did not want to keep up with, but others felt that she frequently grilled them the way she grilled Trump officials, such as then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, when she represented California in the U.S. Senate.

Former aides often refer to it as Harris’ “prosecuting the staff.”

During the 2020 campaign, Biden aides recall watching Harris interrogate her then-chief of staff Karine Jean-Pierre to the point that it made others uncomfortable.

After the election, Jean-Pierre moved to the White House’s press team.

A person familiar with the matter said Biden told Jean-Pierre that she was only “on loan” during the campaign and that her move to the White House was always part of the plan.

The relationship between the vice president’s office and the West Wing has often been tense.

White House aides sometimes felt Harris wasn’t a team player and stayed away from any task with risk.

But some Harris aides felt that the White House, particularly top aide Anita Dunn, wasn’t helpful to the vice president.

At times, Harris aides suspected Biden’s team didn’t want to give Harris opportunities to shine to avoid her being seen as a viable alternative to Biden ahead of his re-election bid.

Even so, Dunn worked to elevate Harris during Biden’s campaign, particularly with Harris’ work in pushing to defend abortion rights.

In response to questions for this article, Harris’ chief of staff Lorraine Voles said in a statement: “Anita is a supportive colleague who works closely every day with the Office of the Vice President.”

The tensions between the Biden and Harris staffs could get personal, however.

Some Harris senior aides told others they resented how Biden’s team got frustrated with the optics of Meena Harris, the vice president’s niece, publishing a children’s book just before Biden’s inauguration — but then celebrated when Hunter Biden published his book months later.

Voles added that Biden and Harris’ many achievements in the president’s term were “possible in part due to the hard work of the White House staff who view themselves as one team.”

But some Democrats found the Biden team’s quiet trashing of Harris ironic, given that they had complained for the past decade about how Obama aides had done the same thing to Biden when he was vice president.

Some of the tensions between the Biden and Harris teams are because the principals are very different people, aides to both told Axios.

Biden is a white Irish Catholic man who learned politics by trying to shake every hand in the small state of Delaware.

Harris, 22 years younger, is a multiracial woman who worked her way up in the much larger state of California, where political races often are won by how much money you can raise.

There are personality differences as well: Harris is much more attuned to the pop culture of movies and music, while Biden rarely engages with pop culture in that way.

Harris has been cautious and reluctant to participate in events that weren’t tightly controlled, Harris and Biden aides said.

In 2022, the White House internally pushed Harris to be the headliner for D.C.’s traditional Gridiron Dinner, but she resisted. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo did it instead.

Harris has faced race-baiting from some conservatives, and at times has focused on critical coverage of her in ways aides have found unhelpful — like when she has watched Fox News’ “The Five.”

In April 2022, Harris was the guest for a dinner at D.C. news mogul David Bradley’s home — a salon-style event Bradley hosts with Washington journalists and newsmakers.

Harris’ anxiety about the dinner was such that her staff held a mock dinner beforehand, with staffers playing participants, according to two people familiar with the event.

Harris aides even considered including wine in the mock prep so Harris could practice with a glass or two.

They ultimately decided against it.

In endorsing Harris, Biden said that “my very first decision as the party nominee in 2020 was to pick Kamala Harris as my vice president. And it’s been the best decision I’ve made.”

White House communications director Ben LaBolt added that Harris “has been incredibly loyal and dedicated.”

Rachel Palermo, Harris’ former deputy communications director, told Axios that Harris “has high standards because she is well prepared” and that “she is an incredible legal mind.”

Carmel Martin, Harris’ former domestic policy adviser, added: “I never felt grilled by the vice president. I think she holds high standards for her staff but she is also a great boss and mentor.”

Go deeper ( 4 min. read ) ➝

News

How Kamala Harris Performs Against Trump in the Polls

Before President Biden announced he would discontinue his re-election campaign and endorsed Vice President Harris, recent polls that had been conducted after his disastrous debate performance showed little difference between how he matched up against former President Trump compared to how Harris would.

The New York Times assessed that Harris falls about two percentage points behind Trump in recent polls. The 46% to 48% difference is slightly better for Harris compared to how Biden polled on average – three percentage points behind the Republican presidential nominee, 47% to 44%.

A New York Times/Siena College poll conducted in the battleground state of Pennsylvania from July 9-11, before Biden dropped out and before the assassination attempt on Trump at a rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, showed Harris was only behind by one percentage point in a hypothetical matchup against Trump.

In Virginia, Harris had a five percentage point lead, compared to Biden only polling ahead of Trump in the same state by a razor-thin margin, according to the Times. Harris polled slightly better than Biden in both states among Black voters, younger voters and women.

According to a Washington Post-ABC News-Ipsos poll conducted July 5-9, 70% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents indicated that they would be “satisfied” if Biden withdrew from the race and Harris was nominated to run as the 2024 Democratic presidential candidate.

In an open-ended question, that poll showed 29% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents named Harris as their pick for the Democratic nomination if Biden bowed out.

Seven percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents referenced California Gov. Gavin Newsom, while 4% said they wanted former first lady Michelle Obama as Biden’s replacement. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer each had 3% of support, though half of Democrats did not specify an alternative candidate.

As pressure mounted from Democrat lawmakers and donors for Biden to step aside, a poll from the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released last week found that about six in 10 Democrats believe that Harris would do a good job as president herself.

About two in 10 Democrats do not believe she would, and another two in 10 say they do not know enough to say.

Results of a CNN poll conducted by SSRS and released on July 2 indicated that three-quarters of voters say the Democratic Party would have a better chance of keeping the White House with someone else other than Biden at the top of the party’s ticket.

In a hypothetical match-up, 47% of registered voters supported Trump compared to 45% for Harris, a difference that fell within the survey’s margin of error.

Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝

News

George Soros’s Son Alex Fully Backs Kamala Harris After Biden Drops Out

George Soros’s son and the heir to his liberal empire, Alex Soros, quickly threw his support behind Kamala Harris to be the next president of the United States after President Biden dropped out of the race.

“It’s time for us all to unite around Kamala Harris and beat Donald Trump,” Alex Soros said in a social media post.

“She is the best and most qualified candidate we have. Long live the American Dream.”

The endorsement comes after President Biden said Sunday he was dropping out of the presidential race and endorsed his running-mate to take his place.

Alex Soros, 38, has immense sway in Democratic circles considering his billionaire father is a prolific donor for Democratic and other lefty causes.

The elder Soros has built up the philanthropic organizations, Open Society Foundations, since the 1970s.

Alex Soros previously backed Biden amid calls for the 81-year-old commander in chief to leave the race.

He commended Biden on Sunday following the president’s departure from the 2024 presidential election — which would hae been a rematch against former President Donald Trump.

“Joe Biden is a patriot, a man who has always worked to unite America and stand for the dignity and well being of all Americans,” Alex Soros wrote.

“He has done more in four years than most could dream to accomplish in eight. He will be remembered as an American hero because he is.”

Soros quietly got engaged to Huma Abedin — former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s ex — earlier this year, Page Sixfirst reported this month.

Abedin is a longtime confidante of 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝

News

Manchin Confirms He Won’t Be Running for President

Sen. Joe Manchin on Monday denied that he would be challenging Vice President Kamala Harris for the Democratic presidential ticket, saying, “I don’t need that in my life.”

The longtime West Virginia leader, who switched from Democrat to independent this year, squashed rumors that he would be going up against Harris in November’s election during an interview on CBS Monday morning.

“I’m not running for office,” Manchin said.

“I’m not going to be a candidate for president … I don’t need that in my life,” he said before calling for a contested primary.

The 76-year-old called for Biden to drop out of the race Sunday morning hours before Biden, 81, announced his withdrawal.

The once-moderate Democrat noted he was “speaking for the middle of this country” as an independent, and that neither Republicans nor Democrats can win without the middle.

“Joe Biden came out of a very contested primary in 2020 and he rose because he was that moderate figure. He always operated in the middle. He could make a deal with people on the right and the left,” Manchin said.

Manchin argued that not holding a primary would be a mistake, but it was already “predetermined.”

“I believe it would help strengthen Kamala and her position too,” he added. “But that’s already been predetermined, so we’ll see what happens. I think it’s a mistake, but it’s one that they have made.”

While saying for a second time that he would not be running for president, Manchin noted he “could not believe” there wouldn’t be a primary election.

“Other countries do it,” he said before criticizing others for not speaking up about the lack of a primary.

“Why is everyone afraid to speak out? Why are they afraid to say ‘This system is wrong’? The Democratic Party has gone too far left. The Republican Party has Donald Trump on the far right. People are looking in the middle, where do you go?”

Manchin continued to vent his frustrations, saying, “Well, we’d like to see that. We’re not going to be able to see a vigorous, not even a three-week primary process.

“No one else is willing to speak up. They just say, ‘We’re falling behind, we’re going to get in line.’ I’m sorry, I don’t agree with that.”

Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝

News

Hunter Biden Drops Lawsuit Against Fox News

Hunter Biden has dropped a lawsuit accusing Fox News of illegally publishing explicit images of him as part of a streaming series.

An attorney for the president’s son filed a voluntary dismissal notice on Sunday in federal court in New York City, three weeks after the lawsuit was filed.

It wasn’t clear why the lawsuit was dropped, and Biden’s attorney didn’t immediately respond to a Monday email seeking comment.

The lawsuit involved images shown in “The Trial of Hunter Biden,” which debuted on the streaming service Fox Nation in 2022.

The series features a “mock trial” of Hunter Biden on charges that he hasn’t faced and includes images of him in the nude and engaged in sex acts, according to the lawsuit.

The complaint claimed that the dissemination of intimate images without his consent violated New York’s so-called revenge porn law.

Fox News described the lawsuit as “entirely politically motivated” and “devoid of merit” when it was filed.

A Fox News spokesperson referred to that statement when asked for additional comment Monday.

The dismissal notice was filed the same day that President Joe Biden dropped out of the 2024 race for the White House, upending the contest less than four months before the election.

Go deeper ( < 1 min. read ) ➝

News

BIDEN DROPS OUT, ENDORSES HARRIS

President Joe Biden announced Sunday that he will end his presidential re-election campaign, bringing an abrupt and humbling conclusion to his half-century-long political career and scrambling the race for the White House just four months before Election Day.

Biden, 81, could not reverse growing sentiment within his party that he was too frail to serve and destined to lose to Donald Trump in November. He backed Vice President Kamala Harris to replace him as the Democratic nominee.

“While it has been my intention to seek reelection, I believe it is in the best interest of my party and the country for me to stand down and to focus solely on fulfilling my duties as President for the remainder of my term,” Biden wrote in a letter posted on X. “I will speak to the Nation later this week in more detail about my decision.”

Biden thanked Harris for “being an extraordinary partner” in his letter and then endorsed her in a subsequent post.

“My very first decision as the party nominee in 2020 was to pick Kamala Harris as my Vice President,” Biden posted. “And it’s been the best decision I’ve made. Today I want to offer my full support and endorsement for Kamala to be the nominee of our party this year.”

Biden and Harris spoke today ahead of the president’s announcement, according to a source familiar with the campaign.

His withdrawal caps a singular national political career, bookended by Richard Nixon’s fall and Trump’s rise. He mounted four presidential bids. He spent 36 years in the U.S. Senate representing tiny Delaware. He rose to the chairmanships of the powerful Judiciary and Foreign Relations committees. And he served eight years as Barack Obama’s vice president.

Reactions from politicians quickly began pouring in.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom wrote in a post on X that Biden “has been an extraordinary, history-making president — a leader who has fought hard for working people and delivered astonishing results for all Americans.”

“He will go down in history as one of the most impactful and selfless presidents,” said Newsom, who was one of the most prominent Biden surrogates. Newsom has also been floated as a possible Democratic presidential contender.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, another prominent Democrat talked about as a future national candidate, called Biden a “great public servant” in a post to X.

“My job in this election will remain the same: doing everything I can to elect Democrats and stop Donald Trump, a convicted felon whose agenda of raising families’ costs, banning abortion nationwide, and abusing the power of the White House to settle his own scores is completely wrong for Michigan,” Whitmer wrote.

The president’s granddaughter Naomi Biden said in a post that she was “nothing but proud today of my Pop,” adding that he has “served our country with every bit of his soul and with unmatched distinction.” First lady Jill Biden posted her husband’s statement to X with a heart emoji.

Across the aisle, Republicans slammed the move and many called on him to resign his office, days after the completion of a Republican National Convention where speaker after speaker slammed the Biden-Harris ticket.

“If Joe Biden is not fit to run for president, he is not fit to serve as President. He must resign the office immediately,” said House Speaker Mike Johnson.

In a brief phone interview with NBC News, Trump reacted to Biden’s decision, calling the president “the worst president in the history of the United States by far.”

When asked whether he was surprised by Biden’s decision, Trump said that Biden “should never have been there in the first place.”

“He should have stayed in his basement,” Trump said.

In a fundraising email, Trump’s campaign said that Biden “quit the race in complete disgrace.”

An unprecedented decision

Biden’s decision to exit the race less than a month before his party’s convention and a few months before voters head to the polls is unprecedented in the modern political era. The last sitting president to abandon a re-election bid was Lyndon Johnson, whose expansion of the Vietnam War in the 1960s split the Democratic Party. But Johnson’s announcement came in March 1968 — eight months before that election.

“We’re in uncharted waters,” said Barbara Perry, a presidential studies professor at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. “No president has dropped out or died this close to the convention.”

Replacing Biden atop the Democratic ticket is likely to set off internal Democratic tremors as ambitious officials maneuver to become his successor. Factions have already formed around Harris, Whitmer and Newsom.

Harris would seem to be the heir apparent. She broke a barrier as the first female vice president. A woman of color, she enjoys strong support among African Americans, a loyal piece of the Democratic coalition. Overall, though, Harris’ approval rating stood at only 32% in an NBC News poll released earlier this month.

“There’s no one you can name right now who is an obvious substitute,” Perry said. “That’s what makes this so uncertain and chaotic.”

Unlike Republican delegates, who are bound to their candidate, Democratic delegates aren’t, so they are free to do what they want at the convention. Biden could have some influence over the delegates, but they could vote for a different candidate than his chosen pick, pending any rules changes at the convention meant to address this unprecedented situation. The rules currently say that the delegates simply have to “in all good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them.”

The mechanics of putting a new name on ballots also gives rise to myriad legal questions. Republicans could work to throw obstacles in the nominee’s path by mounting legal challenges aimed at keeping that person off the ballot.

Questions about Biden’s capacities dogged him throughout his presidency, but peaked following his debate with Trump on June 27. Combined with his flagging poll numbers, his listless performance sparked a panic among his own party that he couldn’t win in November.

With 51 million people watching, Biden spoke in a raspy voice and often failed to complete thoughts or deliver a cogent explanation of why voters should choose him over Trump. He later attributed his poor performance to exhaustion and a cold. He implored the country not to let one bad night overshadow his accomplishments in office.

Unpersuaded, Democratic lawmakers began calling on him to step aside, a rebellion that started slowly but grew steadily in size and intensity. Thirty-seven congressional Democrats, including independent Sen. Joe Manchin, who previously was in the Democratic Party, had called on Biden to drop out of the 2024 election before he delivered his decision Sunday afternoon.

They appealed to Biden’s patriotism, arguing that if he sincerely believed Trump is a threat to democracy, he needed to put his country first and stand down.

Biden fought back. He held numerous calls and meetings with Democratic officials at all levels to shore up support inside the party — to no avail.

Looking to blunt concerns about his acuity, he gave interviews and held press conferences to prove to voters that he could still think on his feet. But the gaffes kept coming and his poll numbers remained stagnant.

In another bit of bad fortune and timing, Biden tested positive for Covid-19 on July 17, forcing him off the campaign trail.

For Democrats, Biden’s illness created an unwanted contrast. While Trump delivered a triumphal speech accepting the Republican nomination in Milwaukee on July 18, five days after surviving an assassination attempt, Biden was in self-isolation back home.

Biden’s departure is the latest in a series of jarring developments that has made the 2024 presidential race the most chaotic in living memory. Trump easily won the Republican presidential nomination despite splitting his time between the campaign trail and various courtrooms where he was a defendant in criminal and civil cases. In May, a jury in Manhattan convicted him on 34 felony counts related to hush money payments to a porn star.

Then, in short order, Trump rebounded. The Supreme Court issued a much-anticipated ruling on July 1 that immunized Trump from official conduct when he was president, impeding special counsel Jack Smith’s efforts to prosecute Trump for interfering in the 2020 election.

Trump nearly died on July 13 as he appeared at a rally in Butler, Pennsylvania. A gunman lying on a roof 130 yards away fired a bullet that grazed his ear. Trump dropped to the ground in self-defense. Then, his face smeared with blood, he rose and defiantly pumped his fist, yelling “Fight!”

Another fortuitous development came two days later, coinciding with the opening of the Republican convention in Milwaukee that certified Trump’s nomination. Federal Judge Aileen Cannon in Florida dismissed a separate case brought by Smith alleging that Trump improperly retained classified documents that he took home with him when he left the White House in 2021. Cannon, who had been appointed by Trump, ruled that Smith’s appointment was illegal. Smith quickly appealed her ruling.

The rolling streak of news gave Trump a jolt of momentum, allowing Republicans to present an energized and unified front at this month’s convention.

Biden seldom sparked any such enthusiasm. HIs primary campaign was mostly a coronation. He faced token opposition as party leaders cleared the field, betting that having beaten Trump once before, Biden was best positioned to do it again. But poll after poll confirmed that voters harbored doubts about him, believing he was too old and infirm to serve another term.

An AP-NORC survey released July 17 found that a whopping 65% of Democrats believed Biden should exit the race.

Pressed by his voters, abandoned by party leaders, Biden gave in.

Go deeper ( 6 min. read ) ➝

Trending Today