February 23, 2021

Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) wife apparently had a mole in one of her recent group chats, and she's not happy.

The Texas senator sat down on Tuesday with the Ruthless podcast after drawing outrage for flying to Cancun with his family while Texas suffered through power outages last week. Amid the scandal, The New York Times managed to obtain texts Cruz's wife, Heidi, sent to their friends and neighbors about the trip.

"Heidi's pretty pissed at that," Cruz said of the leaked texts. "She actually was over at her neighbor's house yesterday sort of walking through [it]."

Cruz noted his wife texted their neighbors, a group that includes both Republicans and Democrats, and he decried the texts leaking to the media as an example of the "ridiculously politicized and nasty" climate, adding, "Here's a suggestion: just don't be a--holes. Just treat each other as human beings."

The text messages obtained by the Times revealed how quickly Cruz's widely-panned trip to Cancun came together amid the crisis in Texas, with the senator's wife texting that her house was "FREEZING" and asking, "Anyone can or want to leave for the week? We may go to Cancun." The Times noted the messages were "provided to The New York Times and confirmed by a second person on the thread, who declined to be identified because of the private nature of the texts." Kwame Anthony Appiah, The New York Times Magazine's "in-house ethicist," told the Times the situation "strikes me as a pretty substantial breach of norms about confidentiality."

Cruz, who has since expressed regret over his trip to Cancun, didn't say on the podcast whether he's figured out who was behind the leak, though one can only presume a full, possibly years-long investigation is underway. Brendan Morrow

February 21, 2020

The search is on for a rebellious White House official — even though President Trump insists he knows who that person is.

Since an anonymous senior administration official first wrote a New York Times op-ed detailing an internal resistance in the White House, Trump's closest advisers — and Trump himself — have been trying to find out his or her identity. Top trade adviser Peter Navarro — for some reason — is now apparently leading the charge in blaming Deputy National Security Adviser Victoria Coates, but wouldn't confirm that reporting in a Friday interview with CNN.

The idea that Coates is Anonymous has been swirling in and out of the White House for weeks now as their book nears publication, Politico reports. Navarro wouldn't say he believed Coates was Anonymous when talking to CNN on Friday, but suggested "suspects are everywhere" before attacking the "so-called senior administration officials" apparently opposing Trump's agenda. Coates received a promotion from National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien back in November to become the deputy she is now.

It's unclear why a trade adviser is engaging in such political counter-espionage. It's also unclear why there needs to be a hunt at all, seeing as just on Tuesday, Trump said he knew who Anonymous was but "can't tell you" their identity. Kathryn Krawczyk

January 18, 2020

Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein authorized the release of text messages between FBI employees Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, Politico reported Saturday.

The Department of Justice revealed Rosenstein's authorization in a court filing — the filing shows Rosenstein said he allowed the release of the messages to the media in part to protect Strzok and Page.

The two FBI employees sent texts criticizing President Trump as an "idiot" ahead of his election. They have faced ongoing disparagement from Trump, who has used their messages as evidence of a "deep state" effort to block his presidency. A recent DOJ inspector general report found that FBI employees also sent pro-Trump messages during the agency's investigation into Trump's ties to Russia.

Page said last month she's "done being quiet" about Trump's attacks. Both she and Strzok have said that while they criticized Trump's character, they never acted in a biased manner during the course of their work. Trump has suggested they are guilty of "treason."

Strzok and Page filed lawsuits against the DOJ last year, alleging the release of their messages violated the Privacy Act. Rosenstein said he allowed the messages to be released to the media "with the express understanding that it would not violate the Privacy Act and that the text messages would become public by the next day in any event." Read more at Politico. Summer Meza

May 13, 2016

Donald Trump's publicist from the '90s, John Miller, sure sounds a lot like his boss. In a recording from a 1991 interview with People magazine obtained by The Washington Post, a man who claims to be Trump's media spokesman can be heard answering questions about Trump's love life in a voice that The Washington Post contends sounds suspiciously familiar:

The voice is instantly familiar; the tone, confident, even cocky; the cadence, distinctly Trumpian. The man on the phone vigorously defending Donald Trump says he's a media spokesman named John Miller, but then he says, "I'm sort of new here," and "I'm somebody that he knows and I think somebody that he trusts and likes" and even "I'm going to do this a little, part-time, and then, yeah, go on with my life." [The Washington Post]

Trump has already denied that the man on the phone is actually him, posing as his own publicist, as he's supposedly done before. "It was not me on the phone," Trump told Today Friday morning, noting that "it doesn't sound anything like me at all."

Just like Trump, however, Miller seems to have an affinity for the word "tremendous," as he notes that Trump is doing "tremendously well financially," and he is similarly immodest talking about Trump's love life. "Actresses," Miller told the reporter, "just call to see if they can go out with him and things." He added that Madonna "wanted to go out with him" and that Trump had "three other girlfriends."

Listen to the recording below. Becca Stanek

April 12, 2016

Sometime after Missouri's Springfield Art Museum closed at 5 p.m. last Wednesday, seven prints from its prized collection of Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup can screen prints went missing. The complete set of prints from 1968 — not to be confused with Warhol's original set of Campbell's Soup can paintings — is estimated to be worth about $500,000 and, for the town of Springfield, Missouri, they're worth even more in sentimental value. "They were one of those kinds of 'claim to fame' types of pieces," said Lisa Coz, a spokeswoman for the Springfield Police Department.

Interestingly, the thieves only stole seven prints from the collection of 10. While the beef, vegetable, tomato, onion, green pea, chicken noodle, and black bean cans were snatched up, the thieves inexplicably left behind the pepper pot, cream of mushroom, and consommé cans, which, The New York Times reports, could hurt their ultimate sale value.

The Springfield Police Department and the FBI's Art Crime unit are investigating the theft, and the FBI is offering a $25,000 reward for the prints' recovery. Becca Stanek

March 18, 2016

The Secret Service said Friday that it is investigating claims that the internet hacking collective Anonymous obtained Donald Trump's personal information, including his alleged Social Security number and his cell phone number.

"The U.S. Secret Service is aware of the internet postings of candidate Donald Trump's personal information," Secret Service spokesman Martin Mulholland said in a statement. "We are working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in this matter."

The alleged disclosure of Trump's personal information in a YouTube video comes just days after Anonymous declared "total war" on the Republican frontrunner, citing his "deeply disturbing" behavior. The video, which marks the group's first hit against Trump in its promised string of attacks to take him down, slams him for an "agenda of fascism and xenophobia, as well as the religious persecution of Muslims through totalitarian policies."

Along with Trump's alleged Social Security and cell phone numbers, the group also offered up the personal information of Trump's spokesperson, campaign manager, and some of his family members, though some of the information was already public and other information is reported to be out of date.

Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks confirmed that "the government and law enforcement authorities are seeking the arrest of the people responsible for attempting to illegally hack Mr. Trump's accounts and telephone information." Becca Stanek

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