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Alito’s Pathetic Flag Defense Crumbles with New Revelations

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s neighbors—and a police report—say his version of events is totally bogus.

Samuel Alito stares off into the distance with his mouth open
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Conservative Supreme Court justice Samuel Alito’s goofy excuse for flying an inverted U.S. flag outside his Virginia home—that his wife did it because she was upset about a neighbor’s sign—has deteriorated more swiftly than civil rights under the high court.

In an interview with The New York Times, Alito neighbor Emily Baden detailed a series of disputes she had with Alito’s wife, Martha-Ann, roundly debunking every part of the Alitos’ fascist flag-loving story. Baden also revealed that Alito’s wife is a bit of a nightmare neighbor—yelling incoherently at her, spitting toward her vehicle, accosting her, and sending a coded Christmas card to the family home.

According to receipts provided to the Times, the core dispute that Alito claims instigated his wife’s decision to fly an inverted flag outside their home actually occurred nearly a month after the flag was spotted outside their home.

On February 15, 2021, Baden’s then boyfriend called the police over harassment they were experiencing from Martha-Ann Alito, telling Fairfax County police, “Somebody in a position of authority needs to talk to her and make her stop.”

According to an interview Samuel Alito gave to a sympathetic Fox News face, the Alitos were inexplicably harassed by a male neighbor, who placed a sign outside directly accusing Martha-Ann Alito of inciting the January 6 Capitol riot. But as Baden tells it, Martha-Ann Alito regularly harassed her and her partner, including glaring creepily from her car at their home the day after the Capitol riot, where they had placed signs declaring, “Trump is a fascist” and broadly criticizing Republicans who refused to condemn the riot with a sign that read, “You are complicit.”

Alito, via Fox News, also claimed a man hurled a vulgarity at his innocent wife. In reality, as confirmed by both Baden and a neighbor who witnessed the dispute, Baden is the one who shouted at Martha-Ann after she criticized a “Fuck Trump” sign placed in their yard. Baden responded along the lines of, “How dare you behave this way. You’ve been harassing us—over signs. You represent the highest court in the land. Shame on you,” according to the Times.

In a statement to the Times, Alito claimed the flag was placed “in response to a neighbor’s use of objectionable and personally insulting language on yard signs.” Baden, however, says she never saw the inverted flag, and it’s not viewable from her mother’s home.

Baden further detailed instances of Martha-Ann lingering outside their home, glaring at them for their yard signs the day after the Capitol riot. Last Christmas, Baden’s mother, Barbara, received a Christmas card from the Alitos that included a handwritten note reading, “May you have PEACE.”

None of the Alitos’ thin story explains why they also flew a Christian nationalist flag outside their vacation home in New Jersey in 2023.

Unfortunately More on Alito:

Panicking Trump Hilariously Melts Down as Hush-Money Jury Convenes

The former president’s latest rant hints at bigger fears.

Donald Trump speaks
Charly Triballeau/Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump is looking increasingly nervous as his hush-money trial comes to a close.

The former president took to Truth Social late Tuesday to torch not only the judge who oversaw the case but also his own attorneys, who he seemed to suggest did not offer him the legal defense he wanted.


An advice of counsel defense negates the element of criminal fraud when the advice stems from “reasonable reliance” on the advice of a person’s legal counsel. Openly lambasting his own defense suggests there’s a bit more panic going on behind the scenes than Trump’s letting on—but it’s not as if his defense strategy should have come as a surprise to him.

Trump’s legal team indicated in March that they would not invoke an advice-of-counsel defense. Instead, they wanted to include evidence that centered around the lawyers in Trump’s decision to dole out hush-money payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels—a strategy that Judge Juan Merchan described as a “presence of counsel” defense and that he ultimately deemed would be too confusing for the jury to navigate.

But Trump’s meltdown persisted well into Wednesday morning. In separate posts, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee lambasted his former fixer Michael Cohen, misinterpreted closing arguments in the courtroom as a “5 HOUR FILIBUSTER” put on by the “SOROS BACKED D.A.’s OFFICE,” and mocked Robert De Niro as a small man whose artistry had gone “WAY DOWN IN VALUE,” after the actor paid a visit outside of the New York courthouse hosting Trump’s trial.

But before long, Trump was back to fixating on the legal defense that could have been.



Trump’s Ridiculous Sticky Note Steals the Show in Hush-Money Trial

It shouldn’t be that hard to remember one sentence.

Donald Trump in the courtroom rests his hands on a stack of papers and yellow sticky note. His laywer beside him stares off into the distance.
Steven Hirsch/Pool/Getty Images

At his hush-money trial on Tuesday, Donald Trump kept some crib notes around to help him remember some key points.

Those key points included, “This case should be dismissed by the judge but it’s totally corrupt,” written in Trump’s favorite black marker on a yellow sticky note. When news photographers were briefly allowed into the courtroom before proceedings started Tuesday, one of them snapped a picture of the note.

Closeup of Donald Trump's hands hovering above the sticky note
Steven Hirsch/Pool/Getty Images

It’s not the first time he’s carried notes during an important event. According to the Associated Press, he carried a handwritten note that said, “I want no quid pro quo” when he spoke outside of his first impeachment hearing. In 2019 at the White House, he carried notes reading, “They want to impeach over acts that they did,” and “I’m going to keep working for the American people,” while speaking about infrastructure.

But why would he need a reminder of his own opinion? It seems Trump might have wanted the public and reporters to see the note and report on it. It also gets awfully close to violating his gag order in the trial, which prohibits the former president from attacking court staff, jurors, the prosecution, witnesses, and their families. He’s already been fined $10,000 for 10 violations and has been warned by Judge Juan Merchan that he could go to jail if does it again.

Or is it cognitive decline? Just last week, Trump was bragging at his Bronx rally about successfully putting on his pants and, less than two weeks ago, seemed to freeze while giving a speech at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention.

In any case, Trump may not have to spend much time in the “icebox” Manhattan courtroom for much longer, as closing arguments are winding down in his trial over payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels to cover up their affair before the 2016 election. He faces 34 felony charges for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime, and has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

How Judge Cannon’s Petty Ruling Could Be Her Downfall

Her decision could turn into a win for Jack Smith, not Donald Trump.

Jack Smith looks forward
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Judge Aileen Cannon may have slapped down a request to gag Donald Trump, but her indefinite delays on the trial could very likely put a deadline on her own involvement in the case entirely.

On Tuesday, Cannon rejected special counsel Jack Smith’s gag order request in Trump’s classified documents trial on the basis that the filing wasn’t polite enough, telling the federal prosecutor that he did not offer Trump’s legal team enough time to discuss (and ultimately reject) the request. But time is of the essence in Trump’s criminal trials—especially with a loose-lipped defendant who keeps haranguing federal agencies and a Trump-appointed judge who is slow-walking the case to an early grave.

Some legal experts have predicted that it’s that exact combination that will push the trial until after November and into a possibility where Trump could potentially pardon himself, avoiding any consequences for snagging the sensitive documents. But others believe that the constant delays could lead to another alternative: Cannon’s removal from the trial.

Cannon filed her decision Tuesday without prejudice, meaning that Smith can refile his request to gag the former president. If he does, Cannon would be forced to make a definitive ruling, explained MSNBC legal analyst Jordan Rubin.

Smith could then appeal that ruling—and “possibly [build] a case to try and get a new judge to preside,” Rubin wrote.

Legal scholar Matthew Seligman agreed that a renewed motion would put Cannon’s fate squarely in her own hands.If she doesn’t approve the renewed motion—or if she sits on it indefinitely—Smith could “potentially” go to the Eleventh Circuit and ask them to step in, Seligman told The New Republic’s Greg Sargent. Or if she denies it outright, there is an “overwhelming likelihood” that Smith will appeal to the Eleventh Circuit, during which he could ask for her removal.

“The obvious concern here is that Trump’s rhetoric is going to inspire violence against federal law enforcement officers, and this is something that can’t wait,” Seligman said, noting that the threat isn’t “purely hypothetical.”

In April, a former Navy submarine technician from North Carolina, Ervin Lee Bolling, rammed his SUV into the FBI’s Atlanta headquarters. His social media history revealed him to be an individual enmeshed in QAnon conspiracy theories—a political conspiracy that paints Trump as a messiah—making posts in support of Trump’s “Stop the Steal” election interference campaign, and said that he was “looking for a good militia to join” after a federal stimulus bill passed in December 2020.

But Trump’s recent messaging could do even more damage, Seligman warned. Over the weekend, Trump accused the Biden administration of authorizing the FBI to shoot him during its search and seizure of Mar-a-Lago—a claim that was, in actuality, a wild misread of a standard policy statement regarding the agency’s use of deadly force.

Biden Official Refuses to Answer on Red Line After Rafah Massacre

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby lost it after a question about Biden’s red line, as global uproar grows amid Israel’s assault on Rafah.

John Kirby speaks and splays his hands out as if in anger. He is giving a press briefing judging by the White House logo in the background.
Roberto Schmidt/Getty Images

The Biden administration still won’t change its policy toward Israel, despite overwhelming photo evidence of gruesome casualties in Israel’s latest attacks on Rafah in Gaza.

That was the message Tuesday from National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby at a press conference.

“The Israelis have said this is a tragic mistake,” Kirby told reporters when asked whether Israel’s attacks over the weekend qualified as the type of “death and destruction” U.S. officials have warned about.

“We’ve also said we don’t want to see a major ground operation in Rafah that would really make it hard for the Israelis to go after Hamas without causing extensive damage and potentially a large number of deaths. We have not seen that yet,” he said, claiming that Israel was operating mostly in a corridor on Rafah’s outskirts.

One reporter at the press conference, CBS News’s Ed O’Keefe, pressed Kirby after those comments.

“How does this not violate the red line the president laid out?” asked O’Keefe.

“As I said, we don’t want to see a major ground operation. We haven’t seen that at this point,” Kirby replied.

“How many more charred corpses does the president have to see before he considers a change in policy?” O’Keefe asked in response.

“We don’t want to see a single more innocent life taken,” Kirby said, before flipping out and remarking that he “kind of” took “a little offense at the question.”

The exchange was telling, as the Biden administration has previously said that any major operation in Rafah would constitute a “red line.” Events over the weekend would seem to show Israel has embarked on such an operation, with an estimated 45 Palestinians killed in a strike on Sunday and chilling images of burned corpses circulating on social media.

As Israel’s brutal war in Gaza leads to more civilian deaths, Biden runs the risk of losing the support of voters critical to his reelection campaign. His administration has sought to bury a report on Israel’s actions in Gaza and has pledged to defend Israel and its leaders in the face of a war crimes inquiry by the International Criminal Court. Increasingly, Biden’s statements attempting to reassure the American public are being undermined by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the war continues. The best option, which Biden has been so far unwilling to adopt, may be halting weapons shipments to Israel, but there’s no telling if or when Biden will ever reach that point.

Hush-Money Judge Unleashes on Trump Lawyer Over His Closing Arguments

Judge Juan Merchan warned Trump attorney Todd Blanche about his “outrageous” remark.

Todd Blanche and Donald Trump sit in court
Sarah Yenesel/Pool/Getty Images

Judge Juan Merchan ripped into Donald Trump attorney Todd Blanche over his closing arguments during the former president’s hush-money trial Tuesday.

Blanche told the jurors that Trump could be sent to prison if convicted, drawing the ire of the prosecution, as well as Merchan. Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass called Blanche’s comment a “blatant” and “inappropriate move” by the defense, and Merchan concurred.

“I think that comment was outrageous, Mr. Blanche. You know as someone who has been a prosecutor that it’s simply not allowed, period. It’s hard to see how that was an accident,” Merchan said, once the jurors had been dismissed for lunch. Upon Steinglass’s request, Merchan agreed to give a curative instruction to the jury when they returned.

Merchan told the jury that Blanche’s comment was “improper, and you must disregard it.”

“If there is a verdict of guilty, it will be up to me to impose a sentence,” Merchan said, adding that a “prison sentence is not required in the event of a guilty verdict.”

Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman said this was embarrassing for Blanche.

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It’s no secret that Trump faces jail time in this trial, but mentioning a potential sentence to a jury is considered a bad idea in criminal law. It’s not the first misstep for Blanche in this case, though. He’s been admonished by Merchan before when trying to come up with excuses for Trump to evade his gag order. He also had to be corrected by witness Michael Cohen during a cross-examination, and embarrassed himself reading insults in court. These missteps, as Merchan noted, should not be coming from someone who is a former federal prosecutor.

Trump is on trial for trying to cover up an affair with adult film actress Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election by paying her off with Cohen’s help. The Republican presidential nominee faces 34 felony charges for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime, and has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Is the Secret Service Gearing Up to Jail Donald Trump?

Trump’s biggest supporters are having a proper meltdown over what comes next in the hush-money trial. And it involves a fair bit of misinformation.

Donald Trump walks in the courtroom
Steven Hirsch/Pool/Getty Images

Right-wing pundits and MAGA loyalists are losing their minds over something they made up, falsely claiming the Secret Service is knee-deep in preparations to ship their beloved Trump off to jail.

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Reality is far less electrifying: CBS reported Tuesday that there’s little clarity on what would happen if Trump is found guilty in criminal court ahead of jury deliberations for his hush-money trial. Within that news item, CBS referred to an unnamed Department of Corrections source  who said that, as part of exploring the full scope of possibilities ahead of a verdict in Trump’s hush-money trial, Secret Service met with “local jail officials”—in this case, likely officials at New York City’s notorious Rikers Island.

It’s not even clear where Trump would be imprisoned, if he is at all. Trump’s 34 felony charges could entail sentences of up to four years in prison—per charge. In New York City, felony convictions with sentences over a year are typically sent to state prisons, not carried out at Rikers Island, which is technically only supposed to hold people whose sentences are around one year, as well as people held pretrial. A freshly convicted Trump could potentially be held temporarily at Rikers before being transferred to a state penitentiary, but this all rests on whether Judge Juan Merchan pursues hard time for Trump at all.

The process is unusual—most convicts don’t come with their own lifetime Secret Service detail—but is altogether routine for the matter at hand and by no means indicates Trump will be sent to the pokey: As CBS notes, Merchan may favor sentencing Trump to house arrest. Merchan previously described jailing Trump as “truly a last resort for me” when Trump repeatedly violated his gag order, taking into consideration the difficulties for Secret Service and jail staff to ensure Trump’s safety behind bars.

Jury deliberations in Trump’s hush-money trial are expected to begin Wednesday. Trump is charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. He has pleaded not guilty.

In Major Defection, Former Trump Ally Predicts Guilty Verdict

Trump’s former attorney Ty Cobb had some choice words.

Donald Trump sits between his lawyers Todd Blanche and Emil Love
Steven Hirsch/Pool/Getty Images

Former Trump White House attorney Ty Cobb believes that Donald Trump can expect a guilty verdict in his New York hush money-trial.

“I expect a ‘GUILTY’ verdict, but only because the jury instructions as urged by the DA and adopted by the judge, over strenuous and well founded defense objections, virtually require conviction,” Cobb told Semafor Tuesday.

In order to find Trump guilty of felony-level falsification of business documents, the jurors must unanimously agree that he did so in order to further an underlying or separate crime. But last week, against the best efforts of Trump’s legal team, Judge Juan Merchan ruled that the jury will not necessarily need to agree on what those separate or underlying crimes are.

“I reach this legal conclusion because of my long experience as a federal prosecutor and white collar defense lawyer, my reverence for the rule of law, and despite my view that Trump remains the greatest threat to Democracy in our nation’s history,” Cobb said.

The former White House attorney also expects the jury to deliver its verdict by the end of the week—assuming the deliberations follow an old rule of thumb.

“Jury deliberations are always difficult to predict, of course, but one marginally useful rule of thumb is ‘assume one day for each week of trial,’” Cobb explained. “Here even though there were five weeks of evidence, they were short weeks due to the Court not sitting on Wednesdays and to other days or partial days off. So think of it as 4 weeks of evidence. If the jury begins deliberations Tuesday afternoon, expect a verdict no later than Friday afternoon.”

Trump is accused of using his former fixer Michael Cohen to sweep an affair with porn star Stormy Daniels under the rug ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The Republican presidential nominee faces 34 felony charges in this case for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime. Trump has pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Trump Takes Revenge on MAGA Stooge Who Tried to Kiss the Ring

Donald Trump is humiliating Representative Bob Good.

Bob Good closeup
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Donald Trump lobbed a hefty snub to far-right lawmaker Bob Good on Tuesday morning, declaring he’s “BAD FOR VIRGINIA, AND BAD FOR THE USA.” Trump went on to endorse Good’s primary opponent, John McGuire, a former Navy SEAL turned Capitol insurrectionist.

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Good has been down bad trying to curry favor with Trump, including traveling all the way to New York to kiss the ring outside Manhattan Criminal Court for Trump’s hush-money trial. During that visit, Good admitted that he and other Republican lawmakers were trying to help Trump evade his gag order.

“That’s why we went up there,” Good said on Fox Business during his visit. “So that we could say the things that this corrupt judge is not allowing him to say.”

Trump’s vengeful dismissal of Good—who chairs the far-right and disturbingly powerful House Freedom Caucus—appear to stem from Good’s early support of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s short-lived campaign for president. According to unnamed sources who spoke with CNN in December, Good’s endorsement of DeSantis came because he wanted a candidate who could be president for the next eight consecutive years—but Good still planned to support Trump if he became the nominee, calling him “the best president of my lifetime.”

Bob, the best president of your lifetime hates your guts.

Nikki Haley Signs Her Name on Israeli Bombs—Alongside Sick Message

As Israel continues its assault on Rafah, Nikki Haley is signing her name on Israeli artillery.

Kobi Wolf/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Nikki Haley, former presidential candidate turned Trump endorser, spent Memorial Day not commemorating fallen American servicemembers but visiting Israel as it conducts a brutal massacre in Gaza.

On Monday, Haley posted pictures from a visit to southern Israel, where she met with survivors from Hamas’s attack on October 7. Haley told reporters that the United States “needs to do whatever Israel needs and stop telling them how to fight this war.”

She also traveled to Israel’s northern border with a member of the Israeli Knesset, Danny Dannon, who posted pictures to his own X account on Tuesday with the text “Finish them!” The post also included a picture of Haley signing Israeli artillery shells with the message: “Finish them! America loves Israel!”

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Dannon’s post also included, in Hebrew, a message alluding to military strikes against southern Lebanon, referencing two Lebanese cities, according to Google Translate.

“This is what my friend, the former ambassador, Nikki Haley wrote today about a shell during a visit to an artillery post on the northern border,” Dannon wrote.

“The time has come to change the equation—the residents of Tyre and Sidon will evacuate, the residents of the north will return.

“The IDF can win!”

One post from an Israeli peace activist suggested that Haley visited West Bank settlements, which are considered illegal under international law.

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Leaving aside the optics of signing bombs when Israel is facing judgment from the International Criminal Court for possible war crimes in Gaza, appearing to endorse military strikes against another country flies in the face of America’s efforts to avoid a wider war in the Middle East. On Monday, an Israeli strike targeting a motorcycle in southern Lebanon landed outside of a hospital, killing the motorcycle driver and a hospital security guard. But more explicitly, Haley is endorsing Israel’s war in Gaza, which has officially killed at least 36,096 people, including 15,000 children, figures that probably don’t include Israel’s latest assault on Rafah.