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Oklahoma Governor Comes This Close to Asking Troops to Rebel Against Biden

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt wants to join Texas in its border war with the federal government.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt wears a suit and speaks and gestures with his hand. A book is on his lap.
Ting Shen/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Republicans from all over the country are throwing their weight behind Texas Governor Greg Abbott in his standoff with the federal government over the border—but it doesn’t seem like they’ve entirely thought the situation through.

At least 25 Republican governors have declared their support for Abbott, including Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, and Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, the last of whom is flirting with the idea of telling Oklahoma’s National Guard to defy the federal government’s orders if it comes down to it.

Many Republican governors have sent troops down to Texas over the last few months, to help Abbott with what he’s calling his “Operation Lone Star.” But on Thursday, Stitt took things to the next level when questioned by Fox News’s Steve Doocy.

“Have you thought this through? If you send your Oklahoma National Guard down there, and a bunch of other states send them down there, all Joe Biden has to do is federalize all of them. Next thing you know, they’re doing essentially support work for the Border Patrol, who are down there right now just trying to process the invasion of migrants. Your National Guard could be working for Joe Biden,” theorized Doocy.

But Stitt didn’t waver, questioning instead the military’s ultimate allegiance.

“I’ve been on the border, I’ve talked to the border agents. Even the border agents themselves are scratching their heads, but these are good Americans, and they’re trying to obey their boss—but they don’t agree with that policy either,” Stitt began.

“Of course, the National Guard soldiers are Texans and Oklahomans and Tennessee folks. These are just Americans, and they don’t like what’s going on. So you would really be putting our soldiers in a tough, tough situation to protect their states against fentanyl deaths and illegal immigrants and terrorists, in a lot of cases, just to appease some administration that has a political agenda,” the Oklahoma governor continued, completely ignoring the fact that it would be entirely up to the states as to whether or not they put their National Guard in such a precarious situation.

“That’s the only possible explanation,” he added.

The feud between Abbott and Biden escalated on Monday, following a Supreme Court decision that sided 5–4 with Biden, ruling that Texas had overstepped its authority by erecting concertina wire fences along the Rio Grande section of the U.S.-Mexico border, which effectively prevented the U.S. border patrol from doing their job.

Since then, Abbott has declared the influx of immigrants across the border an “invasion”—a status that Abbott claimed supersedes federal mandates—and issued a statement on the state’s constitutional right to defend itself. State officials have also continued to erect the fences and claimed Texas’s legal battle over the issue isn’t over.

Republican Senator Gives Away the Game on Why They Killed Border Deal

Josh Hawley is admitting point-blank this fight was never about the border at all.

Republican Senator Josh Hawley
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Senator Josh Hawley said the quiet part out loud on Friday, explicitly tying the GOP’s border security grandstanding to a coordinated effort to hurt President Joe Biden’s reelection chances.

“Senator, is this deal dead, effectively?” Fox News’s Laura Ingraham asked Hawley Thursday evening.

“I hope so,” Hawley said. “It should be. If it’s not dead yet it should be dead. There is absolutely no reason to agree to policies that would further enable Joe Biden.”

The Senate reached a bipartisan border deal this week, which would include additional funding for border security as well as aid for Ukraine. But the minute Donald Trump criticized the deal, Senate Republicans caved and said they probably won’t pass it.

Hawley’s statement is more proof that Republicans aren’t all that interested in the so-called border crisis. They just want to use it as a political tool in the 2024 election.

Republicans have spent months quietly killing any bipartisan packages related to the border and foreign aid in favor of their own proposition. Also, on Friday the House’s highest member rejected the Senate’s bipartisan deal.

“I wanted to provide a brief update regarding the supplemental and the border, since the Senate appears unable to reach any agreement,” House Speaker Mike Johnson wrote in a letter to his colleagues on Friday. “If rumors about the contents of the draft proposal are true, it would have been dead on arrival in the House anyway.”

“Nine months have now passed since we sent our Secure the Border Act (HR 2) to the Senate,” Johnson wrote, referring to an extreme asylum-limiting immigration bill that died in the Senate. “Since the day I became Speaker, I have assured our Senate colleagues the House would not accept any counterproposal if it would not actually solve the problems that have been created by the administration’s subversive policies.”

The wavering deals come part and parcel with a showdown along the U.S.-Mexico border between Texas and the federal government over the placement of concertina wire by Texas’s local authorities along the Rio Grande.

On Wednesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared the influx of immigrants across the border an “invasion”—a status that Abbott claimed supersedes federal mandates—and issued a statement on the state’s constitutional right to defend itself.

That was just two days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of President Joe Biden by declaring that Texas went outside its jurisdiction by erecting makeshift concertina wire fences along the Rio Grande section of the U.S.-Mexico border, effectively preventing the U.S. border patrol from doing their job. Texas has continued building new wire barriers since that ruling.

At least 25 Republican governors have issued their support for Abbott, including Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon.

E. Jean Carroll Lawyer Asks for $24 Million, Using Trump’s Own Words Against Him

E. Jean Carroll’s lawyer just reminded the jury that Donald Trump is a billionaire—and the sky’s the limit.

E. Jean Carroll outside wearing a blue coat and sunglasses. This is a profile shot.
M. Santiago/Getty Images

E. Jean Carroll’s lawyer used Donald Trump’s own words against him on Friday, urging the jury in his defamation trial to make the former president “pay dearly.”

Attorney Roberta Kaplan said during her closing arguments that the trial is not just about stopping Trump from continuing to defame Carroll, but also about showing that no one is above the law. She pointed out that Trump has continued to make false claims about Carroll, despite already owing Carroll $5 million in damages from their previous trial.

Kaplan said they were seeking at least $24 million in damages, more than double the $10 million minimum Carroll sought at the start of the trial. Carroll’s team is now asking for at least $12 million to repair Carroll’s reputation and another $12 million for emotional harm caused.

Kaplan told the jury she would let them determine how much more Trump owes in punitive damages. Kaplan reminded them, though, that Trump had said under oath he is worth billions of dollars.

“It will take an unusually high punitive damages award to have any hope of stopping Donald Trump,” she said.

“Now is the time to make him pay for it. And now is the time to make him pay for it dearly,” Kaplan concluded, borrowing a phrase Trump had previously used to threaten Carroll.

This is the second time that Trump’s own words have come back to bite him in this trial. On Thursday, Carroll’s lawyers played a clip of Trump’s video deposition that he sat for last year, ahead of his bank fraud trial in New York. In the clip, Trump brags that his Doral resort in Miami “could be worth $2.5 billion by itself.” When Kaplan said Trump claimed he was worth billions, she was referring to this testimony.

These boasts could drive up the amount he will ultimately owe Carroll in damages. Legal analyst Lisa Rubin explained on MSNBC last week that the jury “is allowed to consider how much Donald Trump is worth.”

Trump already owes Carroll $5 million in damages after a jury in May unanimously found him liable for sexual abuse and battery against Carroll in the mid-1990s and for defaming her in 2022 while denying the assault. It looks like that number is about to go up significantly—and Trump only has himself to blame.

Trump Abruptly Storms Out of E. Jean Carroll Trial During Closing Arguments

Donald Trump knows he’s losing this case—and he can’t stand it.

Donald Trump stands in the courtroom lobby saying something and gesturing with his hand. His lawyer Alina Habba stands to his left. Others are in the background.
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Donald Trump stomped out of his defamation trial against E. Jean Carroll on Friday, just minutes after he entered the courtroom.

Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan was beginning her closing arguments before Trump’s tantrum. She said the trial was not just about getting Trump to stop defaming Carroll, but also to show that the former president isn’t above the law.

“Did [Trump] respect the jury verdict? No. Not at all. Not even for 24 hours,” Kaplan said.

Moments later, Trump got up and walked out of the courtroom. Presiding Judge Lewis Kaplan (no relation to Carroll’s lawyer) interrupted the arguments to note Trump’s exit for the record.

Trump was unanimously found liable in May for sexual abuse and battery against Carroll in the mid-1990s and for defaming her in 2022 while denying the assault. Friday’s trial was for comments that he made attacking Carroll in 2019.

Just hours after the jury issued its verdict in May, Trump launched fresh vitriol at Carroll during a disastrous CNN town hall. Carroll amended her second lawsuit to include those comments.

Trump already owes Carroll $5 million in damages from the first trial, and Carroll is seeking at least $24 million this time around. The current trial is just to set damages, because Judge Kaplan ruled in September that since Trump was already found liable for assaulting Carroll, his comments are by default defamatory.

But neither the multiple rulings against him nor the potentially steep cost of damages have deterred Trump from continuing to slam Carroll as a liar. Trump has gone on at least five long social media rants against Carroll just since the trial began last week. The first time was just before the trial began, and the second was—inexplicably—as he sat in the courtroom for the first day of the trial.

Trump set a personal record during the third, after his trial was delayed earlier this week (per his own lawyer’s request). That time, Trump made 42 posts about Carroll on Truth Social in the span of 13 minutes. And then he made another 37 posts about her Wednesday, the night before his highly anticipated (and incredibly short) testimony. He also posted about Carroll Thursday night, pretending he had no idea who she is.

Matt Gaetz Finally Admits Why He Really Pushed Out Kevin McCarthy

The Republican representative only pushed out former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to get revenge.

Matt Gaetz walks through the Longworth House Office Building.
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Private correspondence between Florida Representative Matt Gaetz and a close friend reveals that the MAGA lawmaker’s intentions in kicking out former Speaker Kevin McCarthy weren’t quite as clean as he claimed they were.

In private communications reviewed by The Daily Beast, Gaetz makes clear that his efforts to undercut and oust the former speaker were motivated by the renewed House Ethics Committee probe into Gaetz’s alleged payments to a minor for sex. The source was so fearful of Gaetz’s retribution that the Beast could not quote or even refer to the type of communication for fear that Gaetz would identify them—but they shared information indicating that Gaetz singled out McCarthy individually for reviving the investigation, refusing to believe that McCarthy did not have singular control over its resurgence.

Gaetz initially led the crusade to oust McCarthy from the speaker’s office in October, claiming that he was caving to Democrats on a spending deal.

Since then, the truth has become clearer. Over the summer, the Floridian reportedly told a group of colleagues that his push to boot McCarthy was in direct response to the probe, while a senior GOP staffer recalled Gaetz complaining about Kevin due to the investigation, according to the outlet.

“As I’ve answered likely 100 times on the record, I led the charge to remove Kevin McCarthy from his role as House Speaker because he failed to keep his promises,” Gaetz said in a statement to the Beast. “The Daily Beast continues to lie about me, and I think it’s due for a round of layoffs.”

Meanwhile, the congressional investigation into Gaetz has entered a new phase, reportedly making contact with several new witnesses in recent weeks as it probes allegations of sexual misconduct, drug use, and public corruption by the MAGA Republican.

The accusations against Gaetz arise from a DOJ sex-trafficking probe into one of Gaetz’s friends, Joel Greenberg, a former tax collector for Seminole County, who was later convicted of sex trafficking. The initial probe also named Gaetz, who Greenberg claimed had paid him via Venmo in order to have sex with an underage girl in 2017.

GOP Lawmaker Thinks He’s an Abortion Expert Because He’s a Veterinarian

Wisconsin state Representative Joel Kitchen made a truly unhinged statement while pushing for an abortion ban.

Abortion rights advocates protest indoors. One person in the foreground holds a sign reading "Abortion is health care." Another in the background reads "Bans off our bodies."
LOGAN CYRUS/AFP/Getty Images

A Wisconsin Republican representative says his medical background makes him an expert on abortion. The catch? Before being a state lawmaker, he was a veterinarian.

The Republican-controlled state Assembly voted 53–46 on Thursday to pass a bill to ask voters whether abortions should be banned after 14 weeks of pregnancy. The measure now goes to the Republican-led Senate.

During the two and a half hours of debate, Republican Representative Joel Kitchens tried to argue that abortion isn’t health care. And he should know, he said, because he was a vet.

“If you believe that a fetus is a human life, then abortion is not health care,” Kitchens said. “In my veterinary career, I did thousands of ultrasounds on animals.… So I think I know mammalian fetal development better than probably anyone here. And in my mind, there’s absolutely no question that’s a life. And I think the science backs me up on that.”

Kitchens’s offensive analogy implies that human women are no better than animals, who need someone else with a bigger brain to make their medical decisions for them.

Abortion isn’t health care because women are kind of like dogs,” legal expert Elie Mystal dryly quipped on X (formerly Twitter), referring to Kitchens as a “forced birth veterinarian.”

Minnesota Senator Tina Smith was shocked at Kitchens’s comparison. “I can’t believe I have to say this but do not compare women to animals,” she wrote on X. “We’re humans capable of making our own health care decisions—including on abortion.”

Putting aside Kitchens’s incredibly disturbing dehumanization of pregnant people, it is also sometimes necessary to perform abortions on animals. When the pregnancy is no longer viable, such as due to a bacterial infection, it must be terminated. So even for animals, abortion is health care.

Wisconsin has banned abortion after 20 weeks since Roe v. Wade was overturned in June 2022. The bill that passed Thursday would ban abortions 14 weeks after “probable fertilization,” with exceptions to save the patient’s life or health.

The measure also includes exception for rape and incest, but it was only amended to do so on Tuesday. One Republican representative said the exceptions weren’t initially included because she had “a really hard time believing that somebody who doesn’t know they’re pregnant at 14 weeks wants to know. Maybe they just don’t want to know.”

Democratic Representative Lisa Subeck shot back that lawmakers shouldn’t “make those judgments about what a 13-year-old who may be a victim of rape or incest may or may not know or may or may not have access to.”

The bill must first get approval from Democratic Governor Tony Evers before it goes on the ballot for voters. Evers has already indicated that he intends to veto the measure. He has repeatedly demonstrated his support for expanding reproductive care, including announcing during his State of the State speech on Tuesday that he was broadening access to contraception.

Even if the bill does make it to the ballot box, Badger State residents have already made it clear how they feel about abortion. State Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz was elected in April last year, beating her Republican opponent by a whopping 11 percentage points and flipping the court for the first time in 15 years. She campaigned heavily on her support for abortion rights.

Republicans Push Greg Abbott to Go All Out in Border War With Biden

Republican lawmakers are pledging to back Texas Governor Greg Abbott as he defies the Supreme Court.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks and gestures with his hand in the air
Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Republicans around the country are throwing their hats behind Texas Governor Greg Abbott amid his escalating border security standoff with the federal government, seemingly attempting to transform the dispute into a “civil war,” according to several conservative commentators.

On Wednesday, Abbott declared the influx of immigrants across the border an “invasion”—a status that Abbott claimed supersedes federal mandates—and issued a statement on the state’s constitutional right to defend itself.

That was just two days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of President Joe Biden by declaring that Texas went outside its jurisdiction by erecting makeshift concertina wire fences along the Rio Grande section of the U.S.-Mexico border, effectively preventing the U.S. border patrol from doing their job. Texas has continued building new wire barriers since that ruling.

At least 25 Republican governors have declared their support for Abbott, including Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon.

“The Biden administration has turned every state into a border state. We must stop the flow of fentanyl, save lives, and secure our southern border,” Youngkin posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

“Texas, you can count on Alabama to have your back,” Ivey said.

House Speaker Mike Johnson also chimed in, roping the U.S. House of Representatives into the conflict by announcing that “the House will do everything in its power to back [Abbott] up.”

That, however, doesn’t seem to include advancing a border security deal within his own realm of government. Republicans all but killed a bipartisan border deal this week, for fear it could be interpreted as a political win for Biden as Donald Trump ramps up to make immigration a wedge issue in the upcoming election.

“Trump wants them to kill it because he doesn’t want Biden to have a victory,” a source told HuffPost on Wednesday. “He told them he will fix the border when he is president.… He said he only wants the perfect deal.”

“The border is a very important issue for Donald Trump,” Utah Senator Mitt Romney told reporters on Thursday. “And the fact that he would communicate to Republican senators and congresspeople that he doesn’t want us to solve the border problem because he wants to blame Biden for it is really appalling.”

Judge Absolutely Kneecaps Trump’s Testimony in E. Jean Carroll Trial

Donald Trump finally testified ... kind of.

Donald Trump sits in court and stares off camera
Curtis Means-Pool/Getty Images

All eyes were on Donald Trump on Thursday as the former president finally took the stand in his second trial brought by columnist E. Jean Carroll. After weeks of drama between Judge Lewis Kaplan and attorney Alina Habba, during which the managing partner of Habba, Madaio & Associates LLP painted herself as an inexperienced attorney in way over her head, Trump was heavily anticipated to deliver bombastic testimony that would rock the courtroom. But then, he didn’t.

Moments before Trump took the stand, Kaplan set severe parameters for Trump’s appearance, alerting Habba that her client would not be allowed to reject the results of Carroll’s first trial against Trump, which found him liable for sexually assaulting the writer.

“The jury found that Mr. Trump inserted his fingers into her vagina. And that Ms. Carroll did not make up her claim. And that Mr. Trump’s June 11 and June 22 statements were defamatory. Now Mr. Trump may not make any argument against this,” Kaplan warned Habba, according to Inner City Press.

Then Kaplan notified Habba that she would only be permitted to ask Trump a couple of questions: whether or not the former president stood by his deposition testimony, and whether he ever instructed anyone to hurt Carroll.

At another point, Kaplan asked Habba to outline every detail that Trump planned to say on the stand, to which Habba replied that she couldn’t testify on behalf of her client, according to Politico’s Erica Orden.

Trump spent just three minutes in total on the stand, answering questions with minute flair that Kaplan immediately ordered the jury to disregard.

When asked if he instructed anyone to hurt Carroll, Trump responded in the negative.

“No, I just wanted to defend myself, my family and frankly, the presidency,” Trump said, before Kaplan interjected that the jury should ignore everything Trump said after “no.”

And when asked if he denied the allegation in order to defend himself, Trump again tried to push the judge’s boundaries.

“Yes, I did. That’s exactly right. She said something I considered a false accusation—” Trump began, before Kaplan told the jury to disregard everything after “Yes, I did.”

The aggressive strategy to keep Trump—and the courtroom—under control was likely inspired by the GOP front-runner’s rambunctious and threatening behavior during his New York bank fraud trial under Judge Arthur Engoron and his D.C. trial with Judge Tanya Chutkan, both of which resulted in seemingly ineffective gag orders on the former president.

And despite its anticlimactic finale, Kaplan’s strategy proved surprisingly effective at trial, generally cordoning off Trump’s more disruptive tendencies to outside the courtroom—something other judges haven’t been able to achieve. That may be thanks to Kaplan’s decades behind the bench, during which he presided over some of the biggest terrorism cases in the nation’s history. Those include closing the docket on Osama bin Laden following his death at the hands of Seal Team Six and presiding over the case of Ahmed Ghailani, the only Guantánamo Bay detainee to be tried in a civilian court.

Trump Screws Himself Over in Just Three Minutes in E. Jean Carroll Trial

Donald Trump finally took the stand. Here was his lie-riddled testimony.

Yuki Iwamura/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Donald Trump sits in court, flanked by his two lawyers.

Donald Trump testified for just three minutes on Thursday during his defamation trial against E. Jean Carroll—and he still managed to lie nonstop.

Trump had not attended his first trial against Carroll, so his testimony Thursday was highly anticipated. But his attorney Alina Habba ended up asking him just three questions, after presiding Judge Lewis Kaplan significantly limited what Trump’s legal team could discuss in the courtroom.

Before Trump took the stand, Kaplan reminded the jury that Trump has already been found liable of sexually assaulting Carroll and then defaming her when he denied the attack.

“There are no do-overs,” Kaplan said.

Habba proceeded to ask Trump if he stood by his video deposition, in which he claimed he never met Carroll and that she was lying when she said he had assaulted her.

“One hundred percent, yes,” Trump said.

Habba asked Trump if he denied the accusation in self-defense.

“That’s exactly right,” Trump said.

Finally, Habba asked Trump if he had instructed anyone to hurt Carroll, which he denied.

Kaplan had to cut Trump off during his second and third answers and instruct the jury to disregard the majority of what the former president said.

This trial is just to set damages. In May, a jury unanimously found Trump liable for sexually abusing Carroll and then defaming her when denying her accusations. Kaplan ruled in September that since it was already proven Trump assaulted Carroll, the comments for which he is on trial this time are by default defamatory.

Carroll is seeking at least $10 million in damages. Trump had one chance to make a case for the jury to award her a smaller amount, and instead he wasted everyone’s time by making claims that have already been proven false. Trump already owes Carroll $5 million in damages from the first trial.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Just Took His War With the Feds to the Next Level

Greg Abbott doesn’t seem to care what the Supreme Court says on the border.

Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Even a ruling from the nation’s highest court doesn’t seem to be enough to deter Texas’s governor from fooling around at the border.

On Wednesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott amped the situation up a notch, declaring the influx of immigrants over the border an “invasion”—a status that Abbott claimed supersedes federal mandates—while shipping more members of the Texas National Guard to erect more concertina wire along the Rio Grande section of the U.S.-Mexico border.

That move appeared to openly defy a Supreme Court ruling made on Monday, which sided with the Biden administration that Texas had overstepped its authority by placing the wire in such a way that federal agents could no longer access the border.

“Texas’ razor wire is an effective deterrent against the illegal border crossings encouraged by Biden’s open border policies,” Abbott said in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “We continue to deploy this razor wire to repel illegal immigration.”

The online defiance came part and parcel with an eyebrow-raising interview on Fox News on Thursday, in which Abbott dodged a point-blank question about the state’s standoff with federal agents.

“Will you instruct your officers to physically prevent federal officers from accessing that part of the border?” asked host Bill Hemmer.

“So, what Texas is doing is just very simple. And that is because the Biden administration has really, truly, abdicated this responsibility to secure the border and enforce the laws, Texas very simply is securing the border,” Abbott responded, remarkably not saying no. “So we put up the razor wire that you were talking about, Bill, and put up all these barricades that have denied illegal entry.”

But then Abbott seemed to imply that his state wasn’t done attempting to litigate its case, suggesting that it would return in new form to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“The case that was presented to the United States Supreme Court actually did not have very much of a record upon which an appellate could make a decision,” Abbott continued. “So, those who may not have voted in favor of Texas, or those who voted to send it back to the Fifth Circuit, they may have thought in their mind that there’s not enough record to make a decision.”

“There were no sentences or paragraphs or pages of an opinion written by the Supreme Court. So no one knows at all what they were thinking. All we know is they wanted to send it back to the Fifth Circuit,” he added.

“Texas has a constitutional right to defend and protect itself,” Abbott posted on X after the interview. “We will continue to hold the line.”

The 5–4 decision, which was issued on Monday without an opinion, as is the norm in cases of emergency applications, was initially believed to be the cap on a monthslong spar between Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the federal government over elements of the state’s anti-immigration effort, dubbed “Operation Lone Star.” In October, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced his initial lawsuit against the Biden administration, claiming that federal agents were unlawfully destroying elements of the state’s border deterrence efforts and “damaging Texas’s ability to effectively deter illegal entry into Texas.”

The case was granted an emergency request filed by the Biden administration, which argued that the wire was preventing federal agents from accessing the border and from reaching migrants who had already crossed the border.