As the Republican-led investigation into Hunter Biden deepens, new questions have been raised as to whether the Department of Justice played favorites.
According to the Washington Examiner, Attorney General Merrick Garland was in the hot seat this week, grilled by House Republicans on whether or not the DOJ interfered in any way with the Hunter Biden investigation.
For the most part, Garland refused to answer the questions and often deferred the questions to now-Special Counsel David Weiss, who is currently in charge of the Hunter Biden investigation.
The questions regarding possible DOJ interference came as a result of previous bombshell testimony from two IRS whistleblowers who claim the government slow-walked the investigation, and allowed the statute of limitations to expire, thus protecting Hunter Biden from certain charges.
"I don't know the answer to those questions," Garland replied, when asked about the potential slow-walking of the investigation.
When questioned by Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), Attorney General Merrick Garland says he has not interfered in U.S. Attorney David Weiss' investigation into Hunter Biden.
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 20, 2023
The Examiner noted:
Whistleblowers and another FBI witness say Weiss was blocked from bringing charges against Hunter Biden in Washington, D.C., and California, where the alleged tax crimes, as well as possible Foreign Agents Registration Act violations, may have occurred.
While Republican-led committees have worked overtime to get to the bottom of exactly what has taken place, and have made multiple attempts to bring Weiss in for questioning, the DOJ has been protected from doing so given that the investigation is ongoing, not to mention Weiss' special counsel designation.
The DOJ had originally promised that Weiss would be available for testimony and, so far, have not rescinded that promise.
However, the Examiner noted that it said it would prefer that Republicans wait until Weiss finishes his investigation into the president's son.
Meanwhile, House Republicans are gearing up for an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden and his alleged involvement in his son's business dealings -- which he's denied having knowledge of several times.
Joe Biden’s legacy, his presidency, and his family’s freedom and fortune are now on the line. The impeachment inquiry that’s just been opened will ultimately unlock Joe Biden’s bank accounts- his offshore bank accounts and his family’s spider web of shell companies. The… pic.twitter.com/34nU2h9e6e
— Jesse Watters (@JesseBWatters) September 13, 2023
It will take 218 House members to support moving an impeachment inquiry to the Senate for an impeachment trial.
Only time will tell how that pans out, but Weiss's upcoming testimony could certainly have massive implications.
Billy Miller, the Emmy-winning actor who starred on "General Hospital" and "The Young and the Restless" as well as appearing in a number of TV shows and movies, died Friday in Austin, Texas at age 43 while struggling with manic depression.
“The actor was struggling with manic depression when he died,” Miller's manager said in a statement to Variety.
Miller's mother Patricia also released a statement on X about his death.
“He fought a long hard valiant battle with bipolar depression for years,” she wrote. “He did everything he could to control the disease. He loved his family, his friends and his fans but in the end the disease won the fight and he surrendered his life. The other causes of death being told are not true. I wish they were but they just aren’t. We all loved him so much and are desperately trying to deal with our loss. I will have nothing further to say. Thanks for the love and support.”
Miller grew up in Texas and battled a rare medical condition during his childhood that affected the cartilage in his ankles.
He got his start in the entertainment industry when he was signed as a model with Wilhemina, and made the jump to "All My Children" in 2007.
He soon moved to "The Young and the Restless," where he earned three Daytime Emmys for portraying Billy Abbott. Two of the awards were for outstanding supporting actor, and one was for outstanding lead actor.
In 2014, he transitioned to "General Hospital," where he stayed until 2019.
He also had roles on the TV shows "Suits (5 episodes)," “NCIS,” “The Rookie,” “Truth Be Told,” “Major Crimes,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Castle” and “Enormous.”
He had featured roles in Clint Eastwood’s 2014 war drama “American Sniper” and Craig Brewer’s 2016 “Urban Cowboy” TV movie.
Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, is a mental health condition characterized by extreme highs and lows in people's moods.
The depression experienced during lows has often led to suicide attempts when not properly treated.
Even when the condition is diagnosed and known, people often stop taking their medications in the months or years between episodes, when everything seems to be fine and they forget what the extremes are like.
There is help for people feeling symptoms of depression and having thoughts of suicide. A suicide hotline is available 24 hours a day by calling or texting 988.
Hunter Biden filed a lawsuit against the IRS on Monday in Washington, D.C., alleging that the agency illegally released his tax information and failed to protect his privacy.
He is seeking through the suit $1,000 per unauthorized disclosure plus attorneys' fees and copies of the documents that were illegally released.
The suit did not name the two IRS whistleblowers responsible for the alleged disclosures, Gary Shapely and Joseph Ziegler, as defendants in the suit even though it was public statements, congressional testimony and interviews by them and their lawyers that caused the disclosures.
Donald Trump appointed Judge Timothy Kelly has been assigned to the case.
Biden has more than enough legal trouble to keep him busy after David Weiss indicted him last week on three gun felonies. Tax charges could also be pending in D.C. or California after a plea deal fell apart in July that would have shielded him from the gun charges, from all jail time, and possibly from any other criminal charges going forward due to an unusual immunity clause that the judge in the case discovered.
“Despite clear warnings from Congress that they were prohibited from disclosing the contents of their testimony to the public in another forum, Mr. Shapley and Mr. Ziegler’s testimony only emboldened their media campaign against Mr. Biden,” the lawsuit states. “And finally, since their public testimony before the House of Representatives on July 19, 2023, the agents have become regular guests on national media outlets and have made new allegations and public statements regarding Mr. Biden’s confidential tax return information that were not previously included in their transcripts before the Committee on Ways and Means.”
The case specifically points to a CBS interview in which Shapley allegedly shared that Biden claimed “prostitutes, sex club memberships, hotel rooms for purported drug dealers” as business expenses and that he owed $2.2 million in unpaid taxes.
Shapley's attorneys insisted that he only shared details allowed by law, called the lawsuit a "frivolous smear," and said that the suit was an attempt to “distract from the ever-growing evidence that supports the testimony of the two IRS whistleblowers.”
“These agents’ putative ‘whistleblower’ status cannot and does not shield them from their wrongful conduct in making unauthorized public disclosures that are not permitted by the whistleblower process," the suit read. "In fact, a ‘whistleblower’ is supposed to uncover government misconduct, not the details of that employee’s opinion about the alleged wrongdoing of a private person.”
On Friday before the suit was filed, Shapley's lawyers claimed that Hunter Biden tried to get the DOJ to retaliate against him and Ziegler for making protected disclosures under whistleblower rules.
“Taxpayer privacy laws are written by Congress, and it gave itself authority in those laws to hear disclosures about taxpayer information,” Shapley’s attorney said in a statement.
Weiss was named special counsel in the case after the plea deal fell apart and Weiss suggested that more charges could be brought against Biden.
The immunity clause that was contained within the plea deal could have prevented Weiss and the DOJ from looking into Biden's foreign business dealings and whether President Joe Biden was involved in any of them, and immunized Hunter Biden from any charges resulting from them.
An impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden that was launched by the House this week seeks those answers and more. FOX News contributor Jonathan Turley said Monday that the lawsuit by Biden would not get in the way of the impeachment inquiry.
Hunter Biden is screaming at an approaching storm. It's not going to change its course. The fact is that the House has an obligation to see where this evidence goes.
The Democratic National Committee's (DNC) attempt to help President Joe Biden in the 2024 presidential election is simply not working, according to the Washington Examiner.
What the Examiner is referring to is the way that Biden and the DNC, earlier this year, made changes to the Democrats' primary schedule. Biden, for example, swapped the position of Iowa and South Carolina, putting South Carolina ahead of Iowa.
The point of the changes is to put the primaries in an order that would be more favorable to Biden.
But, according to the Examiner's report, things are not going according to plan for Biden and the DNC.
The problem, according to the Examiner, is that many of the states are simply not cooperating with Biden's attempt to switch up the order of the Democratic primaries.
The Examiner reports:
[S]everal states are openly rebelling against the switch up, with state officials refusing to comply with the changes that DNC committee members voted on in February.
Among those states that are not complying with Biden's plan is New Hampshire, which, under the plan, would be placed after South Carolina, thereby losing its first-in-the-nation presidential primary status.
The Examiner reports:
New Hampshire has refused to comply with the DNC, missing multiple deadlines and deadline extensions, with the third one issued Thursday, set by the national Democrats to file a plan that follows the 2024 presidential primary schedule.
Iowa and Georgia are also not cooperating with Biden and the DNC, according to the Examiner.
It is not immediately clear how this is all going to play out. Several of the states that are mentioned above are adamant about setting their own primary date, independent of what the DNC and Biden would like.
Accordingly, it does not appear as though the DNC and Biden are going to get their way. But, time will tell.
If the polls are to be believed, then Biden should not have any worry about the upcoming presidential primaries. Real Clear Politics currently has Biden leading the 2024 Democratic primary field, on average, by 54.8 percentage points.
Biden does, though, have several problems with regard to the general election. For one, several recent polls have shown that a clear majority of Americans believe that Biden is too old to seek another term. Additionally, the polls show that Biden's overall approval rating is at or near an all-time low and that Biden's approval rating on key issues - such as the U.S. economy - is also underwater.
So, while Biden is expected to win the Democratic Party's 2024 presidential nomination, the general election would appear to be a different story altogether.
Former President Donald Trump and his legal team are now targeting the judge overseeing the civil case that New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) has brought against him.
Trump, according to the Daily Beast, has actually brought a lawsuit against the judge - Justice Arthur F. Engoron.
Trump filed the lawsuit on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023.
The lawsuit comes just before the Oct. 2, 2023, trial date for James's case against Trump. James claims that Trump and his associates lied about his assets and his net worth, and, accordingly, she is seeking a $250 million fine and a court order preventing Trump and his sons - Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump - from being able to run the Trump Organization. Trump has maintained his innocence.
Trump has filed the lawsuit with New York's First Department appellate court. The lawsuit names both Engoron and James as defendants.
The Daily Beast reports:
Thursday’s court filing claims Engoron and James are both acting to defy appellate orders . . . Trump’s legal team says Engoron is overstepping his authority, and they want an appellate judge to put him in his place.
The lawsuit has not been made public, and reports do not clearly articulate Trump's arguments, here.
Instead, reports indicate that Trump, in the lawsuit, claims that Engoron is not adhering to an earlier decision that was made by an appeals court - a decision that should limit the scope of the case that James has brought against him.
Additionally, Trump is reported as arguing that Engoron's refusal to grant his request for a delay in the trial is "completely without merit."
Depending on how things go, Trump's lawsuit against Engoron could have a serious impact on James's case - it could even derail it.
The appellate court, at the moment, has placed a temporary hold on James's case against Trump. As mentioned earlier, the case was scheduled to begin on Oct. 2, 2023. But, now, it appears that the start of the trial could be delayed - although there is still a possibility that it will start on time.
The purpose of the delay is to give the entire appellate court a chance to consider Trump's lawsuit against Engoron and James. The appellate court has indicated that it expects to issue its decision on the matter by the week of Sept. 25.
Neither Trump nor Engoron has issued a statement on the matter.
James, on the other hand, said, "We are confident in our case and will be ready for trial."
The case that New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) has brought against former President Donald Trump has been put on hold.
A New York state appeals court judge on Thursday temporarily halted the scheduled Oct. 2 trial in New York Attorney General Letitia James' fraud lawsuit against Donald Trump and his family business, a spokesman for the court said.
This temporary hold comes after Trump brought a lawsuit against James as well as against the judge overseeing the case, namely, Judge Arthur Engoron.
The Daily Beast was the first to report on this lawsuit, which has yet to be made public.
Per the outlet, "Thursday’s court filing claims Engoron and James are both acting to defy appellate orders . . ."
The outlet adds, "Trump’s legal team says Engoron is overstepping his authority, and they want an appellate judge to put him in his place."
CBS News provides more details on the lawsuit, reporting:
The suit accuses Engoron of neglecting an earlier appeals court decision that Trump's team says should shrink the scope of the case against him . . . Trump's lawyers also raised Engoron's terse refusal to grant their recent request for a three-week trial delay, which he ruled as "completely without merit."
It appears that New York's appellate court is going to consider Trump's lawsuit against James and Engoron.
Justice David Friedman, a judge on the state's intermediate appellate court, granted an interim stay of the trial and ordered the full appeals court to consider the lawsuit on an expedited basis. The court indicated it would issue a decision the week of Sept. 25, meaning the trial could still start on schedule depending on how it rules.
In the meantime, other aspects of James' case against Trump will continue. This includes the oral arguments that are set for Sept. 22.
Neither spokespeople for Trump nor Ergoron have commented upon Friedman's ruling. But, James has.
James put out a statement, saying, "We are confident in our case and will be ready for trial."
James filed her lawsuit against Trump in September 2022, following a three-year investigation. James, according to Reuters, claims that "Trump and his associates lied over a decade about his assets and net worth." Accordingly, James is "seeking a $250 million fine, and to bar Trump and his sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump from leading the family business, the Trump Organization."
Trump maintains his innocence, and he has argued that James is politically motivated. Trump, and others, have emphasized the fact that James, while running for attorney general, promised to "get Trump."
Former President Donald Trump has filed a motion to dismiss the criminal case that has been brought against him in Fulton County, Georgia, NBC News reports.
This is the same case that has been brought against Trump and nearly 20 other co-defendants by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D).
Willis alleges that Trump and the other defendants committed crimes when they attempted to challenge Georgia's results in the 2020 presidential election. The charges range from racketeering to conspiracy to soliciting a public official to violate their oath of office.
Trump and the other defendants have all pleaded not guilty to the charges. Trump maintains that Willis' motivation is not legal but political - that Willis is attempting to use the American justice system to derail Trump's 2024 campaign.
Trump and his legal team filed the motion to dismiss on Monday.
The New York Times reports, "Former President Donald J. Trump asked a judge on Monday to throw out most of the 13 charges against him . . ."
The outlet adds, "A flurry of one-page motions from Mr. Trump’s Georgia lawyer, Steven H. Sadow, piggyback off more expansive recent motions by some of the other 18 defendants in the case, including one filed on behalf of the lawyer Ray Smith III."
The Times goes on to describe Smith's motion, writing:
Among other things, Mr. Smith’s motion says that the charge of violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO — which all 19 defendants face — seeks to “punish protected First Amendment activity” and fails to “sufficiently allege the existence” of a racketeering enterprise whose goal was to overturn Mr. Trump’s narrow 2020 election loss in the state.
This all appears to be the beginning of an aggressive defensive effort against Willis by Trump and his legal team.
It is unclear whether Trump will have any success with this motion to dismiss. It is mostly likely, given all of the circumstances, that he will not.
Trump, however, has a much better chance of being successful on a motion that he has yet to file, namely, a motion to remove the case from state court to federal court. Trump has indicated that he plans to file such a removal motion, but, at the time of this writing, he has yet to do so.
It is true that Mark Meadows, Trump’s former White House chief of staff, has filed such a motion and lost. But, legal experts still believe that it is likely that Trump would win on a removal motion, given the fact that Trump, as president, was clearly a federal officer.
Willis has yet to respond to Trump's motion to dismiss.
Such a response is what would be expected to happen next in this case.
Former President Donald Trump's classified documents indictment, his second of four total indictments this year, now has "guardrails" in place as far as what he and his legal team can discuss, evidence-wise.
According to the Washington Examiner, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon set the rules this week, which the Examiner noted is "standard protocol" for cases involving classified documents.
The judge focused on how the evidence, much of which is classified, can be discussed, noting that any discussions will take place in a SCIF [sensitive compartmented information facility].
The SCIF area will authorized by a court-appointed chief information security officer.
The rules were set by the judge this week after Special Counsel Jack Smith and Trump's legal defense team went back and forth in attempting to negotiate where the SCIF reviews would take place.
Judge Cannon warned that "any unauthorized disclosure or mishandling of classified information may constitute violations of federal criminal law."
As far as Trump's view, given the large volume of documents, his lawyers argued that he should have convenient access to a SCIF, even suggesting one be set up at Mar-a-Lago.
"So that President Trump and his legal team may discuss classified information in a substantive manner as regularly as necessary to prepare an adequate defense, we respectfully request that the Court approve re-establishment of a secure facility in which President Trump previously discussed (and reviewed) classified information during his term as President of the United States," his attorneys wrote.
A judge rebuffs Trump's request to view classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.
“All classified information disclosed by the United States government to the defense, shall be stored, maintained and used only in the SCIF established by the [official]."https://t.co/w5pHKE7G8S
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) September 13, 2023
Not surprisingly, Smith and his team of prosecutors didn't like that idea, arguing that Mar-a-Lago is "less suited" to be transformed into a SCIF given that it's a "social club" in addition to the former president's residence.
"In essence, he is asking to be the only defendant ever in a case involving classified information (at least to the Government’s knowledge) who would be able to discuss classified information in a private residence," Smith's team wrote in their filing.
National security lawyer Brad Moss indicated that it's not totally out of the question that a SCIF could be established at Mar-a-Lago, noting that it will ultimately be up to the chief security officer.
"It is highly unlikely that this government security officer will authorize such a controversial step at what is literally the scene of the alleged crime itself," Moss added.
Only time will tell if Trump's lawyers win this particular battle.
Support for both former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden in their respective primaries has fallen in the most recent polling, but their chances of winning are still pretty good.
Trump's support has dropped from 62% in May to 49% now, according to an Emerson College poll of GOP voters.
Second-place candidate Ron DeSantis also dropped from 20% to 14% in the polling, but the votes that Trump and DeSantis had are being split between four or five other candidates all polling below 10%.
Biden's support in a separate poll shows him at 50%, down from 69% in May. However, no other candidates for the Democrat nomination have seen an increase in votes; instead, the "someone else" category has risen to 34%.
For Biden, it may be a repeat of 2020, when he wasn't able to get enough votes to get the nomination outright. This time, though, there's not even another candidate like Bernie Sanders to dilute his votes--a lot of people just don't want him.
Unfortunately, Trump also has a large number of detractors who will not vote for him no matter what happens with the nomination, so it should be an interesting election if it ends up being these two again.
Biden has been significantly weakened by allegations of corruption and bribes on top of his terrible failed policies in just about every area.
His favorability is down to 39%, and Trump's is in similar territory in spite of a surge in support around the four separate indictments against him.
Several polls also stated that a large majority of voters believe that Biden is too old to run for another term.
One thing that shouldn't factor into the 2024 race is COVID-19, which is no longer considered a great threat. Democrats could try to manufacture another emergency to create similar conditions, however.
But theoretically, no COVID-era voting rules should mean no cheating, right?
Democrats were unable to ram through their "voting rights" act, so red states should be able to run their elections fairly at least. As for purple states (Pennslyvania, Arizona, and Georgia to name a few), it remains to be seen whether loosened rules will ensure that the left takes control (or retains it).
With the two seemingly most unfavorable candidates on the ballot, this should be an election for the ages.
Anything can happen, and might.
Lisa Lyon, a pioneering female bodybuilder, has passed away at the age of 70 following a fight with stomach cancer, as NY Daily News reported.
This came less than a week after TMZ reported that Lyon had recently been moved to hospice care, the Los Angeles native reportedly passed away on Friday at her home in San Fernando Valley, California.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, a competitor in the same sport, stated to the source that Lyon was "the best."
They once posed for a picture together, and in one of the shots, Lyon is seen carrying Arnold Schwarzenegger aloft on her shoulders.
She stood 5 feet, 4 inches tall and weighed only 120 pounds at the time, in comparison to Arnold Schwarzenegger's 225 pounds, which is reported to be the amount of weight she was capable of deadlifting.
Arnold Schwarzenegger sits on the shoulders of bodybuilder and future model in Playboy magazine Lisa Lyon . USA , 1979 pic.twitter.com/O1Wsr7gngj
— DrPopCulture (@DrPopCultureUSA) July 31, 2023
In 1979, Lyon was the only woman to win the Women's World Pro Bodybuilding Championship held by the International Federation of Bodybuilders.
The year after that, Lyon posed for Playboy magazine, showing off her abs. The weight lifter was also photographed by renowned photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in 1983 for an exhibition at a gallery in SoHo.
Even when Frank Miller was coming up with the concept for the Marvel Comics character Elektra, he looked to Lyon for the original spark of creativity.
In 1981, her book "Lisa Lyon's Body Magic," which was a manual for at-home bodybuilding, was made available to the public.
She also had a brief acting career, appearing in "Three Crowns of the Sailor" in 1983, the bodybuilding movie "Getting Physical" in 1984, and "Vamp" alongside Grace Jones in 1986. All three of which were released in the United States.
In recognition of her work in transforming bodybuilding into an art form, she was admitted into the International Fitness and Bodybuilding Federal Hall of Fame in the year 2000.
Lyon was remembered by many in and out of the industry on social media. "We join the bodybuilding world in mourning the passing of bodybuilding pioneer Lisa Lyon, who lost her battle with stomach cancer," said FitGems Nation.
We join the bodybuilding world in mourning the passing of bodybuilding pioneer Lisa Lyon, who lost her battle with stomach cancer today. She was 70. May she rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/wpazcwfec0
— FitGems Nation (@FitGemsNation) September 9, 2023
Many users called her a "pioneer of female bodybuilding," and others called her a "one of a kind."