A mother and son who helped steal Nancy Pelosi's (D-Ca.) laptop on January 6th have been sentenced to home incarceration.
Maryann Mooney-Rondon, of upstate New York, and her son Rafael Rondon were reprimanded by U.S. District Judge Jia Cobb for their "juvenile" actions.
They both spent about half an hour inside the Capitol. Neither was accused of any violence.
At one point, they entered a conference room where they helped an unidentified man steal Pelosi's laptop. They also stole a pair of respiratory devices meant for lawmakers and then left the Capitol.
Mooney-Rondon was convicted of obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting theft of government property following a bench trial in March. Her son pled guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding last December.
The judge sentenced Maryann Mooney-Rondon to 12 months of home incarceration and Rafael Rondon to 18 months of home incarceration. Both were sentenced to five years' probation.
Judge Cobb described the punishment as "jail but at home."
In addition, Maryann Rondon must pay $3,657.51 in restitution, a fine of $7,500, and perform 350 hours of community service, and her son was ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution and perform 350 hours of community service.
The Biden Justice Department wanted more than 51 months in prison - more than 4 years - for Rafael Rondon and 46 months for Maryann Moony-Rondon.
But the judge resisted these steep punishments, distinguishing between their "juvenile" conduct and more dramatic crimes like espionage or theft of government secrets.
The judge did not find their conduct reflected any "master plot," a reporter who was present said.
While acknowledging their crimes were not particularly serious, the judge insisted she was letting them off easy.
"I just think that they were acting very stupidly,” Cobb said. “No offense.”
Moony-Rondon and Rondon have both apologized, saying they suffered a lapse in judgment.
“I was the adult in the room, and I failed,” Mooney-Rondon said. “I have brought embarrassment to my family.”
“If we had to do it all over, we would have just stayed home and watched from the safety of our living room,” she continued.
More than 1,000 people have been charged in the Justice Department's probe. Some have been accused of assaulting police, but most of the defendants are not accused of any violence.
Just how radical is the "Squad?" Only one member of the notorious left-wing group voted against a resolution affirming Israel's right to exist on Tuesday.
That member? None other than Rashida Tlaib, the notorious bomb-thrower from Michigan.
Even Ilhan Omar (D-MN), the notorious anti-Semite with a soft spot for Islamists, votes "yes" that Israel has a right to exist. The House voted 412-1-1 to send that message.
For years, the so-called "Squad" faced criticism of their anti-Israel, many say anti-Semitic, views. But it appears their agenda has been sidelined in a big way.
A lone Republican, libertarian Thomas Massie (KY), voted "no", while Tlaib voted present on the resolution backing Israel. Massie expressed concern that the resolution's language was too broad.
"Antisemitism is deplorable, but expanding it to include criticism of Israel is not helpful," he said.
The resolution says in part, "denying Israel’s right to exist is a form of antisemitism.”
While Massie had more abstract concerns about speech, Tlaib - the only Palestinian member of Congress - has not kept hidden her intense emotional connection to Palestine.
Her impassioned, many say extreme, rhetoric surrounding the Israel-Hamas conflict has made her a black sheep in Congress, which supports Israel overwhelmingly.
The House took the rare step weeks ago to censure Tlaib for using a slogan seen by many as a call for Israel's destruction, "from the river to the sea."
But Tlaib called for "peaceful coexistence" in a lengthy post deploring the lopsided House vote. She claimed the "one-sided" resolution ignored Palestine's existence.
"Unfortunately, this resolution is a one-sided attempt to rewrite history, contributes to the ongoing erasure of Palestinians by not even acknowledging their existence," she said.
Tlaib called on Israel to release "arbitrarily detained" Palestinians, equating them with the innocent Israelis taken captive by Hamas.
“I support the release of Israeli civilians and ask my colleagues to demand the same for Palestinian civilians being held by Israeli forces without charge or trial," she said.
Hamas and Israel are currently in a cease-fire, and Hamas has begun releasing some hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.
Tlaib voted "yes" on an unanimously passed resolution condemning Hamas' brutal October 7 attack.
Thousands of Palestinians have died in Israel's military effort to wipe out Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.
Investing guru Charlie Munger, the longtime close friend and business partner of Warren Buffett, has died. He was 99.
Known for his pithy financial wisdom, Munger spent decades as Buffett's right-hand man and vice chairman of their company Berkshire Hathaway.
He died at a hospital in California.
“Berkshire Hathaway could not have been built to its present status without Charlie’s inspiration, wisdom and participation,” Buffett said in a statement.
Munger wasn't a believer in retirement. In an interview with CNBC taped ahead of what would have been his 100th birthday, he attributed his and Buffett's success to wise decisions and a desire to keep working.
“We got a little less crazy than most people and a little less stupid than most people and that really helped us,” he said.
Munger was born in Omaha, the same hometown as Buffett, and even worked in the grocery store owned by Buffett's grandfather. But Munger and Buffett did not meet until they were grown men - and became immediate friends.
Together, the pair transformed textile mill Berkshire Hathaway into a massive, multinational conglomerate. Munger served as vice chairman and Buffett as CEO.
"Charlie has taught me a lot about valuing businesses and about human nature,” Buffett said in 2008.
Investors would flock every year to Omaha to hear Buffet and Munger share their advice. Munger would let Buffett do most of the talking, often saying, "I have nothing more to add."
Before venturing into finance, Munger took a degree in law at Harvard and served in the Army during World War II.
Despite his great wealth, Munger was famously modest, and he was known for dispensing simple maxims: spend less than you earn, delay gratification, and always be learning more.
"The big money is not in the buying or the selling, but in the waiting," was one of his quotes.
As he put it, the secret to success isn't so secret.
“You don’t have a lot of envy, you don’t have a lot of resentment, you don’t overspend your income. You stay cheerful in spite of your troubles," he said.
"You deal with reliable people, and you do what you’re supposed to. All these simple rules work so well to make your life better, and they’re so trite."
Munger certainly led an admirable and prosperous life. RIP.
Jean Knight, the Grammy-nominated R & B singer known for the 1970s funk hit "Mr. Big Stuff," has died. She was 80.
Knight's family said she died of natural causes at her home in Tampa, Florida.
“Jean Knight’s legacy is not just a musical one; it is a testament to the enduring love between an artist, her hometown and the fans who adored her,” the singer’s family said in a statement.
The New Orleans native got her start singing in her cousin's bar after graduating high school.
She would earn her place in musical history with the infectious funk classic "Mr. Big Stuff" in 1971.
Singing over groovy horns and guitar, Knight declares herself invulnerable to the charms of the arrogant "Mr. Big Stuff," who wears "big fancy clothes" and drives around in a "big fine car."
In the song's memorable hook, she sings: "Mr. Big Stuff/Who do you think you are? Mr. Big Stuff/You're never gonna get my love."
The song reached number one on the soul charts and number two on the Billboard Hot 100. Knight was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Female R&B performance, but the award went to Aretha Franklin for her cover of "Bridge Over Troubled Water."
Many of Knight's fans paid tribute by sharing clips of her performance of "Mr. Big Stuff" on Soul Train in 1971.
RIP Jean Knight, prayers to her family 🕊️💙🙏🏽
— Strictly 4 My X’ers (@Lizzs_Lockeroom) November 27, 2023
"Mr. Big Stuff" was a hit for the legendary soul label Stax, and Knight would become the label's top-selling female artist.
We’re so sorry to hear that the one and only Ms. Jean Knight has passed away at the age of 80. The Louisiana-born artist released her album MR. BIG STUFF in 1971, and she quickly became an irreplaceable member of the Stax family. Our thoughts and prayers are with her loved ones. pic.twitter.com/5wuRXh7Lji
— Stax Records (@StaxRecords) November 27, 2023
After "Mr. Big Stuff," Knight parted ways with Stax. She continued to record songs with other labels and tour.
She preserved a close attachment to her native New Orleans, appearing regularly in the city's famed festivals. She loved Mardi Gras and cooking Creole food, her family said.
Knight is survived by her son, Dr. Emile Commedore, four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
House Republicans are bending to pressure from Donald Trump to investigate January 6th, despite the wishes of some Republicans to move on from Trump and the alleged mistreatment of his supporters by the Biden Justice Department.
Trump backer Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) has called for a new committee to investigate the January 6th committee following the release of new surveillance video.
Many on the right say the tapes reveal the so-called "insurrection" was not as dramatic as often portrayed or perhaps the result of federal entrapment.
The new tapes were released by Speaker Mike Johnson (La.), whose predecessor Kevin McCarthy (Ca.) was reluctant to share thousands of hours of surveillance video with the general public.
“This decision will provide millions of Americans, criminal defendants, public interest organizations, and the media an ability to see for themselves what happened that day, rather than having to rely upon the interpretation of a small group of government officials," Johnson wrote.
Rep. Greene has called for a complete review of the January 6th committee, which staged a series of dramatic, televised hearings accusing Trump of inciting the riot.
"Releasing the tapes is not enough!" she wrote.
Skepticism has spread to the normally sleepy Republican Senate, where Utah senator Mike Lee questioned the integrity of the January 6th committee and its omission of the previously unavailable video.
"How many of these guys are feds? (As if you’d ever tell us)," Lee wrote in an exchange with Trump nemesis Liz Cheney.
Trump faced widespread censure after the riot, but an effort by Republicans to excise his grip on the party failed and three years later, he is the GOP's frontrunner in the 2024 presidential election.
Meanwhile, Trump has embraced the January 6th defendants as patriots and martyrs who have been unjustly persecuted by a tyrannical regime.
For Trump, it's personal.
He has never relinquished his claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him, a claim that the vast majority of Republican voters continue to agree with, and which lies at the heart of prosecutor Jack Smith's federal case against Trump for "election subversion."
The increased focus on January 6th has concerned Republican moderates, who are reluctant to continue discussing an issue they fear could help Democrats paint Republicans as extreme.
Some of Trump's primary challengers have squarely condemned the riot, while others have danced around the issue. Ron DeSantis, once seen as a formidable primary threat to Trump, has warned that Republicans will lose in 2024 if January 6th is front and center.
But so far, Trump's quest for transparency around one of the most significant events in recent American history does not seem to be damaging his standing with voters.
Strong general election polling against Joe Biden has blunted the narrative that Trump is unelectable while raising alarms among Democrats that Trump could win a second term, despite the attempt to write Trump into the history books as a disgraced insurrectionist.
The former controller at the Trump Organization had an emotional breakdown on the witness stand during Donald Trump's civil fraud trial, as he described being driven from a job he loved by relentless investigations from Trump's rivals.
Jeffrey McConney said he "gave up" after years of being subpoenaed and harassed with questions about Trump's assets.
Despite being one of the most famous real estate icons in the world, Trump never came under legal scrutiny until he entered the political arena.
After years of investigating Trump and his business, Democratic Attorney General Letitia James sued Trump last year, alleging he defrauded lenders by inflating his assets.
During his testimony Tuesday, McConney said he was "proud" of the work he performed at the Trump Organization from 1987 until this February.
Asked by Trump's defense why he left, McConnell lost his composure.
“I just wanted to relax and stop being accused of misrepresenting assets for the company that I loved working for. I’m sorry,” he said.
The judge, Arthur Engoron, has already ruled against Trump, who says the judge is biased against him. Trump has argued that his financial statements undervalued his actual wealth and that they came with "buyer beware" disclaimers.
Trump's expert witnesses have criticized the state's attempts to peg an exact value on Trump's iconic properties, such as Mar-A-Lago and Trump Tower.
“I think everything was justified. Numbers don’t represent fully what these assets are worth,” McConney said.
“To be hit over the head every time with a negative comment over something is just really frustrating, and I gave up,” he said.
James wants to fine Trump $250 million and bar him from doing business in New York. McConney is a defendant in the case along with Trump, his two adult sons, and the Trump Organization.
Trump has made numerous appearances in court to disparage the case and James as politically motivated, including in combative testimony to Engoron.
Trump, who is under a frozen gag order, blasted "racist" James and called Engoron a "psycho" in a scathing Thanksgiving Day post.
Trump accused Engoron of "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."
The case is expected to wrap up in December.
A Fox News journalist who survived a deadly blast while covering the war in Ukraine made a triumphant return to the country this weekend.
Benjamin Hall lost his right leg below the knee, his left foot, the use of his left hand and left eye in the March 2022 attack outside Kyiv.
55-year-old Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski and local fixer Oleksandra “Sasha” Kuvshynova, 24, were also killed.
After 30 surgeries and 20 months, Hall returned to Ukraine this weekend to interview President Zelensky.
The interview comes at a time of growing skepticism of U.S. intervention in the stalemated conflict, which is also being overshadowed by the war in Israel.
Zelensky conceded that Ukraine's counter-offensive has not produced the results many hoped for.
“This is not a good message. This is true,” he said. “But I just want to say that we are — we’re staying strong. It’s difficult for us. Yes, we need more successful results on the battlefield. But we need it for us, first of all."
Zelensky also said he would sit down with Donald Trump to discuss peace negotiations, but Zelensky was skeptical of any deal that involves Russia holding onto its territorial gains.
Hall discussed his trip Tuesday and what it meant for him with Fox News' Special Report.
He said the trip was an opportunity to commemorate the colleagues he lost nearly two years ago.
“It was also an opportunity to remind people that journalism will never be stopped, despite the dangers,” he said.
Hall said he was "intimidated" to return to the country where he was maimed almost two years ago, but the journey gave him new resolve.
“One of the things that surprised me most is that I was a little bit intimidated when I was heading that way, but I actually got off that train in Kyiv, and I felt far more far more strong than I had before, because I think it reminded me that you can go through absolutely anything, you can be pushed down and bad things can happen, but together – and we can remember this on Thanksgiving – together, you can pick yourself up, you can go and do anything you want again,” he said.
One of the Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump for "insurrection," Peter Meijer, is warming up to the former president.
Meijer, a one-term congressman whose family runs the Meijer supermarket chain, lost his primary in Michigan last year.
As he seeks the Senate in Michigan, Meijer tells Politico that he is by no means a Trump hater and he would consider backing him in 2024.
When asked, "Did Trump change or did you?" Meijer dodged the question and blamed "cynical" Democrats for boosting Trump.
Meijer questioned the "timing" of Trump's criminal investigations - including the January 6th probes - suggesting they are politically motivated. Ultimately, Meijer said he is more worried about another term of Biden than Trump returning to power.
"My overarching goal is to make Joe Biden a one-term president. I think that economic damage that he has wrought and will continue to bring will have far more wide-reaching negative consequences on the country than a second non-consecutive Trump administration," he said.
Biden's policies collectively have done more to hurt America than January 6th even if they are not as "dramatic," he said.
"You have the complete and utter disregard of upholding and enforcing existing laws on the southern border and now over 10 million folks that came through illegally combined with disastrous economic consequences from that incredible deficit spending, and the ham-fisted way in which the Biden administration has approached governing. Is that as dramatic as Jan. 6? No. Do I think that will have far more insidious and dangerous repercussions in the long term? Absolutely."
Meijer even defended Trump as a response to an out-of-touch political class that he described as a passive "blob" with no convictions.
A bit of an ironic point, perhaps - coming from the man who just recently was glad to tout his rejection of Trump on principle - but the point is taken.
"I think a lot of the ways in which he kind of shook up the political establishment was a net positive. Like, he shook it too much. After the election, he kind of lost control of where the trends were going. But that does not mean in any way, shape or form that I think we should be returning to the pre-Trump moment," he said.
"I do not at all believe in the wholesale rejection of Donald Trump or the folks that he brought into the party," he added.
Meijer is seeking the open Senate seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow. His campaign has been dismissed as not "viable" by the Senate Republicans' campaign arm, which expressed concern that "the base would not be enthused in the general election."
Meijer has supported Trump in his legal battle in Michigan to stay on the ballot in 2024. Left-wing groups have tried, so far unsuccessfully, to have Trump disqualified over January 6th.
Clearly, Meijer has begun to see the writing on the wall as Trump continues to dominate the 2024 Republican primary.
In a surprising turn of events, Donald Trump is asking for help from Georgia prosecutor Fani Willis as his lawyers prepare his defense in the state's "election subversion" trial.
Trump's top lawyer in Georgia, Steve Sadow, wants to access lists of discovery evidence in Trump's overlapping 2020 election case in Washington D.C.
Sadow asked Willis to contact prosecutor Jack Smith for that material after Trump's lawyers in D.C. said they could not share it, citing a protective order from judge Tanya Chutkan.
Trump is asking for discovery letters that might signal whether the evidence gathered by Smith's team will help Trump's defense in Georgia.
“President Trump is seeking fair and reasonable means to protect his right to due process of law under the U.S. and Georgia Constitutions,” Sadow said in a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Monday.
“We are confident that securing access to relevant discovery contained in the files of the Special Counsel’s Office in D.C. will further support President Trump’s defense and make clear his innocence in the Fulton County case.”
Trump is facing four criminal cases in all, beginning with the D.C. election case on March 3.
Smith has pushed furiously for a trial to happen as soon as possible, while accusing Trump of seeking delay. Willis has asked for the Georgia case to begin in August, which raises the possibility it won't be finished when the 2024 election happens.
In addition to the overlapping election cases, Trump faces a March trial for "hush money" in New York and another trial in May for classified documents, although that one might be delayed. Trump, who has been overtaking Biden in the polls, says the cases are all politically motivated.
Willis charged Trump and 18 other defendants under the state's racketeering laws, accusing them of a "criminal enterprise" to undermine the 2020 election.
Smith, despite failing to charge Trump with insurrection, has accused him of a broad "conspiracy" to undermine "democracy." January 6th was the "culmination" of that conspiracy, Smith says.
Trump's lawyers have said Smith's language is "prejudicial" because the indictment does not actually hold Trump responsible for January 6th, but Chutkan rejected Trump's request to have Smith's controversial language removed from the case.
Chutkan also approved a broad gag order protecting Smith from criticism, which is now being weighed by an appeals court.
Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) is laying into her fellow Republicans in Congress after eight members blocked her plan to impeach Homeland Security chief Alejandro Mayorkas.
Greene blasted the "absolutely outrageous" vote as evidence that the GOP isn't serious about tackling Biden's border crisis.
Mayorkas is currently facing an investigation in the Homeland Security Committee, but Greene questioned the need for further probing as the death toll from fentanyl continues to rise.
"We have had hearing after hearing, listening to parents cry over their children murdered by fentanyl. We are wondering how many dead American bodies are going to have to pile up before Republicans get serious about impeaching Alejandro Mayorkas," she told Fox News Sunday.
Eight Republicans voted with Democrats last week to send Greene's impeachment resolution to the Homeland Security Committee, effectively tabling it.
The eight Republicans are Reps. Ken Buck (R-Co.), Darrell Issa (Ca.), Tom McClintock (Ca.), Patrick McHenry (R-Nc.), John Duarte (R-Ca.), Virginia Foxx (R-Nc.), Cliff Bentz (R-Or.), and Mike Turner (R-Oh.).
Some said they just weren't convinced that Mayorkas merits impeachment, despite his catastrophic handling of the southern border, while others argued that Greene's push was hasty and went against "regular order."
Greene blasted the process arguments as hypocritical, noting that her impeachment articles have been "collecting dust" in the House Judiciary Committee. Four of the eight Republicans who voted to block the Mayorkas impeachment serve on the Judiciary Committee, Greene said.
"They were claiming they wanted the committee process, but they're not bringing the committee process when the articles of impeachment are sitting there not moving through committee," she said.
Greene pledged to make another attempt to impeach Mayorkas after the Thanksgiving break.
"This time, the Republicans in Congress better deliver better results. Mayorkas must be impeached and the invasion must stop," she said.
Mayorkas has long maintained that the border is "secure," even as illegal immigration has reached all-time highs. Unlawful crossings hit 270,000 in September, a record, while fentanyl from Mexico has fueled a public health crisis that is costing 100,000 Americans their lives every year.
Greene, who sits on the Homeland Security committee, confronted Mayorkas during a hearing last week over the killings of two of her constituents in a car crash caused by a human smuggler at the border.
“I want you to know you have a short time coming,” she said. “You can honorably resign or we are going to impeach you and it’s happening very, very soon.”