NEWSSTAND

American Legislators’ Craziest Gaffes

We all learned in school that Congress has 535 members. However, you might not know that America has 7,383 state legislators! With such a big number of lawmakers, some of them are bound to make unusual comments. The people on this list are far from the typical cookie-cutter politician. Read on to learn about some of the wackiest legislators’ gaffes!

Rep. Cynthia McKinney

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

McKinney, who represented GA-14 from 2005 to 2007, earned her reputation for misplaced priorities. In the early 2000s, she floated several conspiracy theories about the September 11th attacks. McKinney also introduced the Tupac Shakur Records Act, insisting that the government kept some kind of secret about the rapper’s death.

As an elected representative, she once walked into a House office building without wearing her Congressional pin. When she stepped around the metal detector and continued down the hallway, officers tried to get her attention. She then allegedly punched the officer in the chest.

State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt

Colorado Republicans disavowed Klingenschmitt over his incendiary and inaccurate comments. He has said “Obamacare causes cancer;” the law may be unpopular, but no evidence shows that it is carcinogenic. Klingenschmitt also talked about former President Obama as if he was a demon. The wacky preacher claims to have exorcised a demon from another Navy sailor. The Navy once court martialed Klingenschmitt for publicly praying at a political rally while in uniform.

State Rep. John G. Schmitz

John G. Schmitz (L); Dan Smoof (R)(Photo By Bill Wunsch/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Schmitz represented California’s Orange County in Congress. He had 7 children with his wife…and 2 with his secret mistress, Carla Stuckle. Schmitz met Stuckle when he was a professor at Santa Ana College, and she was a young student. The two carried on an affair with the other woman from 1973-1982. The John Birch Society kicked him out for his extreme, hateful views about minorities – including Martin Luther King Jr.

One of Schmitz’s children is Mary Kay Letourneau, who famously went to prison for sexual misconduct with a 13 year old boy.

 

 

 

Rep. Hank Johnson

This Georgia Republican raised eyebrows for a strange statement about the island of Guam. While questioning the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Johnson remarked, “My fear is that the whole island will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize.” Guam cannot tip over, and politicos wondered if Johnson thought islands floated unmoored in the sea. Johnson later clarified that he was trying to use a metaphor, though many speculate he might have been doing damage control to hide his mistaken belief.

Rep. James Traficant

(Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)

Traficant, a former Ohio Congressman, was expelled from the House and sentenced to prison for a series of crimes. He took bribes, filed fraudulent tax returns, and even made his staff work on his farm and clean his boat. In 2002, while he was incarcerated, he received 15% of the vote in a Congressional election.

 

 

 

 

Share this article to remind friends why it’s important to vote in local elections. Your representatives should answer to YOU, the voters – not to crazy interests and bizarre ideas!

Trump Knocks Sessions, Says “I don’t have an Attorney General”

President Trump has lost all confidence in Attorney General Jeff Sessions, according to a new interview with The Hill. Trump says Sessions has failed to support his administration on several levels.

Multiple Controversies

Trump has sharply criticized Sessions’ decision to recuse himself to the investigation into alleged collusion with Russia. However, Trump says his discomfort with the Attorney General comes from more than just one instance. A lack of border security may be irking the President, who campaigned on a promise to build a border wall. Trump said, “I’m not happy at the border, I’m not happy with numerous things, not just [the Russia recusal].”

Sessions’ recusal paved the way for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint Special Counsel Robert Mueller as head of the Russia investigation.

Sessions also declined to indict Hillary Clinton, even after finding out that Former F.B.I. Director James Comey allowed serious errors to occur on his watch.

During the campaign, Trump touted his ability to hire only “the best people.” Now, he says his choice for Attorney General has let him down. Trump notes that then-Senator Sessions endorsed him earlier than any other sitting senator. The President said, “[Sessions] went through the nominating process and he did very poorly. I mean, he was mixed up and confused, and people that worked with him for, you know, a long time in the Senate were not nice to him, but he was giving very confusing answers. Answers that should have been easily answered. And that was a rough time for him.”

Sessions, Out?

Sen. Lindsey Graham has said that Trump should fire Sessions after the midterms. The President stayed mum about if, and when, he might choose to dismiss the Attorney General. Trump said, “We’ll see what happens. A lot of people have asked me to do that [fire him]. And I guess I study history, and I say I just want to leave things alone, but it was very unfair what he did.”

Dianne Feinstein Teases Secret Letter Against Kavanaugh

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) says she has information that should block Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. However, she is keeping the mysterious letter a secret – even from her Democratic colleagues. Feinstein gave the letter to the F.B.I., though she still will not discuss the allegations against Kavanaugh.

The Letter, Revealed?

Following 4 days of questioning, Judge Brett Kavanaugh was ready for a confirmation vote. Instead, Senators are now wondering about the contents of a letter they may never see. Feinstein says she has a letter from an anonymous person that makes some kind of serious allegation. Bloomberg reports that the letter accuses Kavanaugh of inappropriate sexual activity with a woman while both were in high school. However, a source told The Guardian that the entire incident is closer to a harmless prank. Allegedly, Kavanaugh and a friend (both 17 at the time) locked a girl of the same age in a room. She felt unsettled, but was able to get out of the room.

Ronan Farrow says that the letter may be more serious. According to his report, Kavanaugh and a friend – both teenagers – locked the girl in a room and tried to force themselves on her. Kavanaugh denies this: “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time,” he said. The other accused classmate says he has no recollection of any incident like what the woman described.

Feinstein release the following statement: “I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision. I have, however, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities.”

Feinstein still won’t allow her colleagues to see the contents of the letter, even with the accuser’s name redacted.

What Happens Next

It remains unclear if anything in the letter rises to the level of criminal activity.

The White House has already come out in Kavanaugh’s defense. According to Bloomberg, “A White House spokeswoman said Kavanaugh has been vetted repeatedly by the FBI during his 25 years of public service.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had timed the Kavanaugh hearings to allow for a confirmation vote before the Supreme Court’s next session.

Melania Trump Responds to Anonymous NYT Op-Ed

After the New York Times published an anonymous piece from a top Trump official, the internet lit up with speculation about the writer’s identity. The op-ed comes from someone inside Trump’s team who claims to be working to restrain the President. The writer says they work in tandem with other officials who agree with them on stopping parts of Trump’s agenda.

“I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations,” the writer says. They give few details, presumably to avoid giving away his or her identity. We do not know what part of government this person works in. Likewise, we do not know how many members of the Trump administration think like him or her.

Melania Responds

The First Lady says the op-ed writer harmed our public discourse. The author might think they are helping America, but instead, Melania Trump says they are hurting the nation’s politics.

She opined, “To the writer of the op-ed — you are not protecting this country, you are sabotaging it with your cowardly actions.”

Though Melania did not draw an immediate parallel to her Be Best anti-bullying campaign, her message of accountability came through clearly. “Words are important, and accusations can lead to severe consequences,” she said. She also called for a “fair, honest, and responsible press.”

The New York Times rarely publishes anonymous op-eds, but made an exception in this case. Perhaps the editors found the content newsworthy enough, or salacious enough, to publish under no name.

President Trump called the author “gutless” but has not otherwise responded.

Kavanaugh SCOTUS Confirmation Hearings Begin Amid Chaos

Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination hearings began with chaos on Tuesday as protesters and hecklers repeatedly interrupted the hearings.

Almost 20 protesters were arrested only 30 minutes into the hearings, as they tried to shout down a government process that they see as illegitimate. A total of 44 interruptions happened in the first morning alone.

Kavanaugh, 53, served on the federal appeals court bench in D.C. for 12 years. President Donald Trump nominated him to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy, a swing vote on controversial issues like same-sex marriage and abortion, will be succeeded by a conservative.

The current Supreme Court, led by John Roberts, already leans slightly to the right. Confirming Kavanaugh would add another constitutionalist to the Court, leaving Democrats worried that landmark decisions like Roe v. Wade could be overturned.

“The stakes are so high,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). “We’re talking about a vote on the United States Supreme Court that could well decide whether women can decide when they want to have children, and whether Americans can decide whom they want to marry.”

Republicans Back Kavanaugh

Republican lawmakers, however, say Kavanaugh is a solid choice.

“All I want is somebody that’s going to interpret the Constitution strictly and leave legislating to the Congress of the United States,” Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) stated, “and I think he’s the sort of guy who will do that.”

Democrats including Cory Booker and Kamala Harris tried to spin Kavanaugh as an extremist. Instead, the judge says, he puts the law first.

Before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Kavanaugh said, “I don’t decide cases based on personal or policy preferences.” He described a judicial process that puts facts first, with judges like umpires who don’t cheer for either team.

If the Senate votes to confirm Kavanaugh, he could be seated on the Supreme Court before the next court term begins on October 1st.

Democrats have vowed to oppose his nomination as stringently as possible, with Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) saying he would fight it “with everything I have.”

Nike Picks Colin Kaepernick for New Ads

Major athletic retailer Nike caused a stir with its new ad campaign featuring former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The ad shows a black and white image of Kaepernick looking straight into the camera. The copy reads, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Kaepernick and Sacrifice

The striking image left many people wondering what, exactly, Kaepernick sacrificed. He had the chance to keep playing in the NFL, but instead opted out of his contract with the 49ers. After becoming a free agent, he turned down a contract with the Denver Broncos.

Kaepernick made headlines by kneeling on the sidelines during the playing of the national anthem. He says he wanted to protest police brutality. Following President Trump’s inauguration, the kneeling protests expanded to dozens of football players. The controversy drew the ire of President Trump and others, who found the protest unpatriotic and disrespectful of law enforcement officers.

Public Fallout

While fans of the new campaign are eager to buy Nike apparel, others say Nike could have picked a better spokesperson for its message. Many compared the star to Pat Tillman, who gave up a promising NFL career to serve in the military. Tillman lost his life to friendly fire in Afghanistan. Despite his example of service and sacrifice, his widow has asked that he not be used in divisive political debates.

Other fans praised Nike for standing up for athletes who they see as victims of unfair sports leagues. A set of similar Nike ads show Serena Williams and read, “You can take the superhero out of her costume, but you can never take away her superpowers.” This references the French Open’s refusal to let Serena Williams wear a suit designed to help her with a medical condition.

Nike stock has fallen 2.8% so far today.

 

John McCain, War Hero and Republican, Dies at 81

Senator John McCain passed away on August 25th at the age of 81, from an aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma.

McCain led a life of public service. Born on a naval base in the Panama Canal Zone, he grew up moving around the Americas due to his father’s naval career. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy. Though he graduated near the bottom of his class, classmates knew him as a fierce lightweight boxer and an ally of those targeted by bullying. After graduation, McCain trained to become a naval aviator.

Beginning in 1967, McCain served in combat duty during the Vietnam war. He flew 23 combat missions, the last of which ended when the North Vietnamese shot down McCain’s skyhawk plane with a missile. He ejected out of the plane and landed in a lake, though he suffered fractures in both arms and one leg. The North Vietnamese captured and tortured him. McCain spent 5 years as a prisoner of war, including two of those years in solitary confinement.

McCain was released by his captors on March 14, 1973. He endured a long and difficult recovery and went on to attend the Naval War College for graduate studies. In the late 1970s, he continued his service to the country as the commanding officer for a naval training squadron. The military honored McCain with some of its highest awards. He received a Silver Star Medal, two Purple hearts, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and three Bronze Star medals, among others.

Political Career

McCain first ran for Congress in 1982. During that campaign, a voter called him a “carpetbagger” trying to take advantage of an open seat. McCain delivered a devastating response: “Listen, pal. I spent 22 years in the Navy. My father was in the Navy. My grandfather was in the Navy. We in the military service tend to move a lot. We have to live in all parts of the country, all parts of the world. I wish I could have had the luxury, like you, of growing up and living and spending my entire life in a nice place like the First District of Arizona, but I was doing other things. As a matter of fact, when I think about it now, the place I lived longest in my life was Hanoi.”

As a Congressman, McCain ardently supported Ronald Reagan’s agenda. The war hero Congressman successfully ran for Senate in 1986. He filled Barry Goldwater’s seat upon the Republican icon’s retirement. McCain unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination for the presidency in 2000. Though he was the Republican candidate for president in 2008, he lost to another more junior senator, Barack Obama.

At the time of his death, McCain was serving his 6th term in the Senate. He was Chair of the Armed Services Committee. He leaves behind a legacy of bold, decisive action: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the capacity to act despite our fears.” House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that the Senator will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda, an honor reserved for the likes of Ronald Reagan and Rosa Parks.

Family Life

McCain is survived by his wife of 37 years, Cindy, and his 7 children: Douglas, Andrew, Sidney, Meghan, Jack, Jimmy, and Bridget.

Trump Calls Mueller’s Team “Thugs,” Alleges Midterm Shenanigans

President Donald Trump lashed out at Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller in a series of tweets. He called his team of investigators “thugs” and accused them of causing drama that would tilt the midterm elections in the Democrats’ favor.

He began with:

“Disgraced and discredited Bob Mueller and his whole group of Angry Democrat Thugs spent over 30 hours with the White House Councel [sic], only with my approval, for purposes of transparency.”

“Anybody needing that much time when they know there is no Russian Collusion is just someone … looking for trouble,” he continued. “They are enjoying ruining people’s lives and REFUSE to look at the real corruption on the Democrat side – the lies, the firings, the deleted Emails and soooo much more! Mueller’s Angry Dems are looking to impact the election. They are a National Disgrace!”

The Investigation Continues

The tweets come in the wake of speculation by the New York Times. They reported White House Counsel Don McGahn was cooperating with investigators. He also agreed to answer extensive questions from the Mueller team. The NYT piece also got a mention from the President. Trump tweeted The Times piece was “implying that because White House Counsel Don McGahn was giving hours of testimony to [the Mueller team].”

Rudy Giuliani told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that Trump had okayed McGahn’s participation. His team believes that fully cooperating would help bring the investigation to a close. Now, however, Giuliani says that decision may have been the wrong one, and that he will protect Trump from being “trapped into perjury,” even while telling the truth.

“Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd replied that “truth is truth.” Giuliani disagreed, saying later on Twitter that he was referring to “the classic ‘he said, she said’ puzzle.”

“Sometimes,” continued Giuliani, “further inquiry can reveal the truth, other times it doesn’t.”

WATCH: Samantha Bee Plants Crashers at Sean Spicer’s Book Tour

Political comedian Samantha Bee sent her staff members to protest Sean Spicer at events along his book tour. Spicer is traveling both coasts this summer to promote his new book, “The Briefing: Politics, the Press, and the President.”

Bee’s show, “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” pokes fun at the news from a very left-leaning angle. Her protesters first arrived at a Barnes & Noble, where one asked Spicer, “How do you feel about profiting off of lying to the American people?”

The room fell silent. The woman continued, “I mean, you’re making a lot of money. I’m just wondering how you feel about that.” Undeterred from the first event, the Samantha Bee’s show sent planted disruptors to events at Barrington Books and the Rhode Island Country Club. One asked, “Any advice for the young people who want to make a profit from corroding the truth?”

Though the attendees didn’t laugh, Spicer took it all in stride. He even signed a book and took a photo with one of Bee’s staffers.

The Unicorn Suit

At one point in Spicer’s book, he describes Trump as “a unicorn riding a unicorn over a rainbow.” Samantha Bee wanted to call him out on that hyperbole. As a result, she had two staffers dress in a Trump-riding-a-unicorn-over-a-rainbow suit and trot up to a private event at the Rhode Island Country Club. A police officer intercepted the spectacle before they could come inside. Attendees at the swanky event looked equal parts curious and confused.

Spicer’s Reaction

Video footage of Spicer responding the protesters’ questions did not make it past the TBS editors. If you want to see what Spicer really has to say, check out this interview with The Political Insider!

 

Steele “Afraid” of Being “Exposed,” According to DOJ Email

Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr wrote that Michael Steele felt “afraid they will be exposed” after President Trump fired James Comey. Ohr, a former Associate Deputy Attorney General, served as a major contact for Steele even after the F.B.I. stopped using him as a source.

In an email, he wrote that Steele felt “very concerned (abt) about [former FBI Director James] Comey’s firing” because he feared someone getting “exposed.” To this day, it remains unclear who was under threat of exposure and why.

Ohr and Steele

Bruce Ohr may have acted improperly while employed at the Department of Justice. After the F.B.I. stopped using Steele as a source, Ohr helped him keep in contact with several government officials. When Peter Strzok testified, we learned that the F.B.I. received documents from Ohr. The contents of those documents remain unclear.

In November 2016, the F.B.I. stopped using Christopher Steele to seek out and compile information. However, Steele still kept in contact with multiple government officials. Evidence suggests that Ohr served as the former British spy’s backchannel by facilitating his connection to government officials.

Weeks after the election, Ohr wrote that Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson gave him a USB drive. The two corresponded in the months leading up to the election. Previously, Simpson testified that they only communicated afterwards.

Ohr’s connections to the dossier run even deeper. His wife, Nellie, worked at Fusion GPS while the company worked on the project.

Political Ramifications

President Trump has repeatedly called the Russia investigation a “witch hunt.” In addition, he calls it a hoax. As for Ohr, the Department of Justice reassigned him to a different division. Despite his questionable behavior and personal ties to Fusion GPS, he remains employed in the federal government.

 

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