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Is Trump’s Crazy, Baseless Immunity Defense Maybe Going to Work?

A judge has just delayed Donald Trump’s federal election interference trial over the immunity question.

Donald Trump splays both hands outward as if this is a show
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s federal trial for trying to overturn the 2020 election has been delayed until an appeals court decides whether he has immunity—exactly what the former president wanted.

Trump’s trial was originally set for March 4, the day before Super Tuesday, but he insists he has presidential immunity against criminal proceedings. His lawyers argued his case to a panel of three appellate judges in Washington, D.C., in early January. The appeals court has not issued a ruling yet.

Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over Trump’s election interference lawsuit, on Friday officially called off the March trial. In a filing, she said she would set a new trial schedule once the appeals court rules on Trump’s immunity.

Regardless of how the appeals court rules, the question of Trump’s immunity will likely end up before the Supreme Court. This could drag out the lawsuit for weeks or even months.

Special counsel Jack Smith asked the Supreme Court in December to weigh in on the immunity case, so the case could move forward as quickly as possible. The Supreme Court declined to do so until the D.C. appeals court issued its ruling.

In the meantime, Trump benefits from every delay in the proceedings against him. As Politico pointed out earlier this week, delays increase the possibility that Trump could avoid charges altogether. If he has yet to face trial by November and wins the presidency, he could have the Justice Department end the lawsuits or even try to pardon himself.

Trump was indicted in August for his role in the January 6 insurrection and other attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. He faces one count each of conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to corruptly obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against the right to vote.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges and has insisted the case should be dismissed altogether. He argues that former presidents can’t be criminally charged for actions related to their official responsibilities. He did not explain how overturning an election was related to official presidential duties.

While many critics say Trump’s immunity claim is a desperate attempt to avoid accountability, it could also be an attempt to ease his path toward increased power. As Greg Sargent wrote for The New Republic, “If he wins on this front, he’d be largely unshackled in a second presidential term, free to pursue all manner of corrupt designs with little fear of legal consequences after leaving office again.”

Friday’s delay means that the next trial Trump faces will be in his indictment for his role in hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels. That trial is set to begin March 16.

This story has been updated.

Republicans Have Nothing to Impeach Joe Biden On. And They Finally Know It.

A growing number of House Republicans seem to be admitting there’s no point to this.

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House Speaker Mike Johnson

House Republicans are starting to realize that, even after months of investigation, they have no reason to impeach Joe Biden.

The House GOP has for months accused Biden of corruption. But after interviewing dozens of witnesses and sifting through the Biden family’s financial records, they have found no evidence of wrongdoing by the president. Senior Republicans are finally starting to come around to that, CNN reported Friday.

“While I think that it’s pretty clear, I don’t know that the case has been adequately made to the American people,” Representative Scott Perry told CNN.

But it doesn’t seem as if the case has been “adequately made” to the Republican caucus, either. The party hasn’t done a formal count yet, but one GOP lawmaker, speaking anonymously, told CNN there are likely about 20 Republican representatives who don’t think there is sufficient evidence to impeach Biden.

Republicans have such a narrow majority that they can only afford to lose two votes. And even if the House did manage to pass articles of impeachment, the move would fail immediately in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

One Republican source, speaking anonymously, described the impeachment inquiry as a “jumbled mess.” “You’d be hard pressed to say it’s going well,” they said.

A second Republican lawmaker anonymously told CNN they “don’t think it goes anywhere.”

With failure on the horizon, the goal appears to have shifted from impeaching Biden to just waiting and seeing how people vote in November.

“Let the American people decide in November if they want to take this country in a different direction,” Representative Nicole Malliotakis said.

One of the Republicans investigating Biden told CNN anonymously they aren’t “trying to sell any case. We want to collect the facts and tell people what the facts are.”

Multiple House Republicans, including Matt Gaetz and Ken Buck, have previously indicated that the impeachment inquiry is really just a move to discredit Biden in voters’ eyes, instead of actually impeaching him. But the investigation hasn’t turned up anything to actually discredit Biden, either.

Instead, almost every one of Republicans’ witnesses has actually debunked the GOP’s claims. Multiple witnesses said that Biden was never involved in his son’s foreign business dealings and never benefited from them, either.

Even House Oversight Chair James Comer, who spearheaded the investigation, has started backing down from his previously gung-ho attitude about impeachment. Despite spending all of 2023 insisting Biden was guilty and should be impeached, Comer said just two weeks ago that his “job was never to impeach.”

On Thursday, Comer admitted that his star witnesses “have a hard time remembering the bad things” about the Bidens and that his investigation has “hit a brick wall.”

Michigan Mayor to Biden: Heed the Calls of Americans on Gaza

The mayor of Dearborn, Michigan, had some tough words after Joe Biden’s visit to the state.

Adam J. Dewey/Anadolu/Getty Images
A pro-Palestine protest in Detroit, on October 28

The Mayor of Dearborn, Michigan, had some strong words for President Joe Biden on Thursday, condemning the commander in chief for aligning with Israel’s far-right government at a time when American democracy is incredibly fragile itself.

During a segment on CNN, anchor Abby Phillips asked Mayor Abdullah Hammoud if he agreed with an emerging campaign led by some Arab and Muslim Michiganders to “abandon Biden” in the presidential race over his strategy in the Middle East.

“I’ve run for office before. I’ve never pointed at the voters of my district and said, ‘You’re at fault if I’m not elected.’ In fact, it’s me as the candidate, President Biden as the candidate, to put forward a policy platform that is receptive to all Americans,” he continued.

“What we’re asking for, a cease-fire, is not something that only the majority of Arab Americans and Muslim Americans support. In fact, over 60 percent of Americans support a cease-fire. Over 80 percent of Democrats,” he added. “And so for me, I would urge President Biden to heed the calls of Americans from coast to coast.”

But Phillips proposed that a second term under Donald Trump could be even more devastating for Palestine, which in four months of battle with a Biden-backed Israel has suffered more than 27,000 deaths, lost access to power, water, and humanitarian aid, had the vast majority of its hospitals destroyed by bombs, and witnessed its journalists assassinated.

“Trump is a threat to American democracy,” Hammoud threw back. “So what will President Biden do to prevent the unraveling of our American democracy? Why is being aligned with [Benjamin] Netanyahu and the most right-wing government in Israel’s history worth potentially sacrificing our democracy?”

Netanyahu dramatically returned to power in 2022, winning Israel’s election for prime minister despite being on trial on corruption and fraud charges. His win came one year after the country’s Parliament approved a “government of change,” ousting the leader in a shocking 60-59 vote fronted by an unlikely coalition of political groups unified only by their desire to unseat the 12-year prime minister.

Tommy Tuberville May Yet Pay for His Antics, if House Dems Have Their Way

House Democrats have a plan to punish the Republican senator over his military blockade.

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Democrats on the House Oversight Committee on Friday called for an investigation into Senator Tommy Tuberville’s blockade on military promotions.

Tuberville single-handedly blocked hundreds of military promotions for the majority of 2023, in protest over the Department of Defense’s policy of reimbursing costs for service members who had to travel for an abortion. Despite repeated warnings from military leadership that he was hurting military readiness, Tuberville persisted with his stunt for 10 months.

Ranking Oversight Member Jamie Raskin and Representative Robert Garcia have now asked the Government Accountability Office, an independent and nonpartisan federal agency that audits and investigates Congress, to look into Tuberville’s stunt.

“It is critical that Congress understand the full effects of the hold on military families,” Raskin and Garcia said in a letter, which was obtained by The New Republic.

The pair asked the GAO to look specifically at the effect Tuberville’s blockade had on military readiness, national security, and military families. They also asked the agency to evaluate the processes the Department of Defense uses “when military promotions are stalled for prolonged and indefinite periods.”

Tuberville single-handedly blocked more than 450 military promotions last year, throwing the entire U.S. military into disarray. He finally partially relented in December when he agreed to allow most of those promotions to go forward, with the exception of those for four-star generals. He subsequently dropped those remaining 11 holds, and the Senate promptly confirmed them at the end of December.

Over the course of his protest, Tuberville only managed to succeed at making everyone angry with him. Military leaders called him out by name, accusing him of “aiding and abetting Communist and other autocratic regimes.” Fellow Republicans criticized him, with one calling him “dumb” on the Senate floor.

If the GAO accepts Raskin and Garcia’s request, it will be the first probe into Tuberville’s actions, which hurt both military readiness and military families. Since people weren’t being promoted, leadership positions sat empty for months. When they were finally filled, chief officers often found themselves without deputies, doubling their workload.

In fact, the Marine Corps commandant suffered a heart attack in October.  While there is no indication that his extra workload—caused by Tuberville’s blockade—contributed to his heart attack, working two jobs definitely didn’t help.

Meanwhile, service members couldn’t move to their new locations, meaning their partners couldn’t search for new jobs and their children couldn’t start at new schools.

The GAO has not yet indicated if it will open a review of Tuberville’s actions. If it does, such probes are often precursors to congressional committee investigations.

Trump Thinks He Could Be Convicted Before the Election — And He Has a Plan

The Republican front-runner is preparing for a possible conviction before November.

David Becker/Getty Images

While legal experts and the media debate the possibility of a criminal conviction for Donald Trump, one man appears near certain that he’ll get locked up: Trump himself.

Sources close to the former president say that in private, Trump is bracing for the very real possibility that he’ll serve time if the January 6 case comes to trial this spring. But should that be delayed, he faces the possibility of another conviction in the Stormy Daniels hush-money case in New York, sources close to Trump’s team told Axios.

With all those possibilities in mind, Trump has apparently been cooking up his own way to spin the tale in what might be the most unprecedented White House campaigning strategy of all time.

Trump believes he still has a shot at leading the nation if he can convince voters that the endeavor to hold him accountable is a political pile-on. To do so, he plans to attend most of his upcoming trials in person so that he can stage a series of courtroom dramas that rub away at the gravity of his charges, according to the outlet. That means more benchside tantrums and more raving rants outside of the courthouse.

“You can’t be defensive or never talk about it, because that just makes you look guilty,” a source told Axios. “Your only option is to play it up.”

It’s a never-before-seen reelection tactic that will see Trump attempt to sway jurors and swing voters simultaneously, capitalizing on headlines even as he sits hundreds of miles away from the well-worn campaign trail.

The January 6 trial, which was originally scheduled to begin on March 4, has since been removed entirely from the public court calendar after months of grandstanding and challenges by Trump’s legal team. While it’s unclear when the trial will be rescheduled, the appeals process could push it into late spring or summer—past the Republican nomination—or, if delays continue to mount, close to Election Day.

That would be the best-case scenario for Trump’s legal team, who are hoping that independent voters won’t condone the optics of a Democratic administration prosecuting the nation’s GOP nominee.

“When things shift to the general-election dynamic, with razor-thin margins, and you’re trying to convince people who are unhappy with President Biden but are deeply skeptical of Trump personally—a conviction doesn’t help persuade those people,” one source told Axios.

And if all else fails, Trump could still technically run for president from behind bars. There’s a precedent for it: In 1920, the Socialist Party nominee, Eugene V. Debs, garnered nearly a million votes while serving a 10-year sentence for urging U.S. citizens to resist the World War I draft.

Still, actually getting convicted could really throw a wrench into Trump’s plans. A Bloomberg/Morning Consult poll found that more than half of U.S. voters wouldn’t mark a ballot for Trump if he was convicted of a crime or sentenced to prison.

“If he really thought it was a good thing, he wouldn’t be so unhinged,” the source said.

Nikki Haley Makes Her Bizarro Texas Secession Comment Even Worse

Nikki Haley just keeps making things worse.

Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Nikki Haley is having to defend herself after bizarrely saying she would let Texas secede if she were elected president.

Haley appeared on the Breakfast Club podcast Wednesday to discuss her previous comments on racism, which include insisting that the United States isn’t a racist country while also talking about the racism she endured as an Indian American child in South Carolina.

At one point, host Charlamagne tha God brought up Texas’s standoff with the federal government over the state’s decision to put razor wire along its border with Mexico. Charlamagne asked Haley if, as president, she would use force against Texas if it tried to secede from the country.

“If Texas decides they want to do that, they can do that,” Haley said. “If that whole state says, ‘We don’t want to be part of America anymore,’ I mean, that’s their decision to make.”

But “let’s talk about what’s reality. Texas isn’t going to secede,” Haley added.

Texas lawmakers have often joked about (or seriously discussed) the Lone Star State’s right to secede from the nation. But legally, states do not have the right to secede. The Union victory during the Civil War, and the confederate states’ readmission to the union, set that precedent. The illegality of secession was established by the Supreme Court in 1869.

After receiving backlash for her comments, Haley tried to reverse course. She argued that whether or not she allows a state to secede is irrelevant until a state actually indicates it wants to do so. (She also would need to be elected president first, which is not going so well for her thus far.)

“It’s not about secession,” she told Fox News. “Nobody’s going to do that. That’s not what people are talking about.”

“What they are talking about is why isn’t the president there, keeping Texans safe.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been in a months-long battle with the federal government about the influx of migrants over the state’s southern border. Despite the Supreme Court ruling he has no right to do so, Abbott has instructed the Texas National Guard to erect more concertina wire along the border.

Dozens of conservative governors across the country have publicly backed Abbott, causing some people on the far right to start talking seriously about an impending civil war.

It’s unsurprising that Haley fell back on talking about states’ rights when something related to the Civil War came up. In December, she claimed that the Civil War was caused by a dispute over the role of the federal government, not slavery.

Um… Trump May Still Be Hoarding Classified Documents at Mar-a-Lago?

A new report reveals a stunning lapse in the FBI’s search for classified documents at Trump’s residence.

David Becker/Getty Images

The Federal Bureau of Investigations forgot to clear corners while scanning Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, apparently leaving several stones unturned.

Special counsel Jack Smith’s team has been questioning several witnesses to the Mar-a-Lago raid about areas that the FBI apparently didn’t check during its August 2022 investigation, including a locked closet and a “hidden room” connected to Trump’s bedroom, sources familiar with the investigation told ABC News.

A senior FBI official told the outlet that agents targeted its search areas “based on information gathered throughout the course of the investigation,” though some security experts described the lapse as “a bit astonishing.”

“You’re searching a former president’s house. You [should] get it right the first time,” Jordan Strauss, a former national security official in the Justice Department, told ABC News.

Investigators later learned that Trump had the closet’s lock changed while one of his attorneys scoured for the classified documents in a storage room that he was told housed them.

Trump faces 40 felony charges in the case: 32 charges for violating the Espionage Act by retaining at least 102 documents with classified documents, six charges for obstruction, and two for making false statements regarding his possession of the documents.

Two of his associates are also charged in the case—longtime aide Walt Nauta, who’s charged with six felonies, and Mar-a-Lago employee Carlos De Oliveira who faces four felonies. Both of them, along with Trump, attempted to destroy security footage after federal officials requested it, according to a superseding indictment released July 2023.

The trial is scheduled for May 20, in Fort Pierce, Florida.

Remember That Indicted Trump Valet? He Hates Women Just as Much as His Boss

We now have more details about Walt Nauta, Trump’s shady valet.

Walt Nauta raises one eyebrow and looks off camera
James Devaney/GC Images

It looks like Donald Trump’s body man, who was indicted alongside the former president for mishandling classified documents, might have something else in common with his boss: Walt Nauta has also been accused of sexual misconduct.

Trump hired Nauta in August 2021 to be part of his postpresidential team. Prior to that, Nauta had spent 20 years serving in the Navy. But just weeks before his job change, Nauta’s naval career was nearly ended by multiple allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct, The Daily Beast reported Thursday.

Three female service members accused Nauta of inappropriate conduct in April 2021, but his problematic behavior had been happening for years, the Beast said, citing two anonymous sources. Nauta was assigned to the White House food service in 2012, during the Obama administration. He worked his way up the ranks and was ultimately assigned to be Trump’s personal valet.

During that time, when he was also married, Nauta allegedly had multiple overlapping and emotionally abusive romantic relationships. His partners were lower-ranked service members, which violates the U.S. military’s strict ban on “fraternization,” or engaging in “unduly familiar” relationships with someone of a different rank. These relationships can be personal, professional, or romantic.

Nauta was also accused of revenge porn for allegedly taking and keeping compromising images of the women and then threatening to make those images public.

When a Navy investigation revealed the extent of Nauta’s behavior, he admitted to the relationships and was escorted off White House grounds that same day. It is unclear if he was officially charged or simply allowed to take his retirement a few months early. Trump’s job offer came just a few weeks later.

Colby Vokey, a military criminal defense attorney and retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel, told the Beast that the Navy usually has to act fast with cases like Nauta’s. Vokey said Nauta’s case appeared unusual because of the Navy’s apparent delay in conducting a deeper investigation.

But, the Beast wrote, according to Vokey, “it wouldn’t be surprising if the Navy saw the Mar-a-Lago offer, coinciding as it did with Nauta’s retirement window, as an opportunity to avoid practical difficulties in investigating White House personnel and to avoid a potential public relations firestorm.”

It is unclear if Trump knew about the allegations against Nauta when he offered him a job, but it is unlikely Trump would be bothered by them. At least 26 women have accused Trump of sexual assault or misconduct, and just last week, he was ordered to pay $83.3 million to E. Jean Carroll for defaming her in 2019 after she revealed he sexually abused her in the mid-1990s.

Nauta has been indicted alongside Trump for the former president’s hoarding of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. Trump, Nauta, and a third resort employee named Carlos De Oliveira are accused of trying to destroy evidence, including attempting to delete security footage off a server.

Nauta allegedly moved boxes of documents out of a Mar-a-Lago storage room so Trump’s lawyer couldn’t find them and return them to the government. Nauta says he did not know what was in the boxes at the time.

Nikki Haley Appears to Believe She Can Win Taylor Swift’s Endorsement

Girl, no.

Taylor Swift
Fernando Leon/TAS23/Getty Images/TAS Rights Management

Nikki Haley appears to be woefully misinformed about her chances at getting Taylor Swift’s endorsement.

“I’m not gonna lie, I don’t know what the obsession is, Taylor Swift is allowed to have a boyfriend, Taylor Swift is a good artist, I’ve taken my daughter to Taylor Swift concerts before,” Haley told CNN Thursday. “To have a conspiracy theory of all of this is bizarre. No one knows who she will endorse.”

Sure, technically anything is possible as we’re all hurtling on a rock through space, but the chances of Swift endorsing Haley are so infinitesimally small it’s laughable.

The historically apolitical pop superstar had effectively held a vow of silence on politics until 2018, when she endorsed Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, in the Senate race against Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn.

And in 2020, the “Cruel Summer” singer endorsed Joe Biden for president—the first time she ever tapped into presidential politics.

“The change we need most is to elect a president who recognizes that people of color deserve to feel safe and represented, that women deserve the right to choose what happens to their bodies, and that the LGBTQIA+ community deserves to be acknowledged and included,” Swift told V Magazine at the time.

That doesn’t exactly sound like Haley, who has in recent months come under fire for claiming that America was never a racist nation, who won’t rule out an abortion ban, and who has claimed that Florida’s anti-LGBTQ “Don’t Say Gay” law didn’t go “far enough.”

Right-wing conspiracy theorists have latched onto Swift as their latest obsession, believing that the musician and her two-time Super Bowl champion boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, are a part of a Pentagon psyop to help President Joe Biden get reelected to the White House.

“The NFL is totally RIGGED for the Kansas City Chiefs, Taylor Swift, Mr. Pfizer (Travis Kelce). All to spread DEMOCRAT PROPAGANDA. Calling it now: KC wins, goes to Super Bowl, Swift comes out at the halftime show and ‘endorses’ Joe Biden with Kelce at midfield. It’s all been an op since day one,” posted pro-Trump Rumble broadcaster Mike Crispi on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

It’s an idea that defies all logic, especially as some of its most vocal proponents, who are known white supremacist and neo-Nazi affiliates like OANN host Jack Posobiec, seemingly reverse course on their racist ideologies in favor of targeting the blonde-haired, blue-eyed country music star and her football-playing boyfriend.

Nikki Haley is right about one thing: The conspiracy theories are bizarre. But so is her thinking she actually has a chance at getting Swifties to back her.

GOP Congressman Says Dead Palestinian Babies Aren’t All That Innocent

Republican Representative Brian Mast is questioning the innocence of babies killed in Gaza.

Brian Mast wears an Israeli Defense Force uniform
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Florida Representative Brian Mast

A Republican representative believes that Palestinian babies are not innocent civilians but “terrorists” who should be killed.

Florida Representative Brian Mast made the horrifying comment when confronted by Code Pink protesters outside his office on Wednesday.

In a video, Mast can be seen calmly telling the demonstrators, “It would be better if you kill all the terrorists and kill everyone who are supporters.”

When asked if he has seen the images of Palestinian babies killed in Israeli attacks, Mast says, “These are not innocent Palestinian civilians.”

“The babies?” the activists asks in astonishment.

Mast then says that the “half a million people starving to death” should have elected a pro-Israel government.

When one protester points out that much of Gaza’s infrastructure has been destroyed, Mast says, “And there’s more infrastructure that needs to be destroyed.”

“Did you not hear me? There’s more that needs to be destroyed,” he says again for emphasis.


More than 27,000 Palestinians have been killed since October in Israel’s constant bombardment of Gaza. The majority of the victims have been women and children.

Mast’s horrific comments—and the chilling way in which he delivered them—should come as no surprise. In November, just a few weeks after the war began, Mast compared Palestinian civilians to Nazis and implied that they are all guilty for Hamas’s atrocities.

“I would encourage the other side to not so lightly throw around the idea of ‘innocent Palestinian civilians,’ as is frequently said,” he said on the House floor.

“I don’t think we would so lightly throw around the term ‘innocent Nazi civilians’ during World War II.”

On Pro-Palestine Activism: