Matt Gaetz Busted For Touting Chinese Propaganda In House Hearing

INSIDE: Jamie Raskin ... Leonard Leo ... MTG
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: U.S. Rep.-elect Matt Gaetz (R-FL) delivers remarks in the House Chamber during the fourth day of elections for Speaker of the House at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2023 in Was... WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: U.S. Rep.-elect Matt Gaetz (R-FL) delivers remarks in the House Chamber during the fourth day of elections for Speaker of the House at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2023 in Washington, DC. The House of Representatives is meeting to vote for the next Speaker after House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) failed to earn more than 218 votes on several ballots; the first time in 100 years that the Speaker was not elected on the first ballot. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) MORE LESS
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.

Hilariously Exposed

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was in the midst of doing his usual anti-Ukraine schtick yesterday in a hearing on U.S. funding for its ally when he teed up what he clearly thought was going to be a gotcha moment. He ended up being the one who got got.

Laying what looked like a trap for one of the witnesses, Gaetz asked if a far-right group in Ukraine has access to U.S. weapons. The witness, under secretary of defense for policy Colin Kahl, was immediately wary and pressed Gaetz for any information he might have to support the question. Gaetz pounced, citing a “Global Times investigative report,” which he quickly moved to enter into the record. The committee chair, hearing no objections, ordered it entered into the record. The teeth of Gaetz’s trap thus closed … on his own leg.

Kahl, with impeccable almost casual timing, pointed out that he himself tends not to rely on Chinese propaganda. No, really. A befuddled Gaetz at first denied it was the Chinese Global Times, a well-known propaganda organ of the Chinese government, but was quickly forced to concede. The whole thing starts around the 3:05 mark here:

By the way, can we take a moment to marvel at CSPAN getting all spicy on its Twitter account?

The WaPo’s Aaron Blake has a fuller rundown of the whole exchange, the backstory on the Global Times, and the underlying allegation. He also notes this: “Gaetz has promoted his question-and-answer period from the hearing on Twitter, while cutting off the video before the above exchange.”

Wray Confirms FBI’s Assessment Of COVID’s Origins

FBI Director Christopher Wray conspicuously chose Fox News as his venue for publicly confirming for the first time the bureau’s classified assessment that COVID originated as a leak from the Chinese lab in Wuhan.

Previous reporting had already revealed that the FBI was the most aggressive component of the U.S. intel community in attributing COVID to a lab leak. It reportedly made its assessment with “medium confidence.”

Earlier this week the Wall Street Journal reported that for the first time, based on the new intelligence, the Department of Energy also assessed (with “low confidence”) that COVID came from a lab leak.

The intel community remains sharply divided in how it assesses the origins of COVID, with some components pointing toward natural origins for COVID, and others remaining undecided.


Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) shows how to confront GOP misinformation on COVID and China:

Breaking This Morning

WaPo goes deep on the internal tensions between DOJ prosecutors and the FBI over the raid on Mar-a-Lago.

Garland On The Hill Today

Attorney General Merrick Garland is set to testify in an oversight hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Leonard Leo’s Lavish New Lifestyle


A network of political non-profits formed by judicial activist Leonard Leo moved at least $43 million to a new firm he is leading, raising questions about how his conservative legal movement is funded.

Leo’s own personal wealth appeared to have ballooned as his fundraising prowess accelerated since his efforts to cement the Supreme Court’s conservative majority helped to bring about its decision to overturn abortion rights. Most recently, Leo reaped a $1.6 billion windfall from a single donor in what is likely the biggest single political gift in U.S. history.

Conservative Justices Cold To Biden Student Loan Cancellation Plan

TPM’s Kate Riga spearheaded our coverage yesterday’s Supreme Court oral arguments:

One final note: Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar was dazzling in her defense of the administration’s position, making the best possible arguments in what is likely to be a losing fight. Among Supreme Court advocates whom I’ve heard (a relatively small sample size, I admit), only former Solicitor General Paul Clement is in Prelogar’s league.


A federal judge in California is under an ethics investigation for ordering the handcuffing of a criminal defendant’s 13-year-old daughter during a courtroom hearing, the chief judge of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed Tuesday.

CPAC Ain’t What It Used To Be

The annual confab of the GOP’s right wing is saddled this year by the recent groping allegations against CPAC head Matt Schlapp:

WaPo: As CPAC’s head faces sexual assault claim, other leadership concerns emerge

NYT: For Republicans’ Rising Stars, CPAC Is Losing Its Pull

Banana Republican Party?

Finally someone calls out House Republicans on their snickering use of “Democrat” as an adjective:

Drumbeat To Expel George Santos From The House

Two more New York Republican members of Congress, Marc Molinaro and Anthony D’Esposito, are calling for the expulsion of serial fabulist Rep. George Santos (R-NY) from the House.


Daily Beast: House Oversight Chair Laments That Joe Biden’s Dead Son Was Never Prosecuted

Great Read

TPM’s Josh Kovensky on the Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s bizarre use of state resources to carry the mantle of Trump’s border wall quest. Under Abbott, Texas has signed more than $841 million in contracts for a mere 37 miles of wall.

Lori Lightfoot Loses In Chicago

Lori Lightfoot becomes the first incumbent mayor of Chicago since 1989 to lose a re-election bid. The April 4 runoff will feature former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas (34% in yesterday’s vote) against Cook County Commissioner and Chicago Teachers Union organizer Brandon Johnson (20%).

Hard Right Begs For Its Own Safe Space

Do you like Morning Memo? Let us know

Latest Morning Memo

Notable Replies

  1. Today, I’m here for the GARLAND PILLORY. Hope he slays them!

  2. I am loving me some Jamie Raskin

  3. Matt Gaetz performs his own stunts. That is all he does, nothing else.

  4. I love Jamie also too but he was wrong. “Banana” as he used it is a noun. “Bananas Republican” is correct if you mean the adjective.

  5. 100% agreed!!!

Continue the discussion at

682 more replies


Avatar for josephebacon Avatar for srfromgr Avatar for clemmers Avatar for trnc Avatar for inversion Avatar for sniffit Avatar for chelsea530 Avatar for arrendis Avatar for ralph_vonholst Avatar for 26degreesrising Avatar for thebishop Avatar for pshah Avatar for 21zna9 Avatar for tsp Avatar for castor_troy Avatar for dannydorko Avatar for kelaine Avatar for glowgirl Avatar for eaharrison Avatar for txlawyer Avatar for zenicetus Avatar for osprey Avatar for kovie Avatar for geographyjones

Continue Discussion
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: