Trump’s Latest NATO Threats

Happy Thursday! Disgraced former GOP Rep. George Santos may be cleaning up on Cameo selling personalized video messages for $350 a pop, but he’s clearly still not over his old job.

After Republicans lost the special election to replace him earlier this week, Semafor reported he started a group chat with some of the lawmakers who pushed to oust him earlier this week—just to call them “f—ing idiots” and tell them he hopes they lose their own races. “Sorry new phone,” GOP Rep. Andrew Garbarino responded. “Who dis?”

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto is projected to win Wednesday’s presidential elections in the southeast Asian nation. “This victory must be a victory for all the Indonesian people,” he said in a victory speech yesterday. Subianto, a former general, served under the Suharto dictatorship, which ended in 1998. The minister has been linked to the killing and torture of Suharto’s opponents, among other rights abuses, sparking worries from some observers that Subianto’s presidency could lead to democratic backsliding. Subianto has pledged to continue the policies of his predecessor, President Joko Widodo (aka Jokowi), who backed him in the race. Jokowi is term limited, but his son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, ran as Subianto’s vice president.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided not to send a follow-up delegation to Cairo, Egypt, to continue talks over a ceasefire with Hamas, describing the terrorist group’s demands as “delusional.” In a statement Wednesday, he said that “in Cairo, Israel did not receive any new proposal from Hamas on the release of our captives” and that only “a change in Hamas’ positions will allow progress in the negotiations.” Meanwhile, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched a series of strikes Wednesday against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, responding to a rocket attack on Safed, a city in northern Israel, that killed an Israeli soldier and wounded eight others, according to Israeli officials. 
  • President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Thursday preventing Palestinians in the U.S. from being deported for the next 18 months. Biden cited the risk to civilians in Gaza as justification for deferring deportations—an estimated 6,000 Palestinians will be eligible for the deferment. White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the order would give Palestiaians “a temporary safe haven.” 
  • House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner issued a cryptic request to the Biden administration on Wednesday, asking the White House to declassify information related to a “serious national security threat” and share information on the threat with lawmakers outside of the committee. Rep. Jason Crow, a Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said the threat was “not an immediate crisis but certainly something we have to be very serious about.” House Speaker Mike Johnson pushed back on some of the hysteria that had spread after Turner’s request, saying there was “no need for public alarm.” Sullivan told reporters that briefings with lawmakers to discuss the threat were scheduled for Thursday, but that he is “not in a position to say anything further.” Unconfirmed reporting from anonymous sources suggests that the threat concerns Russian plans for a nuclear weapon in space that could target satellites. 
  • Special Counsel Jack Smith requested on Wednesday that the Supreme Court reject former President Donald Trump’s request to delay his criminal trial regarding his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The trial is currently delayed pending Trump’s appeal of a lower court Trump’s decision that he is not immune from prosecution. “Delay in the resolution of these charges threatens to frustrate the public interest in a speedy and fair verdict—a compelling interest in every criminal case and one that has unique national importance here, as it involves federal criminal charges against a former President for alleged criminal efforts to overturn the results of the Presidential election, including through the use of official power,” Smith wrote in a 40-page filing submitted Wednesday. 
  • One person was killed and at least 20 others (including 11 children) were injured on Wednesday during a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade, near Kansas City’s Union Station. Police have apprehended three people in relation to the shooting, but no charges had been announced as of Thursday morning. “This is absolutely a tragedy the likes of which we would have never expected in Kansas City and the likes of which we remember for some time,” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said
  • Republican Rep. Mark Green of Tennessee announced Wednesday that he won’t seek re-election at the end of his third term. The 59-year-old lawmaker currently serves as the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee and spearheaded the House GOP’s effort to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. “This place is so broken,” Green told Axios. “It feels like a lot of something for nothing.” He joins fellow retiring Republican House committee chairs Patrick McHenry, of the Financial Services Committee; Cathy McMorris Rodgers, of the Energy and Commerce Committee; and Kay Granger, of the Appropriations Committee, in leaving the lower chamber at the end of this term. Also on Wednesday, Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina announced that he will step down as House Assistant Democratic Leader. He will still seek reelection in the fall.

Trump Threatens Cloudy Future for NATO

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina, on February 10, 2024. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Addressing a crowd at a rally in South Carolina over the weekend, former President Donald Trump returned to one of his favorite objects of derision: the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The former president recounted what he claimed was a real conversation between him and a leader of a “big” European country while Trump was still president. “‘Well, sir, if we don’t pay and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?’” Trump said the leader asked, referring to NATO countries’ mutual defense obligations and members’ promise to spend 2 percent of their national GDP on defense.

“I said, ‘You didn’t pay? You’re delinquent?’” Trump said. “‘No, I wouldn’t protect you—in fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You gotta pay! You gotta pay your bills!’” His supporters reacted with uproarious applause. 

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