Skip Navigation
Breaking News
Breaking News
from Washington and beyond

Judge in Abortion Pill Case Cited Study So Bogus It Was Just Retracted

A study used as justification to ban the abortion pill was just retracted by the journal that published it.

Combipack misoprostol and mifepristone tablets
Soumyabrata Roy/NurPhoto/Getty Images

An academic publisher has retracted three studies about the adverse effects of the abortion pill mifepristone, two of which are central to the ongoing lawsuit to ban the medication nationwide.

Sage Publishing announced its decision Monday to pull the studies after they were revealed to have been funded and produced by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the powerful anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. The studies were published in 2019, 2021, and 2022. Sage began reviewing the 2021 study last year after a pharmaceutical sciences professor raised concerns about how it was cited in the mifepristone case.

Ultraconservative Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, who presided over the initial mifepristone trial in Texas, used the 2021 study to justify his ruling invalidating the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone. Another one of the studies, also since retracted, was used by the anti-abortion plaintiffs in the case.

The Sage investigation found that all but one of the study authors, including the lead author on each study, were affiliated with at least one of the anti-abortion associations Charlotte Lozier Institute, Elliot Institute, and American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The AAPLOG is listed as a plaintiff in the mifepristone lawsuit. One of the peer reviewers was also associated with Charlotte Lozier. None of the authors or the reviewer disclosed these affiliations.

Since all three studies had the same lead author, Sage carried out an independent post-publication peer review of the data in all three studies. Two subject matter experts determined that the 2021 and 2022 articles, which use the same dataset, had “fundamental problems with the study design and methodology, unjustified or incorrect factual assumptions, material errors in the authors’ analysis of the data, and misleading presentations of the data.”

These issues “demonstrate a lack of scientific rigor and invalidate the authors’ conclusions in whole or in part,” according to the experts.

Similarly, the 2019 study, which used a different dataset, included “unsupported assumptions and misleading presentations of the findings that … demonstrate a lack of scientific rigor and render the authors’ conclusion unreliable.”

Kacsmaryk ruled in April that mifepristone had been improperly approved and should be yanked from the U.S. market. The Department of Justice appealed the decision, first to the Fifth Circuit Court, which only partially stayed the ruling. The Justice Department then appealed the case to the Supreme Court, which issued a temporary stay while the lawsuit plays out. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case next month.

Kacsmaryk’s initial ruling hinged on several heavily biased “studies.” In addition to the faulty Charlotte Lozier article, he cited another study that claimed to find most people who had medication abortions reported negative effects. The sample size was 98 blog posts from an anti-abortion website. The study authors only analyzed 54 posts and then just cherry-picked quotes from the rest.

Medication abortions make up more than half of all abortions performed in the United States. These drugs can be ordered online and delivered via mail, making them a key resource for people who live in states that have cracked down on abortion access since Roe v. Wade was overturned.

A bigger issue at play, in this case, is that nonelected judges who do not have medical backgrounds are now making decisions about medication. When the lawsuit first began to play out, Rachel Rebouché, the dean of Temple University’s law school, told The New Republic, “The question for appellate courts is not just about abortion but about deference to a federal agency’s expertise.”

The Texas case “undermined” the FDA’s authority, she said. “To take seriously that it ignored risks, risks unsupported by any credible evidence, suggests questions as to what federal courts might decide about other federal agencies’ decisions.”

Brutal Immunity Decision Quotes Brett Kavanaugh Against Trump

A federal appeals court struck down Donald Trump’s immunity claim—and used a ruling from Trump appointee Brett Kavanaugh to do it.

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images

A Washington, D.C., appeals court issued a blistering takedown Tuesday of Donald Trump’s arguments that he has “presidential immunity” against criminal proceedings—including a savage citation from Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Trump has repeatedly insisted that he cannot be prosecuted for trying to change the 2020 election results because he has presidential immunity. One of his arguments is that the separation of powers prevents state and federal officials from judging official presidential acts. He claims that the 1803 Supreme Court case Marbury v. Madison established this precedent.

But “former President Trump misreads Marbury and its progeny,” the three-judge panel said in its ruling. “Properly understood, the separation of powers doctrine may immunize lawful discretionary acts but does not bar the federal criminal prosecution of a former President for every official act.”

The judges then quoted one of those progeny cases, the 1882 ruling in United States v. Lee. The majority opinion in that case stated, “No man in this country is so high that he is above the law. No officer of the law may set that law at defiance with impunity. All the officers of the government, from the highest to the lowest, are creatures of the law and are bound to obey it.”

What’s more, “that principle applies, of course, to a president,” the judges wrote, citing Kavanaugh’s concurring opinion in the 2020 case Trump v. Vance, in which the Supreme Court ruled that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance could access Trump’s tax records as part of his investigation into alleged hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels.

The judges’ decision to cite Kavanaugh, even fleetingly, is both clever and devastating. Trump and his legal team have previously hinted that the justice, a Trump appointee, owes the former president some sort of loyalty. But the appeals court ruling shows that Kavanaugh operates independently from Trump.

Trump is expected to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court. He has until Monday to do so. If the high court takes up the question of his immunity, it is starting to look increasingly likely that the justices will concur with the lower courts.

Trump Is Going Absolutely Bonkers After Losing Presidential Immunity Claim

Donald Trump is having a proper meltdown after that brutal court ruling.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Moments after a federal appeals court unanimously voted against all three of Donald Trump’s presidential immunity arguments in his January 6 case, the former president was back on TruthSocial, insisting that he was going to win the upcoming election.

In a flurry of back-to-back posts, Trump wordlessly reshared polls indicating that he was leading President Joe Biden in their 2024 rematch. One screenshot captured Trump’s odds on Polymarket, an online betting platform, which saw traders banking on the GOP front-runner holding a 17 percent edge over Biden.

Despite the digital diversion, it’s clear where Trump’s head was shortly before he went to sleep. In the late hours of Monday night, the felony-charged pol took one last stab at his immunity claim.


After the ruling on Tuesday, Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung echoed essentially the same sentiment.

“If immunity is not granted to a President, every future President who leaves office will be immediately indicted by the opposing party,” Cheung said. “Without complete immunity, a President of the United States would not be able to properly function! Deranged Jack Smith’s prosecution of President Trump for his Presidential, official acts is unconstitutional under the doctrine of Presidential Immunity and the Separation of Powers.”

Trump has not clarified why he thinks overturning an election is within the realm of his presidential duties.

Trump’s legal team has until February 13 to seek a Supreme Court review of the decision—otherwise the mandate will be sent back to Judge Tanya Chutkan, per the court.

The January 6 trial was initially removed from the docket, as Chutkan was awaiting the immunity decision. It’s not yet clear when it will resume, but the Supreme Court could kick it back to her as soon as the end of the month.

Busted: Dem Makes House GOPer Eat His Own Words on Impeachment

Representative Mark Green was caught arguing against his own op-ed, in a telling exchange on the Biden impeachment farce.

Representative Mark Green sitting in a hearing, holding his hand to his forehead and looking down.
Kent Nishimura/Getty Images
Homeland Security Committee Chair Mark Green

Democratic Representative Joe Neguse went for the jugular on Monday, forcing the Homeland Security Committee’s Republican chairman to eat crow on his impeachment stance.

During a Monday committee hearing on the impeachment resolution to oust Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Neguse had questions for Representative Mark Green about an op-ed from five years ago.

“I’m going to enter it into the record. The title is, ‘Americans are the Victims of the Impeachment Inquiry,’” Neguse said. “The subtitle … is, ‘A lot of bipartisan legislation that enjoys support sits gathering dust while Congress focuses on the impeachment inquiry.’”

“I assume you disagree with this?” Neguse prodded.

“I do,” Green replied.

But that turned out to be the wrong answer, trapping Green in a web of his own making.

“This is an editorial that you wrote five years ago during the debate about the impeachment of former President Trump,” Neguse went on, referring to the November 2019 piece by Green that ran in The Tennessean.

Neguse then attacked Green for attempting to unseat Mayorkas for his own political gain, referring to a New York Times article from last April that stated Green had “promised donors this month that he would produce an impeachment case against” Mayorkas.

“This is before your committee has heard from Secretary Mayorkas,” Neguse said. “It’s before you’ve had the witnesses that have apparently come before your committee. It’s before you’ve had any meaningful debate. You decide a year ago?”

Later that night, the House Rules Committee voted 8–4 along party lines to send impeachment articles to the House floor. It’s unclear how the final vote will play out—the divided Republican caucus currently holds a razor-thin majority in the lower chamber.

Trump Just Lost His “Presidential Immunity” Argument. Thoughts, Prayers.

Trump can protest all he wants, but he’s not immune from prosecution over his efforts to overthrow the 2020 election, a federal court has ruled.

Donald Trump

A Washington, D.C., appeals court ruled Tuesday that Donald Trump most certainly does not have “presidential immunity” in the indictment against him for trying to overthrow the 2020 presidential election.

Trump has repeatedly insisted that he cannot be prosecuted for trying to change the election results because he has presidential immunity against criminal proceedings. His lawyers argued his case to a panel of three appellate judges in Washington in early January.

The judges, however, ruled unanimously that Trump is wrong.

“For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant. But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution,” the judges said in the ruling.

“We have balanced former President Trump’s asserted interests in executive immunity against the vital public interests that favor allowing this prosecution to proceed,” they wrote. “We conclude that ‘Concerns of public policy, especially as illuminated by our history and the structure of our government’ compel the rejection of his claim of immunity in this case.”

“We also have considered his contention that he is entitled to categorical immunity from criminal liability for any assertedly ‘official’ action that he took as President—a contention that is unsupported by precedent, history or the text and structure of the Constitution. Finally, we are unpersuaded by his argument that this prosecution is barred by ‘double jeopardy principles.’”

Trump will likely appeal the ruling, meaning the case will head to the Supreme Court. This will delay Trump’s trial, which was originally set to begin on March 4, the day before Super Tuesday. The judge presiding over that trial, Tanya Chutkan, called off the March 4 start date last week and said she would set a new schedule once the appeals court ruled on Trump’s immunity.

Now that the court has ruled, it is not clear when the trial could resume. Chutkan has previously kept things moving fairly quickly, but she predicted Monday that the trial could be delayed until much later in the year. If that is the case, then 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.

Trump was indicted in August for his role in the January 6, 2021, 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.”

Trump’s own lawyer accidentally revealed as much while arguing why the former president should have immunity. During the hearing, Judge Florence Pan asked if a president would be immune from criminal prosecution if he had ordered Seal Team 6 to assassinate a political rival. She noted that an order to Seal Team 6 would be an official act. Trump’s lawyer John Sauer said the president could be prosecuted, but only if he had been impeached and convicted first—essentially saying that presidents should be able to order political assassinations in certain circumstances.

This article has been updated.

Marjorie Taylor Greene Blows Gasket Over Biden Trying to Stop Airline Fees

Airline fees are capitalism, and by God, Marjorie Taylor Greene loves them!

Marjorie Taylor Greene walks and smiles, as reporters surround her with cameras
Nathan Howard/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Never let anyone tell you Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene doesn’t have a platform. On Monday, the MAGA lawmaker put a double whammy on record: that she doesn’t want the federal government helping families, and she actually loves airline fees.

After Joe Biden called for airlines to limit fees for families who want to sit next to each other on the plane, the Georgia representative blew a gasket.

“What’s next? Joe Biden using his power as president to demand kids eat free at all restaurants too?” Greene posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “Why don’t you do your job and CLOSE THE BORDER instead of pandering for votes!!!”

Never mind that Greene’s own party is at fault for the lack of a border deal, as GOP leadership has spent months systematically killing any possibility of an agreement. On Sunday, the Senate unveiled a $118 billion bipartisan agreement to address security at the U.S.-Mexico border, offering exactly the kind of bill that Republicans had been requesting. And yet House Speaker Mike Johnson said the package would be “dead on arrival” in the lower chamber. Greene also rejected the 370-page deal just hours after it was announced, alleging that anyone who supports it must be a foreign agent.

“House Republicans have to decide. Do they want to solve the problem? Or do they want to keep playing politics with the border? I’ve made my decision. I’m ready to solve the problem. I’m ready to secure the border. And so are the American people,” Biden said in a statement on Monday.

“I urge Congress to come together and swiftly pass this bipartisan agreement. Get it to my desk so I can sign it into law immediately,” he continued.

Meanwhile, Greene has spent her own valuable time fruitlessly attacking progressives. Last week, instead of working with her colleagues to coordinate a border package that actually would pass muster in the Senate, Greene drew up a censure resolution against Representative Ilhan Omar, utilizing a bad-faith translation of one of her speeches in Somali to claim that the Muslim lawmaker is working as a “foreign agent.”

Georgia GOP Plans to Use Women’s Rights Bill to Allow More Hate Crimes

Georgia Republicans are using a “women’s bill of rights” to completely rewrite laws protecting LGBTQ people.

A woman walks in front of the Georgia state Capitol building
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Georgia Republicans have introduced a bill they have dubbed the “Women’s Bill of Rights.” But in reality, the measure would expose women, both cis- and transgender, to increased violence and discrimination.

House Bill 1128 was introduced Friday by a group of six Republican state representatives, five of whom are women. The bill starts by defining sex as only biologically male or female.

“An individual’s sex can be observed or clinically verified at or before birth and in no case is an individual’s sex determined by stipulation or self-identification,” the measure states.

This would define transgender people out of the law, stripping them of many rights and protections. The bill also stipulates that everyone must use utilities such as bathrooms, locker rooms, domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, and sports teams that correspond to their gender assigned at birth.

Under the bill, “laws, rules, and regulations that distinguish between the sexes are subject to intermediate constitutional scrutiny.” This could affect measures aimed at eliminating gender discrimination, such as ensuring equal pay or barring discriminatory hiring practices.

The measure also changes state criminal procedure so that attacks based on someone’s sexual identity or gender no longer qualify as a hate crime. Trans people are over four times more likely than cis people to be the victim of violent crimes. If H.B. 1128 becomes law, trans people could no longer seek legal recourse if they are attacked.

Georgia’s bill is the latest in a years-long onslaught in Republican-led states attacking trans rights. There are currently 428 anti-trans bills working their way through state governments. About half of those bills were carried over from 2023.

Many of the measures passed in 2023 were aimed at banning gender-affirming care for trans and nonbinary children, despite the fact that the medical community widely considers gender-affirming care to be life-saving treatment. In 2024, many Republicans have moved on to targeting trans adults.

Judge Projects Trump’s January 6 Trial Could Start Even Later in 2024

Judge Tanya Chutkan acknowledged that one of Donald Trump’s biggest trials could be even later than we all expected.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Three days after taking the case off the docket due to months of grandstanding by Trump’s legal team, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan is musing over the possibility that Donald Trump’s January 6 criminal trial could be postponed until August.

On Monday, Chutkan told attorneys in another case that she planned to be out of the country in early August, unless Trump’s trial had already begun, reported Politico.

“I hope not to be in the country on August 5,” Chutkan said during a press conference for another trial related to January 6, adding that if she is in the country, it will only be because “I’m in trial in another matter that has not yet returned to my calendar.”

That would push the case—which has been on hold since December while higher courts question the legitimacy of Trump’s presidential immunity claim—past the Republican National Convention on July 15 and possibly until the general election.

Sources close to the former president have said that in private, Trump is bracing for the possibility of serving jail time over the case if it comes to trial this spring. Instead, the delay might play out as a best-case scenario for Trump’s team, who are hoping that independent voters will be upset by the optics of a Democratic administration prosecuting the nation’s GOP nominee.

As Trump’s January 6 trial remains delayed, the next trial on the docket is Trump’s Stormy Daniels hush-money case in New York, which is set to begin in March.

If all else fails, Trump could still technically run for president from behind bars, and 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.

Meta Board Says Fake Videos Are Bad, but That Fake Biden One Is OK

Meta’s Oversight Board is allowing a fake Biden video to remain on Facebook, as a wave of disinformation is expected before the next election.

Jonathan Raa/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Meta’s Oversight Board decided Monday that a Facebook video manipulated to show President Joe Biden behaving inappropriately with his granddaughter can stay on the platform, because the company’s own moderation policy tied the board’s hands.

The video, which was posted last spring, shows Biden putting an “I Voted” sticker on his adult granddaughter’s chest. The clip was edited to make it look like he repeatedly and inappropriately touched her chest. When a user first reported the video, Facebook parent company Meta decided not to take it down. So the user appealed the decision to the Oversight Board, an independent agency tasked with moderating content on Meta’s platforms.

The board determined Monday that the video does not violate Meta’s manipulated media policy, which only applies to videos that have been manipulated with artificial intelligence to make it seem as if someone said something they did not. The policy does not apply to manipulated audio, however.

The rule is too narrow to affect the video in question, the board said, but that doesn’t make the rule good. In fact, the board warned that the policy is problematic in and of itself and could contribute to increased disinformation during the 2024 election cycle.

“The Board is concerned about the Manipulated Media policy in its current form,” the Board said in its decision, “finding it to be incoherent, lacking in persuasive justification and inappropriately focused on how content has been created, rather than on which specific harms it aims to prevent (for example, to electoral processes).”

“The policy should not treat ‘deep fakes’ differently to content altered in other ways,” the board said. “The current policy does not clearly specify the harms it is seeking to prevent. Meta needs to provide greater clarity on what those harms are and needs to make revisions quickly, given the record number of elections in 2024.”

As artificial intelligence improves, the number of so-called “deepfakes” is increasing. A deepfake is an artificially created form of media intended to make it appear that someone said or did something they did not.

During the New Hampshire primary in January, state Democratic voters received a robocall that used a digitally manipulated recording of Biden urging them to “save” their votes and not participate in the primary.

Nancy Mace Is So Toxic That Her Entire Staff Ditched Her

The Republican representative is reportedly so horrible that her office has seen 100 percent staff turnover.

Nancy Mace wears a black blazer and a white shirt with a red "A" emblazoned on it, as reporters and mics surround her.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Representative Nancy Mace’s former staffers agree on one thing: The South Carolina lawmaker’s work culture is “toxic.”

As of Monday, every member of Mace’s staff had turned over since November 1, 2023, shortly after Mace joined hands with seven other House Republicans to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Eight employees turned in their resignations after Mace fired her former chief of staff Dan Hanlon, reported The Daily Beast. Hanlon is now running against her in the 2024 primary race for South Carolina’s 1st congressional district.

Those who tapped out on their own accord include her deputy chief of staff Richard Chalkey, her legislative director Randal Meyer, communications director Will Hampson, a financial adviser, a staff assistant, two legislative assistants, and her military legislative assistant.

According to former staff, Mace was “abusive” and “all about control,” utilizing staff not as people “but as property,” reinforcing that environment via unauthorized software systems to constantly “micromanage the office all day and into the night and early morning.”

“If she needed us, we had to answer within eight minutes,” one staffer told the Beast, clarifying that the eight minute mark was a “rule.”

“Nancy is delusional as a boss,” the unidentified employee continued. “She says nothing publicly without her consultants or senior staffers telling her to, but takes credit for everything. She’s a walking teleprompter.”

Another former staffer went further, taking a jab at Mace for recently onboarding disgraced former Representative George Santos’s communications director, Gabrielle Lipsky, to fill the void.

“All this is why pretty much every staffer and fellow member on the Hill thinks she’s a joke,” the staffer told the publication. “Also a big reason why she’s only able to hire former George Santos staffers right now.”

Mace’s new crew tried to brush off the massive turnover as a “non-issue,” according to the Beast.

“​​New coach, new team in the DC office,” Mace’s new chief of staff, Lori Khatod, wrote the outlet in a text message.