Friday, June 30, 2023

The Kishinev Pogrom, Jewish Passivity, and Jewish Self-Defense

Curiously enough, however, Bialik recorded in the transcripts of the interviews [with pogrom survivors] he conducted during his Kishinev stay, often in copious detail, many efforts at Jewish self-defense, including one so notorious—in the minds of local anti-Semites and their sympathizers, at least—that they would credit it, and not their own actions, as the main cause for [the] violence.

When fifty-seven-year-old Yeḥiel Kiserman fought off four attackers, throwing several of them to the ground, a rumor rapidly spread that a Jew had murdered Christians. This news further enraged the mobs, which now attacked with heightened fury. . . .

House Democrats Have Document That Refutes GOP’s Biden Bribery Claims

House Oversight Committee Democrats on Thursday unveiled a document filled out by Mykola Zlochevsky—who their colleagues across the aisle allege may have handed Biden a $5 million kickback—in which the Ukrainian oligarch says he never interacted with Biden when he was vice president.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Jews should not defend themselves

 The following was written in the aftermath of the Chmelnicki massacres, He says the rabbinic leaders felt that resisting the attacks would ultimately lead to  a greater number of Jews being killed.

The author is ר גבריאל בן יהושע שוסברג there are תשובות in halacha from him. He says that that was the  פסק הוראת הגאונים הרבנים that was followed by the people then as a "הוראת שעה" it's not clear if that means כפשוטו that it's not standard halacha or that the circumstances then required it.

The book ‘Shemirat Shabbat Ke’Hilchata’ and the controversy it provoked

Despite the enormous virtues of ‘Shemirat Shabbat Ke’Hilchata’, disputes arose in Bnei Brak. Rabbi Yaacov Yisrael Kanievsky (the Steipler) wrote that it was his duty “to write here a great and necessary notice, because in our times of a an orphaned generation, in which everyone does as they please, there is no doubt that there are compositions about which Chazal said ‘for many are those she has struck dead’, who claim to collect and order the laws of the Shulchan Aruch, and it is forbidden to rely on them. Because apart from gathering instructions [to be lenient, of course] from everything they find in essays and journals [many of which have nothing at all to base themelves on], they also add their own disruptions and distortions in the hundreds, knowingly or unknowingly, and all with the aim of introducing leniencies upon leniencies into the laws of our holy Torah, and God forbid, one should rely on such treatises”.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

My paperback seforim are available in Flatbush at IM HaSefer 18th street

 You can now get Yad Yisrael and Yad Moshe  (English)as well as my books on abuse and Daas  Torah in Brooklyn - either from Amazon or

IM Hasefer 

1188 E 18th St, Brooklyn, NY 11230, USA

(718) 377-0047


On Sunday, The New York Times reported that just six months after leaving the White House, the former first son-in-law’s newly formed private equity firm, Affinity Partners, was awarded a $2 billion investment from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, which is led by MBS. That the kingdom would fork over that kind of cash to Kushner is obviously ridiculously shady and, as Nick Penniman, the founder and chief executive of good-government organization Issue One, told The Times, “swampy and seemingly hypocritical.” But the cash alone is not even the funniest part, and by funniest we mean insanely unethical and wildly corrupt. No, the unethical and corrupt part is that the people who perform due diligence for the Saudis’ Public Investment Fund concluded Kushner’s firm was a joke and that he might make them look bad…and then the board, headed by MBS, gave him the money anyway. Because…y’know.

Emunas Chachomim - Rav Nochum Rabinovitch

See Hakirah Magazune for the full article

What is “Emunat Ḥakhamim”?*

By: Rabbi Nachum Rabinovitch

The Responsibility of the Individual

This obligation to work at achieving and clarifying the truth is not limited to those who are on the level of deciding halakhah. The Torah was given to all Jews, each of whom is obligated to learn the Torah sufficiently to be capable of arranging all his actions according to halakhah. For this purpose we need to understand the reasons for the halakhah, “for if one does not comprehend the reasoning behind the halakhah, he does not understand the halakhot themselves correctly and clearly. He is the “undeveloped” person [of whom the Mishnah says, “cannot and does not fear aveirot.”] For this reason many [poskim] prohibit issuing halakhic rulings out of books which summarize the laws without providing reasons or background. It is therefore not permitted to postpone studying the reasoning behind the halakhot….”11

Until a person has studied sufficiently so that he can decide halakhot, he has no choice but to choose a rav from whom he can inquire concerning what he may do and what approach he should take. Even when one has acquired substantial knowledge, if he is truly wise he will never rely exclusively on his own decision but will turn to other ḥakhamim for their opinion and advice. But one who has insufficient knowledge, yet fails to turn to a ḥakham for guidance, relying instead on his own weak understanding, is but an arrogant person with no fear of Heaven. 
Yet, even when one asks a rav to rule for him and the rav renders a psak, he is not relieved of his responsibility to understand the reasoning behind the psak. The rishonim already dealt with this topic, and I will quote here the instructive words of the Ba’al ha-Ma’or on tractate Sanhedrin (p. 12a in the Rif). 
“If you were to ask: We hold [the prevailing view] that cases of garmi (damages resulting from direct and predictable cause) are liable for court adjudication. Why then do we say that when a judge
errs in something stated explicitly in a Mishnah, he simply reverses his ruling but is not responsible for any losses, even if the damage incurred by the litigant due to his error is irrevocable? [For example,] the case of the cow of Bet Menaḥem whose meat can not be returned because R. Tarfon [the judge] had already [caused it to be] fed to the dogs [by those who followed his ruling]. “The answer is: The litigant was negligent. Since the error is in that which is stated explicitly in a Mishnah, the error is obvious, and the litigant should not have relied upon him and should not have acted upon what he was told. He should have questioned [the judge] and demonstrated the error, for this  was as obvious as an explicit Mishnah. Therefore it is the litigant who was negligent; the judge’s ruling is superfluous. This is what is meant by: It is as if the judge never issued the ruling; he did nothing at all [to the litigant].” 

Thus, one who consults even an outstanding rav is considered negligent if he does not attempt to clarify and confirm that the psak he received is indeed correct. This is how great is each individual’s responsibility for his actions; this is how effectively he must clarify the correct ruling, as well as what Hashem expects of him in each situation

We can conclude from all this that emunat ḥakhamim is indeed an exalted attribute, but one that is quite difficult to achieve. It is not found in those who are lazy, who wish to relieve themselves of the burden of study. True emunat ḥakhamim obligates one to delve deeply to find the reasoning behind the ḥakhamim’s words while at the same time requiring the student or inquirer to be critical and to investigate rigorously, in order to verify that there is no room for dissent. Certainly there exists justification for their words; we still need to determine if they are to be actually carried out, למעשה הלכה.

All this applies to words of Torah, which all Jews are commanded to know and carry out. On the one hand one may not rely on his own knowledge to issue rulings—even for himself, certainly for others—without consulting and seeking advice from ḥakhamim. “Any scholar who has not yet achieved the level that qualifies him to issue rulings, and he nevertheless does so, is an arrogant fool…. Junior students who have not acquired an appropriate store of Torah knowledge and want to appear important to the commoners and to their own communities, leap at the opportunity to sit at the head, to weigh and decide judgments and to instruct Jewish communities. They are the ones who cause divisiveness, they destroy the world, extinguish the light of the Torah, and destroy the vineyard of the Lord of Hosts” (Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot Talmud Torah 5:4). On the other hand, even when one does ask and seek advice, he is not freed from the obligation to personally
understand the halakhah so that he is not like a blind person following one teacher or another. Obviously, someone who has no knowledge has no choice but to choose a rav and to follow him. But he still bears the responsibility of learning so that he can understand
and validate the teachings of his rav. 

Recently, some have begun applying the term “emunat ḥakhamim” to something else entirely, something that Ḥazal never discussed—that ḥakhamim also have prophetic authority in divrei reshut. 12 We are not talking about asking advice of those who are experienced and wise in Torah, whose righteousness, Torah knowledge and brilliance provide good guidance and sound advice. It is surely good for any person to
seek advice from those who are greater and better than he. But there is a difference between asking advice and taking personal responsibility for one’s actions, and relying on others with absolutely no independent thought. There are those who label such childish behavior as “emunat ḥachamim” while in reality it is a distortion of this great attribute. Instead of acquiring true Torah, those who cling to this distorted “emunat ḥakhamim” distance themselves from the light of the Torah and are ultimately incapable of distinguishing between right and wrong.

The distinction between a prophet and a ḥakham is clear enough. When a prophet instructs on divrei reshut, not only are we commanded to obey, but “it is forbidden to have any thoughts of doubt or to contemplate the possibility that the prophecy never took place, and it is forbidden to challenge him excessively” (10:6). With a ḥakham, however, emunat ḥakhamim requires us to clarify and elucidate his every word, and one who does not do so is simply a “fool who believes anything.” If this is true for Torah, then even more so for divrei reshut. “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but one who acts with wisdom will prevail.” 

Jared Kushner’s money from Saudi Arabia comes into sharper focus

New York Times report from last year, which found that those responsible for helping oversee the Saudi sovereign wealth fund were, to put it mildly, highly skeptical about giving Kushner’s new firm a $2 billion investment. Those concerns were understandable: The fund’s advisers rightly noted that Trump’s son-in-law had no relevant experience, and the firm’s operations were deemed “unsatisfactory in all aspects.”

Trump offers 12-point rebuttal of bombshell classified documents tape

Fox News Former President Trump reacts to latest alleged recording about top-secret files

The Trump Audiotape Explains Why He Had to Be Stopped

And nobody compelled him to be so careless and stupid, either: You know who didn’t record Donald Trump showing off classified information? The federal government, that’s who. The man who agreed to that was none other than Donald Trump. And yet, with full knowledge he is being taped and full knowledge that he is about to discuss extremely classified material, he blunders onward. There is a moment in the interview, before Trump begins spilling state secrets to settle personal beefs, where he pathetically says “this is off the record,” as if one can skirt the problems with revealing classified information to acquaintances by a quick “so I can trust you guys, right?”

Trump’s version of US election law rejected once and for all

The news Tuesday is that the US Supreme Court squarely rejected the fringe legal theory by which far-right activists and supporters of Trump hoped to be able to ignore election outcomes.

Republicans Need to Accept Trump Is Clearly Guilty

“Ooooh, Donald Trump used the wrong fork at dinner! Hit him with life in prison,” my relative will snark. “Oh no, you didn’t see Trump use his turn signal! Give him 30 years!”

This is a pretty standard Republican take on the allegations against their party’s de facto leader: Maybe he did what he’s accused of doing, but probably he didn’t, and the prosecution is nothing but political persecution, so it shouldn’t happen regardless. The possibility of guilt goes unacknowledged or ignored outright.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Yiftach - godol hador - was an am haaetz

 Yiftach was an am haaretz.  Shabbos night I mentioned the question to Rav Malinowtiz. He said there is a machlokes amongst the commentaries as to whether Yiftach in fact sacrificed his daughter. He added that according to the view that he sacrificed his daughter he was definitely an am haaretz - He gave me two seforim Daas Mikrah and Daas Sofrim and told me to look up the Malbim and Abarbanel. And added that for such issues he usually uses Aspaklaria - which the shul didn't have and I obviously couldn't use the computer.

Anyway. Das Mikrah and Daas Sofrim both said he sacrified his daughter according to Chazal. Daas Sofrim said, "Yiftach was an am haaretz who became pious." Then I looked up the Malbim. The Malbim gave a whole drasha about how he didn't kill his daughter but ended by saying, "However the view of Chazal is the he did in fact sacrifice his daughter." I looked up Redak who gave a long derasha to say he didn't kill his daughter but ended, "But Chazal say he did sacrifice is daughter and if they have a mesora on this then it has to be accepted."

There is a gemora in Taanis (4a) that says he killed his daughter. Tanach says that he attracted to him a gang of bums. From this verse, Chazal say we see that birds of a feather flock together.

ויתלקטו אל יפתח אנשים ריקים, מנא הדא מילתא דאמרי אינשי מטייל ואזיל דקלא בישא לגבי קינא דשרכי... שנוי בנביאים ויתלקטו אל יפתח אנשים ריקים... (שופטים פרק יא, סו)

כי תצא מחנה על אויביך ונשמרת מכל דבר רע, שלא יהיה בכם שום ליצנות, שלא תבא לידי חיוב, ממי אתה למד, מיפתח, מה כתיב בו והוא בן אשה זונה... ובשביל שהיה בו שום של ליצנות, נפלו בו כל האוכלוסין... (תצא ג)

Aspaklaria is

Medrash Tanchuma says he was an am haaretz

כיון שבקש לקרבה היתה בוכה לפניו, אמרה לו בתו, אבי, יצאתי לקראתך בשמחה ואתה שוחט אותי, שמא כתב הקב"ה בתורה שיהו ישראל מקריבין לפני הקב"ה נפשות אדם... מן הבהמה ולא מן האדם. אמר לה, בתי נדרתי והיה היוצא, שמא כל הנודר יכול הוא שלא לשלם נדרו, אמרה ליה והרי יעקב אבינו שנדר כל אשר תתן לי וגו' (בראשית כ"ח), ונתן לו הקב"ה שנים עשר בנים, שמא הקריב להקב"ה אחד מהם, ולא עוד אלא חנה שאמרה ותדר נדר וגו' (שמואל א' א'), שמא הקריבה את בנה לפני הקב"ה, כל הדברים האלה אמרה לו ולא שמע לה. כיון שראתה שלא שמע לה, אמרה לו הניחני וארד אצל בית דין, שמא ימצאו פתח לנדרך, שנאמר הרפה ממני שנים חדשים, ואלכה וירדתי על ההרים וגו', אמר רב זכריה, וכי יש אדם יורד על ההרים, והלא בני אדם עולים להרים, אלא אלו סנהדרין, כמה שנאמר (מיכה ו') שמעו הרים את ריב ה'. הלכה אצלם ולא מצאו פתח ליפתח ולהתיר לו את נדרו, בעוון ששחט משבט אפרים, ועליו הוא אומר (משלי כ"ח) גבר רש ועושק דלים מטר סוחף ואין להם, זה יפתח שהיה רש בתורה כגרופו של שקמה, שהיה עושק את הדלים, שנאמר ויאמרו לו אמור נא שבולת וגו' והיה שוחטן, לפיכך מטר סוחף אין להם, שהיה לו מי שיתיר את נדרו, אלא ודאי ואין להם, שהעלים הקב"ה את ההלכה, שלא ימצאו פתח להתיר לו את נדרו. עלה ושחטה, ורוח הקדש צווחת נפשות הייתי רוצה שתקריב לפני, אשר לא ציויתי ולא עלתה על לבי... (בחוקתי ה)

The sources i.e. Rishonim who say he didn't sacrifice his daughter are going against Chazal. This is a clear example of what Rav Dessler has said, that those Rishonim who give an explanation contrary to Chazal are doing it as apologetics for those confused people who can't accept Chazal and as long the explanation doesn't contradict halacha is ok to do such.

Rabbeinu Chananel explicitly states he was not a ben Torah

 רבנו בחיי על ויקרא פרק כז פסוק כט

ומעתה צא ולמד טעותו של יפתח שטעה בכאן בהקריבו את בתו עולה, כי הוא חשב שכשם שמלך ישראל הנודר או המחרים דבר, חרמו או נדרו חל להמית איש או אנשים, וגם כל העובר על חרמו חייב מיתה, הוא הדין גם כן כשנודר בעת מלחמתו לעשות זבח מאיש או אנשים שיחול הנדר, ובודאי טעה בזה טעות גדול כי כשיחול חרם המלך והסנהדרין ושבועתם דוקא על המורדים בהם או על העובר על גזירתם ותקנותיהם, אבל אינו חל לעשות קרבן מדבר שאינו ראוי לקרבן, וזהו שאמרו חז"ל (בראשית רבה ס, ג) אפילו הקדש דמים לא היה חייב, ומעשה שעשה הוכיח שלא היה בן תורה:

Bottom line - the sources clearly indicate that he was an ignorant man who killed his daughter because he didn't know basic Torah halacha

Seder HaDoros notes that Yiftach's daughter was married to Cham (Noach's son) and that her father schechted her and that R Chanina ben Tradyon was a tikun for Yiftach and that his why he was burned alive. 

Weiss Dodelson: Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky "Smear campaign against the Weiss Family should cease and desist"

Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky released this letter on Friday November 29, 2013

Guest Post from a concerned friend of the Weiss Family

This letter is far more important than one may think

Rav Shmuel writes that “as of two weeks ago, serious negotiations have been underway to resolve the Weiss-Dodelson, dispute” and therefore the “public smear campaign against the Weiss family...should cease and desist. It is unacceptable."

Weiss supporters are delighted that Rav Shmuel has taken a public stance after he and his son Rav Sholom have over the past two weeks experienced first hand how the Dodelsons “negotiate in good faith."

But what does this letter really say?

It says that although there is no formal binding arbitration taking place, so long as there are serious negotiations, the Weisses may not be attacked. Certainly Rav Shmuel is not suggesting that the Dodelsons may unilaterally disrupt the negotiations and resume their “smear campaign”; if he were saying that his letter would merely be a tool to encourage the breakdown of negotiations. No one would accuse him of that.

But what if “serious negotiations” were actually taking place earlier? It would seem that Rav Shmuel’s denouncement of the smear campaign would apply to that time, too.

There is ample email documentation of ongoing interaction between the Dodelson’s lawyers and other representatives with Rabbi Greenwald from June through mid-October showing that “serious negotiations” were, in fact taking place. All the while, the Dodelsons were engaged in an extensive “smear campaign,” including establishing numerous websites, doing mailings, and hiring a public relations.

Then, in mid-October the process was unilaterally scuttled by the Dodelsons, and their New York Post story trashing the frum community and their Newsweek story attacking halachah ran.

But the truth is, even a year ago the two sides went to Rav Yaakov Bender, but he was pressured by the Dodelsons to withdraw from arbitrating the case. Maybe Rav Shmuel’s psak should start back then.

The bottom line is that Rav Shmuel’s letter seems to support Rav Dovid Feinstein’s psak.

Weiss Dodelson: A reader questions my objectivity and asks about blindly following rabbinic authority

The question of whether I am biased in the Weiss  Dodelson case has been raised a number of times - primarily from Dodelson's supporters. I just received a letter which clearly expresses this concern so I have copied it from the comments section to a separate post. It also asks what happens when moral imperatives contradict rabbinic pronouncements as expressed by the Tzitz Eliezer (14:98) as posted elsewhere

 R Eidensohn, u seem so great when it comes to the scourge of child abuse, yet here it seems like you are nogea be'davar. can u disclose whether you have a horse in this race (whether as family to the Weiss's or more generally with respect to withholding Get's in the case of Ma'os Aly?). Per your point here from the Tzitz Eliezer, i wonder if u would have a problem if a Rebbe said that its a mitzvah to molest little boys (and your da'as should just be batul to the torah). if something is morally wrong in someone's eyes (assuming he isnt nogeah be'davar and cant adequately judge), Do you believe that Hashem will have Tayna for his refusing to accept that the Torah and Hashem's will is different than the way that a bunch of man have decided how to interpret words that can clearly be interpreted otherwise? This is not clearly biblical/divine, but many drashot and interpretations.
 My answer:
To answer your first question my concern is with halacha and yoshrus. The Torah requires you not to stand idly by the blood of your fellow man. In this case the issue is a clear halacha that when a woman unilaterally leaves her husband taking their child and saying "you are not a bad person just not for me" that there is no obligation for the husband to give a get. The kol koreh that was produced as well as the siruv that was issued is halachic nonsense.
I am not related to the Weiss's and I have posted over the years criticism of Rav Reuven Feinstein's involvment with Tropper. I have criticized Rav Ahron Schecter for his involvment in the Hersh case. I have criticized Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky regarding Tropper, reporting child abuse and support of Tamar Epstein etc etc.

Why aren't you accusing the signers of the kol koreh being nogea be'davar? Why aren't you accusing Lakewood's leadership of going out of their way to support a relative - when there is no halachic justification? Why aren't you criticizing the Dodelson's for conductng a smear campagin which has no precedent in American Jewish history?

Why is your only suspicion
that I must be nogeah be'davar because I am presenting both sides of the story - including the massive halachic material which supports the Weiss's?! Perhaps you are noge'ah bedavar because you are supporting the Dodelson's and can't understand that there is another side of this story?

If you have been following this blog you are aware that I have extensively covered the Friedman Epstein case for the same reason.

Your second point is a very important question. The simple answer is that of course it is wrong as I have fully documented in my books on child abuse and my postings on this blog. In fact this goes back to your first question. I am concerned with the abuse of rabbinic authority when it is used to demand that people do things which are against the halacha.

Rabbi Rakeffet once told me that Rav Solveitchik was upset by the passive acceptance of rabbinic authority in Europe that led to the death of many during the Holocaust and therefore he encouraged independent thinking.

There has to be a balance between obeying rabbinic authority which is unsupported by halachic texts or mesora and following moral principles and halachic knowledge. That balance is what I am striving to ascertain in the various cases presented on this blog.

There is a Kotzer maaseh that a major talmid chachom was visiting the Rebbe. When he came to shul Shabbos morning the Rebbe gave him a kiddush cup and told him to make kiddush before davening. He initially protested but was ordered in front of the entire shul to make kiddush by the Rebbe himself. He took the cup and started in a shaky voice to say kiddush. The Rebbe knocked the cup out of his hand and said,"Don't you know this is not the time for kiddush?"

Bottom line we are all soldiers in G-d's army but sometimes one is required to disobey orders from one's commanding officers - that are clearly wrong. Of course one has to be prepared to suffer the consequences if he is wrong and sometimes even if he is right. 

Fox News host suggests Trump may have leaked audio in classified documents case

Fox News host Steve Doocy suggested former President Trump may have been behind the leak of an audio recording showing Trump talking about his handling of classified documents.

“You know what? If Trump thinks it’s an exoneration of him, perhaps somebody on his side actually did the leaking to CNN and Maggie Haberman,” Doocy said Tuesday morning.

Lab-grown meat doesn’t involve slaughter. Does that mean it’s kosher or halal?

For Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO and Rabbinic administrator of OU Kosher, which has certified over one million products in 105 countries, the rules are straightforward enough: If the source is Kosher, the cultivated product is Kosher.

For cultivated meat to be considered kosher, it “would require that it came from a kosher slaughtered animal.” Chicken that is grown from cells taken from a kosher, unfertilized egg would be considered kosher, he said. Gennack, like Hussaini, said that cells coming from a live animal would not be permissible. Neither would cultivated pork.

And mixing meat with milk? Not allowed. At least, not from the OU’s perspective, though “there are different opinions,” Genack acknowledged. Some say that cultivated meat could be considered “completely pareve.” In Jewish law, pareve foods, such as fish, fruit and vegetables, are not considered meat or milk, and so can be consumed with either meat or dairy.

Supreme Court denies state legislatures the unchecked power to set election rules

A particularly robust reading of the theory — which the court turned aside — would have empowered state legislatures to make decisions on all aspects of elections, from congressional lines to how people register to vote and cast a ballot, without any opportunity for challengers to contest those decisions in state courts under state laws or constitutions. Opponents of the theory argued that it could have led to unchecked partisan gerrymandering, and laws that would make it harder for people to vote.

It’s Not Looking Good for Trump’s Coup Lawyer John Eastma

Eastman was the author of a now-infamous memo in which he argued Vice President Mike Pence could single-handedly reject electoral college votes to buy Republican state legislatures time to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory. And his six-page memo laying out how Pence could reject the electoral college is the heart of the case.

The idea was to pull the plug on the traditionally seamless transfer of power from one American president to another. The coup failed both in courtrooms and in Congress, which turned into a literal battlefield with Capitol Police and rioters on Jan. 6, 2021. But Eastman has mostly avoided any real repercussions besides reputation to damage—until now.

Donald Trump Slams 'Deranged' Prosecutor Jack Smith Over Leaked Audio Files


Biden, allies pushed out Ukrainian prosecutor because he didn't pursue corruption cases

At the heart of Congress' probe into the president's actions is his claim that former Vice President and 2020 Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden strong-armed the Ukrainian government to fire its top prosecutor in order to thwart an investigation into a company tied to his son, Hunter Biden. 

It wasn't because Shokin was investigating a natural gas company tied to Biden's son; it was because Shokin wasn't pursuing corruption among the country's politicians, according to a Ukrainian official and four former American officials who specialized in Ukraine and Europe.

Shokin's inaction prompted international calls for his ouster and ultimately resulted in his removal by Ukraine's parliament.

Trump Revives False Narrative on Biden and Ukraine

Trump repeatedly cites Biden’s January 2018 remarks as evidence that the former vice president pressured Ukraine to fire Shokin because he was investigating Burisma.

But, as we said, the evidence shows Biden was carrying out U.S. policy, and the United States was not alone in pressuring Ukraine to fire Shokin.

It’s important to note, too, that Trump is citing from unverified emails that were allegedly obtained in a bizarre way by his own lawyer. According to the Post, the emails were found on a laptop that had been abandoned at a Delaware computer repair store, and the shop owner turned it over to the FBI but before doing so he “made a copy of the hard drive and later gave it to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello.”

As we documented earlier this year, Giuliani has visited Ukraine and worked with current and former officials there in an attempt to obtain information damaging to Biden.

This 2016 letter proves that GOP attacks on Biden over Ukraine are nonsense

Trump’s core argument against Joe Biden is that then-Vice President Biden improperly used the power of his office to get a Ukrainian general prosecutor fired in order to stop him from investigating a Ukrainian gas company that Biden’s son Hunter served on the board of.

The reality is that the Obama administration — as well as many other Western European officials — wanted the prosecutor, a man named Viktor Shokin, removed because he was believed to be trying to stymie anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine. In other words, if anything, Biden’s efforts could have put his son in more legal jeopardy, not less.

Yet the conspiracy theory persists and has been repeated by Trump’s Republican allies on Fox News and in Congress. But it turns out Republicans have failed to mention one important thing: At least three GOP senators at the time also wanted that Ukrainian prosecutor fired.

Was Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin prosecuting Burisma?


Trump said that the Ukrainian prosecutor Joe Biden had pushed to oust, Viktor Shokin, was "prosecuting" the company where Hunter Biden sat on the board, Burisma.


Shokin was not prosecuting Burisma.


While there had been an investigation of the company, Shokin's former deputy, Vitaliy Kasko, has said that it was dormant at the time of Joe Biden's intervention. (The former US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, George Kent, testified in Trump's impeachment inquiry that Shokin was corrupt; the US and its allies had made a coordinated effort to oust him.)

Republican senators echoed Biden in urging Ukrainian president to reform prosecutor general’s office

At the same hearing, John E. Herbst, a former Ambassador to Ukraine in the Bush administration and now director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, testified that there was widespread support for the removal of Sholkin and praised specifically praised Biden.

Biden–Ukraine conspiracy theory–Ukraine_conspiracy_theory

The false conspiracy relies on the concept of quid pro quo with the lie blaming then Vice President Biden withheld loan guarantees to pressure Ukraine into firing a corrupt prosecutor. This is in contrast to the attempted quid pro quo when President Trump unsuccessfully tried to pressure Ukrainian President Zelensky in a quid pro quo manner to start a publicly announced investigation of Burisma and the Bidens in exchange for military aid.[19] This led to President Trump's first impeachment.

In January 2018, a videotaping by the Council on Foreign Relations shows Biden taking credit for withholding the loan guarantees to have the prosecutor fired. His actions were implementations of bipartisan US policy rather than done for any of the reasons alleged in the conspiracy theory.[24][25][26]

‘This is game over’: Andrew Weissmann on bombshell Trump audio recording

Rachel and Lawrence react to new audio evidence in Trump docs case

This is secret information’: Hear exclusive audio of Trump discussing classified documents

The GOP ‘bribery’ allegations against Biden remain transparently thin

Two members of Congress who have seen the 1023 told the New York Post that the executive at issue was Burisma founder Mykola Zlochevsky. In 2020, former Giuliani aide Lev Parnas — then himself under indictment on federal charges — told Politico that Giuliani had met privately with Zlochevsky in mid-2019, in the middle of Trump’s effort to get Ukraine to announce an investigation into Biden.

“Asked to detail any contacts he had with Joe Biden from 2013-2019, and whether Hunter ever facilitated any meetings,” Politico’s Natasha Bertrand wrote, “Zlochevsky replied: ‘No one from Burisma ever had any contacts with VP Biden or people working for him during Hunter Biden’s engagement.’ "

Giuliani, Parnas said, was furious at that answer.

Why are Republicans accusing Joe and Hunter Biden of bribery?

The increasing legal jeopardy facing former president Donald Trump, and news of the plea agreement between the Department of Justice and President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, has led Republicans in Congress to make increasingly outlandish accusations against the 46th president and his family, even as evidence to support their claims continues to be lacking.

Web of biblical cities depicts King David as major ruler, says Israeli archaeologist

In a new academic paper, Prof. Yosef Garfinkel of the Institute of Archaeology at Hebrew University claims he has found evidence of urban settlement in organized cities dating to around 1,000 BCE, during the reign of King David.

His article, published Monday in the Jerusalem Journal of Archaeology, a peer-reviewed publication of Hebrew University, supports the theory that King David ruled over a well-developed kingdom, complete with roads connecting between cities. This runs counter to the belief of some scholars from the minimalist school of thought who have previously suggested that since there is scant evidence of cities during King David’s reign, his position as a ruler of a great kingdom as written in the Bible could be exaggerated.

"Planted by scoundrels": Trump melts down on Truth Social after DOJ reveals evidence against him

Trump has repeatedly argued that the President Records Act, which defines the scope of presidential records and states they belong to the government, exonerates him from prosecution for hoarding classified materials.

Legal experts, however, clarified for Salon last week that Trump is not facing charges for violating the PRA but rather the Espionage Act, which instead pertains to national defense records from agencies like the CIA that the indictment accuses him of willfully retaining.

Missionaries targeting Orthodox Jewish communities in Jerusalem

"It could very well be that he is merely boasting to raise funds, but I can testify, as someone who walks the streets of Jerusalem a lot, that their number is much greater than what we knew before the coronavirus," King warns. "I hear about materials in mailboxes in every neighborhood in the city, including Givat Shaul, Har Nof, Givat Mordechai, etc. They arrive everywhere and that means a lot of people, beyond the streetcar in the Safra square and the Western Wall. When you reach so many people, you have to be much more connected. He may be from Paris, but there is no doubt that there is a much larger number of Messianic Jews and missionaries on the streets of Jerusalem."

University under fire for 'anything but orthodox' adver

An advert placed in the New York Times by a prestigious American university has been criticised by orthodox Jews for being 'tone-deaf' towards its Orthodox students.

“Brandeis was founded by Jews. But, it’s anything but orthodox,” reads the ad, which runs across a two-page spread.

Trump Audio 'Even More Damning' Than Indictment: Ex-Prosecutor

In a statement to Newsweek Monday night, a spokesperson for Trump's campaign said via email that the tape proves "once again" that the former president is innocent and called it "bait" for "Trump-haters."

"The audio tape provides context proving, once again, that President Trump did nothing wrong at all," the campaign spokesperson said. "The President is speaking rhetorically and also quite humorously about a very perverted individual, Anthony Weiner, who was deep inside the corrupt Clinton campaign. The media and the Trump-haters once again were all too willing to take the bait, falling for another Democrat-DOJ hoax, hook, line, and sinker."

Trump's campaign also shared a statement on behalf of the former president, which read, "As we've been saying from the moment President Trump rode down the golden escalator, the President did nothing wrong."

Jan. 6 Convict Tells the Truth About Trump: He’s a Cult Boss

“I started debunking them and they got mad at me and they started getting more mad at me and started a smear campaign on me,” Hemphill recalled. “That I was a fed agent. That I was antifa. Just silly children, high school stuff.”

Donald Trump Responds to New Leaked Audio About Secret Docs He Kept

Posting to Truth Social after the release of the audio, Trump took aim at prosecutor Jack Smith and claimed, without explaining, that the audio is an exoneration of his alleged crimes.

“The Deranged Special Prosecutor, Jack Smith, working in conjunction with the DOJ & FBI, illegally leaked and ‘spun’ a tape and transcript of me which is actually an exoneration, rather than what they would have you believe,” Trump wrote.

The former president added: “This continuing Witch Hunt is another ELECTION INTERFERENCE Scam. They are cheaters and thugs!”

Monday, June 26, 2023

So far, Elon Musk’s ‘Twitter Files’ amount to ‘a tempest in a teapot,’ expert says

The info dump fueled longstanding right-wing distrust of “big tech” by suggesting a nexus between pre-Musk Twitter and the Democratic Party. But on the left, it elicited a collective yawn. That’s because the files so far reveal little more than how Twitter bungled the response to the Hunter Biden story, airing disagreements between Twitter employees about how the company handled it initially, which was to block the story and prevent users from sharing it, before correcting course.

The ‘Twitter Files’ Is What It Claims to Expose

Specifically, Musk delivered a vast trove of internal Twitter documents to two independent journalists, Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss, who have long endorsed aspects of the GOP’s indictment of the platform. Taibbi and Weiss proceeded to publish a pair of exposés on Twitter’s inner workings. Dubbed “the Twitter Files,” these reports featured a couple genuinely concerning findings about pre-Musk Twitter’s operations. But they were also saturated in hyperbole, marred by omissions of context, and discredited by instances of outright mendacity. Musk’s commentary on the Twitter Files, meanwhile, proved even more demagogic and deceptive than the exposés themselves.

For these reasons, the Twitter Files are best understood as an egregious example of the very phenomenon it purports to condemn — that of social-media managers leveraging their platforms for partisan ends.

Ex-Twitter officials reject GOP claims of government collusion

"I'm aware of no unlawful collusion with or direction from any government agency or political campaign on how Twitter should have handled the Hunter Biden laptop situation," James Baker, who served as Twitter's deputy general counsel, told the committee.

Telling lies has become the norm for today’s Republicans

 During Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Biden’s Supreme Court pick, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, Republican senators including Texas’ Ted Cruz concocted the charge that Jackson had handled child pornography cases with inordinate leniency. The conservative National Review dismissed the attack as “meritless to the point of demagoguery”; Cruz earned a rebuke from an eminent conservative federal judge for whom he once had clerked.

Kari Lake Sued For Defamation By Arizona GOP Election Official She Accused Of Election Sabotage

The lawsuit against Lake was filed by Maricopa County’s recorder Stephen Richer—who is also a Republican—and it accuses the GOP candidate and her campaign of making repeated false accusations that he “sabotaged the election” to prevent Lake from winning, the Washington Post reported.

To defend Clarence Thomas, GOP senators slander the wrong target

The Republican defense of Thomas is similar: They’re not bothered by Thomas’ alleged misconduct; they’re bothered by anti-corruption officials like Wolf who noticed Thomas’ alleged misconduct.

Rep. Adam Schiff Grills Special Counsel John Durham on Sham Report

Durham accused of cover-up by Matt Gaetz

WSJ editorial board defends Alito, calls ProPublica report ‘non-scandal built on partisan spin’

Meanwhile, a new poll from Quinnipiac published Wednesday found the Supreme Court’s public approval rating sinking to 30 percent among registered voters, the lowest since the poll began nearly two decades ago.

GOP senators want Roberts to take action on Supreme Court

“These Republicans are caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, they don’t want to have to cooperate with Democrats on ethics legislation, because it sort of accepts the premise that the Republican justices are behaving corruptly and there’s a need to rein them in,” he said.  

I did Alito’s ethics prep for his confirmation hearing. His new excuses are nonsense.

And in any event, the free travel to Alaska had to be disclosed. Alito invokes the “empty seat theory” to say he hitched a ride on Singer’s plane that was headed to Alaska anyway, that it didn’t cost Singer anything additional, and thus was not a gift that needed to be disclosed. This is utter nonsense, of course. In ethics meetings my staff and I also discussed and poked fun of the empty seat theory. No American who is not a Supreme Court justice (or perhaps an ethically challenged governor) can just hitch a ride on a billionaire’s private plane. Try using the empty seat theory to board a plane or a cruise ship without a ticket and see what happens.

Samuel Alito's Justification for Taking GOP-Billionaire-Led Trip: The Seat “Would Have Otherwise Been Vacant”,to%20Alaska%2C”%20Alito%20wrote.

“This is an unseemly effort by the Democratic left to destroy the legitimacy of the Roberts court,” Republican Lindsey Graham complained during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last month on Thomas’s apparent ethics violations.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Moscow has stepped back from civil war with Wagner. But the danger’s not over, experts warn

Within a remarkable day and a half, Russia faced the very real threat of an armed insurrection, with President Vladimir Putin vowing to punish Wagner fighters marching toward Moscow and occupying cities along the way – before a sudden deal with Belarus seemed to defuse the crisis as rapidly as it emerged.

For Adam Schiff, censure is a gift from House Republicans

The rebuke from the House GOP boosted Schiff's political stock even further, edging the Burbank Democrat closer to his goal of besting a handful of party rivals and succeeding Dianne Feinstein as the next U.S. senator from California.

"I would call it an advertisement for Adam Schiff," Bob Shrum, a veteran Democratic strategist who teaches political science at USC, said following the party-line censure vote. "Brought to you by the MAGA caucus in the Republican House."

In today's nihilistic political climate, what a candidate accomplishes is increasingly less important to partisans than whom they antagonize along the way.

With enemies like Trump and his acolytes, Schiff might well ask, who needs friends?

Weiss-Dodelson : R' Avraham Meir Weiss had already agreed to binding arbitration back in May 2013

I was asked to print this letter today written by Rav Dovid Feinstein - the son of Rav Reuven Feinstein. It is important to be aware that Gital's husband - Rabbi Avraham Meir Weiss - had in fact agreed to binding arbitration with the widely respected askan - Rabbi Ronald Greenwald back in May 2013. It is not clear why Gital Dodelson thought it necessary to give the interview to the  New York Post telling the whole world that she was an Aguna chained to a failed marriage by her husband and Torah - and that only public outrage would free her. It is odd that she failed to mention that she had unilaterally abandoned binding arbitration which her husband had already agreed to in writing.

 She concluded the NY Post article with the following:
It’s an insulated community. It takes a strong push to step out beyond that. This step I’m taking is difficult but necessary. I’ve decided to go public with my story after exhausting every other possible means. the Orthodox are fiercely private, but I am willing to air my dirty laundry if it means I can finally get on with my life.
Avrohom, if you’re reading this, this is my last bid: Let’s both move on with our lives. Let us focus on Aryeh and our future, instead of being stuck in the past.
I think that all reasonable people will agree with the sentiment that are expressed in this letter. If Gital really wants a Get - it is clearly available - but only through good faith negotiations.

Yair Lapid gives Knesset Torah lesson after haredi MK says LGBT are 'Israel's greatest danger'

Finally, Lapid accused the Haredi MKs of one of the sins mentioned in Proverbs, creating rifts and conflicts among the people of Israel "which is exactly what you do today, from morning til evening."

Harvard behavior scientist who studied honesty accused of fabricating data: report

Harvard Business School’s Francesca Gino allegedly chalked up phony results tied to studies, including one focused on honest behavior, the New York Times reported.

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Trump’s business deal with Oman raises new ethical questions

He was quite friendly with Saudi Arabia. And so now, after he leaves office, his son-in-law gets $2 billion worth of investment from the Saudi public sovereign — sovereign wealth fund. And then the sovereign wealth fund always — also LIV Golf. And LIV Golf puts several of its tournaments at Trump golf courses in the United States.

And this — there's a lot of money between the Middle Eastern companies, be it in Saudi Arabia or now in Oman, and Trump business operations that overlap with his activities as president. What were those deals and reward for his actions as president? It's an open question.

Did the biblical prophet Moses promise his firstborn son to idolatry?

In an unexpected passage in the Midrash, the sages recount a deal struck between Moses and his future father-in-law, Jethro. Moses had already decided to serve God when he came to Jethro to ask for Zipporah’s hand in marriage. Before giving his blessing, Jethro asks Moses for one undertaking.“What is it?” inquired Moses. 

Jethro explains: “Your first child should be for idol worship, from here onwards,” – referring to subsequent children – “they will be for the sake of Heaven.” 

When Moses said to Jethro, "Give me your daughter Tzipporah as a wife", Jethro answered, "If you do what I ask of you, I will give her to you as a wife." Moses said: "What do you ask?" Jethro replied: "Your first son must serve idolatry. The following sons may serve God in heaven." Moses accepted. Jethro said: "Swear." And Moses swore. [Mechilta d'Rabbi Yishmael 18:3]

Prigozhin’s coup attempt unleashes chaos on Russia

Russia is in turmoil as the leader of a powerful paramilitary group staged an armed and brazen challenge to the Russian regime.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the private military company, the Wagner Group, said Saturday that his forces will halt their march on Moscow, and that he is “turning around our columns and returning to field camps according to plan.” We don’t know what that plan is, but Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko claimed to have reached a deal with Prigozhin. Prigozhin has denied a deal, saying he turned around to avoid bloodshed.

‘Freaked Out’ Russia Shocked by Military Coup Against Putin

Millions of Russians woke up on Saturday to shocked social media messages and baffling memes depicting a full-on civil war.

Fox News Analyst Pours Cold Water on Hunter Biden Allegations

What we have this week was a decision by a Trump-appointed prosecutor who had full authority over the case, by his own account, to bring two misdemeanor charges basically against Hunter Biden," Williams said. "That was it. All these other things that we're hearing about, an app message? We don't know if the president was involved and he wasn't even president or vice president at the time. This was from 2017."

Williams went on to compare the allegations against Biden to the Steele Dossier, a 2016 report that alleged collusion between Trump's presidential campaign and Russia. In making the comparison, he dismissed the Hunter allegations touted by Republicans as "a bunch of rumors and innuendo" with "no hard evidence, no proof, nothing."

Friday, June 23, 2023

Russia Demands U.S. Pay Reparations for Helping Ukraine in War

Russia Ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov speaks during a World Affairs event at the Fairmont Hotel on November 29, 2017 in San Francisco, California. He has demanded that the U.S. pays reparations for helping Ukraine in the war.

Republicans Are Smearing the Bidens Like They Did Hillary Clinton

The point of the GOP-led investigations into his actions wasn’t to actually find evidence of criminal activity, as much as they would have welcomed it, but to create an aura of corruption and criminality around the 2020 and 2024 Democratic presidential candidate in much the same way they did against the party’s 2016 nominee. To their immense frustration, Republicans haven’t yet succeeded in that enterprise against Biden.

Lieu blasts ‘dumb’ Durham hearing: Republicans focused on ‘stupid stuff’

Supporters blast Netanyahu trial after report shows bribery case falling apart

"After years of media and legal persecution against the prime minister, a persecution that has turned an entire country, today the judges also say clearly that there is no chance of a conviction for bribery," said Education Minister Yoav Kisch in response to a Channel 12 report about a secret meeting about Case 4000 between the judges, State Attorney's Office representatives, and Netanyahu and Bezeq owner Shaul Elovitch's lawyers.

Behind the Hunter Biden hype: GOP scramble to keep up the outrage — but they've got nothing

I would have thought that no sentient being on the planet would have the nerve to compare what Donald Trump is accused of with the charges against Hunter Biden. Not even Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. But as long as we're talking about him, perhaps McCarthy would care to comment on the big story By Eric Lipton in the New York Times yesterday about the Trump family's latest "sweetheart deal" with the governments of Saudi Arabia and Oman.

Attorney General Merrick Garland Was Actually Pretty Harsh on Hunter Biden

So the result of this five-year long investigation is that a recovering drug addict who paid his taxes late and lied about using drugs to purchase a firearm will be convicted of tax evasion, and be given pre-trial diversion for lying on his gun ownership application. It is likely that any other drug addict who was not the son of a sitting president would not have been prosecuted for these charges.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Hunter Biden Got Special Treatment — Especially Harsh

If Hunter Biden were not the president’s son, it’s not clear whether prosecutors would have investigated for as long or as hard as they did, or that they would have decided to spend additional federal resources prosecuting misdemeanors instead of moving on to the next case.

Revealed: The Mystery Benefactors Who Paid George Santos’ Bail

Santos’ father and aunt both donated thousands to his congressional bid, according to federal elections data. Preven’s social media accounts reflect a particular interest in Brazilian politics, as she has posted material critical of the country’s left-wing President Ignacio Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and supportive of his far-right foe and predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro. A United States Postal Service worker, she owns properties in both Queens and in Brazil.

Purple from Holy Temple objects traced to snail guts at 3,000-year-old Haifa factory

The true purple argaman dye and its associated azure techelet variant are mentioned dozens of times in the Hebrew Bible and Sennacherib’s Cylinder (690 BCE), among other texts.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Fox News has normalized a lie about the origins of the Russia investigation

As America awaits special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report, Fox News has gotten in the habit of pushing a false talking point about the origins of his investigation — that it began after Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in 2016 alerted the FBI to the Steele dossier, an unverified intelligence document that contains a number of claims, some of them far-fetched, about the Trump campaign’s dealings with Russia.

“Keep in mind that all of this seemed to have started with this dossier that was essentially an oppo research paper funded by the Democrats, after the Republicans originally started it — dirt on Donald Trump,” Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy said on Friday. Doocy’s not alone. Hosts and guests alike on Fox News have been pushing this talking point with impunity. Trump ally Dan Bongino made the claim during Tuesday’s edition of Fox & Friends. Last Saturday, host Ed Henry falsely claimed the FBI relied on the dossier “to get this whole thing going” — the “whole thing” being the Russia investigation. On March 10, Fox News contributor Andrew McCarthy said of the dossier, “I think that’s the way the investigation got kicked off.” Trump himself tweeted out a video clip on Monday from Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show in which Carlson framed “the Russia hoax” as stemming from the “dirty dossier.”

Justice Department inspector general concludes Russia probe was justified

Horowitz determined that the controversial Steele dossier did not play any role in the FBI's opening of the investigation, but it did play a "central and essential role" in FBI lawyers' decision to support the Page surveillance request. Horowitz concluded that the FBI fell short in ensuring that Steele's information was accurate.

Steele defended his reports to Horowitz as not designed to be "finished products," and called allegations that he was biased against Trump "ridiculous." Steele claimed that if anything, he was "favorably disposed" toward the Trump family because he had been friendly with one family member for years, which ABC News has reported is Ivanka Trump.

Horowitz debunks the conspiracy theory that the so-called "Deep State" was out to get Trump, but he also chastises FBI officials for failing to meet standards for highly intrusive surveillance activity.

Sorry, MAGA World: If Hunter's Name Wasn't 'Biden,' He'd Never Have Been Charged

Sorry MAGA world, but that's the truth: Most people who do what Hunter did don't get prosecuted. Both the tax and gun charges are rarely brought against first-time offenders and almost never result in jail time. This is the conclusion drawn by many legal experts, folks like Andrew Weissmann, a former FBI general counsel, and former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti. People charged with the kinds of crimes Hunter is accused of tend to pay their back taxes, as Hunter arranged to have done, and then they are fined.

Tamar Epstein Heter: R' Greenblatt said he simply accepted whatever R Shalom Kaminetsky told him - Retraction of heter can not be far away

In this recent letter Rav Greenblatt says he knows nothing except what R Shalom Kaminetsky told him. He did not do any independent investigation of the facts or bother hearing both sides. A rather sad and irresponsible use of the excuse of Daas Torah to avoid the elementary responsibility required of a posek. This is especially troubling concerning the issue of permitting a married woman to remarry without a Get.

With this announcement it is clear that the retraction of the heter must follow since the facts on which it was based are clearly not true. The question  now is what happens when the heter is retracted?

Yehoshua wrote:
A translation for those interested:
To whom it may concern:
I certify here what I said in writing to several talmidei chachamim who asked, and that is that I do not know Mr. Aharon Freidman, may he live and be well, or Ms. (?) Tamar Epstein, may she live and be well, and it is certainly not possible for me to know anything about their marriage or any detail [that transpired] between them. Rather, Hagaon R' Sholom Kamenetzky shlita asked me: When there is testimony by expert doctors that someone is mentally ill in a way that disrupts his marriage, if it is possible to nullify the kiddushin due to this. And I said that if the matter is clear and is similar to the incident in the responsum in the Igros Moshe, it is possible to permit it under certain circumstances.
Nota tzvi Greenblatt

Michigan GOP Chair Says Outrage Over Holocaust Tweet Was ‘Completely Hilarious’

Figures in both parties criticized the tweet as an offensive trivialization of the Holocaust; the head of the Republican Jewish Coalition called it “absolutely inappropriate” and called on the Michigan GOP to take it down “immediately.”

In her remarks at the Lincoln Day dinner in Montcalm County, Karamo made clear she did not care about such concerns—even dismissing the continued anger over the tweet “hilarious, completely hilarious.”

“Us being armed is not about stopping a burglar,” she said. “It’s not about hunting. It’s about stopping a tyrannical government. And if you know a thing or two about history, we know that governments have a tendency to be very abusive to the citizenry.”

Trump’s Home Run

Trump’s interview with Bret Baier has, understandably, gotten a lot of attention. It’s been pointed out that Trump didn’t help his legal case, but since there isn’t much help to be had there, I’m not sure how much that matters.

I believe Trump’s legal defense has to be, first and foremost, getting elected president to squash the case; and, failing that, getting pardoned by a Republican president in the event Trump doesn’t win the nomination; and failing that, convincing enough people that the case is unfair so a juror simply refuses to convict.

Trump Can’t Say Why Republicans Hate Vaccines So Much

“He said you may have saved…throughout the world 100 million people and you never talk about it,” Trump told Baier. “I said I really don’t want to talk about it because, as a Republican, it’s not a great thing to talk about because for some reason, it’s just not.”

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Fox News analyst calls Trump defense 'incoherent'

Legal experts say the charges against Hunter Biden are rarely brought

Like the gun charge, the tax charges are rarely brought against first-time offenders and even more rarely result in jail time, Andrew Weissmann, a former FBI general counsel and NBC News contributor, tweeted Tuesday. "This is if anything harsh, not lenient," he wrote.

Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti agreed. "It insults the intelligence of the American people to compare misdemeanor tax charges to a scheme to steal Top Secret documents and obstruct justice when the government asked for them back," he tweeted, comparing the charges against Hunter Biden to the recent federal indictment against former President Donald Trump. "If anything, Hunter Biden was treated harshly — those crimes are rarely charged."

Christie: Maybe Trump should’ve gone through boxes with classified documents instead of golfing

“He said the reason he didn’t give the documents back was because he just so very busy, and he didn’t have time to respond to a grand jury subpoena because he needed to get his golf shirts and pants out of the box,” Christie said on “CBS Mornings.” “I mean, does anybody in America believe this?”

“Look, I think the problem is going to be, for him over time, is that people are just not going to buy it,” the 2024 presidential hopeful and former New Jersey governor said. “And when you think about how many days of golf he’s played since he left office, maybe he could have skipped a couple of rounds of golf and gone through the boxes to respond to a subpoena from a grand jury.”

Hunter Biden to plead guilty in deal with feds

“Hunter Biden is getting away with a slap on the wrist when growing evidence uncovered by the House Oversight Committee reveals the Bidens engaged in a pattern of corruption, influence peddling, and possibly bribery,” Comer said. “We will not rest until the full extent of President Biden’s involvement in the family’s schemes are revealed.”

Comer’s bribery allegations stem from a tip to the FBI the agency was unable to corroborate.

Trump weighed in on Hunter Biden’s case after news of the plea agreement broke, criticizing the charges as being low-level.

Hunter Biden reaches plea deal with feds to resolve tax issues, gun charge

Under an agreement detailed Tuesday in a filing in federal court in Delaware, President Joe Biden’s son will plead guilty to a pair of misdemeanor tax charges. Prosecutors have also charged him with possessing a firearm while being a user of illegal drugs — a felony — but have agreed to dismiss that charge if he completes a two-year period of probation.

Primary source of Steele dossier Igor Danchenko acquitted of lying to FBI

Igor Danchenko, the Russian analyst considered the primary source of the "Steele dossier," a 2016 opposition research report filled with unproven, compromising personal and financial information about then-candidate Donald Trump, walked out of federal court on Tuesday after a jury cleared him of all charges of making false statements to the FBI. 

Danchenko's case stems from special counsel John Durham's probe into the origins of the Russia investigation. In 2019, Attorney General Bill Barr tasked Durham with reviewing the FBI's handling of the investigation into Russia's connection with the 2016 Trump campaign.

The Steele dossier has always been misunderstood

The story of the Christopher Steele dossier took its latest turn this week with the acquittal of Igor Danchenko, an analyst who worked on the dossier and was accused of lying to the FBI about it. The case that John H. Durham brought against Danchenko was so weak that the judge threw out one of the charges before a jury could deliberate on it, and the jury spent only one day before it acquitted Danchenko of the charges against him.