Russian President Vladimir Putin has a lengthy history of allegedly using various poisons as a means to secretly attack and sicken or kill critics, opponents, and rivals who stand in his way.
A new name could possibly be added to that list as Marianna Budanova, the wife of Ukraine's military intelligence chief, Kyrylo Budanov, was reportedly hospitalized after being poisoned with unspecified "heavy metals," according to Fox News.
It was noted by the outlet that the Ukrainian spy chief, who has been charged in absentia in Russia with terrorism over his leading countless drone strikes and other attacks in Russian territory during the ongoing war, previously vowed that he would "keep killing Russians anywhere on the face of this world until the complete victory of Ukraine."
Reuters reported that a spokesperson for the Ukrainian military intelligence agency GUR confirmed that Marianna Budanova, the wife of GUR Chief Kyrylo Budanov, had been hospitalized to receive treatment after being poisoned.
The spokesperson further revealed that several other top GUR officials were also suspected of having been poisoned, though they experienced "milder symptoms" and it is unclear if they required hospitalization and treatment in the same manner as Budanova.
It is also unclear who is responsible for the alleged poisoning -- though, obviously, Russia is the primary suspect -- and Reuters noted that if the initial reports prove true that this was a deliberate attack, the poisoning of Budanova "would represent the most serious targeting of a high-profile Ukrainian leadership figure's family member during the 21-month-long war."
The outlet noted that separate and apart from this alleged attempt on the life of Budanova, Chief Budanov himself has reportedly been targeted by assassination attempts on multiple occasions, including a failed car bombing attempt.
That was likely due to the publicity and credit that Budanov has received in Ukraine and among Western allies for his direction of countless drone strikes and other unconventional attacks against Russian forces, leaders, and critical infrastructure in occupied portions of Ukraine as well as in Russia, including in the capital city of Moscow.
In turn, the Kremlin has accused Budanov and others of being responsible for the deaths of pro-Russian journalists in Ukraine and on Russian soil -- charges that Ukraine formally denies -- and issued arrest warrants on charges of terrorism against Budanov and other GUR officials.
If it does turn out to be true that Marianna Budanova was poisoned by the Russians, this would not be the first time that President Vladimir Putin will have used that particular weapon against a perceived enemy, according to an Associated Press report in August after the mysterious plane crash that killed rebellious Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin.
Indeed, Putin has been accused on multiple occasions over the past few decades of using various poisons -- in some cases, a fatal nerve agent, in others, radioactive materials -- to dispatch or attempt to kill individuals that he believes to pose a threat to his continued authoritarian leadership.
Some of the Russian dictator's alleged poisoning victims include opposition leader Alexei Navalny, prominent protest leader Pyotr Verzilov, another opposition leader named Vladimir Kara-Murza, former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, and former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, along with his daughter Yulia.
Of course, Putin doesn't always resort to clandestine efforts to poison his perceived enemies and rivals, but instead is also alleged to use far less clever but even more effective means of assassination, including point-blank shootings and sending people flying out of open windows in high-rise buildings, among other deadly tactics.
To be sure, the former KGB agent-turned-president has always staunchly denied any involvement in the series of attempted assassinations and actual deaths of his enemies, opponents, and rivals, and while he does seemingly maintain plausible deniability that keeps him at arm's length from those deadly deeds, it is important to note that such attempts would almost certainly not be made without his direct approval.
It was roughly a decade ago when a likely unconstitutional and secretive White House-funded intelligence collection program was first publicly exposed by media reports based on documents obtained through leaks and the Freedom of Information Act.
A new report has now revealed that was is essentially the same secret surveillance program, which allows law enforcement agencies at all levels to scrutinize phone company data without a warrant, has continued, albeit under a different name, according to Breitbart.
The revelation has sparked renewed constitutional and legal concerns about the expectations of privacy and freedom from unreasonable and warrantless searches of the American people.
Wired reported last week on a secret White House-led surveillance program known as Data Analytical Services, which for all intents and purposes is the same controversial program previously known as "Hemisphere" that was first exposed in 2013 by The New York Times and was ostensibly shut down in the wake of the initial reports.
The DAS program, which is run in conjunction with AT&T -- which has received more than $6 million in grant funds from the White House over the past decade -- allows law enforcement agencies at the local, state, tribal, and federal levels to use a technique known as "chain analysis" that effectively lets them collect phone records and data on virtually every single person in and beyond the United States.
Supposedly intended to only go after individuals involved in the illicit drug trade, leaked documents reveal that DAS has been used for a variety of other law enforcement purposes as it provides a sort of "loophole" that allows police to obtain information on criminal suspects -- and innocent people -- that would otherwise require a specific warrant application that might be disapproved by a judge.
Wired noted that documents showed that the Hemisphere program was purportedly shut down by then-President Barack Obama following the initial Times report but in actuality was simply renamed and continued to be funded in secret by subsequent administrations, including the Trump and Biden administrations.
In addition to the obvious concerns about violations of privacy and warrantless searches, the secretive program has also raised alarms among some due to the fact that there is no congressional oversight or independent federal review of the program, nor is the White House required to respond to FOIA requests about the DAS program.
The report from Wired followed close on the heels of a public letter sent from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) to Attorney General Merrick Garland that addressed the various concerns about the DAS program and called upon the Department of Justice to publicly release as much information about the program as possible.
"I have serious concerns about the legality of this surveillance program, and the materials provided by the DOJ contain troubling information that would justifiably outrage many Americans and other members of Congress," the Democratic senator wrote.
"While I have long defended the government’s need to protect classified sources and methods, this surveillance program is not classified and its existence has already been acknowledged by the DOJ in federal court," he added. "The public interest in an informed debate about government surveillance far outweighs the need to keep this information secret."
At another point in the letter, in reference to the trillions of phone records over multiple decades that are available for law enforcement to search without a warrant through the DAS program, Wyden wrote, "The scale of the data available to and routinely searched for the benefit of law enforcement under the Hemisphere Project is stunning in its scope," and noted that law enforcement sources had described it as "AT&T's Super Search Engine" as well as "Google on Steroids."
For what it is worth, Sen. Wyden announced in early November that he had joined with Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and others on bipartisan and bicameral legislation known as the Government Surveillance Reform Act that would seemingly address and correct the concerns raised about the DAS program and other questionable federal surveillance programs.
"Americans know that it is possible to confront our country’s adversaries ferociously without throwing our constitutional rights in the trash can. But for too long surveillance laws have not kept up with changing times," Wyden said at the time. "Our bill continues to give government agencies broad authority to collect information on threats at home and abroad, including the ability to act quickly in emergencies and settle up with the court later. But it creates much stronger protections for the privacy of law-abiding Americans, and restores the warrant protections that are at the heart of the Fourth Amendment."
Failed 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton never fully accepted or recovered from her unexpected electoral loss to former President Donald Trump.
The American people have once again been reminded of that with the recent promotion of an online "Masterclass" course featuring the former first lady, senator, and secretary of State as she teaches viewers about the "power of resilience," according to Breitbart.
Incredibly, the course includes an emotional reading by Clinton of the acceptance speech that she would have delivered in 2016 if she had prevailed over Trump, as had been widely anticipated but never actually occurred.
Former Sec. Clinton's Masterclass course on resilience in the face of adversity and failure was actually first released nearly two years ago in December 2021, but was highlighted by Yahoo!Life to promote a special Cyber Monday two-for-one membership deal for the online classes.
In the brief teaser video, Clinton at one point opened a binder and read, "My fellow Americans, today, you sent a message to the whole world," then paused and clasped her chest as she took a deep breath, clearly overcome with emotion as she perused the never-delivered 2016 acceptance speech.
The actual Masterclass course taught by Clinton, which is available in full for those willing to pay a monthly membership fee for access to the informative service, contains 16 different lesson videos that run for nearly three and a half hours combined.
The topics discussed include the importance of things like discovering a personal mission, hard work, organizing a busy life, public speaking and being persuasive, maximizing personal strengths, how to negotiate and make compromises, how to deal with criticism and "sexism" in regard to ambition, dealing with setbacks, and being ready for competition.
The course also includes a "bonus" lesson the features a discussion with former top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, the recitation of the "would-be" acceptance speech, and a final lesson on "Choosing a Life of Resilience."
To be sure, there is likely a substantial population of prospective viewers -- predominately liberal women who despise former President Trump -- who would appreciate receiving life lessons from Hillary Clinton, for whatever those lessons may be worth.
As for the Masterclass itself, setting aside the Clinton course, it appears to be a valuable and affordable online learning tool that offers more than 180 different courses on a wide variety of subjects.
Those courses typically include multiple lessons broken down into relatively short videos that are presented by an assortment of famous celebrity "experts" in their particular field.
Alvin Bragg, the Democratic Manhattan district attorney, successfully moved on Monday to vacate the convictions of two men who'd been charged and tried for murder in the 1990s, ABC News reported.
Prosecutors in Bragg's office, in conjunction with a pair of non-profit organizations, determined that "newly discovered evidence" in both cases had led to the conclusion that both men had suffered "wrongful conviction" and "unjust" imprisonment for crimes that they now appear to have not committed.
A press release on Monday announced that prosecutors within DA Bragg's office, specifically within the Post-Conviction Justice Unit, had reviewed and reinvestigated the 1996 murder conviction of Wayne Gardine and the 1998 double-murder conviction of Jabar Walker.
Gardine, 49, a Jamaican migrant who moved to the U.S. with his family as a child, had been convicted and sentenced to more than 18 years in prison for the 1994 shooting death of Robert Mickens.
Walker, 49, also known as Jabar or Jamal Moore, was sentenced to two consecutive 25-to-life prison terms for the 1995 murder-for-hire shooting deaths of William Santana and Ismael De La Cruz.
In the case of Walker, prosecutors joined with and affirmed a motion to vacate filed by the Innocence Project, which along with the PCJU discovered that two "non-identifying" witnesses had come forward to fully recant or walk back portions of their prior testimony, which called into question the trial testimony of the "single identifying eyewitness."
That "new evidence" further raised doubts about the effectiveness of Walker's defense counsel, who had apparently failed to interview those other two witnesses or expose the weakness of the supposed sole eyewitness to the double murder. As such, the motion called for Walker's conviction to be vacated, the underlying indictment to be dismissed, and for him to be immediately released from prison.
"Not only was the case against Jabar Walker built upon unreliable and recanted testimony, he did not have the benefit of an effective defense attorney -- one of the constitutional bedrocks of our justice system," DA Bragg said in a statement. "Despite these serious issues, Mr. Walker received a sentence that could have kept him in prison for his entire life. I am thrilled that he can now finally return home and thank the Innocence Project for its steadfast advocacy throughout this matter."
Per Bragg's office, Judge Miriam Best approved the motion to vacate, and ABC News reported that "Walker entered a courtroom Monday in handcuffs and exited a free man after serving 25 years in prison.
As for Gardine, DA Bragg's prosecutors joined with the Legal Aid Society on a motion to vacate his prior conviction in light of "new evidence from a second witness that undermined the testimony from the sole witness used at trial."
That motion, which was approved by Judge Kathryn Paek, called for the conviction to be vacated and the underlying indictment to be dismissed. Separately, the Legal Aid Society also urged U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which took custody of Gardine upon his release on parole in 2022 pending deportation, to cease those immigration proceedings and immediately release him.
"Wayne Gardine was just 22 years old when he was sentenced to decades in prison following a trial that we now believe relied on an unreliable witness and testimony – losing years of freedom due to an unjust conviction," Bragg said in a statement. "Unjust convictions are the height of injustice and while we can never completely undo the pain he has experienced, I hope this is the first step in allowing Mr. Gardine to rebuild his life and reunite with his loved ones. I thank the Legal Aid Society for its outstanding collaboration in this matter."
Lou Fox, the Legal Aid Society attorney who now represents Gardine, said in a statement, "We are elated that Mr. Gardine will finally have his name cleared of this conviction that has haunted him for nearly three decades, yet he is still not a free man and faces additional and unwarranted punishment if deported."
"We thank New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg for joining us on this motion, and we call on ICE to immediately release our client so he can return to his family and community, and to drop deportation proceedings," the attorney added.
The New Mexico Supreme Court has formally censured a New Mexico judge for engaging in certain actions that "created an appearance of impropriety" and threatened to undermine the public's trust in an "independent, fair, and impartial judiciary," according to the Associated Press.
That punishment stemmed from the acknowledged improper intervention of Third District Judge James Martin in a criminal trial involving a man ultimately convicted of aggravated assault for threatening the judge's daughter with a rifle outside a bar.
Martin was accused of providing unsolicited advice and admonishments to the prosecutors trying the case and of granting his daughter special privileges not afforded to the general public while the trial was ongoing.
According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, the underlying incident that precipitated the trial and subsequent censure occurred in 2018 when Robert Burnham, the then-owner of a bar known as Boots and Bourbon, was arrested and charged with threatening a woman -- the daughter of Judge Martin -- with a rifle outside of the bar.
The bar was shut down later that year and Burnham was convicted of aggravated assault following a trial in 2021 -- a conviction that was appealed and remains pending.
The AP noted that a visiting judge from another district presided over the trial after Martin and all of the other Third District judges recused themselves from the case that included Martin's daughter as the victim, and a separate but related inquiry was launched afterward in regard to allegations that Martin had improperly involved himself and interfered in the proceedings.
On Nov. 13, the New Mexico Supreme Court publicly released an unreported opinion on the matter of Judge Martin that included a public censure of the district judge for his actions during and after the trial that involved his daughter.
As the three-day trial was ongoing, Martin reportedly contacted Assistant District Attorney Samuel Rosten and encouraged him to use the phrase "brandish a firearm" instead of "pointed a firearm" in his instructions to the jury, which Rosten did the very next day.
After Burnham was found guilty, Martin and his daughter met personally with Rosten and fellow ADA Spencer Willson and specifically inquired if Burnham had been remanded to custody following the verdict. When he was informed that that was indeed the case, Martin reportedly told the prosecutors that it was a "Good thing he was remanded, otherwise I would have told you to go back in there and try again."
Martin was also found to have improperly allowed his daughter to use his own vacant courtroom while waiting to be called to testify while the trial was ongoing.
In the end, the New Mexico Supreme Court found -- and Judge Martin agreed, though he denied that the violations were "willful" -- that he had likely violated six separate rules in the state's Code of Judicial Conduct, for which he should face censure, given that his conduct undermined the stricture that "judges should maintain the dignity of judicial office at all times and avoid both impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in their professional and personal lives."
"We recognize that when the family member of a judicial officer becomes enmeshed in the legal system, it can be stressful for everyone involved. This is especially true when the family member is the victim of a violent crime," the justices wrote. "The natural impulse of parents is to provide comfort, reassurance, and protection for their children. In this case, Judge Martin may have felt that he was acting in the best interest of his daughter, however, judges, unlike other parents are held to a higher standard."
"In regard to the conversation between Judge Martin and the ADA after the verdict, we must again conclude that this creates an appearance of impropriety. While we recognize that emotions may have been running high after the verdict, we again must counsel the judiciary that judges are held to a higher standard," the censure continued. "Due to the imbalance of power between a judge and a litigator, a judge must always promote confidence in the judiciary. Therefore, Judge Martin’s admonitions to the ADA created both an actual impropriety and an appearance of impropriety."
"Viewed through the lens of hindsight, Judge Martin recognizes the potential for appearance of impropriety based upon his conduct; therefore, we approve the Stipulation presented by the Commission and Judge Martin to impose a public censure of Judge Martin and his conduct," the justices concluded. "We issue this censure not only to remind judges of their responsibility to avoid the appearance of impropriety but also to ensure the public that our legal system is committed to maintaining an independent, fair, and impartial judiciary under the law."
Rep. George Santos (R-NY) is facing multiple federal criminal charges, a damningly accusatory House Ethics Committee report, and a pending House resolution that seeks his expulsion from Congress altogether.
On Friday, Santos acknowledged that he would likely be expelled by his House colleagues but remained defiant in his refusal to resign and step down from his elected office, The Hill reported.
He also attempted to flip the script and leveled a number of serious criminal and unethical accusations of his own against an untold number of other unnamed members of Congress.
Rep. Santos has been under sharp scrutiny since before he was even elected in 2022 over allegations that he defrauded and lied to voters and colleagues about various aspects of his background, which prompted a months-long House Ethics Committee investigation that began in March.
While that committee probe was ongoing, the Justice Department indicted the New York Republican on nearly two dozen criminal charges that include various forms of fraud, identity theft and actual theft, making false statements, money laundering, and an assortment of other related counts.
Now, in the wake of the indictment and release of the committee's report documenting alleged campaign finance violations and other unethical or criminal behavior, the Associated Press reported that House Ethics Committee Chairman Michael Guest (R-MS) filed a resolution calling for the expulsion of Santos.
Rep. Guest said in a statement last week, "The evidence uncovered in the Ethics Committee’s Investigative Subcommittee investigation is more than sufficient to warrant punishment and the most appropriate punishment, is expulsion."
In an X Spaces conversation with journalist Monica Matthews on Friday, Time magazine reported that Rep. Santos, who has already survived two prior expulsion attempts, acknowledged, "I know I’m going to get expelled when this expulsion resolution goes to the floor. I’ve done the math over and over, and it doesn’t look really good."
He declined to address the specific allegations against him over fears that federal prosecutors would later use his words against him, but nonetheless denounced the committee report as "slanderous" and deliberately crafted to unfairly malign him and "force me out of my seat."
Santos proceeded to accuse some of his colleagues of getting drunk while on the job, sleeping with lobbyists and engaging in a variety of other behavior that was criminal and unethical and, in his view, as bad or worse than the allegations posed against him.
"They all act like they’re in ivory towers with white pointy hats and they’re untouchable, the embattled congressman said. "Within the ranks of United States Congress, there’s felons galore, there’s people with all sorts of shy-stie backgrounds."
According to The Hill, Rep. Santos reiterated his refusal to resign but noted that he would seek a second term in office, and said, "I’m not running for reelection, not because this was a damning report. I’m not running for reelection because I don’t want to work with a bunch of hypocrites."
"I’m not leaving," he said at another point. "These people need to understand, it’s done when I say it’s done."
As for the prospect of being expelled from Congress by his colleagues, something that has only occurred five times previously in the nation's history, Santos declared, "If you want to expel me, I’ll wear it like a badge of honor. I’ll be the sixth expelled member of Congress."
A partial gag order imposed in October by the judge presiding over former President Donald Trump's civil fraud trial in New York was stayed and lifted by an appeals court judge last week, and Trump has taken advantage of his restored freedom of speech in regard to that ongoing legal proceeding.
In a Thanksgiving Day message on social media, Trump ripped into both the judge and the judge's principal law clerk with insults and accusations, according to the Washington Examiner.
The former president also sharply critiqued the New York state attorney general as well as the various ideological and political forces arrayed in opposition against him.
"Happy Thanksgiving to ALL," former President Trump wrote in a Truth Social post early Thursday morning, "including the Racist & Incompetent Attorney General of New York State, Letitia 'Peekaboo' James, who has let Murder & Violent Crime FLOURISH, & Businesses FLEE."
Trump also called out "the Radical Left Trump Hating Judge, a 'Psycho,' Arthur Engoron, who Criminally Defrauded the State of New York, & ME, by purposely Valuing my Assets at a 'tiny' Fraction of what they are really worth in order to convict me of Fraud before even a Trial, or seeing any PROOF, & used his Politically Biased & Corrupt Campaign Finance Violator, Chief Clerk Alison Greenfield, to sit by his side on the 'Bench' & tell him what to do."
He further criticized "Crooked Joe Biden, who has WEAPONIZED his Department of Injustice against his Political Opponent, & allowed our Country to go to HELL."
Trump further directed his wrath toward "all of the other Radical Left Lunatics, Communists, Fascists, Marxists, Democrats, & RINOS, who are seriously looking to DESTROY OUR COUNTRY. Have no fear, however, we will WIN the Presidential Election of 2024, & MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!"
According to the Associated Press, Judge Arthur Engoron imposed a limited gag order on Oct. 3 against former President Trump -- later extended to also include Trump's attorneys -- that barred any talk whatsoever about his court staffers, particularly principal law clerk Allison Greenfield, whom Trump and his attorneys have repeatedly accused of being partisan and biased and of wielding undue influence over the judge in virtually all aspects of the trial.
Trump has already been fined twice by the judge for a combined total of $15,000 for violating that gag order on prior occasions.
Following an appellate court hearing last week, however, Judge David Friedman issued a stay that effectively suspended the gag order while the appeals process plays out, citing concerns about the limitations imposed on the free speech rights of the former president and his attorneys.
After listening to arguments from all sides both for and against the gag order, Friedman ultimately declared, "Considering the constitutional and statutory rights at issue an interim stay is granted."
Former President Trump and his attorneys have been harshly critical of Judge Engoron and the manner in which he has handled the civil fraud trial that stems from a lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James that alleges that Trump, his adult sons, and the Trump Organization illegally manipulated and grossly overinflated the claimed value of various assets and properties in order to obtain more favorable terms for bank loans and insurance.
Engoron essentially ruled that Trump was guilty and liable for fraud before the trial even began, leaving the actual trial to determine little more than what sort of punishment should be imposed, up to and including the revocation of required business licenses in the state and potentially even the seizure of Trump-owned assets and properties.
After the gag order was lifted, Trump's attorney Chris Kise said Judge Friedman made the "right decision" in that he has "allowed President Trump to take full advantage of his constitutional First Amendment rights to talk about bias in his own trial, what he’s seeing and witnessing in his own trial -- which, frankly, everyone needs to see."
Progressive Democratic prosecutors across the nation have been credibly accused of going soft on hardened criminals in the interest of "social justice," unfortunately to the detriment of innocent people in the communities where those criminals reside.
That may be the case in Rochester, New York, where a registered sex offender with a criminal record is now charged with murder after he was discharged from a lifetime parole last year, according to The Post Millennial.
According to local ABC affiliate WHAM, Jamel Robinson, 44, stands charged with the shooting death of Kevin Rigdon, 38, in an incident that occurred outside a bus station early Tuesday morning.
Robinson is alleged to have followed Rigdon out of the RTS Transit Center around 7:45 am and then used a handgun to shoot Rigdon multiple times, as well as another unidentified man before fleeing the scene.
Rigdon was declared dead at the scene when first responders arrived and the other unnamed victim was transported to a hospital with "serious injuries."
According to the police, it is believed that Robinson knew his victims but it remains unclear at this time what his motive to shoot them was.
Officers soon found Robinson in the nearby Sibley Tower building and managed to subdue him with "a minor use of force" before the suspect could use the handgun against them.
According to local CBS affiliate WROC, Robinson was taken into custody by Rochester Police and was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault, as well as second and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
He made an appearance Wednesday morning in Rochester City Court for an arraignment hearing on those criminal charges.
Per WHAM, Robinson is currently being held in the Monroe County Jail, and the police credited eyewitnesses with providing them information immediately after the shooting that helped lead to the suspect's arrest.
The Post Millennial noted that Robinson is a registered sex offender in the state of New York in connection with a July 2006 conviction for an attempted first-degree criminal sex act.
He also has a criminal record that includes at least two felony convictions and at least seven misdemeanor convictions, meaning he was prohibited from possessing a firearm under both federal and state laws.
When Robinson was released from prison for those prior convictions, he was placed on lifetime parole, but according to the outlet he was ultimately discharged from that lifetime parole in August 2022.
Democrats must now explain why this career criminal with a prior record of felony convictions, including for a criminal sex act that made him a registered sex offender, was allowed to go free and was even released from lifetime parole when he clearly posed a threat to the community.
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) is not the least bit shy about his deeply held Christian faith, which includes a pro-life opposition to abortion, strong support for traditional marriage between men and women, and disapproval of homosexuality and other alternative sexual behaviors and identities, among other things.
Those positions are normal among most Christian conservatives, but in the view of progressive leftist MSNBC host Joy Reid, they make Johnson a "Christian nationalist and anti-abortion zealot," according to Breitbart.
On her "The ReidOut" program on Wednesday, MSNBC's Reid said, "Abortion rights advocates have an unbroken winning streak with ballot measures since Roe v. Wade was overturned last year. Now, advocates are racing to put the issue of abortion directly to voters in more states, with efforts in at least nine states to put abortion rights measures on the ballot in 2024."
"It couldn’t come at a more critical time, especially now that Christian nationalist and anti-abortion zealot Mike Johnson is Speaker of the House," she continued. "We’re learning more about his extreme views as yet another batch of old interviews resurfaced, like this radio interview last year a month before Roe was overturned."
The audio clip Reid then played featured Johnson referring to the practice of abortion as an "American Holocaust" as well as him calling out Planned Parenthood and "Big Abortion" for predominately establishing abortion clinics in the "inner cities" and of viewing the minorities who live in such areas as "easy prey."
"In another interview on the day Roe v. Wade was overturned, Johnson was asked about Clarence Thomas’ concurrence," she continued. "Thomas suggested the court should reconsider other decisions, like Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell. Also known as ensuring access to contraception, the freedom to be in same-sex relationships, and legalized same-sex marriage."
What Reid referenced without context was Johnson's agreement with a point made by Justice Thomas in a concurring opinion that if the underlying legal rationale that upheld Roe for decades was unconstitutional, then other decisions based on the same faulty logic should also be revisited by the court.
The old audio clips of Speaker Johnson that MSNBC's Reid aired or referenced on her program were recently uncovered as part of an extensive -- and some might argue obsessive -- investigative effort by CNN to dig through decades of old audio from Johnson as an attorney and legislator in search of anything that could be used to stir up controversy against the new Republican leader.
Stretching back well more than a decade in some instances, CNN did produce a handful of audio clips of Johnson expressing personal views that, as noted, are shared by the vast majority of Christian conservatives and, despite claims to the contrary from the media and leftist activists and politicians, are not really outside the mainstream opinions of those who adhere to the Christian faith and its beliefs about the sanctity of life, marriage, and sexuality.
Again, that includes opposition to things like abortion and gay marriage, support for "biblical morality" being reintroduced into society, and a belief that mankind is "inherently evil" and must be "restrained" from acting upon that inherent evil by the government, among other relatively standard Christian beliefs.
Joy Reid is certainly not the only leftist media figure to lambast and smear Speaker Johnson over his adherence to the fundamental tenets of his Christian faith, as Newsbusters reported last month on the early efforts by the media to find anything that could be used to damage the new Republican leader's reputation.
The outlet noted that, eventually, "the media settled on their narrative: Mike Johnson is a far-right Christian extremist who wants to turn America into a fascistic theocracy."
That led to multiple media figures labeling Johnson with purposely loaded terms like "extreme MAGA," "far-right," and "ultraconservative," and even a claim that he is "more dangerous than Donald Trump" -- an absurd but entirely predictable escalation of the left's rhetoric about anybody to the right of Stalin or Mao.
Mike Johnson is, for all intents and purposes, a relatively normal if exceptionally faithful Christian conservative and no amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth from media leftists are going to shame him into abandoning his core beliefs in order to appease them on issues he fundamentally disagrees with.
Voter ID laws are broadly supported by a vast majority of the American people, yet Democrat-aligned partisan advocacy groups routinely file legal challenges against any state that attempts to impose such commonsense requirements to ensure voter integrity.
The latest example comes out of Missouri, where a judge will soon decide whether to revive a lawsuit that was previously dismissed following the addition of a new plaintiff, according to Fox News.
The suit challenges the constitutionality of a 2022 law passed by Missouri's Republican-led legislature that would require voters to show a photo ID to cast a ballot -- though voters without a valid photo ID can still cast provisional ballots and confirm their identity later, and the state is required to provide an ID for free to anybody who requests one.
According to the Associated Press, the original lawsuit was filed on behalf of two Missouri voters by the state's League of Women Voters organization and the state's chapter of the NAACP, who argued that the 2022 photo ID law violates the Constitution by making it too difficult for some voters without a valid photo ID to cast a ballot.
That claim was dismissed by Cole County Presiding Judge Jon Beetem in October last year, as he determined that the two voters had failed to allege "a specific, concrete, non-speculative injury or legally protectable interest in challenging the photo ID requirement."
Now, however, a new plaintiff has been added to the case -- a 90-year-old man with an expired driver's license and passport who was able to obtain a valid non-photo ID with assistance -- and the judge will soon decide whether or not to revive the dismissed case.
Casting a broad net, the plaintiff's attorneys asserted in a brief, "Even when a voter obtains the underlying documentation, voters who lack transportation, cannot get to the DMV or other government agencies during their hours of operation, or have a disability or impairment that prevents them from accessing a DMV, the voter is still unable to surmount the burdens to obtaining a photo ID."
One of the Missouri officials defending the new voter ID law is Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, who said in a statement to Fox News, "I will always fight to maintain Missouri’s accessible, secure, and creditable elections. Regarding this case -- every person has been able to vote -- no one has been denied a ballot because they didn’t have an ID."
"As specified in statute, my office will help get an ID for anyone who needs one to vote. Furthermore, if someone does not have an ID on Election Day, if they are registered, they can still vote," he added.
In a social media post last week that shared the AP report, Ashcroft wrote, "Missouri has passed voter ID three times to protect our elections and I keep getting sued to stop the law. Today we are back in court defending voter integrity."
Also defending the law in court, per that AP report, is Republican Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, who asserted in a legal filing, "There is not a severe burden on the right to vote as the State has gone to great lengths to help voters obtain IDs."
Contrary to media reporting and the cries of Democratic activists, there is exceptionally broad and bipartisan support for photo ID requirements of the sort that Missouri is currently defending in court.
In fact, according to an October 2022 Gallup survey, around 79% of all Americans say that all voters should be required to provide a photo ID to election officials before being permitted to cast their ballot.
Per the AP, there are already 36 states that require voters to show some sort of proof of their identification in order to vote, with the requirement in at least 20 of those states including an ID that features a photo of the individual.