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Trump Is Crushing DeSantis (and Every Other GOP Candidate)

A new poll shows the former president dominating the field of Republican presidential contenders.

]Jeff Swensen/Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump enters Erie Insurance Arena for a political rally while campaigning for the GOP nomination in the 2024 election on July 29, in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Despite Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s desperate efforts to declare the Republican presidential primary a two-person race, a New York Times/Siena College poll released Monday shows a decidedly one-sided competition. Former President Donald Trump is currently crushing the competition, leading the pack of candidates with support from 54 percent of Republican voters. DeSantis, by comparison, earns support from 17 percent of voters—with a bevy of also-rans also running in the low single digits.

Cut those candidates from the contest, and things don’t look much better for the Florida governor: When asked who they would support if the only choices in the GOP primary were Trump and DeSantis, 62 percent of Republican voters opted for Trump, compared to 31 percent for DeSantis.

Republican voters see Trump as a stronger candidate than DeSantis: 69 percent said that Trump was a “strong leader,” and 67 percent said he was able to “get things done,” compared to 22 percent of GOP voters who believe the same of DeSantis. Fifty-eight percent also believe that Trump could beat President Joe Biden, as compared to 28 percent who think the same of DeSantis. On the upside for DeSantis, voters believe he is more “moral” and “likable” than Trump—however, they also think he is less “fun,” with 54 percent of GOP voters saying Trump is fun, compared to just 16 percent who believe DeSantis is fun.

Despite Trump’s numerous scandals, the litany of federal and state indictments that have piled up, and the fact that he encouraged an effort to overturn the 2020 election—culminating in the siege of the Capitol by his supporters on January 6, 2021—most Republican voters are unfazed by any of his alleged wrongdoings. Just 19 percent said that his actions in the wake of the 2020 election posed a serious threat to democracy, and only 17 percent believe Trump committed any serious crimes, even after he was charged by a federal grand jury on charges of mishandling classified documents. But even among those who believed he did commit serious crimes, in a head-to-head matchup with DeSantis, Trump received 22 percent support from that pool of voters.

No other Republican candidate received more than 3 percent support. Former Vice President Mike Pence, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Senator Tim Scott each reached 3 percent support, while former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy each earned 2 percent. Although Scott has been steadily climbing in some polls, it appears he still has a ways to go before he is considered even remotely competitive with DeSantis, much less Trump.

Shocker: Trump Is Chickening Out of the Republican Debate

The Republican front-runner has no interest in being on a stage with the other candidates.

Donald Trump
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Donald Trump

Donald Trump has decided that he won’t participate in the first Republican presidential debate.

If Trump had decided to attend the debate, set for August 23, he would have faced off against Ron DeSantis, who is the closest behind Trump in the polls (although still by a big stretch). Tim Scott, Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, Chris Christie, and Doug Burgum have also qualified.

However, Trump announced Monday that he has no plans to take part. “Let them debate so I can see who I MIGHT consider for Vice President!” he wrote on Truth Social.

Trump has been threatening for a while not to participate in the debate. He even asked the crowd at a rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, on Saturday if he should take part in the debate and was met with a chorus of “No”s.

Trump probably knows that he’ll be the front-runner regardless of whether he debates. Other candidates have tried to goad him into participating, particularly Christie, who predicted Sunday that by the time the debate rolls around, “the front-runner will be out on bail in four different jurisdictions—Florida, Washington, Georgia and New York.”

But the former president seems unfazed. “Why would I give [the other candidates] time to make statements?” he told Reuters last week. “Why would I do that when I’m leading them by 50 points and 60 points?”

While his lead isn’t quite that much, a New York Times/Siena poll published Monday found Trump is leading DeSantis by 37 percentage points.

Trump has called Fox News, which is broadcasting the debate, a “hostile network.” He also previously criticized his former favorite network for not covering his campaign events.

Trump is far and away the front-runner among Republican candidates, despite all of the indictments either already issued or pending against him. Last week, Trump promised to run even if he is convicted and imprisoned. And if anything, the multiple indictments against him have only made him more popular.

Free Speech Champion Elon Musk Threatens to Sue Group Tracking Twitter Hate Speech

Free speech man upholds free speech.

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Twitter owner Elon Musk

Twitter, which owner Elon Musk promised would become a bastion of free speech, has threatened legal action against a nonprofit that studies misinformation and hate speech for highlighting the social network’s flaws.

X Corp, the parent company of Twitter (newly and unsuccessfully renamed, sent a letter on July 20 to the Center for Countering Digital Hate accusing the group of making “a series of troubling and baseless claims that appear calculated to harm Twitter generally, and its digital advertising business specifically.”

X Corp threatened to sue, alleging the nonprofit was funded by Twitter’s competitors or foreign governments “in support of an ulterior agenda.” The letter specifically cited research on hate speech on Twitter that the center published in June. One of the eight papers the organization published found that Twitter took no action against 99 of the 100 Twitter Blue accounts that the center had reported for “tweeting hate.”

The center’s chief executive, Imran Ahmed, slammed the legal threat. “Elon Musk’s actions represent a brazen attempt to silence honest criticism and independent research,” he told The New York Times. The organization also said it had not accepted funding from any other tech companies, foreign governments, or their affiliates.

Ahmed also accused Musk of wanting to “stem the tide of negative stories and rebuild his relationship with advertisers,” who have left Twitter in droves since Musk took over. The platform’s U.S. advertising revenue from April to May of this year was just $88 million, down 59 percent from the same time period last year. The platform is worth a third of what Musk originally paid for it.

Some of that may be due to the fact that Musk has allowed Nazis and the Taliban on Twitter—and even verified them. He also has done nothing to rein in antisemitic and transphobic speech on the platform. If anything, he’s one of the main sources of it.

So in that sense, Musk is actually upholding free speech. It’s just that his idea of free speech means saying the grossest things humanly possible and facing zero consequences for it.

Georgia Judge Slaps Down Trump’s Effort to Block New Indictment Charges

Things are not going well for Donald Trump.

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Donald Trump

A Georgia judge has rejected Donald Trump’s bid to block potential new indictment charges in the investigation into his efforts to overthrow the 2020 election.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney on Monday ruled that Trump cannot stop Georgia prosecutors from trying to investigate him.

“While being the subject (or even target) of a highly publicized criminal investigation is likely an unwelcome and unpleasant experience, no court ever has held that that status alone provides a basis for the courts to interfere with or halt the investigation,” wrote McBurney.

McBurney has overseen District Attorney Fani Willis’s investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results. In his nine-page ruling, he rejected Trump’s motion and also went on to skewer him for fundraising off of the multiple investigations and indictments against him.

“For some, being the subject of a criminal investigation can, à la Rumpelstiltskin, be turned into golden political capital, making it seem more providential than problematic,” he wrote. “Regardless, simply being the subject (or target) of an investigation does not yield standing to bring a claim to halt that investigation in court.”

Trump had tried to argue that the case was unconstitutional and that Willis’s work for Democrats represents a conflict. But McBurney was not swayed by the arguments.

“While both sides have done enough talking, posting, tweeting (‘X’ing’?), and press conferencing to have hit (and perhaps stretched) the bounds of Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct … neither movant has pointed to any averments from the District Attorney or her team of lawyers expressing belief that Trump … is guilty or has committed this or that offense,” he wrote.

“Put differently, the District Attorney’s Office has been doing a fairly routine—and legally unobjectionable—job of public relations in a case that is anything but routine.”

Two weeks ago, Georgia’s Supreme Court also unanimously rejected Trump’s bid to stop the investigation.

On Saturday, Willis announced that her team is “ready to go” and she will announce a decision on new charges against Trump by September 1.

“The work is accomplished,” Willis told local outlet 11Alive. “We’ve been working for two and a half years.”

“Some people may not be happy with the decisions that I’m making,” she added.

“We’re Ready to Go”: Georgia DA Warns New Trump Charges Are Coming

District Attorney Fani Willis says she will announce charging decisions soon.

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Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is expected to indict Donald Trump for trying to overturn the 2020 election within the next few weeks.

“The work is accomplished,” Willis told local outlet 11Alive on Saturday. “We’ve been working for two and a half years. We’re ready to go.”

Willis has been investigating Trump for his role in efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results. One of the charges could be for racketeering, which could in part refer to Trump’s phone calls begging Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes—the exact amount needed to flip the state’s election results to Trump.

Willis sent a letter to local law enforcement back in April asking them to be ready for “heightened security and preparedness” during the summer. The letter indicated she plans to announce “charging decisions resulting from the investigation my office has been conducting into possible criminal interference in the administration of Georgia’s 2020 General Election” between July 11 and September 1. Willis confirmed Saturday that she will still deliver a decision on charges by September.

She warned Saturday that “some people may not be happy with the decisions that I’m making. And sometimes, when people are unhappy, they act in a way that could create harm.”

Willis told 11Alive she has also reached out to the county sheriff to protect the courthouse. “I’m not willing to put any of the employees or the constituents that come to the courthouse in harm’s way,” she said.

Her requests for increased security are understandable. New York City police stepped up their presence around the Manhattan district court where Trump was arraigned in April. Only a handful of people actually answered Trump’s call for protests, but the last time he urged his supporters to take to the streets, the result was the January 6 insurrection.

If Willis indicts Trump, it would likely be his fourth indictment this year. Trump has been charged with 34 counts of business fraud in New York relating to hush-money payments made during the 2016 election and indicted for mishandling classified documents. Special counsel Jack Smith, who issued the documents indictment, is expected to indict Trump for his role in trying to overturn the 2020 election any day now.

Separately, Trump has been found liable for sexual abuse and defamation, and has been sued for defamation yet again. But he has promised to keep running for president, even from prison.

Alito to Congress: You Have No Business Snooping Into Our Ethics

The Supreme Court justice is warning Congress to give up its attempts to impose a code of ethics on the court.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito
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Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has a warning for Congress: Stop trying to do anything about corruption on the court.

Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a bill that would require the justices to adopt a code of ethics. According to Alito, Congress has no “authority” to do any such thing.

“Congress did not create the Supreme Court,” he told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published Friday. “I know this is a controversial view, but I’m willing to say it,” he continued. “No provision in the Constitution gives them the authority to regulate the Supreme Court—period.”

Asked whether the other justices agree, he said: “I don’t know that any of my colleagues have spoken about it publicly, so I don’t think I should say. But I think it is something we have all thought about.”

Alito’s comments are particularly brazen for two reasons.

First, he is one of the justices recently caught in a major ethics scandal. Last month, ProPublica reported that he accepted a luxury vacation from Republican billionaire megadonor Paul Singer, which included flying on Singer’s private jet to Alaska and then staying for free in a fishing lodge that cost $1,000 a night. Alito didn’t disclose the vacation and later ruled on a case that Singer had before the court. Right-wing activist Leonard Leo helped organize the whole thing.

Second, Alito’s reading of the Constitution is particularly twisted. Here’s what Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution actually says:

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

An unelected, lifetime-appointed Supreme Court justice, caught in a major ethics scandal, believes that Congress has no authority to do anything about it. How convenient.

Madman Trump Promises to Run for President From Prison if He’s Convicted

Donald Trump is facing new felony charges, but that’s still not stopping him.

Donald Trump
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Donald Trump said Friday that nothing will stop him from running for president, not even a conviction in his federal indictment case.

Trump has been indicted for mishandling classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, and the investigating special counsel Jack Smith unveiled new charges Thursday evening. This is the first time that Trump has acknowledged that going to jail is a possibility, as he generally insists that he has done nothing wrong.

During a radio interview, pro-Trump host John Fredericks asked the former president, “If, going forward, right, you get these indictments, there ends up—you got a jury in D.C., you get convicted and sentenced. Does that stop your campaign for president if you’re sentenced?”

“Not at all. There’s nothing in the Constitution,” Trump replied. “Even the radical left crazies are saying, ‘No, that wouldn’t stop!’ And it wouldn’t stop me either.”

Technically, Trump is right. There is nothing in the Constitution prohibiting incarcerated people from running for office, although it is unclear how things would work if Trump won.

It’s also not entirely unprecedented for someone to run for office from jail. Socialist Party nominee Eugene Debs ran for president in 1920 despite being imprisoned for his opposition to World War I. An advisory neighborhood commissioner in southeast Washington, D.C., ran for office while incarcerated—and is working while still in prison.

Even Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was unofficially on the campaign trail while in prison. His incarcerated status made him ineligible to run, but he still led incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in the polls. After the Supreme Court overturned his conviction, he was elected in October.

A major difference, though, is that Lula condemned an attempt by Bolsonaro supporters to overthrow the country’s democracy. Trump is under investigation for allegedly instigating such an attempt. He faces decades in prison for the charges against him.

In addition to the classified documents case, Trump is under investigation in both Washington and Georgia for his efforts in trying to overturn the 2020 election. Indictments in both of those cases are expected within the next few weeks.

Elise Stefanik Wins the Prize for Stupidest Trump Indictment Reaction

The New York Republican claims that Biden is “engulfed in one of the biggest political corruption scandals of all time.”

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Representative Elise Stefanik

Republicans seem completely unconcerned that their party’s front-runner has been charged with trying to destroy evidence purportedly showing he stole and hid classified national security documents.

Former President Donald Trump is facing three new federal criminal charges in the documents case: two charges of obstruction of justice and an additional charge under the Espionage Act for keeping a highly classified Pentagon war plan on Iran. An employee of his, Carlos De Oliveira, was also charged with trying to erase surveillance video footage related to where the classified docs were moved.

But Republicans don’t care about any of it. House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik may have had the stupidest reaction of the whole lot. “Our Republic is in peril, our justice system is broken,” she declared in a statement.

“The American people understand that Joe Biden and his administration are engulfed in one of the biggest political corruption scandals of all time,” she added, referring to a Republican investigation that has produced no evidence and a star whistleblower who was charged with being a Chinese spy.

Unfortunately, other Republicans were not much better.

“What concerns me is you have a sitting president that has a situation like this … where nothing has happened,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said.

Biden, as well as former Vice President Mike Pence, have been found in possession of classified documents. However, in both cases they handed over the documents as soon as they were discovered. Trump did not—and was accordingly charged with obstruction.

Despite CNN’s Manu Raju repeatedly asking the House speaker about the obstruction charge in Trump’s case, McCarthy continued to defend Trump and rant about a “two-tiered system of justice.”

Senator Josh Hawley—who describes himself as “one of the nation’s leading constitutional lawyers”—acted like the charges against the former president and De Oliveira were completely out of bounds.

“It’s so brazen right now, what they’re doing,” Hawley claimed on Fox News Thursday night. “It is really a subversion of the rule of law. I mean, they’re taking the rule of law, turning it on its head, and we cannot allow this to stand.”

“The DOJ’s decision to pursue additional charges against President Trump is further evidence of the politicization of our nation’s top prosecutorial agency,” Senator Marsha Blackburn tweeted Thursday night.

Senator Ted Cruz called for the impeachment of Attorney General Merrick Garland. “The Democrats hate democracy,” he said, blaming the entire party for Trump’s alleged crimes. “They are trying to use the machinery of law enforcement to prosecute him. I think these indictments are a disgrace.”

Republican lawmakers may be rallying behind Trump because they know he still has a hold on the party. A poll released this week found that half of Republicans don’t think that Trump took any classified documents at all. When he says he did nothing wrong, they believe him.

“He Is Just Not Processing”: Republicans Want a New Mitch McConnell

The Republican Senate leader has had a few public health scares recently—and the rest of his party seems ready for his successor.

Mitch McConnell
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Senator Mitch McConnell

Some Republican lawmakers are suggesting that Senator Mitch McConnell should step down, amid widespread concern for his health after he froze during a press conference earlier this week.

The Senate minority leader was escorted away from the cameras during a news conference Wednesday, after he froze and appeared unable to continue speaking. When he returned later, McConnell declined to comment on what happened or whether it was related to the fall he suffered in March, which resulted in a concussion and his weeks-long absence from the Senate.

Republican lawmakers are already saying that McConnell should resign or even that he’s on his way out. One senator confided anonymously to Politico that “the next leadership election is well underway.”

Another Republican senator told NBC anonymously that McConnell is “definitely slower with his gait” and that he declines to discuss his health in private.

A third GOP senator, normally a McConnell ally, told NBC they “kind of do” think the Kentucky Republican should step down.

“I’d hate to see it forced on him,” the senator said, speaking anonymously. “You can do these things with dignity, or it becomes less dignified. And I hope he does it in a dignified way—for his own legacy and reputation.”

The senator said that McConnell doesn’t speak nearly as much during the weekly party meetings. Senators John Thune and John Barrasso—who came to McConnell’s aid when he froze at the podium—have been taking over more frequently.

“I think that he is just not processing,” the senator said.

Even those who are brave enough to go on the record seem concerned about McConnell’s ability to remain in leadership.

He suffered a really bad fall, and that’s actually had an impact on him,” Senator Ron Johnson told NBC, without going into more detail about McConnell’s ability to keep working. “Obviously, that fall affected him.”

“Age affects us all,” Johnson said. “You can’t deny that reality.”

Ted Cruz said he had “every hope” that McConnell would bounce back, but he didn’t sound sure. “That obviously was concerning. I hope it was just a momentary issue and that he’s doing better,” the Texas senator told Politico.

In addition to his concussion, McConnell reportedly fell while at the airport just two weeks ago, and he has been using a wheelchair to get around crowded areas. His physical condition isn’t actually that surprising: At 81, he’s the longest-serving Senate party leader, and he’s a member of the second-oldest Senate in history.

What is not understandable is his apparent decision to cling to power after suffering incapacitating physical harm. His situation is starting to look like that of Dianne Feinstein, who has refused to step down despite growing concerns that she is no longer mentally capable of governing. Feinstein now risks tarnishing her impressive legacy by refusing to walk away. McConnell could soon do the same.

House Democrats Blast James Comer for Hiding “Key Evidence” in Biden Probe

Democrats say James Comer is refusing to publish a transcript that would disprove many of Republicans’ claims.

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House Oversight Chair James Comer

House Democrats are accusing Oversight Chair James Comer of “concealing key evidence” that disproves Republicans’ claims in their investigation into the Biden family.

Jamie Raskin, the ranking Oversight member, sent Comer a letter on Friday demanding he release the complete transcript of a committee interview last week with a former FBI supervisory special agent. The Oversight Committee had released five “key takeaways” from the interview, but not the transcript of what was actually said.

“This failure to release a transcript is the latest in your troubling pattern of concealing key evidence in order to advance a false and distorted narrative about your ‘investigation of Joe Biden’ that has not only failed to develop any evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden but has, in fact, uncovered substantial evidence to the contrary,” Raskin charged in his letter, which was obtained by The New Republic.

“Your conduct flies in the face of the Committee’s traditional commitment to transparency and underscores the illegitimacy of an investigation that you have described as your ‘top priority’ and that has recently devolved into a voyeuristic obsession with salacious aspects of Hunter Biden’s life.”

House Republicans, led by Comer, have for months accused the Biden family of corruption but have been unable to provide any actual evidence linking President Joe Biden or his son Hunter to any wrongdoing. They recently seized on Hunter Biden’s taxes, insisting that he committed fraud.

The Oversight Committee heard testimony last week from two IRS agents who say the Department of Justice dragged its feet on investigating the younger Biden for tax fraud. The hearing produced zero actual evidence, so instead, Marjorie Taylor Greene held up poster-size prints of Biden’s nude photos, which she says were taken off of his laptop. (This would be the “voyeuristic obsession” Raskin mentioned.)

In his letter, Raskin accused Comer of refusing to release the FBI agent’s transcript because it “discredited” the IRS whistleblowers’ claims. Raskin said the testimony would instead show the investigation into Hunter Biden’s taxes followed procedure and was free of political motivations.

This is not the first time that Raskin has urged Comer to be more transparent about his Biden investigation. Raskin sent Comer a letter in April calling on him to share information with committee Democrats.

Since then, Raskin said in Friday’s message, Comer has refused to give his colleagues a copy of Hunter Biden’s laptop hard drive, despite continuously citing information from it in media appearances.

Comer has also pushed a years-old, widely debunked conspiracy theory originally started by Rudy Giuliani, and he has publicly discussed confidential but unverified information, including anonymous whistleblower claims and the contents of bank suspicious activity reports, or SARs. Earlier this month, Comer accused the president of laundering money through his granddaughter’s account, insisting he had a SAR to prove it.

“Your decision to publicize details of a confidential SAR and speculate about President Biden’s grandchild, who was a minor for much of the time period covered by the SAR, suggests that the aim of your investigation is simply to smear President Biden and his family,” Raskin said in his letter.

Comer has let his true intentions slip before. He and his fellow Republicans continue to insist Biden is guilty of corruption, despite repeatedly admitting that they have no evidence, they don’t know if their information is legitimate, and they don’t even really care if the accusations are accurate.