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House Republicans Push Devious Plan to Help Trump Pardon Himself

A Republican-backed bill would let Trump move state-level cases against him to federal court.

Donald Trump looks down
Justin Lane/Pool/Getty Images

House Republicans are pushing for a bill that would allow a current or former president to lift any state case against them and plop it right into a federal court—a clear response to Donald Trump’s most recent New York conviction.

Several House GOP sources told Axios that Republican lawmakers are prodding House Speaker Mike Johnson to call for a floor vote on the bill.

It should surprise no one that the person behind this latest scheme is none other than Donald Trump. Last month, Rolling Stone reported that Trump held “several” meetings with Republican lawmakers and lawyers, asking them to pursue legislation that would permanently shield him from prosecution outside of a federal court.

Attempts to advance this proposed legislation is only the latest desperate effort from Trump’s allies to somehow undo the former president’s guilty verdict, as opposed to simply waiting for an appeal. The bill has reportedly already passed the House Judiciary committee.

At the moment, the floor vote seems unlikely, according to sources close to Johnson, because it’s a little unpopular among some Republicans. Not to mention, it doesn’t stand a chance in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

If it were miraculously passed into law, the proposed legislation could help Trump clear his record should he be elected in November. While presidents are able to pardon federal convictions, they cannot pardon state ones.

Trump is still facing state-level charges in Georgia for allegedly attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 elections in that state.

Every Republican Who Voted Against Right to Contraception

Here is the name of every Republican senator who proudly helped kill the Right to Contraception Act.

Giant inflatable lavender IUD device on the lawn outside Union Station. It's taller (or as tall as) several U.S. flag poles outside the station.
A 20-foot-tall inflatable intrauterine device, or IUD, stands outside Union Station in Washington, D.C., on June 5 to raise awareness of the Senate vote on the Right to Contraception Act.

Senate Republicans on Wednesday killed legislation that would have protected access to contraception and codified access to birth control into federal law. The Right to Contraception Act failed the Senate by a vote of 51–39, after failing to reach the minimum 60 votes needed to pass. All of the opposition came from Republicans, with the exception of Senator Chuck Schumer who changed his vote from “yes” to “no” in a procedural move in order to bring the vote again in the future.

The only two Republican senators to vote for the bill were Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. Seven Republican senators were not present for the vote.

The bill was first introduced after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. It made its way back through Congress on Tuesday as conservative attacks on bodily autonomy deepen ahead of the November election. Trump recently stated he’s exploring policies to restrict access to birth control, which would impact an estimated 46.9 million people in the United States. It’s not clear that the measure would pass the House, but the roll call is nonetheless a good record of where Republican senators stand on the issue.

Here’s a list of every Republican who voted against the measure:

  • John Barrasso—Wyoming
  • Marsha Blackburn—Tennessee
  • John Boozman—Arkansas
  • Ted Budd—North Carolina
  • Shelley Moore Capito—West Virginia
  • Bill Cassidy—Louisiana
  • John Cornyn—Texas
  • Tom Cotton—Arkansas
  • Kevin Cramer—North Dakota
  • Mike Crapo—Idaho
  • Ted Cruz—Texas
  • Steve Daines—Montana
  • Joni Ernst—Iowa
  • Deb Fischer—Nebraska
  • Chuck Grassley—Iowa
  • Josh Hawley—Missouri
  • John Hoeven—North Dakota
  • Cindy Hyde-Smith—Mississippi
  • Ron Johnson—Wisconsin
  • James Lankford—Oklahoma
  • Mike Lee—Utah
  • Cynthia Lummis—Wyoming
  • Roger Marshall—Kansas
  • Mitch McConnell—Kentucky
  • Markwayne Mullin—Oklahoma
  • Rand Paul—Kentucky
  • Pete Ricketts—Nebraska
  • James E. Risch—Idaho
  • Mike Rounds—South Dakota
  • Marco Rubio—Florida
  • Eric Schmitt—Missouri
  • Rick Scott—Florida
  • Tim Scott—South Carolina
  • John Thune—South Dakota
  • Thom Tillis—North Carolina
  • Tommy Tuberville—Alabama
  • Roger Wicker—Mississippi
  • Todd Young—Indiana
More on reproductive justice this election:

Ex-Trump Official Says WSJ Should Cover Trump Mental Acuity Next

After The Wall Street Journal published a piece on Joe Biden’s mental fitness, at least one former Trump official had some sharp words.

Donald Trump makes a weird face while speaking before a mic. Several U.S. flags are behind him.
David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

One former Trump White House staffer says that if The Wall Street Journal wants a story about cognitive decline in the White House, it should talk to people who worked under Donald Trump.

The Wall Street Journal published a story Tuesday evening about President Biden’s supposed mental decline that drew a lot of criticism, particularly from Democrats. Olivia Troye, a former adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, called out the newspaper on X (formerly Twitter), saying she was “happy to discuss Trump’s mental acuity & fitness for office.”

Tweet screenshot: Olivia Troye

While right-wing media outlets like the WSJ aren’t likely to take Troye up on her offer, she has a point. Questions about Biden’s age and mental state have been pushed by Republicans for months, even after he made an energetic speech at the State of the Union in March. But Trump has demonstrated issues of his own.

When Trump was president, there were numerous stories about his mental state, calling attention to supposed psychological defects and lack of intelligence. It stands to reason that there are more details from his presidency that are known to those who worked for him but still not known to the general public. What people have seen since then from the Republican presidential nominee and convicted felon are still more examples of possible cognitive decline, ranging from wild rants in press conferences to bragging about putting his pants on. In March, Democrats put together a brutal montage of some of Trump’s many gaffes.

In February, Biden’s doctor said that there were “no new concerns” after the president’s annual physical, saying that he was “fit for duty and fully executes all of his responsibilities without any exemptions or accommodations.” Meanwhile, Trump continues to brag about passing a cognitive test but changes the details every time he relates the story.

In November, voters will have to decide whether any of this matters over something more pressing: the fate of American democracy.

Trump’s Georgia Election Interference Case Is Effectively Dead

The case has been paused pending related legal proceedings.

Donald Trump holds up his fist as he walks
Stephanie Keith/Getty Images
It looks like Donald Trump’s election interference case in Fulton County, Georgia, may be dead in the water. 
Georgia’s Court of Appeals on Wednesday put the brakes on Trump’s trial in Fulton County, pending the outcome of several appeals from Trump and his co-defendants seeking to remove District Attorney Fani Willis over her relationship with one of her team’s top prosecutors, Nathan Wade.
Earlier this week, the court agreed to hear Trump’s appeal to an order from Judge Scott McAfee, who had declined to dismiss District Attorney Fani Willis from the case. McAfee left the door open for Trump and his co-defendants to appeal the decision—an opportunity on which several defendants appear to have taken him up.
In the case of Trump’s appeal, the Court of Appeals tentatively said that if oral arguments were requested, and granted, then the court would hear them in early October. The decision functionally pushed the actual racketeering trial well past the 2024 presidential election and likely into 2025, effectively nullifying the case’s ability to affect his presidential campaign and shattering the ability of the American public to make an informed decision at the ballot in November.  
This newest order continues to highlight the floundering case, which has yet to hold Trump and his cronies accountable for anything at all. Four of the 19 co-defendants have already pleaded guilty to attempting to overturn the 2020 election results, while Trump loyalists have maintained their innocence. This includes disgraced former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, former DOJ official Jeffrey Clark, and former chief of staff Mark Meadows, all of whom appeared to file appeals to have Willis removed from the case. 
This story has been updated.

James Comer’s Biden Impeachment Crusade Finally Ends With a Whimper

The House Oversight Committee made criminal referrals for James and Hunter Biden.

James Comer holds his chin in his hand
Sha Hanting/China News Service/VCG/Getty Images

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again … and make criminal referrals, apparently.

Republican Representatives Jim Comer, Jim Jordan, and Jason Smith have finally concluded their juiceless push to impeach Joe Biden after providing no evidence of wrongdoing by the president and failing to drum up support in their own party. Their final product: referrals for prosecution for James and Hunter Biden for allegedly lying to Congress, a disappointing payoff for Republicans, given the “smoking gun” Comer promised to deliver.

“These false statements implicate Joe Biden’s knowledge of and role in his family’s influence peddling schemes and appear to be a calculated effort to shield Joe Biden from the impeachment inquiry,” a tweet announcing the referrals said.

Screenshot of a tweet

The tortured logic on display is representative of the GOP’s half-hearted attempt to impeach Biden, which, after a disastrous House Oversight Committee hearing failed to turn up convincing evidence against the president, culminated in a resigned Comer admitting that Republicans did not have the votes to pass articles of impeachment. In March, Comer, lacking support from his own caucus, announced that he had begun preparing criminal referrals to send to the Department of Justice. Now, the referrals are here—and they represent an embarrassing anticlimax for House Republicans.

As Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, now a convicted felon, faces his own legal troubles, GOP accusations of a “Biden Crime Family” aren’t likely to land.

Republicans Roasted After Using Totally Wrong Photo to Promote RNC

That is definitely not Wisconsin.

Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The Republican National Convention in Milwaukee is just a month away, and a big mistake was made in promoting the event: A photo of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam was used on the convention website instead of the Wisconsin city.

Tweet Screenshot: Sam Brodey

After the blunder was pointed out on X on Tuesday, the Republican National Committee hastily changed the picture to one of Milwaukee, but not before the mistake was archived and Democrats began mocking the Republican Party.

“Maybe if Donald Trump and the RNC actually bothered to have a real campaign operation in Wisconsin, they could tell the difference between Milwaukee and Ho Chi Minh City. We encourage them to continue going all-in to win the voters of Ho Chi Minh City while Democrats earn the votes of Wisconsinites,” Democratic National Committee rapid response director Alex Floyd said in a statement.

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin and its chairperson, Ben Wikler, also got in on the fun.

Tweet Screenshot: Wisconsin Democrats
Tweet Screenshot: Ben Wikler

The Virginia Young Democrats pointed out that Republicans have made this mistake before in their state.

Tweet Screenshot: Virginia Democratic Party

According to an RNC spokesperson, a web developer who no longer works for the convention was responsible for the mistake. But there’s no word on whether the Republican Party plans to do anything about an even bigger mistake: picking a convicted felon as its presidential nominee.

Jared Kushner’s Latest Real Estate Deal Comes With Shocking Condition

Jared Kushner received a massive real estate deal in Serbia—with some interesting fine print.

Jared Kushner smiles weirdly and looks off camera (he looks dead inside)
John Lamparski/Getty Images

Jared Kushner is apparently keenly adept at making choices that piss off everyone: His recent contract with the Serbian government to bulldoze the bombed-out ruins of the Yugoslav Ministry of Defense complex and convert it into a luxury hotel carries with it a fine-print commitment to build a “memorial dedicated to all the victims of NATO aggression”—a direct condemnation of the United States that whitewashes the ethnic cleansing of Albanians in Kosovo, according to intelligence blog SpyTalk.

Retired General Wesley Clark, who served as NATO Supreme Allied Commander during the 1999 bombing campaign, balked at the memorial commitment. Speaking to SpyTalk, Clark decried the proposed memorial as “worse than a reversal” of U.S. policies in the region, calling it “a betrayal of the United States, its policies and the brave diplomats and airmen who did what they could to stop Serb ethnic cleansing.”

In May, Kushner secured a massive $500 million contract with the state of Serbia to build a hotel on the memorialized ruins of a former military base in Belgrade, sparking protests in Belgrade against the deal. The contract is being bankrolled by Kushner’s Saudi-backed investment company, Affinity Partners. In defense of the contract, a Serbian government official described Kushner’s company, primarily funded by foreign interests, as a “reputable American company.”

Prior to approval of the contract, public officials in Serbia heavily opposed the deal for its insensitivity and potential for political manipulation. Serbian politician Borko Stefanovic described the location as “one of the pearls of pre-war architecture” to The Daily Beast, noting, “Most Serbs believe this site should not be desecrated in any way.”

The Yugoslav Ministry of Defense military complex was bombed by NATO forces in 1999 during a U.S.-backed campaign that killed an estimated 2,000 civilians and lasted until the Yugoslav Army retreated from Kosovo during the Kosovo War.

Clark criticized the overall contract between Kushner’s company and the Serbian government in addition to the memorial clause, arguing that the contract is not just an opportunistic gambit but “part of a broader Russian intelligence movement to split, discredit and weaken NATO.” Kushner’s father-in-law and Kremlin ally Donald Trump has long sought to build a hotel on the military complex ruins and has heavily criticized NATO, with looming threats of the U.S. leaving the alliance if he regains the presidency.

Judge Cannon Hands Trump His Second Major Win in 24 Hours

Cannon is delaying Trump’s trial into oblivion.

Donald Trump holds up his fists
James Devaney/GC Images/Getty Images

Hours after granting Donald Trump’s request to allow non-witness parties to weigh in on special counsel Jack Smith’s appointment, Judge Aileen Cannon has thrown another wrench into the former president’s Florida classified documents case.

In her latest round of judicial Calvinball on Wednesday, Cannon postponed key hearings compelling Trump’s attorneys to testify before a grand jury, rescheduling them in order to accommodate new hearings about Smith’s supposed “unlawful appointment,” as well as the gag orders he has requested (and she has denied) against Trump.

As Politico’s Kyle Cheney points out, the hearings—now scheduled for June 21, 24, and 25—will not be covering new ground on the issue of special counsel appointment, which has been resolved in previous cases.

It’s hard to see Cannon’s latest order as anything other than another effort to stall the trial, kicking the judicial can down the road as close to or past the presidential election in November as possible. Cannon, appointed by Trump after serving as a federal prosecutor, has come under fire for her conduct during the trial. She has reportedly been confused by court proceedings, requiring explanations from counsel on both sides, and has, since May 16, inspired more than 1,000 complaints filed against her with the 11th Circuit Judicial Court for delaying rulings.

The rescheduling is likely to bolster allegations that Cannon is not only running out the clock, but gunning to have the case against Trump dismissed entirely. If there’s any consolation, it’s that her actions could be used as ammunition in a potential motion to have Cannon removed from the case.

Mike Johnson Puts Dumbest People You Know on Intel Committee

One of the new members of the House Intelligence Committee is currently suing the FBI.

Ronny Jackson and Scott Perry shake hands
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

House speaker Mike Johnson on Wednesday named Representatives Scott Perry and Ronny Jackson to the House Intelligence Committee, a name that becomes more ironic with every new appointee. 

An avid election denier, Perry has been extensively linked to the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified before Congress that Perry had begged Donald Trump to pardon him for his involvement in the insurrection and later called him “central” to the plan to “shred the Constitution” and keep Trump in power. 

In 2022, Perry sued the Department of Justice after the FBI seized his cell phone as part of special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into the events of January 6, arguing that the phone contained privileged information. In December 2023, a judge ruled that Perry would have to disclose nearly 1,700 items to the Department of Justice, excluding just under 400 from the disclosure. 

Jackson is also a lackluster pick. Trump’s former doctor was demoted by the U.S. Navy in 2022 after the Pentagon inspector general found that he regularly drank on the job, berated his subordinates, and acted inappropriately, according to CNN. Last year, Jackson was filmed unleashing a profanity-laced tirade on a Department of Public Safety officer. 

Under Jackson’s tenure, the Trump White House was reportedly “awash in speed,” with West Wing employees encouraged to take drugs to keep their energy levels up. Of course, none of this has affected his trajectory within the GOP, as he may be tapped to be Trump’s health secretary if he wins in  November.

Perry and Jackson will now be granted oversight of the FBI’s counterintelligence programs, which, among other things, could likely be directed onto pro-Palestinian protesters at the behest of committee Chair Mike Turner. 

In a statement on Wednesday, Perry slung a severely shady comment directed toward the institutions he now oversees. “I look forward to providing not only a fresh perspective, but conducting actual oversight—not blind obedience to some facets of our Intel Community that all too often abuse their powers, resources, and authority to spy on the American People,” Perry said. The so-called fresh perspective Perry offers seems to be that of someone desperately wishing to evade accountability. 

Trump V.P. Contender Byron Donalds Says Jim Crow Wasn’t All That Bad

Byron Donalds is pandering to Donald Trump—and his new comments about Jim Crow are sick.

Representative Byron Donalds looks off camera
Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Representative Byron Donalds, one of Trump’s possible vice presidential picks, seems to believe that Black families were better off under the segregation of the Jim Crow era.

Donalds was speaking Tuesday at a “Congress, Cognac, and Cigars” event at a cigar bar in Philadelphia with Representative Wesley Hunt, which was meant to promote “Black Americans for Trump.”

Sports journalist Michelle Tafoya, who moderated the event, was leading a discussion on the GOP’s outreach to Black Americans when Donalds began claiming that Democratic policies  have eroded Black family values. Specifically, Donalds said that Black voters had embraced those policies after becoming loyal to the Democratic Party when the Civil Rights Act passed.

“You see, during Jim Crow, the Black family was together. During Jim Crow, more Black people were not just conservative—Black people have always been conservative-minded—but more Black people voted conservatively,” Donalds said, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“And then H.E.W., Lyndon Johnson—you go down that road, and now we are where we are,” Donalds added, referring to the former U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries responded to Donalds’s remarks the next day, calling them “factually inaccurate” and an “ignorant observation.”

Connecting desegregation to the decline of the Black family is probably not the best way for the Republicans to win more Black voters, even if the message is coming from a Black conservative like Donalds. Plus, the social programs that Donalds laments were rolled back by Democrats in the 1990s, led by President Bill Clinton.

But it’s only the latest example of Donalds saying something he shouldn’t have. Also on Tuesday, he attempted to criticize Democrats on Newsmax, only to inadvertently describe the GOP’s propensity for gaslighting. He continues to back Trump, even when the Republican presidential nominee and convicted felon spouts outlandish conspiracy theories. And Donalds went as far as to declare that the federal government should not be involved in managing elections.

Is this the kind of devotion Trump is looking for in a vice president, a sycophant who can defend Trump and the Republican Party’s racist history by the virtue of his own identity?