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Republican Lawmaker Gives Unhinged Answer on Free and Fair Elections

Representative Byron Donalds was asked about ensuring “free and fair elections”—and it went downhill from there.

Byron Donalds speaking
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

One of the MAGA foot soldiers tapped as a potential vice president pick by Donald Trump argued in an interview on Fox Business on Friday that the federal government “should not be involved in elections.”

“There are a lot of questions about some of the efforts around the open border and what it means for the census and what it might mean for the upcoming election,” started Maria Bartiromo. “What are you doing to ensure a transparent and free election in November?”

“The federal government, we don’t get involved in elections,” Donalds responded. “We should not be involved in elections. That is something that states have to do.”

Byron’s answer then extended into the territory of fearmongering, baselessly claiming that New York state allows undocumented immigrants to participate in elections—which it absolutely does not.

“Unfortunately, New Yorkers lost their ever-loving mind, I don’t know what they’re doing in that state when it comes to the law, but it’s going to be incumbent on other states to make sure that illegal aliens do not vote in our upcoming elections,” he added.

While the Florida Republican may not have intended to involve Trump in his answer, it’s hard to ignore the irony in his words. The former president—who is on the wire for a slew of criminal charges related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results while he was still president—would definitely fall under the umbrella of his critique.

Donalds has been critical of Trump in the past. In a batch of recently unearthed messages, he referred to Trump as a “huge distraction” and celebrated when Trump announced he wouldn’t run against former President Barack Obama.

“Trump is a huge distraction, and cares more about himself than the country in my opinion, but I could care less about him,” he wrote in a 2011 Facebook post, referring to Trump’s attacks on Obama’s birth certificate.

John Fetterman Is Bleeding Staff Since His “I’m Not Progressive” Flip

The Pennsylvania senator has lost several of his top staff members after his sudden break with the left.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

John Fetterman has lost his top three communications staffers in the past month, a striking series of departures that follows the Pennsylvania senator’s sudden break with the left.

Deputy communications director Nick Gavio’s last day in Fetterman’s office is Friday, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. His departure follows that of Fetterman’s former communications director Joe Calvello, who left earlier this month, and press and digital aide Emma Mustion.

Mustion left to join the reelection campaign for Bob Casey, the other Pennsylvania senator. But Calvello now works for Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, and Gavio is about to join the Working Families Party—both far more progressive spaces.

Calvello and Gavio were highly complimentary about their time in Fetterman’s office, with Gavio saying he was “deeply honored” to have worked with the freshman senator. But their new employers stand in stark contrast with Fetterman, who in recent months has received blowback for his conservative stances on Gaza, immigration, and public funds.

The Working Families Party is a minor left-wing party focused on labor rights and education reform, among other issues. Johnson was elected in April after campaigning on redirecting public funds away from policing and toward investments in mental health, public housing, and youth opportunities. When Calvello’s appointment was announced in early March, he described Johnson as a “true progressive” and said he was “deeply honored to join his administration.”

Although Fetterman campaigned as an irreverent, progressive outsider, he has alienated many supporters in recent months over his staunch support for Israel during its war on Gaza and his support for heavy restrictions on immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border. In December he proudly declared, “I’m not a progressive.” Fetterman has also accused Democrats criticizing Joe Biden of essentially being MAGA voters in disguise.

But despite what many see as a complete 180, Fetterman continues to insist that he hasn’t changed at all.

Trump Again Escalates Attack on Judge’s Daughter Despite Gag Order

Donald Trump’s first criminal trial is coming up—so of course he’s attacking the judge and his family.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Donald Trump is still tiptoeing around violating the gag order in his hush-money trial, this time launching fresh vitriol at Judge Juan Merchan’s daughter while referring her to his followers by name.

“Judge Juan Merchan is totally compromised, and should be removed from this TRUMP Non-Case immediately,” Trump posted on Truth Social Thursday afternoon. “His Daughter, Loren, is a Rabid Trump Hater, who has admitted to having conversations with her father about me, and yet he gagged me.”

“She works for Crooked Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Adam ‘Shifty’ Schiff, and other Radical Leftists who Campaign on ‘Getting Trump,’ and fundraise off the ‘Biden Indictments’—including this Witch Hunt, which her father ‘presides’ over, a TOTAL Conflict—and attacking Biden’s Political Opponent through the Courts. Former D.A. Cy Vance refused to bring this case, as did all Federal Agencies, including ‘Elections,’” he continued.

Trump’s new line of attack against Merchan’s daughter comes after he targeted her for allegedly sharing a doctored photo of Trump behind bars on social media. That theory was quickly debunked after a representative for the New York state court system pointed out that the account wasn’t hers.

Judge Merchan is overseeing Trump’s first criminal trial and the only one currently scheduled to take place before the election. On Tuesday, Trump won himself a gag order after attacking Merchan’s daughter. The partial gag order forbids Trump from speaking publicly about courtroom staff, prosecutors, or any of their family members. Comments about jurors are also prohibited, as well as comments about witnesses—but wiggle room still exists within the order that allows Trump to attack Merchan or Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

It remains to be seen what, if any, consequences there will be for the continued attacks.

Trump should be no stranger to the legality of gag orders—so far, he’s been hit with them in two of his other legal trials. In October, Judge Arthur Engoron silenced the former president after he ushered a scourge of far-right vitriol onto Engoron’s chief law clerk. Trump was later fined $15,000 for violating the order. Judge Tanya Chutkan also imposed a gag order on the former president in his election interference trial.

Biden and Obama Absolutely Torch Trump With Record-Breaking Fundraiser

Team Trump already knows it can’t match these numbers.

Obama puts his hand on Biden's shoulder as both laugh

A record-breaking fundraiser for President Joe Biden’s 2024 campaign raised a whopping $26 million, with the help of two high-profile speakers and a star-studded guest list.

On Thursday, former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton joined Biden in New York City for a unique campaign event that included comedians Mindy Kaling and Stephen Colbert as moderators; House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer as additional speakers; and Queen Latifah, Lizzo, Ben Platt, Cynthia Erivo, and Lea Michele as guests. It was, as First Lady Jill Biden put it, “the fundraiser to end all fundraisers.”

The historic unity train stood in stark contrast to Biden’s opponent, Donald Trump, whose team has already admitted they won’t be able to match those numbers. His aggressive, far-right politics and derisive approach to leadership (that includes strong-arming the party on the national stage and one notorious instance in which he allowed a mob of his followers to ransack the Capitol building) have also kept his former Cabinet members and former Vice President Mike Pence from endorsing his bid for reelection.

The only semblance of support that Trump could get similar to Thursday’s turnout for Biden would be to convince the last Republican president, George W. Bush, to endorse him … though it would be a long shot. In past elections, the majority of the Bush family, including Presidents George W. Bush and his since deceased father, George H.W. Bush, refused to back Trump.

Trump’s campaign schedule has also been waylaid by his myriad criminal trials, gluing him to East Coast metropoles instead of rallies across the nation. And the trials have cost him a pretty penny too—so much so that the self-purported billionaire has turned to unconventional means and get-rich-quick schemes to pocket some dough fast, including launching a Trump sneaker campaign at a Philadelphia sneakerhead event, turning to a supporter-backed GoFundMe, selling “collectible” NFT cards featuring images of himself as an astronaut, and hawking limited-edition Bibles.

“Blood Is on Your Hands”: Cease-Fire Protests Disrupt Biden Fundraiser

Pro-Palestine protesters interrupted Biden’s big fundraiser to remind him of his horrific stance on Gaza.

Protesters gather. Many wear the keffiyeh, wave Palestinian flag, or hold up signs that read "Stand with Palestine! End the Occupation Now!" One woman in the forefront wears a hijab and keffiyeh and yells.

Pro-Palestinian protesters disrupted Joe Biden’s exclusive multimillion-dollar fundraiser on Thursday, repeatedly interrupting the bougie event to criticize Biden’s stance on Israel’s war in Gaza.

More than 32,600 Palestinians have been killed and more than 75,000 wounded in Israel’s constant bombardment of Gaza since October 7. The majority of the victims have been women and children. Biden’s repeated refusal to call for a permanent cease-fire has become a major sticking point with Democratic voters, particularly younger people.

Protesters were able to get into Radio City Music Hall in New York City on Thursday night and repeatedly interrupted Biden as he spoke onstage with former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. They shouted, “Shame on you!” and accused Biden of having “blood on your hands.”

Demonstrators also stood outside the venue and shouted things including, “Genocide supporter” and “Cease-fire now” as event attendees came and left.

The protests were organized by Jewish Voice for Peace, the Palestinian Youth Movement, and several other advocacy groups.

“We refused to be silenced,” Jay Saper of JVP said Thursday. “We will continue to raise our voices of dissent until Palestinians are free.”

The three presidents pushed back on protesters, trying to keep the focus on the dangers of a second Donald Trump term. Clinton argued that Biden cares about Palestinian self-determination and establishing two states in the region. Obama said Biden had the moral clarity to lead the United States during the war.

He also chastised the protesters, saying, “You can’t just talk and not listen. That’s what the other side does.”

Biden called to stop “the effort that is resulting in significant deaths of innocent civilians” in Gaza, although he still stopped short of calling for a cease-fire. He said he is working with Arab nations to find a solution to the crisis.

The protests somehow did not seem to dent the glitzy event, where entry fees started at $225 and the crowd was studded with celebrities. Biden raised about $26 million overall.

New York Representative Gregory Meeks, who attended the event, said the protests were “minor” and that he “didn’t think that marred [the event] at all.”

“It’s part of what our democracy is about,” he added.

Pro-Palestinian protesters have frequently interrupted Biden’s recent campaign events, which has reportedly prompted his aides to try to shield the president from the demonstrations. Their strategies include decreasing the number of attendees, avoiding college campuses, and withholding event locations from the media until Biden has arrived.

This has led to a proliferation of campaigns in multiple states urging people to vote “uncommitted” during the primaries to protest Biden’s policy on Israel. And while the pressure seems to have slowly started making an impact on the White House, Biden is still deeply unpopular among young voters as a result of his refusal to budge.

MTG Offers Bonkers Theory on What Trump Was Doing in Georgia in 2020

Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has a new bizarre explanation for Donald Trump’s attempts to overthrow the 2020 election in her state.

Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks and looks off camera
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Marjorie Taylor Greene is going postal over accusations that Donald Trump tried to interfere in Georgia’s 2020 election results—literally. The congresswoman insisted Thursday that the U.S. postal service simply lost all the mail-in votes Trump would have needed to win, and all Trump was trying to do was find them.

Trump infamously was caught on tape in January 2021 begging Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes, the exact number Trump would have needed to flip the Peach State in his favor. Trump was later indicted for trying to interfere in the state’s election results.

But according to Greene, Trump didn’t mean “find” ballots as in “invent” ballots. He meant “find” ballots as in “literally find lost ballots.”

When President Trump got on the phone with our Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and said, ‘Can you find the votes, where are they?’ He was basically looking for ballots, and these ballots have been ‘lost in the mail,’” Greene said on Steve Bannon’s podcast War Room.

“And so there was nothing wrong with what President Trump said. As a matter of fact, I think he’ll be vindicated easily by a lot of the work that I’m doing and the proof that I’ll be showing pretty soon.”

Greene did not specify what work she had been doing, what proof she expected to find, or when we can expect to see it. Unfortunately for her, her argument here has already been debunked—by Trump himself.

The full transcript of Trump’s call with Raffensperger reveals that the former president wanted to go through all of the ballots cast in Georgia and re-verify them. And in the process, he wanted to disqualify ballots cast for Biden until he himself took the lead.

RFK Jr.’s Running Mate Has Truly Unhinged Ideas on IVF and Sunlight

Nicole Shanahan, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s vice president pick, hates IVF.

Nicole Shanahan stands standing at a podium with two mics
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

While the Republican Party grapples with the realization that it’s losing elections thanks to its own extreme positions on abortion and IVF, one political candidate on the national stage has decided to go even more extreme on the issue.

Robert F. Kennedy’s vice presidential pick, Nicole Shanahan, has attacked in vitro fertilization for years, and is apparently doing the heavy lifting on more extreme conservative talking points on reproductive rights while Kennedy himself remains relatively quiet.

“It became abundantly clear that we just don’t have enough science for the things that we are telling and selling women,” Shanahan told the Australian Financial Review in February, referring to IVF. “It’s one of the biggest lies that’s being told about women’s health today.”

Shanahan’s beef with IVF reportedly began when she was turned away as a candidate for the procedure, with a clinic identifying her as a poor candidate due to a prior diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome, according to an interview she gave to The New Yorker last year.

Since then, Shanahan has invested millions into research that offers alternatives to the procedure, including funding some truly wacky ideas, like examining the “effects of two hours of morning sunlight on reproductive health.”

Between 2020 and 2021, the 38-year-old gave $7 million to the Buck Institute, a biomedical research group, for “reproductive longevity and equality” and a “healthy and livable planet,” according to financial disclosure forms obtained by Politico.

“I try to imagine where we would be as a field if all of the money that has been invested in IVF, and all of the money that’s been invested into marketing IVF, and all of the government money that has been invested in subsidizing IVF, if just 10 percent of that went into reproductive longevity research and fundamental research, where we would be today,” Shanahan said in a Buck Institute webinar in 2021.

A Judge Finally Found Fraudulent Votes. They’re All From a Republican.

A Republican official has voted illegally an astonishing number of times.

"Vote here" sign with an arrow

A prominent Georgia state Republican, who has repeatedly claimed the 2020 election was stolen, was found to have voted illegally nine times.

Brian Pritchard, the first vice chairman of the state Republican Party, violated state election laws when he voted illegally in nine elections from 2008 to 2010, a Georgia judge ruled Wednesday. At the time he cast those votes, Pritchard was still on probation after being convicted of a forgery felony in Pennsylvania in 1996.

Georgia is one of 15 states that bars people from voting until they have completed their sentence, including probation. Judge Lisa Boggs ordered Pritchard to pay a $5,000 fine for his illegal votes. He will also receive a public reprimand.

Pritchard told Boggs he believed he had completed his sentence when he cast the illegal votes. He said he was not aware that the Pennsylvania criminal court had extended his probation until 2011 for allegedly failing to pay $38,000 in restitution.

The confusing nature of the U.S. sentencing system is a real issue when it comes to voting rights. Multiple people, particularly Black people, have been charged for trying to vote while ineligible due to felony convictions. But Boggs said she did not believe this was the case for Pritchard.

In her ruling, Boggs wrote that she did not find Pritchard’s defense credible because he had appeared in court multiple times while his probation was extended. So he should have known he had not completed his sentence.

Pritchard, like many Republicans, has repeatedly insisted that the 2020 election was fraudulent, tipped in Joe Biden’s favor by thousands of illegal votes. No one, including investigators hired by former President Donald Trump, has found any evidence to back up this conspiracy.

Idiot Republicans Confuse Bus of Basketball Players With Migrant Bus

Republicans whining about “illegal invaders” were actually talking about an NCAA basketball team.

Pete Hoekstra close-up
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Several members of the Michigan GOP—including the head of the party—made an incredibly embarrassing mistake about why a group of buses arrived at the Wayne County Airport.

On Wednesday, Michigan state Representative Matt Maddock posted a couple of photos capturing three buses waiting outside a hangar at Detroit Metro accompanied by a police escort. And the Republican didn’t waste any time looking for an answer before catapulting his theory into the social media stratosphere: It was the arrival of an army of undocumented immigrants.

“Happening right now. Three busses just loaded up with illegal invaders at Detroit Metro. Anyone have any idea where they’re headed with their police escort?” Maddock posted on X, tagging the state’s GOP chairman, Pete Hoekstra.

A local radio host, Justin Barclay, also joined in on elevating the lie, quote-tweeting it with a side-eye emoji, which was then reposted by Hoekstra.

But the buses in question were actually arriving to scoop up a group of college-age American boys, better known as the Gonzaga men’s basketball team, who had just arrived by plane for March Madness.

After being roundly criticized—and thoroughly corrected—on the platform, Maddock doubled down on Thursday, refusing to admit that his unfounded allegation was completely incorrect.

“We know this is happening. 100,000’s of illegals are pouring into our country. We know it’s happening in Michigan. Our own governor is offering money to take them in!” Maddock wrote, referring to a controversial program, announced last month by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration, offering $500 subsidies to households that volunteer to shelter refugees. “Since we can’t trust the #FakeNews to investigate, citizens will. The process of investigating these issues takes time.”

Maddock also showcased he was far more interested in rummaging up trouble than finding a legitimate answer to his incensed query, brushing off the truth as if it were conspiracy.

“Probably teams for the NCAA Mens Sweet 16 playing at LCA on Friday and Sunday,” responded one user.

“Sure kommie. Good talking point,” Maddock replied.

One Blistering Line Takes Down Trump’s Disbarred 2020 Election Lawyer

John Eastman was crucial to Donald Trump’s efforts to overthrow the 2020 election. And a judge just recommended his disbarment.

David Swanson/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s former lawyer has been recommended for disbarment, and according to the presiding judge, it’s for a very good reason.

State Bar Court of California Judge Yvette Roland recommended Wednesday that Eastman’s law license be put on “involuntary inactive” status starting three days after her ruling. Roland also recommended that he pay a $10,000 fine to the State Bar of California Client Security Fund.

“The court rejects Eastman’s contention that this disciplinary proceeding and Eastman’s resultant discipline is motivated by his political views or his representation of President Trump or President Trump’s Campaign,” Roland said in her ruling. “Rather, Eastman’s wrongdoing constitutes exceptionally serious ethical violations warranting severe professional discipline.”

But one other line in particular stood out in the ruling: “The scale and egregiousness of Eastman’s unethical actions far surpasses the misconduct at issue in Segretti.”

Donald Segretti, of course, was the lawyer who worked on Richard Nixon’s reelection campaign and who coined the term “ratfucking.” Segretti first came up with “ratfucking” when he was at the University of Southern California, where he and his friends would sabotage campus elections, including by stuffing ballot boxes, planting spies on opponents’ teams, and spreading disinformation.

Investigations into the Watergate scandal found that Segretti had applied those same strategies to Nixon’s campaign and took a leading role in the political sabotage efforts.

But Eastman’s transgressions are worse, according to Wednesday’s ruling, because he took those actions in the course of his role as Trump’s lawyer. Segretti’s actions occurred outside his legal role.

What’s more, when Segretti faced trial, the “court found compelling mitigation based on his expressed remorse and recognition of his wrongdoing,” Roland wrote. But “no such mitigating factor is present with Eastman. To the contrary, Eastman has exhibited an unwillingness to acknowledge any ethical lapses regarding his actions, demonstrating an apparent inability to accept responsibility.”

Eastman helped lead Trump’s legal efforts to undermine the election results and prevent certification of the votes, including by appealing directly to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. He also helped try to implement the plan to create slates of fake pro-Trump electors in states that Joe Biden had won.

He can appeal Wednesday’s decision. And the California Supreme Court still has to issue a final ruling.

The California bar association opened disbarment proceedings against Eastman in January, for helping Trump spread election fraud falsehoods, including at the January 6, 2021, rally in Washington, D.C., that turned into the insurrection at the Capitol. His trial was set to begin in August, but it was delayed so Eastman could surrender himself to Georgia authorities for allegedly trying to overturn the 2020 election.

Eastman also has been identified as one of the unnamed co-conspirators in special counsel Jack Smith’s indictment against Trump for trying to overturn the 2020 election.