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Lauren Boebert and Company Move Crucial Meeting to Attend Trump Trial

The House Oversight Committee rescheduled a meeting on holding Merrick Garland in contempt.

Anna Paulina Luna, Andy Ogles, Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, and Eli Crane stand behind Donald Trump and Todd Blanche
Mike Segar/Pool/Getty Images

Droves of Republicans arrived at Donald Trump’s New York hush-money trial Thursday in a show of support and power for the presumed GOP presidential nominee—but that didn’t mean the lawmakers were actually off for the day.

The lawmakers who trekked up to New York for the day included Representatives Andy Biggs, Lauren Boebert, and Anna Paulina Luna, all of whom sit on the House Oversight Committee. The committee rescheduled a contempt markup for Attorney General Merrick Garland to 8 p.m. from 11 a.m., evidently so members could attend Trump’s trial.

“I guess we all know who is setting the Committee’s calendar now,” wrote the official X (formerly Twitter) account for the Oversight Committee Democrats.

Other politicians who made the field trip included Representatives Matt Gaetz, Eli Craine, and Andy Ogles, as well as Virginia state Senator John McGuire. McGuire is running against House Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good in the Virginia Republican representative primaries.

They join a long lineup of Republicans who have traveled the distance to be in the background of the trial, protesting the legal proceedings as well as the gag order on Trump, which restricts him from making disparaging remarks against witnesses, court staff, or their families.

“They may have gagged President Trump. They didn’t gag me. They didn’t gag the rest of us,” Boebert wrote in a post on X.

Earlier in the week, former North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, House Speaker Mike Johnson, and Senators Tim Scott, J.D. Vance, and Tommy Tuberville all paid their own visits.

On Tuesday, biotech investor Vivek Ramaswamy, RNC co-chair Lara Trump, Eric Trump and two Republican representatives showed up at the New York courthouse in matching suits and ties for a low-budget fundraising ad that attempted to portray Trump as a candidate unjustly locked in the courthouse.

More about Republican field trips to New York:

Matt Gaetz Makes an Open Call to the Proud Boys at Trump Trial

The Republican representative descended on the Trump trial to tease another insurrection.

Angela Weiss/Pool/Getty Images

As court resumes for Trump’s hush-money trial, Representative Matt Gaetz published a creepy, blurry photo of himself at Manhattan Criminal Court with the caption, “Standing back and standing by, Mr. President.”

Gaetz’s post—which originally included no caption—immediately evokes the line first deployed by Trump during a September 29, 2020, presidential debate against Joe Biden directed to the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group known to essentially function as a violent street gang.

During that debate, moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump if he condemned the presence of white supremacist and militia groups at events in support of his presidency. Trump avoided condemnation, instead asking Wallace to provide him a name. “The Proud Boys,” Biden added.

“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” Trump responded. Afterward, Trump claimed to not know who the Proud Boys were, saying, “Whoever they are, they have to stand down. Let law enforcement do their work.” Despite this, Trump’s “stand back” comment was broadly interpreted among the far right as a call to mobilize on his command.

Immediately following the September debate, the Proud Boys released a flier with the phrase “Stand back and stand by” announcing a November 14, 2020, protest in Washington, D.C., that MAGA groups dubbed “Million MAGA March.” Following that day-long protest, a gang of drunken Proud Boys roamed the streets of D.C. on the hunt for anti-fascists, leading to a violent brawl where Proud Boys attacked counterprotesters and press.

Soon after, a second protest was called for December 12, 2020, titled “Ten Million MAGA March.” Proud Boys again showed up to D.C. in droves, getting into fights with counterprotesters and D.C. residents that led to dozens of arrests and multiple stabbing attacks. Soon after, the MAGAsphere announced a multiday protest in D.C. titled “Stop the Steal” that concluded with the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot. That riot was partly organized by the Proud Boys, whose leaders would later receive convictions for seditious conspiracy.

Trump’s Idiot Lawyer Admits His Client Did Something Suspicious

Donald Trump’s attorney Will Scharf was trapped in questioning on that shady Michael Cohen payment.

Donald Trump squints as he sits in the courtroom. Two security guards are behind him, and his lawyer is seated on his left.
Jeenah Moon/Pool/Getty Images

On Wednesday, Trump attorney Will Scharf was left tongue-tied after one simple question from CNN’s Kaitlan Collins. 

Collins asked Scharf, also a Republican candidate in Missouri’s race for attorney general, “You’re an attorney, obviously: Have you ever gotten a legal retainer that was grossed up by hundreds of thousands of dollars?”

The reference to Donald Trump’s hush-money case caught Scharf off guard, and he scrambled to put together an answer.

“Uh-uh-uh, I mean I’ve received payment for legal services in many ways before: contingency fees, fee per hour,” Scharf said. “I think different people come to different agreements.”

But Collins wasn’t done. “Have you ever been owed a certain amount, let’s say $100,000 that you did in billable hours and you got $330,000?” she asked.

Scharf still had to gather his thoughts. “Kaitlan, I, respectfully, the point here is that the payments are ancillary to the case that the prosecution is trying to prove which relates to the records of the payments, not the payments themselves,” he said. “Hush-money reimbursement for hush money—none of that’s a crime.”

The exchange is telling. While Scharf isn’t part of Trump’s hush-money case, he, thanks to his legal knowledge, clearly has trouble justifying Trump’s actions. Trump is charged with 34 felony counts for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime by using his former fixer and attorney, Michael Cohen, to pay off adult film actress Stormy Daniels to cover up an affair before the 2016 presidential election. Trump made the “grossed up” payments to Cohen to reimburse him for paying off Daniels and to avoid taxes and scrutiny. Cohen’s testimony has made it clear that Trump was involved in every step of the alleged crime. If the Republican presidential nominee is found guilty in the case, how will his attorneys and surrogates justify it?

Biden Clamps Down on Potentially Disastrous Special Counsel Recording

The president invoked executive privilege on the audio recording.

Joe Biden sits with his hands folded
Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Joe Biden invoked executive privilege Thursday to keep House Republicans from obtaining audio recordings of his interview with special counsel Robert Hur.

The move came at the request of Attorney General Merrick Garland, who warned that cooperating with the request could jeopardize future investigations and witnesses’ willingness to participate in them. In his letter to Biden, made public Thursday, Garland said that lawmakers’ efforts “are plainly insufficient to outweigh the deleterious effects that the production of the recordings would have on the integrity and effectiveness of similar law enforcement investigations in the future.”

White House counsel Ed Siskel also questioned the motivations of Republicans seeking the tapes when they already possess a lengthy report and full transcript of the interview.

“The absence of a legitimate need for the audio recordings lays bare your likely goal—to chop them up, distort them, and use them for partisan political purposes,” Siskel wrote in a letter obtained by The Hill. “Demanding such sensitive and constitutionally-protected law enforcement materials from the Executive Branch because you want to manipulate them for potential political gain is inappropriate.”

Hur’s 388-page report condemned the 81-year-old president as having a memory with “significant limitations.” Republicans have since seized on the analysis, developed after a year-long investigation and a two-day interview with Biden days after Hamas’s October 7 attack in Israel, as an opportunity to attack the president as being mentally unfit for the job.

Democratic lawmakers joined the outrage at the request, including Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin, who called the effort to obtain the tapes—and Republicans’ failed impeachment effort of Biden—a “comedy of errors.”

“The Attorney General gave Republicans the information they asked for, and it’s delightfully absurd to suggest that listening to the President’s words instead of just reading them will suddenly reveal the mystery high crime and misdemeanor the Republicans have been unable to identify since 2023,” Raskin wrote in a statement shared with The New Republic. “Will this hopeless scavenger hunt ever end? Perhaps the Republicans should play the Beatles’ White Album backwards and the impeachable offense will emerge!”

Team Trump Seems to Be Freaking Out About the Biden Debate

Lara Trump is already preparing for her father-in-law’s debate defeat.

Lara Trump speaks at a lectern
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The same day Biden and Trump agreed to participate in two presidential debates, Lara Trump appeared on Fox News’s Hannity to toss out a well-worn talking point from Team Trump, claiming the debates are rigged.

“It’s rigged so heavily in Joe Biden’s favor,” Lara Trump told viewers about the debate her father-in-law agreed to participate in. “But everything always is.”

The buzzword accusation comes more than a month before Trump and Biden’s first debate, which will be held on June 27 at CNN’s Atlanta headquarters, and establishes a convenient pacifier for Trump fans if and when Trump repeats his 2020 performance and loses the debate to the less showmany but generally more coherent Biden.

Lara Trump folded the lazy accusation into recent polling data showing Trump leading in five battleground states as protests against Biden’s handling of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza continue to dog him. According to surveys by The New York Times, Siena College, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, Trump leads Biden in Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, with Biden leading in Wisconsin.

The Republican National Committee, which Lara Trump began chairing in March, opted out of participating in Commission on Presidential Debates–led debates two years ago when it was chaired by Ronna McDaniel. The CPD had scheduled debates this year between the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees for October. On Wednesday, Biden announced he would not be participating in CPD-led debates, instead offering Trump dates that would account for early voting. Trump eagerly accepted.

Despite the uphill battle Trump faces appealing to normal people, Lara Trump tried to assure Fox viewers her father-in-law will be successful in the debate she’s already decried as rigged, saying: So, if Joe Biden shows up on June 27 and doesn’t come up with an excuse like he has to wash his hair or something, I have full confidence that Donald Trump will outperform him.”

Ron DeSantis Makes “Climate Change Isn’t Real” Official Florida Law

The Florida governor has taken his fanatical war on the climate to the next level.

Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Ron DeSantis thinks that if the words “climate change” are removed from Florida state law, nobody has to worry about it.

The Florida governor signed legislation Wednesday that would eliminate climate change as a priority in the state’s energy policies and is set to go into effect July 1. The legislation also takes out most of the references to climate change in Florida law, bans offshore wind, and weakens regulations on natural gas pipelines.

“The legislation I signed today [will] keep windmills off our beaches, gas in our tanks, and China out of our state,” DeSantis told Florida’s Voice, an outlet friendly to the Florida governor. “We’re restoring sanity in our approach to energy and rejecting the agenda of the radical green zealots.”

What’s the point of such a bill? Florida faces many threats from a warming climate, including severe hurricanes, higher temperatures, and rising sea levels and flooding. In many cases, the bill is largely symbolic: The state doesn’t have any offshore wind thanks to its low wind speed and severe hurricanes. Instead, it seems to be just the latest example of DeSantis attempting to gain attention from Republicans nationally through embracing the culture wars.

Previously, DeSantis has passed anti-LGBTQ legislation as well as book bans, and he even banned lab-grown meat despite the industry still being in its infancy. All the while, his popularity has waned in Florida, particularly after he dropped out of the presidential race. This latest bill could put Florida residents at risk from increased weather disasters, while also putting more pressure on the state’s already struggling insurance industry. But DeSantis seems more concerned about his image beyond Florida, and is likely thinking ahead to 2028.

Mitt Romney Offers Unbelievable Suggestion on Trump’s Crimes

“Frankly, the country doesn’t want to have to go through prosecuting a former president.”

Mitt Romney furrows his brows
Win McNamee/Getty Images

In an exclusive interview on MSNBC’s The 11th Hour With Stephanie Ruhle, Republican Senator Mitt Romney offered some questionable retroactive political calculus for President Biden, saying he should have exerted his presidential pardon power and intervened in the civil and criminal cases against Donald Trump.

“[Biden] should have fought like crazy to keep this prosecution from going forward,” Romney said during the interview.

“Had I been President Biden, when the Justice Department brought out indictments, I would have immediately pardoned him,” he added. “Why? Well, because it makes me, President Biden, the big guy and the person I pardoned the little guy. And, number two, it’s not going to get resolved before the election. It’s not going to have an impact before the election. And, frankly, the country doesn’t want to have to go through prosecuting a former president.”

Biden only has pardon power over federal cases. The Trump Organization civil fraud case, the Georgia 2020 election interference case, and the currently ongoing hush-money trial are all being overseen by state and local prosecutors and would be ineligible for presidential pardon.

“It was a win-win for Donald Trump,” claimed Romney about the cases brought against Trump. Meanwhile, Trump has described his ongoing legal turmoil as “election interference” as the trials keep him away from the campaign trail and restrict what topics he can discuss in public.

Romney described Biden’s inaction on using his legislative sway to influence judicial investigations and cases an “enormous error.”

Polling from PBS in early May found a solid 20 percent of Americans aren’t paying attention to Trump’s hush-money trial at all, with another 21 percent flat certain he did nothing wrong. Forty-seven percent of Americans think Trump did something illegal, while another 30 percent believe he acted unethically but not against the law, according to the poll.

Internet Shreds Chiefs Player for Bonkers, Hateful Graduation Speech

Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker has become the butt of the internet’s jokes.

Harrison Butker speaks into a microphone
Perry Knotts/Getty Images

Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker might not be able to kick his way out of the controversy sparked by a college commencement speech he gave Saturday, telling the women in the crowd that they ought to return to the kitchen rather than join the workforce.

​​”For the ladies present today, congratulations on an amazing accomplishment.… I want to speak directly to you briefly, because I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolical lies told to you,” Butker said at Benedictine College, a private Catholic university located in Atchison, Kansas. “How many of you are sitting here now, about to cross this stage, and are thinking about all the promotions and titles you are gonna get in your career?

“Some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world, but I would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world,” Butker said, emotionally adding that his success came at the expense of his wife, which made the crowd burst into applause.

But women online weren’t nearly as accepting of the antiquated perspective.

Others dug into Butker’s background—a man raised in a wealthy family thanks to his mother’s career as a medical physicist at the Emory University Department of Radiation Oncology.

Screenshot of a tweet
Screenshot of a tweet

You can watch Butker’s full speech here.

The chauvinistic messaging could even cause problems for another Chiefs player, team captain Travis Kelce, whose relationship with international pop superstar—and self-described feminist—Taylor Swift has launched him and the football team to national celebrity status.

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Pathetic Trump Already Trying to Weasel Out of Debating Biden

After agreeing to two debates with Biden, Donald Trump seems to be trying to set up an excuse to escape the whole thing.

Justin Lane/Pool/Getty Images

After President Joe Biden and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday morning agreed to two debates in June and September, Trump suddenly began trying to push a third debate all on his own.

“Please let this TRUTH serve to represent that I hereby accept debating Crooked Joe Biden on FoxNews. The date will be Wednesday, October 2nd. The Hosts will be Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum,” Trump wrote in a Truth Social post Wednesday afternoon.

Trump’s campaign had announced that it had accepted an invitation from CNN to debate Biden on June 27—as well as a second invite for a debate moderated by ABC on September 10. Biden, who had previously accepted an invitation from CNN, also agreed to take part in ABC News’s debate as well. But Trump’s post seems to indicate that the former president is trying to alter the agreement on his own. Biden’s campaign accused him of “playing games.”

“Donald Trump has a long history of playing games with debates: complaining about the rules, breaking those rules, pulling out at the last minute, or not showing up at all—which he’s done repeatedly in all three cycles he’s run for president,” said Biden’s reelection campaign chair, Jen O’Malley Dillon, in a statement.

“President Biden made his terms clear for two one-on-one debates, and Donald Trump accepted those terms. No more games. No more chaos, no more debate about debates. We’ll see Donald Trump on June 27th in Atlanta—if he shows up,” Dillion added.

Is Trump trying to make excuses and eventually weasel out of debates? He already skipped debates during the Republican presidential primaries, but those were to his political advantage as he never trailed any of his GOP opponents in the polls. In this case, chickening out would probably look very bad. It should be easy to debate an opponent you’ve dubbed “Sleepy Joe.” Of course, Trump has little room to talk, now that he’s been caught snoozing multiple times during his hush-money trial. 

Biden Appointee Cites Jewish Faith in Resignation Over War in Gaza

An Interior Department staffer accused the president of “making Jews the face of the American war machine.”

Jewish demonstrators protest in support of Gaza
Celal Gunes/Anadolu/Getty Images

Another Biden administration appointee has resigned over the president’s failure to take a hard line on the war in Gaza.

Lily Greenberg Call, an Interior Department staffer who is, incidentally, the first Jewish appointee to resign over the issue, accused President Joe Biden of leveraging the Jewish people to justify his “disastrous, continued support for Israel’s genocide on Gaza.”

In her resignation letter, Call recalled her family history: people forced out of Europe under antisemitic persecution forging a harsh, new life in the United States.

“Two generations later, I have the honor of working as an appointee for the President of the United States. The weight of this position is not lost on me,” Call wrote to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, outlining the gravity of the American dream of upward mobility for her community. “And yet, I have asked myself many times over the last eight months: what is the point of having power if you will not use it to stop crimes against humanity?

“What I have learned from my Jewish tradition is that every life is precious. That we are obligated to stand up for those facing violence and oppression, and to question authority in the face of injustice.”

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Israel has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians, more than half of them women and children, since October 7, by way of mass bombings, forced displacement, famine, and the obstruction of humanitarian aid—“none of which would be possible without American weapons, and none of which have been condemned by President Biden,” Call wrote.

“The United States has long enabled Israeli war crimes and the status quo of apartheid and occupation. That status quo does not keep Israelis safe, nor Jews around the world. It certainly does not protect Palestinians, who have the right to freedom, safety, self-determination, and dignity, just as much as Jewish people do, and every person does,” Call continued. “Making Jews the face of the American war machine makes us less safe.”

Call is at least the fifth mid-to-senior-level staffer to make a public declaration against the “politically disastrous” war by resigning. A longtime political activist and campaign worker, Call had helped Vice President Kamala Harris and Biden in their respective presidential campaigns and was a longtime advocate for Israel in Washington prior to joining the Interior Department.

More on the Biden administration's response to Gaza: