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Oops! Trump Appears to Dig His Own Grave in Fraud Trial Testimony

Donald Trump has admitted to being personally involved in key parts of the Trump Organization’s financials.

Donald Trump
David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Donald Trump seemed unable Monday to stop exposing the extent of his involvement with his company’s business fraud.

Trump took the stand in the civil fraud trial, in which he and his associates are accused of gaining more than $100 million by fraudulently inflating the value of their real estate assets. Trump immediately revealed he was involved in the wrongdoing.

First, Trump admitted that he looked at the documents stating the value of his different properties.

“I would look at them, I would see them, and I would maybe on occasion have some suggestions,” he said.

He then admitted he had lowered the value of Seven Springs, a property in Westchester County, New York. “I thought it was high,” he explained, essentially again revealing his close involvement in financial statements.

When asked about an amount that was changed on a 2017 document, Trump said he had “probably” requested the change because he felt that value was too high.

Trump’s repeated admissions are not a good look for the former president, to put it mildly. They show he was aware of the Trump Organization’s fraudulent practices, and it’ll be much harder for him to pin all the fraud on someone else. New York Times reporter Jonah Bromwich suggested that Trump seemed not to realize that his statements are “damning.”

The trial is really just to set damages in the case. Presiding Judge Arthur Engoron determined in September that Trump committed fraud. Engoron ordered that all Trump’s New York business certificates be canceled, making it nearly impossible to do business in the state and effectively killing the Trump Organization.

Trump Desperately Tries to Use “Worthless” Defense in Fraud Trial

Donald Trump is trotting out an old defense that is guaranteed to fail.

Brendan McDermid/Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump tried Monday to defend his business practices in New York with a so-called “worthless clause”—despite the judge having already deemed this argument exactly that.

The former president, who has been accused of business fraud by the New York attorney general, has previously tried to argue that the Trump Organization’s financial documents were not the least bit fraudulent. He insisted that even if they were, he couldn’t be held responsible because it was up to the lenders and insurers to fact-check that.

Trump doubled down on that claim when he took the stand Monday. When shown his company’s financial statements, Trump pointed to a disclaimer on the document.

“We would call it a worthless statement clause,” he said. “They were not really documents that banks paid much attention to.”

There’s a small flaw in Trump’s defense: Presiding Judge Arthur Engoron has already dismissed it.

“Defendants’ reliance on these ‘worthless’ disclaimers is worthless,” Engoron wrote in a pretrial ruling dated September 26.

“The ‘worthless clause’ does not say what defendants say it says, does not rise to the level of an enforceable disclaimer, and cannot be used to insulate fraud as to facts peculiarly within defendants’ knowledge, even vis-à-vis sophisticated recipients.”

The current trial is really to set damages in the case. Engoron has already determined that Trump committed fraud, and he has ordered the effective dissolution of the Trump Organization and other Trump businesses in New York.

Attorney General Letitia James is seeking $250 million in damages. She has accused  Trump and his associates of gaining more than $100 million by fraudulently inflating the value of their real estate assets.

James’s lawsuit alleges that Trump claimed his Trump Tower apartment in Manhattan was three times its actual size and worth $327 million. No New York City apartment has ever sold for that much. He also valued Mar-a-Lago at $739 million, about 10 times its actual worth.

Mike Johnson and His Son Monitoring Each Other’s Porn Intake Is Worse Than You Think

The House speaker admitted to a wild new detail about his personal life. And it’s a bigger deal than it seems.

Mike Johnson
Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Speaker Mike Johnson’s unusual porn habits could have ramifications for the entire country.

In a newly resurfaced video from 2022, the newly minted speaker admitted that he and his son monitor each other’s porn intake using a third-party subscription software called Covenant Eyes that watches all their electronic devices. For $16.99 a month, the app drafts a habit report and shares it with an “accountability partner,” which in Johnson’s case is his teenage son Jack.

“What it does, real simply, is it has an algorithm and a software—it’s way above my head how it works, but—it scans, you obviously opt into it, but it scans all the activity on your phone or your devices, your laptop, what have you. We do all of it. Then it sends a report to your accountability partner,” Johnson said.

“My accountability partner right now is Jack, my son. He’s 17. So he and I get a report about all the things that are on our phones, all of our devices, once a week. If anything objectionable comes up, your accountability partner gets an immediate notice,” Johnson explained.

“I’m proud to tell ya, my son has got a clean slate,” he added.

Aside from the weirdness of having your son watch your porn intake—and vice versa—the implications of having one of the most prominent leaders in government under the watchful eye of an intrusive software have not been lost on some, who believe the app could pose a national security risk.

“A US Congressman is allowing a 3rd Party tech company to scan ALL of his electronic devices daily and then uploading reports to his son about what he’s watching or not watching.... I mean, who else is accessing that data?” tweeted the user Receipt Maven, who first resurfaced the video.

Johnson held a low profile in the U.S. legislature until his unexpected rise to prominence on October 25, when his long-shot bid suddenly materialized under a historically divided Republican caucus that rejected senior leadership for the role, including House Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Representative Jim Jordan.

George Santos Offers Deranged New Explanation on “Jew-ish” Heritage

The New York representative known for his serial lies is offering up a new unbelievable one.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Representative George Santos says he can prove he has Jewish heritage, but it will have to wait until the Ukraine war is over.

The New York Republican has been plagued by controversy since arriving on Capitol Hill, including over his apparent lie that he is Jewish. Santos claims that his grandparents were Jews who fled persecution in Ukraine and then again in Belgium before settling in Brazil.

Santos insisted in a Sunday night interview that everything he has said about his heritage is true and that he is trying to acquire documentation to prove it.

“That’s what I spent the last 10 months doing, putting together, but unfortunately Ukraine is in the middle of a frickin’ war, and my grandfather comes from Ukraine,” he told CNN’s Manu Raju.

“That’s something … I’m gonna prove before I die.”

Santos said he has done DNA testing and hired genealogy experts. Those results should be available regardless of whether there is a war in Ukraine or not.

He then doubled down on his claim that he is “Jew-ish,” meaning that he is Roman Catholic but has Jewish heritage. Santos told Raju on Sunday that his grandparents had Brazilian citizenship documents forged.

But the Jewish news outlet Forward reported in December that Santos’s maternal grandparents were born in Brazil, well before the Nazis came to power in Europe, citing genealogy websites, a 1958 local newspaper article, and church records from 1928.

In addition to his heritage, Santos fabricated the vast majority of his personal and professional background and has been federally indicted for financial fraud and identity theft.

Santos appears to have falsely claimed that his mother died in the 9/11 attacks and that four of his employees were killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting. He also lied about founding an animal rescue charity and producing the disastrous Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.

But somehow, Santos managed to survive an expulsion vote last week. Even some Democrats voted to let him stay, saying he should be considered innocent until proven guilty.

That proof may come sooner rather than later: Santos has been federally charged with 23 counts of various types of financial fraud. He pleaded not guilty to the initial 13 in May, and he has denied the additional 10 that were filed Tuesday night in a superseding indictment. Earlier this year, he also agreed to a deal with Brazilian authorities investigating him for financial fraud so that he could avoid prosecution.

House Republicans Introduce Bill to Expel Palestinians From the Country

Republicans have a racist new idea amid the war on Gaza.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Republicans have come up with yet another plan to kick brown people out of the country. On Thursday, Representative Ryan Zinke introduced a bill that would revoke the visas and refugee status of a number of Palestinians.

The Safeguarding Americans From Extremism Act would require the Department of Homeland Security to refrain from issuing visas or granting refugee, asylum, or temporary protected status to anyone holding a passport issued by the Palestinian Authority. It would also revoke visas and refugee or asylum status for anyone who was granted it on or after October 1.

The bill also directly orders Immigration and Customs Enforcement to remove those who lose their lawful status in the country under the new criteria.

“This is the most anti-Hamas immigration legislation I have seen and it’s well deserved,” Zinke said in a statement that conflated all Palestinians with Hamas.

As justification for this racist immigration overhaul, Zinke in a press release quoted articles from as far back as 2019 that have nothing to do with Palestinians or even threats to America, as well as articles from conservative outlets The Daily Mail and Fox News.

The radical bill is co-sponsored by far-right members of Congress like Marjorie Taylor Greene, who this week led a failed attempt to censure the only Palestinian American member of Congress. Other co-sponsors include Republican Representatives Andy Biggs, Aaron Bean, Andy Harris, Scott DesJarlais, Clay Higgins, Ronny Jackson, Barry Moore, Ralph Norman, and Bill Posey.

For the last month, Republicans have been using Israel’s war on Gaza to try to deport people. Donald Trump has promised to revive the cruel Muslim ban, and to expel anyone who supports Hamas. Other 2024 candidates and members of Congress have promised similar deportations. But this is the first bill that could make that grave threat a reality.

Trump’s Idiot Lawyer Just Got Himself a Gag Order in Fraud Trial

Donald Trump’s legal team is really fumbling this case.

Lawyer Christopher Kise looks on as Donald Trump attends his civil fraud trial in New York.

New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron has had enough, apparently.

The gag order silencing Donald Trump in the $250 million bank fraud trial is now extended to Trump’s entire legal team, according to a judge’s order issued Friday.

In his written order, Engoron banned Trump’s attorneys from commenting on his courtroom staff.

“Since the commencement of this bench trial, my chambers have been inundated with hundreds of harassing and threatening phone calls, voicemails, emails, letters, and packages. The First Amendment right of defendants and their attorneys to comment on my staff is far and away outweighed by the need to protect them from threats and physical harm,” Engoron wrote in the supplemental gag order, noting that he has an “unfettered right” to consult with his staff throughout the trial.

Violating the new order would come with “serious sanctions,” he warned.

The expansion comes mere hours after Trump attorney Christopher Kise threatened to have the case declared a mistrial over note-passing between the judge and his top legal aide—an eyebrow-raising threat that came after Eric Trump effectively admitted to lying in his deposition.

Courtroom tensions have been strained since the very beginning of the trial, when Trump spread a false rumor online that Engoron’s principal law clerk, Allison Greenfield, was dating Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Trump also shared Greenfield’s Instagram details on Truth Social, effectively ushering a scourge of far-right sympathizers onto her social media accounts. Since then, he has fussed that the judge’s clerk is “partisan” and “biased.”

So far, Trump has violated his gag order twice to the tune of a collective $15,000 in fines. Engoron has already ruled that Trump and his sons committed fraud and has stripped the Trump Organization of its business certificates.

Trump’s Lawyer May Ask for Mistrial Because of … the Law Clerk?

Donald Trump’s attorney is threatening a new move in the New York fraud trial.

Seth Wenig/Pool/Getty Images

Trump attorney Christopher Kise hasn’t given up on the possibility of having the former president’s New York bank fraud trial thrown out.

Kise’s new strategy seems to be threatening to have the case declared a mistrial over complaints—mostly stemming from Trump—that New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron’s law clerk is biased, reported Forbes.

At the end of the trial day on Thursday, Kise raised objections to note-passing between the judge and his legal aide, whom Trump’s attorneys have referred to as a “secretary,” implying that she was “co-judging” the trial. That was enough to set off Engoron, who pounded on his bench while threatening to expand the gag order against the former president to his entire legal team in light of the remarks.

“Sometimes I think there may be a bit of misogyny in the fact that you keep referring to my female principal law clerk,” Engoron thundered. “If there is any further reference to anyone on my staff—and I don’t have a big staff, I have about three people—I will consider expanding the gag order to include the attorneys, including yourself.”

Kise outright dismissed the allegation on the basis that he’s “happily married” with a 17-year-old daughter.

Come Friday morning, however, Kise was back to reiterating his explosive remarks.

“The entire country, if not the world, is watching this proceeding,” Kise said, according to The Daily Beast. “And the U.S. heretofore has been a model for integrity and impartiality in the judicial system, since its founding. Nothing in here should create any appearance that the adherence to those principles has wavered.… Yes, as a judge you’re entitled to receive [assistance], but from someone who has potentially demonstrable bias … and the manner in which that has taken place, we at least have to make a record.”

The renewed effort comes a day after Eric Trump stumbled in the family’s fraud trial, admitting that he knew of the Trump Organization’s statement of financial condition as far back as 2013, directly contradicting his deposition.

Courtroom tensions have been strained since the very beginning of the trial, when Trump spread a false rumor online that Engoron’s principal law clerk, Allison Greenfield, was dating Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Trump also shared Greenfield’s Instagram details on Truth Social, effectively ushering a scourge of far-right sympathizers onto her social media accounts. Since then, he has fussed that the judge’s clerk is “partisan” and “biased.”

So far, Trump has violated his gag order twice to the tune of a collective $15,000 in fines. Engoron has already ruled that Trump and his sons committed fraud and has stripped the Trump Organization of its business certificates.

Tommy Tuberville Isn’t Racist, He’s Just Dumb, Say Republicans

In a new report, Alabama Republicans tried to defend Tommy Tuberville. It didn’t exactly work.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Senator Tommy Tuberville’s ongoing blockade of military promotions has united his fellow Republicans around two facts: His actions are wrong, and he might not be all that smart.

Tuberville has blocked nearly 400 military promotions in protest against the Defense Department policy of reimbursing travel costs for service members who have to travel out of state for an abortion. The Pentagon has repeatedly warned that the block harms military readiness, but Tuberville refuses to budge.

In fact, earlier this year, the Alabama Republican argued that the real source of damage to military readiness is the department refusing to allow white nationalists to serve. Tuberville still seems to struggle to accept that white nationalists are, by definition, racist.

But his own words shouldn’t be taken as a sign that Tuberville is racist, multiple Alabama Republicans told Rolling Stone in a report published Friday. Instead, it should be interpreted as a sign that Tuberville is a blockhead.

“I do not believe that Tommy Tuberville is a racist at all,” one of them said, speaking anonymously. “I really believe that maybe he doesn’t have an understanding of the English language.”

An Alabama Republican lobbyist, also speaking anonymously, separately praised Tuberville’s political skills as “very underestimated.”

“It’s his policy skills where the jury is still out,” the lobbyist told Rolling Stone.

Tuberville’s stunt has dragged on so long that other Republican senators have turned on him. They pleaded with him to approve individual promotion nominations Thursday night, taking to the floor to berate him when he tanked 61 nominations.

The most scathing rebukes came from Dan Sullivan, who called Tuberville’s belief that he wasn’t damaging military readiness “ridiculous” and “patently absurd.”

“How dumb can we be, man?” Sullivan demanded.

One of the biggest ironies of the situation is that Tuberville often says he ran for Senate so he could give back to the U.S. just like his father, who served in the military. Instead, Tuberville is single-handedly wreaking havoc on the military—and may have massively embellished his father’s military record.

Marjorie Taylor Greene Gets Shocking History Lesson on House Floor

The Republican representative seemed to confuse Confederate General Robert E. Lee for someone else.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Marjorie Taylor Greene got an embarrassing fact check on Thursday: Robert E. Lee wasn’t a Founding Father.

While defending an amendment to protect against the removal of monuments depicting the Founding Fathers on federal land, Greene notably lumped in the removal of the Confederate general’s image in Charlottesville as an example of how “Communist Democrats” have attempted to erase U.S. “culture, way of life, and history.”

“Actually, there should be no funds allocated to remove any monument, and there’s no necessary reason to remove the monuments,” Greene said. “This is the Democrats’ and the Biden administration’s effort to erase our history, just as they have done to the statue of Robert E. Lee. This is an outrage.”

Democratic Representative Chellie Pingree wasn’t convinced that the Georgia congresswoman knew her facts, however.

“Just to clear up a couple of things, my colleague mentioned the Founding Fathers. Robert E. Lee was not actually one of the Founding Fathers, he was a general of the Confederacy,” Pingree said.

The Maine Democrat also said she found it “rich” that the party focused on “book banning in our libraries, rewriting curriculum, not talking about our history over and over again, is the very one that is saying that we have to often keep painful monuments in places where they do damage, where they interfere with people’s ability to enjoy the particular area that they’re in.”

Nearly 80 percent of Confederate monuments were erected between 1890 and 1940—long after the end of the war and at the height of the Jim Crow era—when Southern states legalized racial segregation under a system of racial apartheid. Groups like the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which admitted the white daughters of Confederate soldiers and politicians, worked to instill a “lost cause” narrative of the war by placing Confederate flags in classrooms, monitoring textbooks, and ultimately, creating monuments.

“Give Me a Break”: Tuberville Sneers at Military, Fellow GOP Senators (Again)

Senator Tommy Tuberville isn’t even pretending to care that his actions are causing military leaders to work multiple jobs.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senator Tommy Tuberville doesn’t think it’s a big deal that military leaders are having to work minimum 18 hours a day because of his blockade on military promotions.

The Department of Defense has repeatedly warned that Tuberville’s stunt is hurting military readiness. As if more proof were needed, the commandant of the Marine Corps has been hospitalized after suffering a heart attack over the weekend.

General Eric Smith has been working as both commandant and his own assistant commandant since mid-September because the Senate has been unable to confirm an official deputy for him. He had previously warned that his schedule—getting up at 5 a.m. and working until 11:30 p.m. every day—was “not a sustainable thing.” There is no indication that Smith’s workload contributed to his heart attack, but working two jobs likely didn’t help.

When asked about the strain that his blockade is causing Smith and other military leaders, Tuberville said Thursday, “[He’s] probably got 2,000 people who work for him, OK?”

“Somebody said he’s working 18 hours a day. Jack Reed blamed me for his heart attack. Come on, give me a break,” Tuberville told CNN’s Manu Raju.

The Alabama Republican was referring to Democratic Senator Jack Reed, who said earlier this week that Smith’s intense workload “contributed to his condition.”

“This guy’s gonna work 18–20 hours a day no matter what,” Tuberville continued. “That’s what we do. I did that for years because you gotta get the job done.”

Tuberville was referring to his previous job as a college football coach. While he may well have put in 18 hours a day for the various teams he led, the demands of his job are likely a little different from what Smith is handling.

Tuberville has blocked almost 400 military promotions since March in protest over the Defense Department’s policy of reimbursing travel costs for service members who have to go out of state for an abortion.

The Pentagon has warned repeatedly that Tuberville’s blockade harms military readiness, with the secretary of the Navy accusing Tuberville of “aiding and abetting” Communist regimes by holding up promotions.

Even Tuberville’s fellow Republicans are getting sick of his shenanigans, with several calling him out by name on the Senate floor Thursday night. Dan Sullivan delivered the most scathing rebuke, saying it was “ridiculous” that Tuberville continues to insist he isn’t harming military readiness.

“Xi Jinping is loving this. So is Putin,” Sullivan said, referring to the presidents of China and Russia. “How dumb can we be, man?”