Tuesday, former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan, who was already incarcerated on corruption allegations, received an additional ten years in prison for the alleged mishandling of security documents.

The recent conviction has been made public just nine days prior to the Pakistani election, where Khan, were he not incarcerated, would likely be the leading candidate for prime minister, as Breitbart News reported.

A special court convened under Pakistan's Official Secrets Act to prosecute the "Cipher Case," which pertains to the management of a diplomatic document that gained notoriety in its own right during the summer of 2023, handed down a sentence for Khan.

A March 2022 meeting between U.S. State Department officials and Pakistan's then-ambassador to the United States, Asad Majeed Khan, was detailed in the classified diplomatic cable.

Political Stance

As per Ambassador Khan's account, the State Department expressed strong displeasure with Prime Minister Khan's stance regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine and explicitly desired a replacement for the prime ministerial position.

“I think if the no-confidence vote against the Prime Minister succeeds, all will be forgiven in Washington because the Russia visit is being looked at as a decision by the Prime Minister. Otherwise, I think it will be tough going ahead,” Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu told Ambassador Khan.

The following month, the vote of no confidence was successful, deposing Imran Khan, the first prime minister of Pakistan to be removed by such a procedure.

Khan vehemently claimed the diplomatic cable as evidence that his removal was the result of an American-led foreign conspiracy.

There is ongoing debate regarding the credibility of the Cipher Case cable, as the State Department maintains that the Biden administration did not hold a stance on the matter of the prime minister of Pakistan, regardless of the contents of the cable.

Both Khan and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi were found to have mismanaged the Cipher Case document by the Pakistani special court, which imposed a ten-year prison sentence on each of them.

The Allegations

Khan faced allegations that he showed the diplomatic dispatch at a political rally in March 2022, prior to the vote of no confidence that resulted in his removal from office, with the intention of presenting it as evidence of an external conspiracy targeting him.

Qureshi, a high-ranking member of Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Party, faced allegations of divulging a classified government document with the intention of securing political benefit. Both individuals stated they were unaware of the cipher's whereabouts following its disappearance from Khan's office.

Khan had previously received a five-year ban from standing for office from the election commission of Pakistan.

Similar to Khan, Qureshi was incarcerated but had been permitted to seek election to the legislature until Tuesday's judgment, which disqualified him from running for office.

Khan asserted that the ruling was the product of a vindictive plot by foreign powers and the Pakistani military to prevent his re-election. Aleema, his sister, speculated that adversarial forces were "directing" the judge, resulting in the hasty proceeding of the trial prior to the opportunity to summon Pakistani military leaders and U.S. officials as witnesses.

Senate Republicans are hopeful that they can unseat at least one Democrat in the 2024 race, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (WI) even though they have failed to do so two previous times. 

The reason for their optimism is that businessman Eric Hovde plans to enter the race next month with the potential to spend $20 million of his own money on the race.

“Wisconsin is going to be one of the top states. It’s a battleground for the presidential race. It’ll be a battleground state for the Senate. Eric Hovde … would be a great candidate,” National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Steve Daines (R-MT) said.

“He’s been involved in a big campaign before, and it looks like he’s doing a really good job of preparing for the battle,” he continued. “That race is going to be really competitive.”

Obviously worried

Hovde last ran for Wisconsin Senate in 2012, when he lost the primary to previous Governor Tommy Thompson. Thompson lost to Baldwin in the general, however.

The power of incumbency is strong, but a battleground state like Wisconsin is the perfect place to attempt a flip.

Democrats have already started attacking Hovde as a "MAGA extremist" and for "cruelty" as a real estate developer, but Hovde brushed off the attacks in December as “silly and stupid.”

“Most of them are lies,” he said at the time. “Obviously they are very worried given I haven’t even announced anything.”

A Republican majority

Republicans have the advantage in taking the Senate majority in 2024, given that they only have to defend 11 seats while Democrats are defending 23.

If they can win the presidential election and the seat in West Virginia being vacated by Sen. Joe Manchin (D), they could gain the majority with the vice president as the tiebreaking vote even if they don't flip any other seats.

A total of eight Democrat Senate seats are considered vulnerable in 2024, however, so if they flip a few more it will give them breathing room in case they get a dissenter the way Manchin functioned for Democrats in many scenarios.

Only one Republican seat, Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas, is considered even slightly vulnerable.

Why is it important?

If a Republican wins the presidency, a Republican Senate will allow them to move judicial and other nominees smoothly through the process.

If a Democrat wins, a Republican Senate will be a check on more extreme nominees by that party.

Former President Donald Trump continues to target Judge Lewis Kaplan as he promises to appeal the recent ruling in the E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit. 

In case you missed it, the jury handed Carroll a massive reward on Friday.

The Associated Press reported:

A jury awarded $83.3 million to E. Jean Carroll on Friday in a stinging and expensive rebuke to former President Donald Trump for his continued social media attacks against the longtime advice columnist over her claims that he sexually assaulted her in a Manhattan department store.

Now, Trump is promising to appeal the case, and it appears that Kaplan is likely to be a big focus of Trump's legal team.

An appeal is forthcoming

Not long after the jury's decision, Trump took to social media to make it clear that he will be appealing the ruling.

"Absolutely ridiculous! I fully disagree with both verdicts, and will be appealing this whole Biden Directed Witch Hunt focused on me and the Republican Party," Trump wrote.

He added, "Our Legal System is out of control, and being used as a Political Weapon. They have taken away all First Amendment Rights. THIS IS NOT AMERICA!"

Then, in a subsequent post, Trump wrote, "There is no longer Justice in America. Our Judicial System is Broken and Unfair!"

Trump has maintained his innocence. He has insisted that, contrary to what Carroll has claimed, he did not sexually assault her. Trump, instead, has argued that Carroll made the claim to sell her book and that Carrol is part of a larger effort by the Democrats to upend his presidential campaign.

Looking ahead

Trump has yet to file his appeal, so we do not know exactly what his legal team is going to argue.

However, based on public comments that have been made by both Trump and his legal team, it is probably safe to predict that at least some of their arguments will concern the Clinton-appointed Judge Kaplan and Kaplan's alleged mishandling of the case.

Alina Habba, Trump's attorney, for example, said the following after the jury awarded Carroll $83 million: "We were stripped of every defense - every single defense - before we walked in there, and I am proud to stand with President Trump because he showed up, he stood up, he took the stand, and he faced this judge."

Similar statements have been made by Trump, who has especially emphasized the potentially exonerating evidence that Kaplan refused to allow the jury to see. It appears that the appeal will also likely focus on alleged conflicts of interest that Kaplan has, including the allegation that Kaplan had previously mentored Carroll's lawyer - something that Trump's legal team says that it was unaware of until recently.

The next question will be whether or not Trump can get a fair hearing on appeal. Time will tell.

Radio personality Adam Carolla and Lynette Carolla have reached a divorce agreement. 

This is according to a new report from People magazine.

Per the outlet:

According to documents obtained by PEOPLE, the 59-year-old host of The Adam Carolla Show podcast and his now-ex-wife finalized their divorce on Wednesday, nearly two and a half years after he initially filed to end their marriage of 19 years in May 2021.

It appears that Adam Carolla, as part of the agreement is going to be forking over a rather large sum of money.

$4 million upfront plus about $600k per year

First off, it appears that Adam Carolla is going to be paying his ex-wife a one-time payment of $4 million. This is said to be an "equalization" payment, and it is going to come, in part, from some of the proceeds that he receives for the sale of their La Canada Flintridge, California home.

In addition to this one-time payment of $4 million, Adam Carolla is also, reportedly, going to be paying his ex-wife $32,000 per month for spousal support and $17,000 per month in child support.

That is nearly $50,000 per month, which comes to about $600,000 per year.

As mentioned, the most expensive asset that is going to be sold as part of the divoce is the La Canada Flintridge house. It is currently on the market for $8.35 million.

It appears, however, that Carolla will keep many of his other assets, including his $13 million car collection and his Paul Newman memorabilia, which is estimated to be worth about $150,000.

The children

Adam and Lynette Carolla had been together a decades - since the mid-1990s. They married in September 2002, and they have 17-year-old twins together, named Natalia and Santino.

This helps to explain where the $17,000 child support payment will be going.

The Carollas, in their divorce settlement, have also reached an agreement regarding custody of the children. The document states that they will share joint custody. The specifics of the arrangement have not been reported.

When Adam Carolla announced the divorce in May 2021 during a broadcast of The Adam Carolla Show. At the time, he revealed that he and Lynette had already been separated for several months. Adam also made it clear that, for both he and Lynette, "kids come first."

Adam Carolla, at the time, explained:

We've been together for 25 years, we're very different human beings, we have different sets of philosophies, that's for sure. It's not an event, it's not somebody was cheating, it's not chronic gambling or COVID, it's really just two people that were just that different and just had completely different processes and approaches to life and just couldn't meet in the middle somewhere.

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) just might be the frontrunner to become former President Donald Trump's running mate. 

This is according to a new report from the Washington Examiner. 

"Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) stoked speculation that he could be Donald Trump’s pick for vice president after he endorsed the former president in the GOP primary on Friday," the outlet reports.

Scott's endorsement

In case you missed it, Scott endorsed Trump on Friday, Jan. 19, 2024, at the New Hampshire primary, which Trump went on to win.

"We need a president who will close our southern border today. We need Donald Trump," Scott said.

He added, "We need a president who will unite our country. We need Donald Trump. We need a president who will protect your Social Security and my mama’s Social Security. We need Donald Trump."

Scott himself was a participant in the 2024 Republican presidential primary until he realized that he did not have a legitimate chance of winning. After dropping out, he refused to put his support behind another candidate until just recently, with this endorsement of Trump.

The speculation

The Examiner, for its report, shows that many congressional Republicans have suggested that a Trump-Scott general election ticket could win.

U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) has even suggested that Scott's recent engagement to Mindy Noce could be a sign that Scott is gearing up to be Trump's running mate.

"He’s preparing for it. He’s getting married," Tuberville said.

Scott's dodge

Scott was asked about whether he is interested in becoming Trump's running mate during a recent appearance on CNN's State of the Union. Scott dodged the question.

He said, "The only thing I want is four more years of Donald Trump and a Republican majority in the Senate, majority in the House, and the White House so that poor kids who are today growing up in neighborhoods like I grew up in have a chance for quality education."

Some have interpreted Scott's dodge as a sign that he is not interested in becoming Trump's running mate, while others have interpreted it as a sign that Scott is interested in becoming Trump's running mate. Scott told the CNN host that she "could take [his response] any way [she] wants."

Trump has yet to give any indication about whom he is going to select to be his running mate. Besides Scott, other frontrunners are said to include Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders and U.S. Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH).

Frank Buck, the Tennessee politician, has died at the age of 80. 

According to his obituary, which was posted to lovecantrell.com, Buck died on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024.

The obituary states, "Frank Forrest Buck, 80, of Dowelltown passed away on January 24, 2024, at NHC HealthCare in Smithville, Tennessee."

Further details about Buck's passing have not been provided. The cause of his death remains unreported.

Who was Frank Buck?

Buck was a farmer and an attorney, but he is most well-known for his time in Tennessee state politics.

WTVF reports:

[Buck] graduated from Tennessee Technological University, and while he was a student at the university, married his wife, Lena Ann Graves Buck, in 1962. Buck went to law school at the University of Tennessee College of Law, and eventually, joined the DeKalb County law firm owned by McAllen Foutch before starting his own practice — Buck & Buck Attorneys.

It was in 1972 that Buck entered into state politics as a Democrat.

The outlet continues:

He ran for the Tennessee General Assembly in 1972, representing DeKalb, Cannon and Smith Counties, as well as a portion of Rutherford County. For the next 36 years, Buck represented District 40 in the General Assembly as a Democrat. He left the role in 2008.

During his time in the state house, Buck spent time as the chairman of various committees, including the judiciary, conservation, and environment committees, among others.

Buck's legacy

Buck is probably best known for the work that he did on ethics reform.

The Tennessean reports:

During his 18 terms in the state House of Representatives, Buck was known for championing ethics reform. He worked to establish avenues for transparency and accountability in state government, and advocated for public disclosure of lobbyists’ activity, financial disclosures for lawmakers and establishment of a strong ethics commission.

Buck continued in the Tennessee State House until 2008.

A few years before his retirement, he said, "I’ve been here 33 years, and when I retire from this place and when I see my constituents on the street, I’d like to have their respect that I did a good job for them and that I was an honorable public servant."

Buck's obituary states:

Frank is survived by his wife of over sixty-one (61) years, Lena, and daughters, Kathryn Buck Pursell (Brice) of Dowelltown; Melinda Buck Brown (Chase) of Oak Ridge; Sara Buck Doude (John) of Milledgeville, Georgia; and Jennifer Buck of Dowelltown; six grandchildren, Frank Forrest Pursell (Taylor) of Crossville; Ann Pursell Williams (Timothy) of Liberty; William Pursell of Liberty; Emeline Brown Hébert (Luke) of Nashville; Ellie Brown of Nashville; and Lilah Brown of Oak Ridge; and two great grandchildren, Lena Pursell of Liberty and Caroline Pursell of Crossville.

Former President Donald Trump, despite his legal challenges and constant stream of negative press from a bulk of the mainstream media, is cruising toward an easy victory.

According to Breitbart, in the wake of historic victories in Iowa and New Hampshire, the former president has already declared victory in Nevada, where former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, his last opponent, is not running.

Trump held nothing back in his message, writing, "WE JUST WON NEVADA!"

After Trump crushed Haley in New Hampshire this week, the former president and many of his allies, including some of his former GOP opponents, have dialed up the pressure on Haley to exit the race and allow the party to rally behind him fully.

What's happening?

The Nevada situation is certainly unique and somewhat weird. Breitbart cited a New York Times quote as an explanation as to why Trump will win the state.

"A 2021 law requires Nevada to hold state-run presidential primaries, but the state G.O.P. has opted to host its own caucuses two days later. Only the caucus results will be used to allocate delegates," the Times quote read.

Haley opted to take part in the state-run primary and will not take part in the Republican Party's caucuses, which will determine who takes home the delegates.

In other words, Haley's not even on the list, and Trump will capture all 26 delegates, further cementing his path to victory as the GOP presidential nominee for 2024.

In the short term, Haley will cede to Trump the Nevada caucuses and focus on her home state of South Carolina. But then what?

Nikki Haley’s Strategies? https://t.co/yTIAw7QS3r via @VDHanson

— Victor Davis Hanson (@VDHanson) January 25, 2024

Breitbart noted:

Former 2024 candidates, like Vivek Ramaswamy and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), were to participate in the caucuses, CBS News previously documented, but both men have dropped out of the race and endorsed Trump.

Focusing on South Carolina

Haley and her campaign still believe they have a shot in her home state of South Carolina, even as polls show otherwise and as South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, a former presidential candidate, endorsed Trump.

After pretending she didn't get squashed on Tuesday night in New Hampshire, Haley released what seemed to many like a forced, optimistic statement regarding where her sights are set.

"This race is far from over. There are dozens of states left to go, and the next one is my sweet state of South Carolina," Haley said Tuesday night.

Many believe that if and when she's beaten in her home state, she'll have no choice but to drop out and finally stop wasting donor and RNC money on her campaign, which isn't really going anywhere.

On Tuesday, the former president's attempt to have the district court hear his challenge to a gag order in his election meddling case was denied by a federal appeals court.

According to a report by The Hill, this move sets the stage for what is likely to be a Supreme Court showdown over speech limitations imposed on him.

In this instance, a three-judge panel of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals had essentially maintained a lower court's decision that limited Trump's speech.

Trump was already forbidden from making statements that "target" foreseeable witnesses, court officials, and prosecutors, and that finding substantially upheld Judge Tanya Chutkan's earlier ruling.

The Appeal

The appeals court narrowed the scope of that order, preventing Trump from making any remarks that could  “made with the intent to materially interfere with, or to cause others to materially interfere with” the course of the case.

The matter will most likely be taken up by the Supreme Court following the D.C. Circuit's denial of rehearing the case. While the justices consider the gag order, Trump may urge them to delay its implementation.

This is just one of numerous fights involving Trump's numerous pending legal matters that have been making their way to the Supreme Court.

Trump's exclusion from the Colorado ballot was based on a decision that violated the 14th Amendment's restriction on insurrection, and the Supreme Court has already heard an appeal of that decision. Less than three weeks remain until the oral arguments.

But if the justices do agree to examine Trump's gag order, it will be the first time they've intervened in any of Trump's four criminal cases since he was charged.

Smith's Case

Special counsel Jack Smith has indicted Trump with four felonies in the District of Columbia, alleging that he conspired to undermine the 2020 election results. Trump has pled not-guilty.

The question of whether or not Trump enjoys criminal immunity for crimes committed while in office is another potential future battleground for the Supreme Court to consider.

The plea to bypass the normal appeals process and decide Trump's immunity immediately was denied by the Supreme Court. As a result, the case will now move via the D.C. Circuit.

Now that the gag order fight is over, Trump can take his case to the Supreme Court.

The circuit court majority disagreed with Chutkan's choice of the word "target," thinking it may prevent Trump from addressing potential witnesses and critics of his campaign.

According to the judges, their standard reads as follows: "as long as he does not concern their roles as witnesses or the content of any expected testimony," which means the former president can talk about the same people's books, articles, editorials, interviews, or political campaigns.

Additionally, on Chutkan's directive, Smith was removed from the list of protected figures, allowing Trump to make more critical remarks regarding the lead prosecutor in the case.

After an appeals court ruling favored Texas in the ongoing fight between the Biden administration's open border policies and Texas's attempts to secure the border, the divided Supreme Court ruled 

As a report from Breitbart News outlined, the court issued a stay allowing agents of the Biden administration to open Texas's border barrier.

On Monday, the court voted five to four in favor of the Democrats, with two justices appointed by Republicans joining the Democrats. Litigation is still ongoing in the lower court.

On December 19, a three-judge panel from the Fifth Circuit of the US Court of Appeals had granted Texas's request for an injunction.

Lower Court's Decision

In his court-ordered explanation of the issue, Judge Kyle Duncan stated the court's reason for the ruling.

"The number of Border Patrol encounters with migrants illegally entering the country has swelled from a comparatively paltry 458,000 in 2020 to 1.7 million in 2021 and 2.4 million in 2022," the judge said

"Unsurprisingly, the situation has been exploited by drug cartels, who have made an incredibly lucrative enterprise out of trafficking human beings and illegal drugs like fentanyl, which is frequently encountered in vast quantities at the border."

The panel went on, saying "In 2021, Texas launched Operation Lone Star to aid the Border Patrol through allocation of state resources.

"The activity in question here is Texas’s laying of concertina wire along several sections of the riverfront. The c-wire serves as a deterrent—an effective one at that, causing illegal crossings to drop precipitously.

"By all accounts, Border Patrol is grateful for the assistance of Texas law enforcement, and the evidence shows the parties work cooperatively across the state, including in El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley."

Texas' Case

Claiming trespass, a tort known as "trespass to chattels," and a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), Texas sued to prevent federal authorities from cutting the border wire.

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ), under Attorney General Merrick Garland's leadership, sought dismissal of the lawsuit. Even states cannot sue the federal government or any of its agencies without Congress's explicit permission, as Duncan pointed out.

"Section 702's plain terms waive sovereign immunity for any suit seeking nonmonetary relief in federal court," the New Orleans-based appeals court reasoned, rejecting the DOJ's claim of immunity.

In addition to rejecting the DOJ's further arguments, the Fifth Circuit began by stating that the exclusive venue for tort claims in Texas is the federal government, as stated in the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).

Since Texas had no intention of directly regulating Border Control or unfairly treating the federal government, the decision likewise rejected the DOJ's assertion of intergovernmental immunity.

A Democratic U.S. congresswoman recently got kicked out of a committee hearing. 

The congresswoman, according to the Washington Examineris U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA).

The incident took place last Thursday, during a hearing of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, which operates under the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The subject of the hearing was U.S.-Cuba relations.

Something worth keeping in mind as we proceed is that Lee is not a member of the subcommittee.

What happened?

A portion of the incident was caught on camera. Rep. Lee posted the footage on social media in an obvious attempt to garner sympathy for her cause. Take a look:

I was just kicked out of a House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing on Cuba policy because the Republican Chair didn’t like my views.

I’d share the livestream, but Republicans cut out the sound when I stood up to defend myself & call them out. pic.twitter.com/eqV1ymor9j

— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) January 18, 2024

As you can gather from the video, Lee interrupted the hearing in order to advocate for the re-establishment of a relationship between Cuba and the United States.

However, U.S. Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), the subcommittee's chairwoman, was having none of it.

In contrast to Lee, Salazar, according to the Examiner, is "a former journalist [who] has pushed for Cuba to stay on America’s list of countries sponsoring terrorism, citing the regime being repeatedly flagged for human rights violations."

Salazar explains

The exchange between Lee and Salazar continued after the hearing on social media. In several posts, Salazar accused Lee of spreading "communist propaganda" and of being a "communist sympathizer."

"Today, I exercised my authority as Subcommittee Chairwoman to not allow an off-Committee Member to spread communist propaganda during my Cuba hearing. Members are not entitled to join any Committee proceedings without full consent of the Committee Members," Salazar wrote.

In a subsequent post, Salazar continued, "Barbara Lee tried to disrupt an important discussion about the Biden Administration’s lenient policies toward the Cuban regime. Barbara Lee is a communist sympathizer who was a personal friend to Fidel Castro, has visited Cuba 21 times, and has been a mouthpiece for the Cuban Regime since 1977."

Salazar concluded, "Letting someone as radical as Barbara Lee degrade a hearing on Cuban freedom would insult the Cuban exile community in Miami and amplify regime propaganda."

Lee, for her part, continues to insist that Salazar is trying to "silence" her and is therefore undemocratic.

© 2024 - Patriot News Alerts