Mike Pence entered the 2024 presidential race Wednesday with a frontal attack on his former boss, Donald Trump, saying he "should never be president of the United States" again.
The former vice president framed the upcoming Republican primary as an opportunity to turn the page on a president who "demanded I choose between him and our Constitution" on January 6th.
"Now voters will be faced with the same choice," he said.
Like he has done before, Pence paired his criticism of Trump with praise of the "Trump-Pence" administration and its accomplishments, including appointing the Supreme Court justices who sent Roe v. Wade "to the ash heap of history where it belongs."
But Pence also said he and Trump have "different visions" for the country that came to a head on January 6th, when Trump pressured Pence to send the 2020 election results back to the states. Pence said he has often prayed for Trump, hoping he will realize he was "misled" about Pence's role that day.
"President Trump was wrong then and he is wrong now. I will always believe, by God’s grace, I did my duty that day. I kept my oath to ensure the peaceful transfer of power under the Constitution of the United States," Pence said.
Pence added that "anyone that puts themselves over the Constitution should never be president of the United States, and anyone who asks someone else to put them over the Constitution should never be president of the United States again."
Pence urged supporters to reject "the politics of personality" and instead embrace "a traditional Republican agenda of a strong national defense, fiscal responsibility, and traditional values that led us to victory in the past and will lead us to victory again."
The hands-off approach Trump has advocated towards Ukraine would empower a "war criminal" in Vladimir Putin, Pence said, saying America has a responsibility to defend "freedom" around the world.
"The war in Ukraine is not our war but freedom is our fight," he said.
Pence also accused Trump, who has blamed abortion backlash for the GOP's recent electoral stumbles, of treating the unborn "like an inconvenience."
Trump's refusal to consider cuts to Social Security and Medicare is an expedient betrayal of future generations who will inherit the ballooning national debt, Pence said, saying Trump's stance on the issue is the same as Joe Biden's.
Trump's dominance over the field promises a challenge for any and all competitors, especially Pence, who has lost the favor of many Republicans since falling out with Trump over the 2020 election.
A small village in New York is in grief after a beloved swan was killed by three depraved teenagers from abroad and then eaten.
The suspects, an 18-year-old and two juveniles, are refugees from Myanmar, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
The swan, named Faye, did not fight back because she was nesting with her babies.
Police in the upstate village of Manlius say the suspects hopped the fence around the town's pond and kidnapped Faye, before killing her and stealing her four cygnets.
The suspects face charges of grand larceny and criminal mischief, which are felonies, as well as misdemeanors for conspiracy and criminal trespass.
Police said the suspects, who said they were "hunting," may have mistaken the swan for a duck. Faye was ultimately cooked and eaten, the police said.
"They did ultimately consume the swan, but I don’t know if that was more cultural beliefs or not," Manlius Police Sgt. Ken Hatter said.
Two of the babies were found at a residence in Syracuse. The other two babies were found at a shop in a nearby town.
The cygnets are in good health and will be cared for by a town biologist before being eventually returned to the pond.
Faye's mate, Manny, is also unharmed, but he will be removed from the pond because he may become aggressive after the death of his companion, mayor Paul Whorrall said, noting that swans are monogamous animals.
The mayor said the small village of less than 5,000 will not allow the gruesome actions of the criminals to alter the customs of the town, where swans have been an important part of the culture for a century.
"We've had swans for over 100 years, we're going to continue to have swans as part of this village," Whorrall said.
However, the town is taking security measures. New cameras have already been installed around the pond, the mayor said in a notice to residents about the "bizarre and evil" act.
"We will not let three ruthless and despicable individuals dictate how our village operates," he said.
One of the suspects, 18-year-old Eman Hussan, was seen flashing a remorseless grin for the camera while being perp walked last week.
This comes after illegal immigrants from Honduras shot and killed a bald eagle in Nebraska with the intention of eating it, causing a public outcry.
President Biden raised the refugee cap to 125,000 per year after President Trump had slashed it to an all-time low.
The Biden administration's director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is leaving his job.
Tae Johnson has been serving in the role of acting director since the start of the Biden presidency, which has reimagined ICE's traditional mission to arrest and deport illegal immigrants.
Homeland Security chief Alejandro Mayorkas said Johnson was "instrumental in advancing many of DHS’s critical missions, including the enforcement of our country’s immigration laws and our work to dismantle terrorist and criminal organizations."
Under Biden, ICE agents have had their hands tied, resulting in a historic drop in deportations even as border crossings have reached record highs.
Mayorkas credited Johnson with helping to "transform" the agency "by focusing its resources on public safety and national security.”
"I am grateful to Tae Johnson for his service to ICE, the Department, and the nation. Mr. Johnson has been an integral member of ICE’s leadership team through multiple administrations,” Mayorkas said.
In a farewell message, Johnson touted the "tremendous work" the agency has accomplished over the past two and a half years.
The Biden administration has controversially pushed to limit deportation and arrests to only those people living in the country illegally who the administration considers threatening.
A source within ICE told the Daily Caller that morale at the agency has been low.
“Agents don’t feel valued, we feel like all these illegals have more rights and priorities than us, than the American people. Changing ‘leadership’ is not going to fix this crisis. Is this his way of washing his hands and passing the problem down to the next ‘leader’?" the official said.
Johnson is the second top immigration official immigration official to bail recently after Border Patrol chief Raul Ortiz announced his resignation days ago. In other words, the top officials responsible for border enforcement and interior enforcement are now gone.
Granted, there wasn't much enforcement going on to begin with: hundreds of thousands have been already released into the country's interior without court dates over the past couple of years, and some of those who are receiving court dates don't have to show up until 2035.
With Biden officials boasting about a recent drop in border crossings, the shakeup in immigration is sure to stoke speculation about what's coming this summer. What do these agents know that the rest of America doesn't?
President Biden's recent fall has renewed doubts about his fitness for office, while leaving some Democrats to privately question his strength as a presidential candidate.
Now, as always, Biden is buoyed by a weak stable of alternatives. His vice president is also deeply unpopular and arguably more incompetent, and the only candidates who have stepped forward to challenge Biden's nomination are from the party's fringe.
Some say that could change, however, if Biden's age issue continues to grow.
David A. Dulio, professor of political science at Oakland University, said potential challengers are likely waiting in the wings in case disaster strikes.
“If they are not doing that, they are not being smart,” Dulio said. “Of all the names we could come up with — they are high-profile, successful candidates and politicians — none of them got to that point without thinking strategically and being prepared when an opportunity comes their way.”
Biden also showed concerning signs in 2020, but the issue was swept under the rug. Most voters now agree that Biden is mentally unfit to serve, and he continues to feed those worries with his stiff gait, confused rambling and frequent falls.
But as he pursues a second term, Democrats are largely rehashing their argument from 2020, which portrayed Biden as a steadier hand than Trump.
It's a dubious claim, with voters rating Biden poorly on the top issues like the economy. Poll after poll shows the same trends: voters don't like Biden, they're not enthusiastic about his re-election campaign, and they're skeptical of his fitness to serve.
While offering token acknowledgments of concerns with Biden's age, Biden and his fellow Democrats have sought to reframe the issue with time-tested spin, saying he demonstrates "wisdom."
"Joe Biden rightly says that he has grown very wise in his many decades in public office and I respect that," Democrat Jamie Raskin (Md.) said Sunday.
It's easy to forget, but Biden was largely dismissed by his party and its media apparatus during the Democratic primary in 2020.
But that was before the Democrat machine decided to make Biden its Trump slayer. It's a role Biden has yet to relinquish and which, it appears, apparatchiks believe he is still capable of performing.
While they appear to be backing him still, it's likely that Democrats will continue to vigilantly assess Biden's condition in the coming months. If they should decide to move on, he should not expect to be discarded gracefully.
Reuters reports that a federal judge appointed by former President Donald Trump has just struck down as unconstitutional a Tennessee law that places restrictions on drag shows.
The judge who issued the ruling is U.S. District Judge Thomas Parker of the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. Parker was nominated by Trump in 2017 and his nomination was confirmed in early 2018.
The law at issue in the case places restrictions on drag shows, particularly drag shows that take place on public property or at locations where the show could be viewed by a minor. The law bans such shows at such locations.
Violators of the law could face a fine or a prison sentence of up to a year. And, repeat violators could face up to six years of imprisonment.
The law, which was signed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) back in early March, is first of its kind in America. Although, since its passage, several other Republican-led states have followed suit.
In March, a Memphis-based LGBTQ+ theater company called Friends of George’s legally challenged the Tennessee law on First Amendment grounds.
The group requested preliminary relief, and Parker granted it, temporarily blocking the law from going into effect.
The preliminary ruling hinted at how Parker might rule on the merits. And, that is exactly how he did rule on the merits.
According to NBC News, in a 70-page ruling, Parker found the Tennessee law to be “both unconstitutionally vague and substantially overbroad" and thus a violation of the speech protections of the First Amendment of the Constitution.
In his opinion, Parker writes:
Simply put, no majority of the Supreme Court has held that sexually explicit — but not obscene — speech receives less protection than political, artistic, or scientific speech.
As would be expected, supporters of the Tennessee law are criticizing Parker's opinion, while opponents are celebrating it.
Many news outlets are also highlighting the link between Parker and Trump as if to place some of the blame for the ruling on Trump.
It is worth highlighting the fact, however, that just because a judge was appointed by a Republican president does not mean that the judge must always reach an outcome that a Republican would find acceptable. Liberal judges work from preconceived outcomes, not conservative ones. The only relevant question is whether Parker ruled in line with the Constitution.
It remains to be seen whether Parker's ruling will be appealed.
The Washington Examiner reports that top House Republicans, much to the dismay of the Biden administration, are refusing to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) until reforms are made to the FBI.
Section 702 is set to expire at the end of this year, and it will be up to Congress to reauthorize it.
For those unfamiliar with Section 702, here is a brief overview from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ):
Section 702 . . . permits the government to conduct targeted surveillance of foreign persons located outside the United States, with the compelled assistance of electronic communication service providers, to acquire foreign intelligence information.
The DOJ goes on to explain how the use of this tool to gather foreign intelligence information is crucial to U.S. national security.
U.S. Attorney Merrick Garland has emphasized this point in a letter that he sent to Congress in February, imploring lawmakers to reauthorize Section 702. He wrote:
The authority allows the U.S. Government to acquire foreign intelligence information from individual terrorists, weapons proliferators, hackers, and other foreign intelligence targets located overseas who operate using U.S. electronic communications service providers . . . the information acquired using Section 702 plays a key role in keeping the United States, its citizens, and its allies safe and secure.
This is not the whole story, however.
Both the DOJ and Garland insist that Section 702 is only used by U.S. intelligence to spy on foreign actors. But, it turns out that this is not the case.
A recently unsealed court document shows that the FBI misused FISA over 300,000 times between 2020 and early 2021. It shows that the FBI used Section 702 to spy on Americans.
It is for this reason that House Republicans are refusing to simply reauthorize Section 702 without meaningful changes to the FBI. And, these Republicans are being joined by Senate Republicans and even some House and Senate Democrats.
U.S. Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) is among the top House Republicans who are leading the opposition to a simple reauthorization of Section 702.
Turner recently told the Examiner:
We have been very clear on a bipartisan basis with the intelligence community and the FBI that there is no support in Congress for a clean reauthorization of 702. Reforms are necessary. We will be taking up the issue of reforms, and they will not be limited to 702 itself. It will encompass both abuses that we are aware of and abuses that are now in the public domain as a result of disclosure and Durham.
Here, Turner, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is referring to the findings of former special counsel John Durham regarding the Trump-Russia collusion hoax.
House Republicans are looking to reform not only the FBI but also the FISA Court, which authorizes FISA surveillance.
We'll have to see if the Republicans can obtain meaningful change here. It is certainly needed.
Top Biden officials were left speechless when asked to respond to a new poll showing that most Americans believe the Biden family is "corrupt."
The Harvard-Harris poll found that more than half of Americans, and a quarter of Democrats, believe Joe Biden was involved with his son Hunter "in an illegal influence peddling scheme."
Top administration flak John Kirby gave a stunned reaction when asked about the poll Wednesday by the New York Post's Steven Nelson.
“What do you say to the majority of Americans who believe that the president is himself corrupt?” Nelson asked.
Kirby responded, "wow," and paused to collect himself, shaking his head in disbelief, before spitting out a denial.
"President -- the president -- the president has spoken to this....and there's nothing to these claims," he said.
Biden's press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre could be heard off-camera saying, "Jesus" under her breath.
"What do you say to the majority of Americans who believe that the president is himself corrupt?
Biden spokesman John Kirby: "Wow. The president has spoken to this and there’s nothing to these claims." pic.twitter.com/u9JEZPbkwa
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) May 31, 2023
The administration was taken off guard by the nerve of the reporter who actually did his job by asking challenging questions.
After the uncomfortably candid exchange, it was back to playtime as Jean-Pierre took over the podium and called on a friendly reporter who changed topics with a question about the debt ceiling, which he called "everyone's favorite subject." The quip emitted a chuckle from Jean-Pierre and her media lapdogs.
Democrats and the mainstream media have dismissed the Hunter Biden controversy for years as a nothing burger and a partisan hoax.
The left took it even further on the eve of the 2020 election, when reporting on Hunter Biden's laptop was suppressed as "Russian disinformation." Many have questioned whether this mass deception had a decisive impact on the election, which Biden narrowly won.
House Republicans released a report last month detailing bank transactions between foreign sources and Biden family members that went through a network of shell companies.
Republicans are now threatening to hold the FBI director in contempt for refusing to release a memo that allegedly describes a "criminal" quid pro quo between Biden and a foreign lobbyist during his vice presidency.
The White House has continued to dismiss the scandal as a "conspiracy theory" even as the evidence piles up, but the American people are wise to the administration's spin.
After months of teasing a presidential run, former vice president Mike Pence is ready to jump in the Republican primary next week in Iowa.
Pence joins a quickly growing field of candidates that includes his former boss Donald Trump, Florida governor Ron DeSantis (R), Tim Scott, Nikki Haley, and others.
Until now, Pence has failed to make much of an impression, with many seeing DeSantis as the only viable alternative to Trump.
But DeSantis' limping campaign launch has Pence and others seeing opportunity.
DeSantis entered the race last week after months of steadily losing momentum. The first poll since DeSantis declared his candidacy last week found the governor behind Trump by 34 points.
While DeSantis has sought to emulate Trump's brash political style, Pence has signaled he plans to run as a more traditional Republican, with an emphasis on Christian values and hawkish foreign policy.
“There is a lot of overlap between Iowa caucus-goers and Mike Pence in terms of principles, values, faith, and this will be the first of many, many stops and visits to the state,” a source close to Pence told Breitbart.
The Pence source said that the former vice president plans to hit all of Iowa's 99 counties, signaling the importance Pence is placing on the critical early state.
"The plan is to hit each of Iowa’s 99 counties,” the Pence source told Breitbart. “Nobody else is going to do it. A lot of people are going to talk about doing it, but nobody else will do it. That’s Mike Pence—he’s all action, he’s not just about the talk."
The former vice president and Indiana governor has sharply criticized his former boss, holding him personally liable for placing him and his family in danger during the January 6th riot.
Pence alienated many Republicans, and Trump, when he refused to send the 2020 election back to the states, something Pence says he had no lawful power to do.
It remains to be seen if Pence can overcome his relative unpopularity within the party, or if any Republican, for that matter, can take down Trump.
A new poll found that voters believe Trump is the Republican most likely to defeat Joe Biden, undercutting the argument from Trump's challengers that he has become a liability.
Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie is expected to enter the race next week as well, and Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin (R) has left the door open.
Republicans are threatening to hold the notoriously evasive Christopher Wray in contempt for refusing Congress' lawful requests for a memo about a "criminal scheme" involving the Bidens.
Wray offered to let lawmakers see the document at FBI headquarters in a phone call Wednesday with James Comer (R-Ky.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Ia.), but the Republicans said they aren't taking the contempt threat off the table.
Republicans had given Wray a Tuesday deadline to satisfy their weeks-old subpoena for the document, which allegedly describes in detail a quid pro quo between Biden and foreign actors during his vice presidency.
Prior to Wednesday's phone call, the FBI had dismissed contempt threats as "unnecessary," while describing its so-called "accommodation" as "extraordinary."
But Comer said Republicans "have been clear that anything short of producing these documents to the House Oversight Committee is not in compliance with the subpoena."
“If the FBI fails to hand over the FD-1023 form as required by the subpoena, the House Oversight Committee will begin contempt of Congress proceedings,” Comer said.
A contempt charge is basically a formal rebuke. The threat reflects growing frustration with an agency that has often thumbed its nose at oversight from Congress, which unlike the FBI is elected by and accountable to the people.
Comer has warned Republicans may find Wray in criminal contempt, a drastic step that would require the approval of Biden's Justice Department, which seems doubtful.
The FBI has defended its caginess with familiar talking points about protecting sources, but Grassley dismissed the excuses as hypocritical given the constant leaks coming from the agency.
"While the FBI has apparently leaked classified information to the news media in recent weeks, jeopardizing its own human sources, it continues to treat Congress like second class citizens by refusing to provide a specific unclassified record," he said.
Wray "confirmed what my whistleblowers have told me pursuant to legally protected disclosures: the FBI-generated document is real, but the bureau has yet to provide it to Congress in defiance of a legitimate congressional subpoena," Grassley added.
Congress has long shown reluctance to rein in the FBI and intelligence community, perhaps wary of Chuck Schumer's infamous warning to Donald Trump: "you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you."
Are Republicans finally growing a spine, or is this more tough talk that voters have come to expect?
Texas Republicans have appointed impeachment managers to lead the controversial trial of the state's Republican attorney general Ken Paxton.
Seven Republicans and five Democrats were chosen Monday to lead the case, with a trial set for no later than August 28.
House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) named Andrew Murr (R-Junction) as chair of the impeachment committee and Ann Johnson (D-Houston) as vice chair.
The other ten managers are Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth), Jeff Leach (R-Allen), Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas), Briscoe Cain (R-Houston), Cody Vasut (R-Angleton), David Spiller (R-Jacksboro), Joe Moody (D-El Paso), Terry Canales (D-Edinburg), Oscar Longoria (D-Mission), and Erin Elizabeth Gámez (D-Brownsville.)
After their appointment Monday, the managers walked across the Capitol to the Senate, where they formally submitted the articles of impeachment.
“This is about facts and the evidence," Murr said. "This is not about politics.”
Johnson accused Paxton of jury tampering after his team allegedly shared his defense strategy with senators, who will weigh his fate. To be removed from office, two-thirds of the Senate must vote to remove Paxton, who has been suspended in the interim.
"We expect, as this committee has thoughtfully engaged in the process, with the highest level of integrity, that the individuals on the other side would realize dropping a binder on your potential jurors could be considered tampering or attempting to interfere with a lawful process," she said.
The Texas House voted 121-23 Saturday to impeach Paxton on corruption charges. Paxton, a vocal Trump ally who has sued the Biden administration aggressively, has called the effort a political witch hunt orchestrated by the moderate wing of the state's Republican party and Phelan.
“Phelan’s coalition of Democrats and liberal Republicans is now in lockstep with the Biden Administration, the abortion industry, anti-gun zealots, and woke corporations to sabotage my work as Attorney General,” he wrote in a statement.
Some Paxton supporters rallied in his defense Monday as former President Trump reprimanded Texas' governor Greg Abbott (R) for staying silent on the controversy.
"MISSING IN ACTION! Where is the Governor of Texas on his Attorney General’s Impeachment,” Trump wrote on Truth Social.
Thank you to all in Collin County for your support today! pic.twitter.com/e85WLhuIJA
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) May 29, 2023