Rep. Cheney asked if Trump should be prosecuted. Hear her answer

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A partnership made in the MAGAverse: Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene team up to battle political opposition

They’ve now formed a joint fundraising committee and are making plans to travel the country together on what they are calling an “America First” tour.

The pair were early and passionate supporters of former President Donald Trump, and they have no problem challenging the establishment leaders within their own party. As the pressure on each grows, they have formed an unsurprising bond, often seen talking to each other on the floor of the House of Representatives, and they back each other up when others in the GOP aren’t rushing to their defense.

Earlier this month, when Greene flirted with the idea of forming an “America First” caucus, a leaked flier promoting the caucus received sharp criticism for using inflammatory rhetoric. While many Republicans — even some from the far-right Freedom Caucus — were quick to distance themselves from the document and the caucus itself, Gaetz proudly proclaimed he was ready to sign up. Plans for the caucus were eventually scrapped after blowback from leadership.
Greene has returned the favor. When news broke of a federal investigation into Gaetz, which includes allegations of sex trafficking and prostitution, many Democrats and even fellow GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois called for him to resign. But Greene defended her Florida colleague.

“I have proudly defended Matt Gaetz from the beginning because I know he has done nothing wrong and I recognized this playbook right from the start,” Greene tweeted.

Now the two are solidifying that alliance through the joint fundraising committee — which generally allows politicians to secure a single, larger check from a donor and then split the money among several committees — and their “America First” tour, which is set to kick off next Friday with an event at the Villages, a retirement community that is in neither of their congressional districts.

“There are millions of Americans who need to know they still have advocates in Washington D.C., and the America First movement is consistently growing and fighting,” Gaetz said in a statement announcing the tour. Gaetz’s and Greene’s offices did not respond to interviews request from CNN.

And while the duo continues to draw attention to themselves, some of their GOP colleagues in Washington are worried their side show is a distraction from Republicans hoping to regain power in the House next year.

“I think these people get too much attention. I don’t really want to elevate or amplify their voices. They’re not the Republican Party that I am excited to be a leader within,” one Republican lawmaker, speaking on the condition of anonymity to speak more freely, told CNN. “For me, it’d be better if these guys just go away.”

But more than just soak up the spotlight, the pair raises questions about the future of the Republican party, and more importantly who the face of it is.

“This is part of the Republican Party’s internal struggle about, you know, is this the party of Trump or is this the party of conservative values? And you know, Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene are many things, but you know, conservative Republicans they are not,” the lawmaker said.

These members going away — at least in the short term — seems unlikely. Despite calls for him to step down, Gaetz has vowed that he will not resign and instead has stepped up his fundraising efforts. He has denied all wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crimes.

Greene has also become a fundraising force, despite being kicked off her congressional committees. The Democratic-controlled House voted to remove her in February in the wake of recently unearthed incendiary and violent past statements from the congresswoman that triggered widespread backlash. But the freshman raised an unprecedented $3.2 million in the first quarter of 2021, which largely came from an online spigot of small-dollar donations from people across the country.

Some Democrats have called on Gaetz to be removed from his committees as well because of his legal troubles. But House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has taken a neutral position on Gaetz and his future, saying that he will allow the investigation to play itself out.

“I spoke with Mr. Gaetz about the accusations,” McCarthy said shortly after the investigation was revealed. “He’s told me he’s innocent of the accusations. I explained to Mr. Gaetz the rules inside our conference. If there was something to come forward we’d take action.”

Some Republicans fear that the more the pair are under attack, the stronger their base of support becomes. A separate GOP member of Congress argued that removing Greene from her committees left her only one option: waging a public relations war.

“I tell the Democrats, who ask me what we are going to do about MTG, that this situation is one of their own creation,” the Republican lawmaker told CNN.

But other Republicans believe this partnership between the Georgia and Florida Republicans could end up doing greater long-term damage to a party struggling to rebuild after failing to retake the House in 2020 and losing the White House and the Senate.

“It’s obviously a bad look for the party. This is not who we are. This is not how we get the majority back. It’s a distraction that’s only going to hurt our efforts to talk about our agenda and talk about policy,” said a GOP congressional aide.

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Senate Intel leaders say mysterious directed energy attacks appear to be increasing

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Practice of 'ghost voting' alive and well

AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – It sounds like science fiction but “ghost voting” is a real, if little-known legal practice at the Texas state capitol.

And it happens thousands of times during the legislative session.

During most votes in the House, members use buttons to vote from their desks – and not just for themselves.

They may “ghost vote” once, twice, three times or more on behalf of their fellow representatives.

Ken Herman, a reporter for the Austin American-Statesman, has watched lawmakers push each other’s buttons for decades.

“It’s not really a scandal until it is,” said Herman. “[Lawmakers] will go around and punch everyone else’s button who’s not there. In most cases they’ve done it with that person’s authority.”

Texas A&M political science professor Dwight Roblyer says ghost voting is common.

“There’s competition over buttons. The question is how fast people can twist and reach and turn.”

The most notorious case of ghost voting happened in 1991, when a Houston-area lawmaker died of a drug overdose hours before he was due at the capitol.

“The day he died people were ghost voting for him,” said Herman.

If you want to see how it works you’ll have to go to Austin, because even though the House live streams hours of debates and routine readings, when it comes to voting the camera stays focused on the podium up front.

In 2007, the CBS affiliate in Austin peeled back the curtain on the battle over buttons.

People were outraged at the practice, which was against House rules at the time.

“It wasn’t very rosy for the legislature so they went in and changed the rules,” said Roblyer. “Members could vote for other members as long as they had permission.”

Herman says most bills that make it to the floor have enough support to pass by a wide margin, so ghost voting rarely affects the outcome. “In most cases, it’s a courtesy.”

The practice did play a part in the 2019 legislature.

After a bill about policing survived a critical vote, the House held a verification vote, to make sure every lawmaker on the board was actually in the room. “In this case there were four or five – and I tracked them down – where they weren’t even in the building,” said Herman. “So in that case, when they did the verification and checked on it, it came out different than what the board had showed because ghost voting had gone on.”

Former State Representative Jason Villalba says the long days make ghost voting necessary.

“You can’t be on the floor for 20 hours straight,” he said.

Villalba said lawmakers trust each other to help if they step away for meetings or breaks.

“If they were votes you perceived to be non-controversial,” said Villalba, “You would say to your desk mate or trusted member, ‘hey, three votes are coming up, I’d like you to vote me yes, yes, no,’ and that’s how it would happen.”

He also points out that members can make a motion for strict enforcement, which forces lawmakers to be at their desks to take part in a vote.

And if a member doesn’t approve of a ghost vote in their name?

“They can go up after the fact and say ‘I was shown voting aye, show me voting ‘nay’,” said Herman.

Herman’s advice? Just push your own button.

“You went to the trouble to get elected, drive to Austin, you’re so close to your desk,” he said. “Go ahead and walk those few extra feet to vote – would it kill ya?”

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USA Curling moving HQ to Vikings campus

Olympic curlers have been training in the area for a few years, but now their headquarters will be located in the Viking Lakes facility.

EAGAN, Minn. — Editor’s note: The above video originally aired on January 3, 2019

The headquarters of the United States Curling Association (USA Curling) are packing up their rocks and brooms and moving to the metro. 

From their previous location in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, USA Curling headquarters will find a new home at the center of the Viking Lakes campus in Eagan, where Minnesota’s pro-football team trains. 

“The move to the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area opens the door for exciting new opportunities and increased exposure as interest continues to grow in the sport of curling,” said Chief Executive Officer of USA Curling Jeff Plush. “Our headquarters will also now be uniquely positioned next to USA Curling’s Official Sports Medicine Provider Twin Cities Orthopedics on the Viking Lakes campus, giving us the capacity to further support our athletes.” 

The Olympic Training Center for curling, the Training Haus, has been located in Minnesota for the past several years, first in Blaine and now in Chaska. The move to the Innovation Center in Eagan will be near both the Vikings headquarters and the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.

“We are thrilled to welcome USA Curling as a founding tenant at Viking Lakes and we are eager to support the organization’s relocation to Minnesota,” said MV Ventures Owner/Partner Mark Wilf. “This move will help strengthen USA Curling’s mission to build awareness for their sport, and it supports our vision at Viking Lakes to establish a sports, health- and wellness-centric community for generations to come.”

In a press release, the organization said that among other benefits, the new location will allow them to host more large-scale local, national and international events, including Olympic qualifiers. 

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Woman worried how scan for lead will affect her

First, it was lead, now Flint residents may be facing new health concerns about how they were tested for it.

First, it was lead, now Flint residents may be facing new health concerns about how they were tested for it.

“Kinda worried it harmed my child,” said Amber Stebbins, who is 28 weeks pregnant.

Stebbins already had to live through the Flint water crisis, but now she has another health concern relating to the Flint water settlement, which involves testing some plaintiffs are being advised to get.

“We were already harmed, so it’s like why would you keep adding to the mess,” Stebbins said.

On Sunday, she said she had a lead test done on her bones to prove she was entitled to be part of the $641 million Flint water settlement.

Stebbins, who is represented by a different attorney, said she had the testing done at an intake center at the Napoli Shkolnik law firm in the Flint area.

That firm is working with their clients who were part of the Flint water crisis. She says they used a handheld scanner to do the lead test.

“They didn’t offer me, like an apron thing or whatever, and I didn’t know anything about those,” Stebbins said. “I didn’t even know that that was an option.”

She didn’t realize the potential danger until after talking with a friend and reading a locally published report. Bone scans are not usually done on pregnant women, because of concerns about exposing the fetus to radiation.

Dr. Lawrence Reynolds is a former pediatrician and the city of Flint health advisor. Reynolds, who does not know which scanner was used on Stebbins, said one called the XRF is not even made for humans.

“The law firm, that set this up, failed to register the equipment with the state of Michigan as required until I filed a complaint,” Reynolds said. “I’m still waiting from the state for the answer to my complaint.”

Reynolds provided TV5 with documentation that shows the scanner is normally used in industrial settings or testing consumer goods like kids backpacks and toys.

Earlier this year, Reynolds says he filed objections about the scanner to the U.S. District Court judge hearing the Flint Water crisis case.

“Because it does emit radiation,” Reynolds said. “Some people may say the risk is so small I don’t know why Dr. Reynolds is raising so much havoc. But there’s a benefit is zero, because at this time there’s no regular treatment that we have to remove lead from the bones, especially in children.”

A positive lead test could bring bigger payouts to Flint water victims and their attorneys’, but Stebbins said no amount of money was worth putting her baby at risk.”

“It’s not gonna be worth it, especially if it affects my child,” Stebbins said.

TV5 has reached out to the law firm for comment. So far we have not heard back. We also reached out to the U.S. District Court judge hearing the water crisis case, Judge Judith Levy, and we’ve been told the judge doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

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Officers credited for saving life of 13-year-old

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Human smuggling happening at home in Houston

HOUSTON – More than 90 people were found inside a home in southwest Houston, and Houston police say they suspect human smuggling.

The home is in the 12200 block of Chessington Drive at South Kensington Drive.

Police say several of the 91 found inside the residence likely have COVID-19. According to police, some have fever and loss of smell. The health department is headed to the home and they will perform rapid tests. As of 1:45p.m., no one has been brought out of the home and police have not been able to separate victims from potential suspects.

Out of the 91 people found inside the house, five are female and the rest are male. None are children and the oldest is in the late 30s.

It is a two-story house. The 91 people were spread out upstairs and downstairs. They were huddled together and told police that they haven’t eaten in a while.

Police and Houston firefighters are providing them with food, water and medical attention.


Police say they received a tip last night about a possible kidnapping. All night officers worked to find the location of the victim. Police obtained a search warrant and tactical/SWAT members entered the home and found it was a human smuggling event.

“When we got into the house we realized there were over 90 people inside. We immediately began to assess any threats and render medical care,” said Houston Police Assistant Chief Daryn Edwards said. “It was very surprising.”

Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.

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Students walk out of class to 'end the cycle' of racism

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A group of St. Paul high school students walked out of class Thursday to address the issues of social justice and racism.

More than 100 Cretin-Derham Hall students dressed in black walked in solidarity to express their feelings about what some students have had to endure because of the color of their skin.

Students marched out of class to the applause of a group of Cretin alumni. Many are students of color, surrounded by friends who support their efforts to be heard. This group says it’s time to address the issue of racism inside the school.

“’I didn’t mean it like that, it was just a joke, I’m not racist, I have Black friends, it’s OK that I say it,’” student Louis Lynch said.

READ MORE: Minnesota High School Students Walk Out Of Classes To Call For Racial Justice

“It happens on a day-to-day basis and that’s why we’re out here to end the cycle, break that down and start new,” student Knowledge Gant said.

The speeches were filled with emotion.

(credit: CBS)

“I chose to speak today not only because my friends have expressed the pain that they have been caused, but because I know that classes to come will have to endure that same pain,” Lynch said.

Many in the group say this movement began out of protest for a group of students disciplined after they walked out of class on National Student Walkout Day. CDH officials say no one was disciplined for walking out. The handful of students that were reprimanded engaged in negative and profane speech, and displayed signage featuring anti-police vitriol. CDH says it does not condone racial injustice and respects law enforcement.

What this group wants more than anything is a seat at the table to address issues of racism they believe run deep inside this institution.

“I’ve seen videos being taken of words that I don’t want to say that have been sent to people of color that I don’t think should have happened, and other situations in the school that have happened,” student Cage Linton said.

“The white people that are out here hear the pain that people of color are facing, and I don’t understand why they can’t hear that either,” Lynch said.

Students say they plan more action to get the attention of the administration to discuss issues.

The administration says it’s the school’s role to focus on supporting and guiding students to live in a world that demands justice.

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