Archive for Sophia Ankel

Congressman Matt Gaetz doubles down on his defense of Ted Cruz’s Cancún vacation

cpac matt gaetz
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference being held in the Hyatt Regency on February 26, 2021 in Orlando, Florida.
  • Rep. Matt Gaetz has accused the media of being "biased" in their reporting of Ted Cruz's Cancún trip.
  • Gaetz said the news media were more concerned about the trip than "caravans going through Mexico."
  • The congressman previously said that Cruz shouldn't have apologized for his vacation.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz on Saturday accused the media of being "biased" in their reporting of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's vacation to Cancún, Mexico.

Gaetz, who is an outspoken ally of former President Donald Trump, was speaking on the third day of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida when he made the comments.

"Now, speaking of all this bias, it was awful the way the media treated Ted Cruz," Gaetz said, according to The Independent. 

"I mean the left and the media were more worried about Ted Cruz going to Mexico to spend his own money, then they are about the caravans going through Mexico to take ours," he added, as applause erupted in the crowd.

Cruz has been facing calls to resign after he was caught flying to Cancún last week to stay at a luxury five-star resort with his family amid a catastrophic winter storm that left more than 20 people dead in Texas.

This is not the first time Gaetz has defended Cruz over his trip to Mexico.

Shortly after the Texas senator issued his apology, Gaetz tweeted: "Ted Cruz should not have apologized." He did not elaborate on the assertion.

According to a YouGov poll published this week, Cruz's approval rating among Republicans has dropped by more than 20 percent.

Cruz has since apologized for the trip and told reporters he regretted his decision. "It was obviously a mistake," he said last week. "In hindsight, I wouldn't have done it."

However, earlier this week, the Texas senator accused the media of its coverage of his Mexican-vacation scandal, saying it was "obsessed" with him because it is suffering from "Trump withdrawal."

 

Gaetz has been serving Florida's 1st congressional district since 2017. He's been called "one of the most enthusiastic defenders of President Trump on cable news" and a "proud Trump protégé."

Trump himself is expected to speak at CPAC, in what will be his first public appearance since leaving the White House.

Read the original article on Business Insider

7,000 ISIS fighters in Iraq are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to regroup in key areas, general warns

iraq coronavirus
An Iraqi policeman directs traffic during COVID-19 testing at the capital Baghdad's Shorja market on February 22, 2021.
  • ISIS is using lull period caused by the pandemic to regroup, a Kurdish general told the Times.
  • Siwan Barzani said that coalition forces had been forced to suspend training due to COVID-19
  • All the while, ISIS fighters have been infiltrating the civilian population and building up their base again.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Thousands of Islamic State jihadists are using lull period caused by the coronavirus pandemic to regroup in key areas and are threatening a new wave of attacks, a Kurdish general has warned, according to the Times. 

Siwan Barzani, a commander of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, stationed near the northern city of Arbil in Iraq, told the Times last week that as coronavirus spread throughout the world in March, coalition forces were forced to put much of their activity on hold.

They had to suspend joint raids with Iraqi forces and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces of northern Syria and are now only operating their aircraft at about 80 percent capacity, Barzani said.

On top of this, the United States completed a reduction of its forces in Iraq to 2,500 troops last month - about half the level of less than a year ago. British troops have also been sent home after Camp Taji's military base, north of Baghdad, was handed over to Iraqi security forces last year. Only 100 British troops remain.

Officials, former fighters, and residents now fear the drawdown is creating a security vacuum in the country, Reuters reported last month. 

ISIS fighters have been exploiting the opportunity to reorganize in Iraq and are, as per the Times, emerging from hiding among civilians to start operating in the country's mountainous regions again.

"When the liberation started for the whole area, they shaved their beards and posed as civilians, but they were waiting for the opportunity, and slowly they went back to rejoin them," Barzani said, according to the Times.

"They reorganized themselves quicker because of the pandemic and because there were less Coalition operations. That was something that was good for them but bad for us, of course," he added.

Barzani estimates that there are now more than 7,000 ISIS fighters in Iraq.

The group is said to have already ramped up its attacks.

According to the Associated Press, at least 20 men and women were killed in the al-Hol refugee camp in northern Syria last month. The killings are largely believed to have been carried out by ISIS fighters who are punishing perceived enemies and trying to intimidate those that might not agree with their extremist ideologies. 

"Al-Hol will be the womb that will give birth to new generations of extremists," Abdullah Suleiman Ali, a Syrian researcher who focuses on jihadi groups, told AP.

"There are several reasons behind the increase of crime, including attempts by Daesh members to impose their ideology in the camp against civilians who reject it," Ali added.

The jihadist group has also said it was behind a double suicide bombing at a busy second-hand clothes market in Baghdad last month, which injured more than 100 people and killed at least 32.

It was the biggest suicide attack in Baghdad for three years.

At its peak of power in late 2014, ISIS controlled around 42,400 square miles (110,000 square kilometers) in Iraq and Syria, and eight million people were under its rule.

But while the jihadist group might not have control over territories, their dangerous ideologies remain widespread.

Colonel Wayne Marotto, the global coalition spokesman, told the Times: "We've defeated them territorially, but we haven't defeated them ideology-wise and they are resilient, and right now what they're doing, it's almost like an insurgency."

Read the original article on Business Insider

Hillary Clinton mocks Ted Cruz after he reportedly left his pet dog, Snowflake, behind amid Texas’ storm

cruz airport police
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., checking into Cancun International Airport on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021.
  • Hillary Clinton blasted Ted Cruz for reportedly leaving his dog behind amid a winter storm in Texas.
  • A picture taken by a journalist went viral after it showed the dog looking out from the family home.
  • "Don't vote for anyone you wouldn't trust with your dog," Clinton tweeted on Friday.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton jabbed Republican Sen. Ted Cruz for his decision to travel to Cancun, Mexico, amid a catastrophic winter storm in Texas and allegedly leaving behind his pet dog, Snowflake.

"Don't vote for anyone you wouldn't trust with your dog," Clinton tweeted on Friday after a picture of Snowflake looking out from Cruz's dark family mansion went viral on social media.

The picture of the pooch was taken by Houston-based journalist Michael Hardy, who wrote an article in New York Magazine on Friday titled: "Ted Cruz Abandons Millions of Freezing Texans and His Poodle, Snowflake." 

In the article, Hardy described driving down to the senator's home in the River Oaks neighborhood to "check out" his "power situation" after Cruz claimed his family, like millions of others, were without heat and water.

Upon his arrival at the "dark and uninhabited" mansion, Hardy described hearing a bark before noticing a small, white dog looking out of the front door window. 

"As I approached to knock, a man stepped out of the Suburban parked in Cruz's driveway. 'Is this Senator Cruz's house?' I asked. He said it was, that Cruz wasn't home, and identified himself as a security guard," Hardy wrote, according to New York Magazine.

"When asked who was taking care of the dog, the guard volunteered that he was. Reassured of the dog's well-being, I returned to my car," Hardy added.

It was shortly after this conversation that the journalist took a picture of the dog and tweeted it out to his followers, writing: "Also, Ted appears to have left behind the family poodle."

Hardy later added: "Just to clarify, this was taken around 1 pm central on Thursday. It's possible Ted brought the poodle back from Cancun with him, or that a family member was staying behind to take care of the dog."

 

Cruz left his home state as millions struggled with extreme winter conditions that resulted in severe food shortages, power loss, and a clean water crisis. At the time of writing, at least 47 people have died due to the freezing conditions, although this number is expected to be much higher, according to the Texas Tribune.

Upon realizing his mistake, the Texas Senator cut his trip short and flew back to Texas almost 24 hours after departing.

In an interview with reporters, he explained that he was only dropping off his daughters on a vacation with their friends because his family had "lost heat and water." He also added that he had planned to return the following day.

"Look, it was obviously a mistake. In hindsight, I wouldn't have done it. I was trying to be a dad," Cruz said.

But several hours later, a text from Heidi Cruz's group chat that was leaked to Insider (and confirmed by the New York Times) revealed that the family had been planning to escape Texas for several days and invited others to go along with them.

"Is everyone warm? That's a must! We could all huddle in one house, [name's] had heat," Heidi wrote. "Anyone can or want to leave for the week? We may go to Cancun, there is a direct flight at 445pm and hotels with capacity. Seriously."

United Airlines confirmed later that Cruz's flight back to Houston was originally scheduled to return on Saturday, according to NBC News.

Cruz is not the first politician to have been embroiled in dog-related drama.

In 2007, Sen. Mit Romeny found himself the subject of negative media attention after it was reported that in 1983, he had traveled 12 hours to Canada with his Irish Setter, Seamus, strapped to the roof of the car in a kennel.

Romney's dog reportedly had diarrhea during the trip, which was only noticed after Romney's son saw brown liquid dripping down the back window. The senator, who was still a businessman at the time, had to hose the dog off and stuffed him back into the crate. 

This incident, condemned by PETA, was used to attack Romney in both his 2008 and the 2012 presidential elections.

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Parents at the elite private school of Ted Cruz’s children are furious about the family’s Cancun trip, report says

ted cruz family
Sen. Ted Cruz hugs his daughter Caroline as his other daughter Catherine as wife Heidi looks on during a convocation at Liberty University's Vines Center in Lynchburg, VA in March 23, 2015.
  • Ted Cruz's Mexico trip has angered parents at his children's school, Politico reported Friday.
  • Some are demanding the school enforces quarantine rules that will keep Cruz's kids out of class.
  • Three weeks before the trip, the school sent out an email warning about international travel.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Parents at the private school of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's children are furious about the family's trip to Cancun, Mexico, amid catastrophic winter storms, Politico reported Friday.

Three weeks before Cruz, his wife Heidi, and two daughters, Caroline and Catherine, embarked on their sunny vacation, the elite Houston school, called St John's, reportedly sent an email to parents warning about international travel.

According to Politico, the email sent out on January 30 said that all students whose families decided to travel must quarantine for seven to 10 days upon their return, as CDC guidelines suggest

According to the school's official website, St.Johns will remain closed with no online classes until February 29 due to the storm.

The email was in reaction to a previous controversy that gripped the school after some of its students had attended holiday parties during their winter break, leading to multiple COVID-positive infections.

All of the students in question, who were in grade 11 and grade 12, were asked to quarantine immediately.

ted cruz
Sen. Ted Cruz speaks to a group of students from Houston's St. John's School on the Senate steps on November 5, 2013.

Now, some of St. John's parents are demanding that the school enforce the same quarantine rules, which will keep Cruz's children, aged 10 and 12, out of class for several days.

"At the end of the day, he's taking this heat for using his children as an excuse for taking a vacation. And that's a mistake," said Lara Hollingsworth, a parent of three kids attending the school, according to Politico. "From a parent standpoint, all I'm asking is the school follows the CDC guidelines, and I need to say I have no reason to believe they won't."

"You've got someone out here saying, 'I did this to be a good dad.' No one is trying to dispute that," she added. "The question is, are you fully aware of the consequences of what you did? Does it make you a bad parent? No. Does it make you a bad senator? Maybe."

Another parent at the school, who did not want to be named, told Politico: "It's enraging to see this politician go out of the country like this, and there's a concern that he would be putting the school at risk if he was trying to sneak out."

"There are just a huge number of people who are very angry at Ted Cruz, like most people in the United States," the parent added.

A spokesman for Cruz said the senator's "daughters plan to follow the St. John's policy " upon their arrival.

Cruz is facing calls to resign after he was spotted en-route to the sunny Mexican destination on Wednesday while millions of people were battling deadly winter storms in Texas.

The senator claimed he was supposed to return to Houston a day after he departed. However, text messages sent between his wife, Heidi, and friends revealed that Cruz was planning on staying until Saturday.

Upon his return to Texas on Thursday, almost exactly 24 hours after his departure, the senator apologized, saying his decision "was obviously a mistake and in hindsight, I wouldn't have done it."

"I was trying to be a dad. All of us have to make decisions," Cruz went on. "When you've got two girls who have been cold for two days and haven't had heat or power, and they're saying, 'Hey look, we don't have school. Why don't we go? Let's get out of here.'"

Cruz's wife and children still appear to be in Mexico.

Millions of Texas people are currently battling unusual winter storms that have resulted in power outages, food shortages, and a clean drinking water crisis.

So far, at least 46 people have died from the freezing conditions, although this number is estimated to be higher. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Incredible photos show the dramatic eruption of Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano

mount etna
A detail of the new eruption of the Etna volcano seen from the port of Riposto in the province of Catania, Italy, on February 18, 2021.
  • Mount Etna, one of the world's most active volcanoes, erupted on Tuesday.
  • Italian officials said there was no danger to the surrounding villages but closed a nearby airport. 
  • Scroll down to see amazing images of the volcano, which spewed smoke, ashes, and glowing lava.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Sicily's Mount Etna, one of the world's most active volcanoes, spewed smoke, ashes, and lava in a new eruption earlier this week.

Although the explosion looked dramatic, Italian authorities said it posed no danger to any of the surrounding villages, and residents did not seem concerned. 

Scroll down to see spectacular images of the eruption.

Mount Etna, one of the world's most active volcanoes, erupted earlier this week.
mount etna
A close-up of Mount Etna erupting in Catania, Italy, on February 18, 2021.

At nearly 11,000 feet (3,324 meters), Etna is the tallest active volcano in Europe. It is located on the east coast of Sicily, Italy.

Source: Britannica

 

The volcano first erupted on Tuesday, sending rose-colored plumes of ash into the sky...
mount etna
A view of the Mount Etna eruption spewing ash, as seen from Paterno, Italy, on February 16, 2021.
...and showering nearby villages with small stones and grey ash.
mount etna
Mount Etna leaves ash on a car in Catania, Italy, on February 16, 2021
By night time, the clouds had disappeared, but glowing lava continued to stream out of the crater.
mount etna
A detail of the new eruption of the Etna volcano seen from the port of Riposto in the province of Catania, Italy, on February 18, 2021.
Here is a closer look at the glowing river of lava running down the volcano throughout the night.
mount etna
Streams of red hot lava flow as Mount Etna leaps into action, seen from Giarre, Italy on February 16, 2021.
Hot lava continued to shoot out of the volcano's crater.
mount etna
Mount Etna erupts in Sicily, sending plumes of ash and spewing lava into the air on February 18, 2021.
Although pictures of the event look dramatic, Italian officials told local media: "We've seen worse."
mount etna
Mount Etna erupts above Catania, Italy, on February 18, 2021.

Mount Etna has erupted frequently in the past 500,000 years.

Source: Euronews

Officials also said the eruption poses no danger to surrounding villages. However, they still closed Catania's international airport as a precaution.
mount etna
The new eruption of the Etna volcano seen from the port of Riposto in the province of Catania on February 18, 2021.

Source: The Telegraph 

Most Sicilians said they were not worried and that they're used to the volcano erupting.
mount etna
A passer-by with an umbrella in the streets of Catania, Italy protects himself from the volcanic ash from Mount Etna on February 16, 2021.

Source: The Independent

Daniele Palumbo, who is originally from Sicily but is now living in London, said it's "always really funny" to see how outsiders react when Etna erupts.
mount etna
A woman walks her dog in the aftermath of an impressive Mount Etna volcanic eruption in Catania, Italy, on February 17, 2021.

"I think we would be more worried if all these events didn't happen," Palumbo said, according to the Independent.

Source: The Independent

The volcano has since calmed down, only leaving behind ash for city workers to clean up.
mount etna
Workers clean a square in the aftermath of an impressive Mount Etna volcanic eruption in Catania, Italy, on February 17, 2021.

Source: Volcano Discovery

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Mississippi bans young transgender athletes from competing on female sports teams

high school trans athletes
Transgender athlete Terry Miller (second from left), wins the final of the 55-meter dash over trans athlete, Andraya Yearwood (far left).
  • Mississippi voted on Thursday to ban transgender athletes from competing in women's sports.
  • The state's Senate passed the bill in a 34-9 vote with very little prior discussion.
  • The bill comes as legislators across the country are trying to impose restrictions on trans youth.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Mississippi voted on Thursday to ban young transgender athletes from competing in women's sports at state schools and universities, The Associated Press reported.

The state's Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, passed the bill in a 34-9 vote with very little prior discussion, AP reported. 

The bill will now be voted on in the Mississippi House of Representatives, where Republicans also hold the majority.

Read more: 21 professional athletes who identify as LGBTQ

"I've had numerous coaches across the state call me and believe that they feel there's a need for a policy in Mississippi because they are beginning to have some concerns of having to deal with this," the bill's sponsor, Sen. Angela Hill, told her her colleagues before the vote, according to AP.

Mississippi is not the first state to pass legislation in relation to transgender rights this year.

Within the first two weeks of 2021, lawmakers in at least 14 states, including Montana and North Dakota, proposed bills that would restrict the freedoms of LGBTQ residents, according to LGBTQ advocacy group  Freedom For All Americans. Most of these bills impact young trans people in athletics.

Those in favor of the restrictions argue that having athletes who are born male compete among women gives them an unfair advantage. Meanwhile, those against them say restrictions are discriminatory, harmful, and transphobic.

"All this bill does is put transgender youth at risk of bullying, exclusion, and increased danger while discrimination and violence against transgender people is at a record high in this country," the Human Rights Campaign Mississippi's state director, Rob Hill said, according to CNN.

"If legislators would simply listen to medical experts and transgender athletes, they might know that transitioning for the sake of competitive advantage is simply unrealistic. So is the idea that transgender athletes even gain a supposed advantage in the first place," Hill added.

Last month, President Joe Biden signed an executive order banning discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation in school sports, the workplace, and other settings.

"Every person should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear, no matter who they are or whom they love," the order read.

In April last year, Idaho became the first state to ban trans athletes from competing in women's sports. The bill claimed that the benefits of natural testosterone cannot be diminished by hormone treatments and that having sex-specific teams promotes sex equality. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Mississippi bans young transgender athletes from competing on female sports teams

high school trans athletes
Transgender athlete Terry Miller (second from left), wins the final of the 55-meter dash over trans athlete, Andraya Yearwood (far left).
  • Mississippi voted on Thursday to ban transgender athletes from competing in women's sports.
  • The state's Senate passed the bill in a 34-9 vote with very little prior discussion.
  • The bill comes as legislators across the country are trying to impose restrictions on trans youth.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Mississippi voted on Thursday to ban young transgender athletes from competing in women's sports at state schools and universities, The Associated Press reported.

The state's Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, passed the bill in a 34-9 vote with very little prior discussion, AP reported. 

The bill will now be voted on in the Mississippi House of Representatives, where Republicans also hold the majority.

Read more: 21 professional athletes who identify as LGBTQ

"I've had numerous coaches across the state call me and believe that they feel there's a need for a policy in Mississippi because they are beginning to have some concerns of having to deal with this," the bill's sponsor, Sen. Angela Hill, told her her colleagues before the vote, according to AP.

Mississippi is not the first state to pass legislation in relation to transgender rights this year.

Within the first two weeks of 2021, lawmakers in at least 14 states, including Montana and North Dakota, proposed bills that would restrict the freedoms of LGBTQ residents, according to LGBTQ advocacy group  Freedom For All Americans. Most of these bills impact young trans people in athletics.

Those in favor of the restrictions argue that having athletes who are born male compete among women gives them an unfair advantage. Meanwhile, those against them say restrictions are discriminatory, harmful, and transphobic.

"All this bill does is put transgender youth at risk of bullying, exclusion, and increased danger while discrimination and violence against transgender people is at a record high in this country," the Human Rights Campaign Mississippi's state director, Rob Hill said, according to CNN.

"If legislators would simply listen to medical experts and transgender athletes, they might know that transitioning for the sake of competitive advantage is simply unrealistic. So is the idea that transgender athletes even gain a supposed advantage in the first place," Hill added.

Last month, President Joe Biden signed an executive order banning discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation in school sports, the workplace, and other settings.

"Every person should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear, no matter who they are or whom they love," the order read.

In April last year, Idaho became the first state to ban trans athletes from competing in women's sports. The bill claimed that the benefits of natural testosterone cannot be diminished by hormone treatments and that having sex-specific teams promotes sex equality. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump’s top lawyer asks to delay the impeachment trial if its not finished by the beginning of Sabbath

capitol hill
The US Capitol, as seen from the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill.
  • Trump's top defense lawyer asked the Senate to suspend the impeachment trial during the Sabbath.
  • In a letter to Senate leaders, David Schoen said he is a religious Jew who observes the Sabbath.
  • The office for Senator Chuck Schumer said it "respects" the request and will "accommodate it." 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

One of Former President Trump's impeachment lawyers has asked for the Senate trial to be paused in the likelihood that it will not be finished by the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath, the New York Times reported Saturday.

In a letter sent to Senate leaders this week, attorney David Schoen said that he is an observant Jew who strictly adheres to the commandment against working on the seventh day of the week (Saturday).

The Jewish Sabbath begins past sundown on Friday and runs through Saturday.  Schoen is an Orthodox Jew who is attached to the congregation Beth Jacob in Atlanta, Georgia.

Trump's lawyers are due to appear in the Senate early this week after the former president was charged with one count of inciting the Capitol insurrection on January 6, which led to the deaths of five people, including a police officer.

Read more: Hiring decision-makers at Skadden, Latham & Watkins and a top recruiter layout the 7 dos and don'ts of virtual interviews for Big Law summer associate programs

In a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Schoen wrote: "I apologize for the inconvenience my request that impeachment proceedings not be conducted during the Jewish Sabbath undoubtedly will cause other people involved in the proceedings." 

"The practices and prohibitions are mandatory for me, however; so, respectfully, I have no choice but to make this request," he added.

The letter, obtained by the Times, was also addressed to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Patrick J. Leahy, who presides over the trial.

Schumer's office responded to the request early on Sunday, with a spokesman telling CNN: "We respect their request and of course will accommodate it. Conversations with the relevant parties about the structure of the trial continue."

The trial is due to start on Tuesday and is expected to take several days, the Times reported. It is unclear what will happen if it does run into the weekend. 

If senators moved to fast-track the trial to ensure it was finished by sundown Friday, it would be the speediest presidential impeachment trial in US history.

Trump adviser and spokesman Jason Miller previously confirmed to Insider that "the President will not testify in an unconstitutional proceeding." 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Gab’s CEO says Trump doesn’t use the platform, after reports wrongly suggest he returned to social media

Donald Trump on phone
President Donald Trump.
  • Gab CEO Andrew Torba said Saturday that former President Donald Trump doesn't use the platform.
  • A number of media outlets, including Insider, incorrectly reported Trump had joined Gab.
  • Since being banned from social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, Trump has been quiet online.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that Donald Trump had posted to the social media platform Gab. Gab CEO Andrew Torba has since said the account in question is not run by Trump. We've updated the story to reflect this.

Gab CEO Andrew Torba said Donald Trump does not use the platform, after false reports suggested otherwise.

Multiple media outlets, including Insider, incorrectly reported that the former president broke his social media silence Friday with a post on Gab. But Torba says the account in question is not, and has never been, used by Trump.

"@realdonaldtrump is and always has been a mirror archive of POTUS' tweets and statements that we've run for years. We've always been transparent about this and would obviously let people know if the President starts using it," Torba said in a post on Gab.

Torba also criticised the media outlets that falsely reported that Trump himself was posting to the account, which features a blue check mark similar to those used on verified Twitter accounts.

The Gab post that was mistaken for a post from Trump himself featured a letter, which is genuine, sent by Trump's lawyers to Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin. Raskin recently called on the former president to testify at his second impeachment hearing next week.

The letter, signed by Trump attorneys David Schoen and Bruce Castor Jr., read: "We are in receipt of your latest public relations stunt. Your letter only confirms what is known to everyone: you cannot prove your allegations against the 45th President of the United States, who is now a private citizen."

The letter continued: "The use of our Constitution to bring a purported impeachment proceeding is much too serious to try to play these games."

Read more: How Google finally decided to remove Parler after months of flagging the app's harmful content

Trump is in the midst of a second impeachment over his role in stirring up a mob of supporters that stormed the US Capitol on January 6.

The former president was permanently suspended from Twitter in the wake of the insurrection, which resulted in five people's deaths. He was also blocked on YouTube.

Recent reports have said the ex-president is still so frustrated by being barred from Twitter that he is writing down insults and trying to get aides to post them from their own accounts.

Gab is a social networking website that is popular among far-right supporters. It rose to infamy following the Tree of Life synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh when it was discovered the shooter had posted anti-Semitic comments on the platform.

It was launched by Torba, a self-described "Christian technology entrepreneur," following what he says was the rise of big tech censorship during the 2016 election, according to the company's website.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg plans to take down MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell with a new progressive pillow company

david hogg mike lindell mypillow
Parkland shooting survivor and activist David Hogg (L) in Los Angeles on July 20, 2018 and MyPillow CEO Michael Lindell (R) at the White House on January 15, 2021.
  • Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg Hogg is teaming up with William LeGate, a progressive tech entrepreneur.
  • The gun-control advocate tweeting the news on Thursday said the company is still in its "early stages."
  • MyPillow CEO and ardent Trump supporter Mike Lindell responded: "Good for them."
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

David Hogg, a Parkland school shooting survivor who has become a leading advocate of gun control, announced plans to launch his own pillow company to put MyPillow CEO, Mike Lindell, out of business.

Hogg said he is teaming up with William LeGate, a progressive tech entrepreneur, to compete with Lindell, who is a fervent Trump supporter and has spent the last few weeks repeatedly promoting baseless claims of election fraud.

Taking to Twitter on Thursday, the 20-year-old gun said the company is still in the "early stages."

It aimed to "run a better business and make a better product all with more happy staff than Mike the pillow guy while creating US-based Union jobs and helping people."

Read more: The MyPillow guy says God helped him beat a crack addiction to build a multimillion-dollar empire. Now his religious devotion to Trump threatens to bring it all crashing down.

In another tweet, Hogg said the company would "put an emphasis on supporting the progressive cause and "not attempt a white supremacist overthrow of the United States government."

"This pillow fight just got very real," Hogg added.

The 20-year-old said that he and LeGate are hoping to "sell $1 million of product within our first year," Axios reported. 

"[W]e would like to do it sooner but we have strict guidelines on sustainability and [U.S.] based Union producers," Hogg said.

The company is expected to launch in about six months. Hogg said he would only have an advisory role for now to concentrate on finishing college. He currently attends Harvard University.

 

Responding to the news of his possible competitors, Lindell told Axios: "Good for them...nothing wrong with the competition that does not infringe on someone's patent."

Hogg recently found himself back in the spotlight after a video emerged showing Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene harassing him on Capitol Hill as he walked toward the Capitol in March 2018 to advocate for gun control.

The video shows Greene calling Hogg, who was 17 at the time, a "coward" just weeks after he survived the deadly February 14 shooting. 

Hogg responded to the video going viral on Twitter, saying it's an example of the kind of intimidation fellow gun-violence survivors face while trying to prevent other mass shootings.

"As we fight for peace, we also face massive amounts of death threats and armed intimidation simply for not wanting our friends to die anymore," Hogg wrote. "This is not the country we should be and it's not the country we have to be."

Read the original article on Business Insider