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Rep. Paul Gosar. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) appeared to defend himself against criticism that erupted on Tuesday after reports that he's scheduled to hold a fundraiser with Nick Fuentes, who has been labeled a "white supremacist" by the Justice Department.

The big picture: Fuentes' channel on the social media platform Telegram posted a flyer Monday night advertising the fundraiser between the congressman and America First PAC, a group run by Fuentes.

  • Gosar's office could not be reached for comment.

What he's saying: Gosar appeared to defend the joint fundraiser on Twitter early Tuesday morning.

  • “Not sure why anyone is freaking out. I’ll say this: there are millions of Gen Z, Y and X conservatives. They believe in America First,” Gosar said in an apparent reference to the America First PAC, which is comprised of young members of the far right, per the Washington Post.
  • “They will not agree 100% on every issue. No group does. We will not let the left dictate our strategy, alliances and efforts. Ignore the left.”

The backstory: Gosar has circulated conspiracy theories about the Jan. 6 Capitol attack — including that pro-Trump rioter Ashli Babbitt was “executed” by police "lying in wait" — and suggested that the violence during the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville in 2017 was a false flag by the left.

  • Gosar was criticized in February for being a keynote speaker at an America First PAC event in Orlando, where Fuentes delivered a white nationalist speech.

Go deeper: Gosar's family calls his Jan. 6 comments "despicable"

Go deeper

Stephen Breyer formally announces retirement from Supreme Court

Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Justice Stephen Breyer on Thursday sent a letter to President Biden formally announcing his retirement from the Supreme Court.

What he's saying: "I enormously appreciate the privilege of serving as part of the federal judicial system ... I have found the work challenging and meaningful," Breyer said.

COVID created an epic U.S. trade gap

Chart: Axios Visuals. Data: Census Bureau/Bureau of Economic Analysis

The details of the blockbuster fourth quarter GDP report released Thursday morning tell a vivid story of how the underpinnings of the world economy have been reshaped by the pandemic.

One example: In the arithmetic around U.S. economic output, trade acted as a more severe drag last year than it has in a generation.

Updated 1 hour ago - Technology

Pandemic gave cover to online dating scams

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Crooked Casanovas used online dating scams to steal an estimated $500 million from lonely victims last year, according to a new analysis of government fraud data by Atlas VPN, an internet security provider.

Why it matters: The isolation of the lingering pandemic provided cover to fraudulent suitors who had an excuse for not meeting up in person even as they fleeced their would-be lovers out of gift cards, money — even cryptocurrency.