Former Ohio State wrestler backs off claim Jim Jordan knew of sex abuse

A former Ohio State wrestler on Thursday seemingly reversed course on an earlier claim that Republican Rep. Jim Jordan was aware of instances of alleged sexual abuse against students by a team doctor while he was a wrestling coach at Ohio State University.

Mark Coleman released a statement, via a public relations company, in which he sought to clear up “comments attributed to him that were not accurate or were misconstrued by media outlets.”

The company that provided the statement is the onehired by Jordan’s campaign to respond to the claims.

Accusers say Rep. Jim Jordan turned a blind eye to allegations of sexual abuse by the team doctor while he was an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University more than 20 years ago; chief congressional correspondent Mike Emanuel reports from Washington. Video

5 former wrestlers claim Jordan knew of abuse at Ohio State

“At no time did I ever say or have any direct knowledge that Jim Jordan knew of Dr. Richard Strauss’s inappropriate behavior,” Coleman was quoted as saying in the statement. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Jordan as I have known him for more than 30 years and know him to be of impeccable character.”

Male athletes from 14 sports at Ohio State have reported alleged sexual misconduct by Strauss, who was on the faculty and medical staff and published a variety of research. Strauss died in 2005, in what was ruled a suicide.


Jordan was the assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State between 1986 and 1994. Strauss worked as the team doctor from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s.

Coleman was quoted in a July report from The Wall Street Journal doubting that Jordan was unaware of the accusations.

Republican congressman denies knowledge of alleged sexual abuse by Ohio State University's former wrestling team doctor when he was an assistant coach and says he would have acted if claims had been brought to his attention.

“There’s no way unless he’s got dementia or something that he’s got no recollection of what was going on at Ohio State,” Coleman said of the lawmaker. “I have nothing but respect for this man, I love this man, but he knew as far as I’m concerned.”

The Journal told Fox News that they stood by their reporting.

Jordan has maintained that he was unaware of instances of abuse, telling Fox News’ Bret Baier in an interview on “Special Report” last month that he “never saw, never heard of, never told of any kind of abuse.”

“We would’ve dealt with it if we knew of anything that happened,” he said.


Coleman also sought to separate himself from Mike DiSabato, an ex-wrestler who claimed Jordan had knowledge of the allegations.

“Mike DiSabato and his PR representative have released information and made statements publicly without my authorization and, in my opinion, are using them to exploit and embarrass The Ohio State University,” Coleman said in Thursday’s statement. “I am distancing myself from Mike DiSabato as he is not my manager and does not speak for me. I am also disappointed with many of the public statements made by Mr. DiSabato and his personal attacks on individuals employed by the university and others.”

Coleman, who wrestled at the 1992 Olympics and later became a UFC champion, went on to say that he is among Strauss’ alleged victims and wants to work with investigators “to see that whatever justice is achievable is achieved.”

Michael Bloomberg is Dems’ best bet for 2020, former Trump aide Lewandowksi says

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg would pose the toughest challenge to President Trump’s re-election bid in 2020, a former Trump campaign manager said Wednesday.

Corey Lewandowski said he believes that Bloomberg, a billionaire media mogul, would be a serious threat to win the White House if he ran as a Democrat because of his vast fortune, name recognition and reputation as a job creator.

“Mike Bloomberg created tens of thousands of jobs over the course of his lifetime,” Lewandowski told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington, the New York Post reported. “That is a story the American people like — and he’s an outsider. I think it would be a very competitive race.”

Lewandowski, now an adviser to Vice President Mike Pence’s Great America PAC, said the self-made billionaire was "an American success story” whose ability to self-fund would benefit his campaign. Bloomberg’s net worth is $52 billion, according to Forbes.

He said another advantage was Bloomberg’s “history of running the nation’s largest city.”

Bloomberg, 76, is founder and CEO of Bloomberg LP, a global media company. The three-term New York City mayor initially ran and served as a Republican before becoming an independent after his second term. He was a Democrat prior to running for office.

Lewandowski also said Bloomberg held enough clout on progressive issues to win presidential primaries and make a close general election, according to the Hill.

Bloomberg, an outspoken critic of Trump, has said he plans to spend at least $80 million on this year’s midterm elections to help the Democratic Party gain a majority in the U.S. House.

He twice flirted with running for president as an independent candidate, but ruled it out in 2016, believing he wouldn’t win on a third-party ticket, the New York Post reported.

Other rumored contenders for the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination include U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and former Vice President Joe Biden.

DNC co-chair, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison denies abuse allegations from ex-girlfriend

The co-chair of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Keith Ellison, was accused of emotional and physical abuse by an ex-girlfriend who said: "You know you did that to me."

Ellison responded to the allegations Sunday, issuing a brief statement that said, "I never behaved in this way."

The allegations surfaced Saturday night from Karen Monahan after her son alleged in a Facebook post that he had seen text messages from Ellison threatening her and video of the congressman screaming obscenities at her as he dragged her off a bed by her feet, The Associated Press reported.

"My brother and I watched out mom come out of pure hell after getting out of her relationship with Keith Ellison," 25-year-old Austin Monahan said.

On Sunday, Karen Monahan said that what her son posted was the truth.

"Every statement he made was true. @keithellison, you know you did that to me," she tweeted.

Karen Monahan did not respond to a request from The Associated Press asking for copies of the video or text messages.

"Karen and I were in a long-term relationship which ended in 2016, and I still care deeply for her well-being," Ellison said. "This video does not exist because I never behaved in this way, and any characterization otherwise is false."

The allegations come days before Democratic voters choose between Ellison and other candidates in a Tuesday primary for attorney general.

Ellison posted photos to his Twitter account showing him posing with Monahan.

Earlier on Sunday, Ellison’s rivals in the race for attorney general demanded that he respond to the allegations,WCCO-TVreported.

Matt Pelikan and former Minnesota House Speaker Debra Hilstrom called the allegations troubling, the station reported.

Another candidate in the race, former Ramsey County Attorney Tom Foley, said the allegations were serious, according to the station.

“If there are records and video of his interaction with the victim, those materials also should be turned over to law enforcement for immediate investigation,” he said.

The station reported reaching out to Austin Monahan and left a message on thecell phone believed to be his that was not returned.

Hilstrom said in a tweet that Austin Monahantagged her with his post. She then shared it with her followers.

Tuesday’s primaries test gubernatorial hopefuls, embattled Ellison: Races to watch

It’s all about the governors in Tuesday’s primaries as voters in several statespick their parties’ candidates for races seen as competitive in November.

Many candidates are hoping to make history: the first transgender woman running for governor in Vermont, a 14-year-old gubernatorial hopeful who needed his parents’ permission to run and a former Minnesota governor who wants his seat back after nearly a decade away.

The #MeToo movement may also have some influence over some key races in Tuesday’s primaries, particularly in Minnesota.

Read on for a preview of some of the major elections on Aug. 14.

Minnesota attorney general

FILE - In this Dec. 2, 2016, file photo, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., listens during a forum on the future of the Democratic Party, in Denver. On Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018, Ellison denied an allegation from an ex-girlfriend that he had once dragged her off a bed while screaming obscenities at her. The allegation came just days before a Tuesday primary in which the Democrat is among several running for state attorney general. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Rep. Keith Ellison faces accusations of emotional and physical abuse just ahead of his primary for Minnesota attorney general.(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Rep. Keith Ellison’s campaign for Minnesota attorney general was thrown for a loop after an ex-girlfriend publicly alleged he emotionally and physically abused her during the course of their relationship.

Karen Monahan’s son first alleged in a Facebook post he had seen hundreds of angry text messages from Ellison, including some that were threatening. He also claimed he saw a video in which Ellison dragged his mother off the bed by her feet.

Monahan confirmed the allegations as “true.” However, Ellison, has denied the accusations, saying “I never behaved in this way.”


Aside from Ellison, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor raceincludes: county attorney Tom Foley, state Rep. Debra Hilstrom, attorney Matt Pelikan and Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman.

Ellison was considered the heavy favorite leading up to the primary, given his fundraising advantage and leadership in the Democratic National Committee as its deputy chairman. He also got support from 2016 presidential contender and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

As for the Republicans, former state Rep. Doug Wardlow and longtime hunting and fishing guide Bob Lessard, also a former state senator, are vying for the GOP nomination.

Current Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson is running for governor in the state as a Democrat.

Democrat Hillary Clinton won Minnesota in the 2016 election with 46.9 percent of the vote compared to President Trump’s 45.4 percent.

Vermont governor

Republican Gov. Phil Scott (left) is expected to hang onto his seat. But Democrats Christine Hallquist (right) and Ethan Sonneborn are hoping to make history with their campaigns.(Photos courtesy of candidates’ campaigns)

Republican Gov. Phil Scott is running for re-election – and isfavored so far to win it – but the Democrats have some candidates running who could make history.

Christine Hallquist is the first openly transgender woman to run for governor in the U.S. A former CEO of the Vermont Electric Cooperative, Hallquist is focused on combatting climate change and implementing universal health care in the Green Mountain State.

“Vermonters are going to elect me on the platform. They are not going to elect me because of the fact that I’m transgender — that’s the reality,” Hallquist told The Associated Press, conceding: “Obviously, nationwide it’s significant, the first transgender governor. It is pioneering.”


Ethan Sonneborn wants to make history with his candidacy for governor. He’s lived in Vermont for 14 years – all of his life.

The teenager needed his parents to sign off on his candidacy and collect enough signatures to make it onto the ballot.

“It’s on us to build our own future,” he told The Washington Post. “You’ve got to get involved, you’ve got to vote, you’ve got to knock on doors. It’s how we’re going to make the changes we want to see in the state, in this country, in this world. When we get involved, we make our democracy stronger.”

Environmental activist James Ehlers and Brenda Siegel, a dance festival organizer focused on combatting the opioid epidemic, are also running in the Democratic primary.

Scott has recently seen approval ratings drop, but he still enjoys a sizeable lead over his Democratic opponents and his one Republican challenger, grocer Keith Stern. No sitting governor has been defeated in Vermont since 1962.

Wisconsin governor

Tony Evers and Kelda Roys are among the Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls.(Twitter)

Eight Democrats are running in the primary to take on incumbent Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican who faces only one challenger within his own party.

Tony Evers, a state schools chief who has often butted heads with Walker, leads the pack. But Kelda Roys, a former state representative who released a campaign video that showed her breastfeeding her daughter, hopes to appeal to younger voters and women.


New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has endorsed Roys, and California Sen. Kamala Harris has endorsed Mahlon Mitchell, a state firefighters union leader.

The other candidates are: attorney and Navy veteran Matt Flynn, Blue Jean Nation founder Mike McCabe, lawyer Josh Pade, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout.

Flynn has faced questions about his work as an attorney for the Milwaukee Archdiocese fighting priest abuse cases in the 1990s. He’s said he was not involved with the transfer of priests accused of abuse to other parishes. He also told The Associated Presshe would not“apologize for being a good lawyer.”

On the Republican side, Walker faces Robert Meyer in the primary.

Trump barely eked out a win over Clinton in the 2016 presidential election in Wisconsin, earning 47.8 percent of the vote compared to her 47 percent.

Connecticut governor

FILE - In this April 4, 2018 file photo, David Stemerman, of Greenwich, Conn., speaks during a debate of Republican gubernatorial hopefuls in New Britain, Conn. Stemerman is one of five Republicans seeking his party's nomination in the Aug. 14 primary. (John Woike/Hartford Courant via AP, File)

Bryan Stemerman is one of five Republicans hoping to earn the GOP nomination for governor in Connecticut.(John Woike/Hartford Courant via AP)

With Gov. Dan Malloy’s decision not to seek a third term as Connecticut’s Democratic governor, he left the door to replace him wide open; Fox News has the race ranked as a tossup.

For the Democrats, Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim and wealthy businessman Ned Lamont are battling it out for the party’s nomination.

Ganim fell just short of getting enough support from the state’s Democratic Party convention to automatically qualify him for the ballot, so he had to hit the streets and collect signatures. Fundraising could pose a challenge for Ganim, according to the Hartford Courant. He served seven years in prison for corruption charges the first time he was mayor of Bridgeport.


Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, former First Selectman Tim Herbst, veteran Steve Obsitnik, former investment banker Bob Stefanowski and former hedge fund manager David Stemerman are running in the Republican primary.

Although Clinton beat Trump in Connecticut with 54.6 percent of the vote in the 2016 presidential election, Republicans are seeing hope in the state.

“There is definitely frustration, and I think that’s why you sort of see that red tide, a mini red tide if you will, out in this part of the state in terms of seats flipping from blue to red,” Boughton, the GOP’s endorsed candidate, told The Associated Press.

Wisconsin Senate

Kevin Nicholson Leah Vukmir.

President Trump hasn’t endorsed in this race, but Wisconsin Republicans Kevin Nicholsonn and Leah Vukmir are trying to convince voters their most like the president in their bid for Senate.(Photos courtesy of candidates’ campaigns)

Trump has not endorsed a Republican hopeful vying to take on incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, but two candidates in particular are trying to convince voters they are the most like the president.

Former Marine Kevin Nicholson, running as an outsider, is battling state Sen. Leah Vukmir, a 15-year veteran of the state legislature who has the state GOP endorsement.

Both Vukmir and Nicholson initially supported other GOP candidates in the 2016 presidential election before eventually backing Trump. Nicholson has hit Vukmir over footage that has surfaced of her saying Trump is “offensive to everyone.”


Nicholson’s parents have donated to Baldwin’s campaign; Vukmir has the endorsement of House Speaker Paul Ryan.

The three candidates, and outside groups, have spent $36.9 million on the race so far, more than any other Senate race in the country, based on a tally by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Baldwin does not face a challenger in the Democratic primary. Fox News rates the Senate race as likely Democrat.

Minnesota governor

Minnesota gubernatorial candidates Tim Pawlenty, center left, and Jeff Johnson shake hands as fellow candidates look on at the end of a forum ahead of next week's primary at the annual FarmFest in Redwood Falls, Minn. Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018. (Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP)

Minnesota gubernatorial candidates Tim Pawlenty, center left, and Jeff Johnson shake hands as fellow candidates look on at the end of a forum.(Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP)

Tim Pawlenty is hoping to stage a political comeback and become Minnesota’s governor again.

Pawlenty is one of three candidates vying for the GOP nomination for governor to replace outgoing Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton. His main opponent is Jeff Johnson, who was the party’s 2014 gubernatorial nominee.

Johnson and Pawlenty have fought over who the most “true conservative” is in the race – both are hitting each other over negative comments they’ve made about Trump in the past. Johnson once called Trump a “jackass,” and Pawlenty earned Trump’s wrath when he said the real estate tycoon was “unhinged and unfit for the presidency.”

Pawlenty said he retired from politics after he suspended his 2012 presidential campaign. He was first elected as Minnesota’s governor in 2002 and was re-elected four years later. After he left the statehouse, he spent several years working for the Financial Services Roundtable in Washington, D.C.


Johnson, on the other hand, is a former state representative and Sen. Marco Rubio’s Minnesota state chair when the Florida Republican ran for president in 2016. Later, he served as the state co-chair for Sen. Ted Cruz when he was running for president.

On the Democrats’ side are: state Rep. Erin Murphy, Minnesota Attorney Gen. Lori Swanson and U.S. Rep. Tim Walz.

Murphy, former executive director of the Minnesota nurses union, has been endorsed by the local party and Dayton. After a Star Tribune investigation highlighted problems in the way sexual assaults are investigated in the state, Murphy outlined her plan for new requirements for police.

Swanson, however, has been criticized for her running mate’s handling of sexual harassment complaints in his office. Swanson has stood by Rep. Rick Nolan, who hired the aide accused ofharassing and groping women for his re-election campaign, despite the allegations, according to Roll Call.

Fox News has rated the Minnesota gubernatorial race a tossup.

Wisconsin House race

Bryan Steil Paul Ryan

Bryan Steil (right) hopes to replace his boss, House Speaker Paul Ryan (left), in Congress.(Photo courtesy of Bryan Steil’s campaign)

Voters on Tuesday will also begin to select who will replace House Speaker Paul Ryan in Congress. Ryan, who was first elected to Congress in 1998 and became House speaker in 2015, announced in Aprilhe would not seek re-election.

His aide, Bryan Steil, is expected to prevail in the GOP primary to replace him in the 1st congressional district. The other candidates are: Paul Nehlen, Nick Polce, Jeremy Ryan and Kevin Steen.


Nehlen is a self-described “pro-white” candidate who has been banned from Twitter. He’s made headlines for some of his views, including when he suggested the country have a conversation about not letting Muslims live in the U.S. and for defending white supremacist messages on social media.

The outgoing House speaker has endorsed Steil in the GOP primary.

As for the Democrats, Union ironworker Randy “Iron Stache” Bryce faces teacher and school board member Cathy Myers in Tuesday’s primary.

Abortion on the Ballot: Red states already planning for possibility of Roe rollback

With President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, the abortion debate once again has returned to the national spotlight.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in Alabama and West Virginia – two states where voters will decide this fall on ballot measures asking whether to amend their constitutions to do away with any abortion protections.

If passed, the measures would not immediately impact state policy but would ensure their constitutions can’t be used to allow abortions, if the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade were to be overturned.

More on this…

  • Kavanaugh confirmation fight puts pressure on Alabama's Democratic senator
  • Rand Paul says he will support Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh
  • Abortion, Roe v. Wade at center of Supreme Court nominee debate: What could happen to the landmark law?
  • That’s far from a sure thing. But the November ballot initiatives in these two socially conservative states are being closely watched as a bellwether for how other states might handle the abortion issue in that scenario.

    “It’s the beginning of a trend,” Mary Ziegler, a professor at Florida State University College of Law and the author of "Rights to Privacy: How Americans ReimaginedRoe v. Wadeand Why We Have Forgotten," told Fox News. “If Roe v. Wade is eventually overturned, there will be some ugly state-by-state battles.”

    In Alabama, state legislators approved the Republican-led measure for the ballot back in April.

    “We want to make sure that at a state level, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, that the Alabama Constitution cannot be used as a mechanism by which to claim that there is a right to abortion,” said Republican Rep. Matt Fridy, who sponsored the bill.

    Just four states in the country have so-called 'trigger laws' on the books that would almost immediately ban abortions with only a few exceptions if Roe v. Wade were overturned

    According to the language on the measure, Alabama voters will be asked to either support or oppose the amendment to make it state policy to "recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, including the right to life" and to state that no provisions of the constitution provide a right to an abortion or require funding of abortions.

    Alabama, which is one of 43 states that ban abortion beginning at a certain stage of pregnancy, has already seen a drastic drop in the number of abortions carried out in the last decade. The number fell 41 percent from 2005 to 2016, according to the state’s Center for Health Statistics.

    If the measure passes, Alabama would be the third state to enshrine the “right to life” in its state constitution, following Missouri and Utah.

    A similar measure, entitled the “No Constitutional Right to Abortion Amendment,” will appear on November’s ballot in West Virginia after more than two-thirds of the state’s House of Delegates voted for it in March.

    While not as sweeping as Alabama’s measure, voters in West Virginia will be asked whether the following sentence should be added to the state constitution: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.”

    Sen. Joe Manchin is the first Democrat to meet with SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

    West Virginia is one of nine states to have laws prohibiting abortion that had been in place before Roe v. Wade and, if the Supreme Court ruling were overturned, abortion would be banned there.

    In 1993, the West Virginia Supreme Court overturned a state lawthat prohibited Medicaid coverage for abortions, except to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape, incest or fetal anomalies, and many pro-life supporters in the state believe that the current ballot measure would undo that ruling.

    Wanda Franz, president of West Virginians for Life, told the Charleston Gazette-Mail that the part of the amendment that specifies, “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion” was “included in order to make clear that the state constitution isn’t going to be addressing the abortion issue.”

    For weeks, pro-choice activists and Democratic lawmakers have warned that a Kavanaugh confirmation could set the stage for Roe v. Wade to be overturned, leaving the issue to the states. However, experts have cautioned both sides not to jump to conclusions.

    Kavanaugh has a mixed history when speaking about abortion law — calling it a “binding precedent”during his confirmation hearing for the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., but telling theAmerican Enterprise Institute last September that he approved ofthe late Justice William Rehnquist’s dissent in the 7-2 Roe v. Wade ruling.

    Florida State’s Ziegler said that, historically, even the more outspoken judges to be appointed have tempered themselves once they’ve become a Supreme Court justice.

    "There is no guarentee that Roe v. Wade will be overturned," she said. "Everyone thought [retired Justice Anthony] Kennedy would be the deciding vote to overturn it and he did not. Justices act different when you’re in a position to actually make a change.

    In regard to the ballot measures, Ziegler added that they are not “about eradicating abortion" and more about "laying the groundwork” to take action if Roe is eventually overturned.

    “They’re playing the long game, because if Roe is overturned, states will be able to go any way they want to,” she said. “But West Virginia and Alabama are good places for pro-life activists and legislators to sharpen their skills should Roe be overturned.”

    Left-wing House candidate Sarah Smith advances to general election in Washington state

    Washington state political newcomer Sarah Smith, a 30-year-old progressive who has shared many of the left-wing views of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders, was projected Monday to advance to the general election in her bid for Congress.

    As a result, voters in Washington’s 9th congressional district will have to choose between a Democrat named Smith and a Republican named Smith — 11-term incumbent Adam Smith — in November’s general election.

    The Associated Press called the second general election spot for Sarah Smith six days after the polls closed and thousands of mail votes were counted. According to theWashington Secretary of State’s office, Sarah Smith led Republican Doug Basler by 2,886 votes Monday evening. Both contenders finished well behind Adam Smith, who garnered 48.5 percent of the 144,973 votes cast.

    "We have an uphill battle in front of us, but we have the will, the drive, and the people behind us," Sarah Smith tweeted Saturday. "Let’s do this."

    Sarah Smith was recruited to run by Brand New Congress, the same group that backed Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in New York’s Democratic primary this summer. Smith, who like Ocasio-Cortez was drawn to politics by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, has welcomed the comparison — at one point telling Reddit users that she was running for Congress "on the same slate as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez."

    Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., is seeking an 11th term in Congress.(Official photo)

    Sarah Smith’s platform espouses single-payer health care and free public college, views shared by the incumbent Rep. Adam Smith. She has also rejected corporate donations, calling them "legally protected bribery," and reportedly has raised about $47,000 for her campaign — almost all of it from small, out-of-state donors.

    By contrast, Adam Smith has raised approximately $600,000 and has expressed confidence the residents of the 9th district will return him to Congress for a 12th term.

    "Queens is not SeaTac or Seattle, I am not Joe Crowley, and Sarah Smith is not Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez," Adam Smith told theSeattle Timeslast month. "You’ve got one candidate who’s trying to hitch her star to some sort of national platform, you’ve got another one who’s actually committed to the people that I want to represent."

    West Virginia lawmakers impeach 3 state Supreme Court justices, citing ‘over-the-top’ spending

    West Virginia lawmakers, seeking to remove every justice on the state’s four-member Supreme Court amid what they called an "over-the-top" spending scandal, impeached three justices on Monday, including Chief Justice Margaret Workman.

    One article of impeachment said Workman and Justice Robin Davis signed documents in their roles as chief justices allowing for senior status judges to be paid higher than allowed wages. Lawmakers say the overpayments violated state law and stopped when they were challenged by the Internal Revenue Service.

    Earlier Monday, the Republican-led House of Delegates voted 64-33 to send an impeachment article against Davis to the state Senate for trial. The vote came shortly after lawmakers also impeached indicted Justice Allen Loughry by a vote of 64-33. Loughry’s impeachment vote, which came after approximately two hours of debate, took only seconds,NPR reported.

    Other articles are under consideration. Justice Beth Walker is the only current justice who has not been impeached as of Monday evening.

    Walker was cleared late Monday of an impeachment article for spending $131,000 on renovations after taking office last year. She still faces another article that accuses her and the three other justices of abusing their authority by failing to control office expenses and not maintaining policies over critical matters. Some lawmakers said they didn’t condone Walker’s spending but said it paled in comparison to other justices.

    West Virginia House Speaker Pro Tempore John Overington, top, presides over the start of a hearing Monday, Aug. 13, 2018, at the state Capitol in Charleston, W. Va. The House of Delegates is considering the impeachment of the entire state Supreme Court in a scandal over $3.2 million in office renovations. (AP Photo/John Raby)

    West Virginia House Speaker Pro Tempore John Overington, top, presides over the start of a hearing Monday, Aug. 13, 2018, at the state Capitol in Charleston, W. Va. The House of Delegates is considering the impeachment of the entire state Supreme Court in a scandal over $3.2 million in office renovations. (AP Photo/John Raby) (AP)

    The impeachments do not remove the justices from office.The articles will go to the Senate, which can formally remove the justices only by a two-thirds vote.

    The charges were largely related to the justices’ use of state funds to conduct office renovations. Davis spent more than $500,000 on her office and Loughry spent more than $363,000 on his.

    Loughry is under federal indictment and named in eight impeachment articles, including allegations he lied about taking home a $42,000 antique desk and a $32,000 suede leather couch.

    On Monday, Loughry was impeached under six impeachment articles, including for allegedly driving state vehicles for personal use and of using state-owned computers at his home. He was also impeached for his role in assuring higher pay for senior status judges.

    Republican Delegate Tom Fast of Fayette County said he had seen the work done in Davis’ office, including track lighting on the floor. He characterized the renovations as "over-the-top" and said the impeachment article "is one of the more easy ones" for him to support.

    However, some legislators said they didn’t support impeaching any justice for wasteful spending, only for articles pertaining to lying, cheating or stealing.

    Several lawmakers noted that the Supreme Court has a separate budget and is currently allowed to spend as it sees fit. A proposed constitutional amendment this fall would bring the state courts’ budget partly under legislative control.

    But State GOP Delegate John Shott, who helped draw up the impeachment articles, said that if West Virginians do not trust their highest court,"we need to take action to try to rebuild that trust."

    Normally, West Virginia has five Supreme Court justices who are elected to serve a 12-year term. However, Menis E. Ketchum resigned from the state Supreme Court in July after he was accused of alleged federal wire fraud. He pleaded guilty to a felony charge of defrauding the state and faces up to 20 years in prison.

    Ocasio-Cortez claims have fact-checkers working overtime

    New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has excited the liberal base with her media blitz touting Medicare-for-all, the elimination of ICE and more.

    But the Democrat’s rapid-fire claims about the state of the economy and other issues have fact-checkers scrambling to provide a reality check.

    The Washington Postwas the latest to put her myriad claims under the microscope.

    The newspaper took issue, for instance, with her claim that unemployment is low “because everyone has two jobs.” The Post shot this down, noting the number of people working two jobs is down from the recession — and has remained steady at around 5 percent in recent years.

    Other claims it summarily dismissed include a May 30 interview statement that ICE is “required to fill 34,000 beds with detainees every single night.” Both the Post andPolitifactnote that this is an “urban legend” and that ICE was only required to maintain that many beds — not fill them.

    Additionally, the Post called her out for saying a recent study found Medicare-for-all would cut health expenditures, when it found the plan would raise government expenditures by $32.6 trillion over 10 years. A separate fact check by The Associated Press aimed at this claim, made by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., notes it only cuts spending if hospitals accept Medicare-based payments of 40 percent less for those who have private insurance.

    Some claims didn’t warrant a check, including one appearance on CNN where she asked, “Why aren’t we incorporating the cost of all the funeral expenses of those who died because they can’t afford access to health care?”

    “Huh?” was the only response from the Post’s fact-checkers.

    Ocasio-Cortez has been on the interview circuit ever since her shock primary victory over Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y. But the 28-year-old swiftly encountered some difficulties, starting with her interview with PBS’ “Firing Line,” in which she went in hot on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and talked about the “occupation of Palestine.” Asked to “expand” on her thoughts, she said, “I am not the expert at geopolitics on this issue.”


    Less than two weeks later, in an appearance on “The Daily Show,” the candidate made a number of questionable statements on how she would pay for her big spending agenda.

    "Just last year we gave the military a $700 billion dollar budget increase, which they didn’t even ask for,” she said. “They were like, ‘we don’t want another fighter jet. Don’t give us another nuclear bomb.’ They didn’t even ask for it. And we gave it to them."

    This caught the eye of Politfact, which gave her a “false” rating, noting that the $700 billion tag was the total defense budget for 2018, not the increase, and that the amount was “more than the Defense Department settled in negotiations for Trump’s budget request ($668 billion), but exactly what they requested in their annual wishlist to Congress.”

    Tiffany Cross, cofounder and managing editor of The Beat DC, and Kevin McCullough, radio talk show host for Salem Media, join the debate.

    Ocasio-Cortez has been pushing back against the critics. Last week, she appeared to make fun of fact-checkers criticizing her for what she called a “small slip on a budgetary figure during [an] extemporaneous interview.”

    “This girl is SO uninformed! She needs to stay quiet until she knows everything!” she tweeted, while claiming they shrugged off GOP Sen. James Inhofe’s 2015 decision to bring a snowball to the Senate floor in a debate about climate change — a move that was mocked by a number of outlets at the time, including The Washington Post.

    Kavanaugh getting confirmation help from Senate ‘sherpa’ Jon Kyl

    Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is getting help from an old Senate hand as he seeks to navigate the chamber ahead of his confirmation hearing — tapping into a long tradition of nominees using “sherpas” to find their way.

    The Senate is moving swiftly to consider Kavanaugh’s nomination to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who retired last month. Hearings are set to kick off right after Labor Day.

    In that tight timetable, Kavanaugh is being guided by his "sherpa" — a special escort to help him meet with senators as he seeks to drum up support for his confirmation.

    For that role, Kavanaugh has tapped former Arizona senator and GOP whip Jon Kyl.

    "Sherpa" originates in mountaineering, the term for a guide who helps an inexperienced climber ascend a difficult climb. Capitol Hill may only stand 88 feet above sea level, but trekking to the highest court in the land necessitates a political alpinist, so the nominee doesn’t plunge into a Senate crevasse.

    Senate Democratic leaders end their boycott and agree to meet with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh; Boyd Matheson and Brad Miller join to discuss.

    "You can call it a sherpa, or a guide, or sensei, or a teacher or whatever it is but a sherpa is usually a guide, it’s somebody you’re looking to to help you go through the process” Ron Bonjean, who served as Kyl’s chief of staff, told Fox News. “When you have sherpa, it is not for the rest of your life. It is usually because you are on a trip and you need help getting from point A to point B.”

    Bonjean also worked on last year’s confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch, where former New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte was his sherpa.

    “The confirmation process has turned into a political campaign for office and while you have judges that have brilliant legal minds, they are literally running for office for the first time,” Bonjean said. “And having a sherpa or a campaign manager help them go through the process is extremely useful.”

    Former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie, who was a sherpa for Chief Justice John Roberts and Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers (who withdrew), said that Kyl will be looking at those meetings to get a read from his former colleagues.

    “He’ll be in those meetings and he’ll be able to get an … objective read from the meetings of body language and knowing his former colleagues … he will be able to report that back” to the confirmation team counting votes, he said.

    Other past sherpas include Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who was sherpa for Justice Samuel Alito, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who guided Justice Sonia Sotomayor through her 2009 confirmation.

    Democrat Keith Ellison wins Minnesota AG primary days after abuse allegations surface

    Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison scored a victory Tuesday night in the Minnesota primary race for the state’s attorney general days after domestic abuse accusations against him surfaced.

    Ellison, who serves as the deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee and is the first Muslim elected to Congress, was accused over the weekend of emotional and physical abuse by an ex-girlfriend.

    Addressing the abuse allegations in his victory speech, Ellison said: “We had a very unexpected event at the end of this campaign that happened. I want to assure you that it is not true.”

    Ellison ran for the position against state Rep. Debra Hilstrom, former Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, former Ramsey County Attorney Tom Foley and attorney Matt Pelikan.

    The abuse allegations against the congressman first emerged on Saturdaywhen the son of Ellison’s ex-girlfriend, Karen Monahan, alleged on Facebook that he’d read threatening text messages from the lawmaker. He also claimed to have watched a video in which Ellison dragged Monahan off a bed by her feet.


    Monahan posted on Twitter a day later that the allegations were “true.”

    “Every statement he made was true. @keithellison, you know you did that to me,” she tweeted.

    Ellison responded to the allegations, insisting that the video is non-existent and he “never behaved in this way.”

    Ellison has long been a leader in the Democratic Party.

    The divorced 54-year-oldis a six-term congressman who became deputy chairman of the DNC last year after falling just short of the top job. He was among candidates rushing to file for Minnesota’s attorney general office after incumbent Lori Swanson made a late decision to run for governor.


    The Minnesota candidate has promised to fight back against policies of President Trump’s administration that he argued were hurting people. He said he aimed to protect ObamaCare and restore net neutrality regulations.