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Alvin Bragg Sounds Alarm Bells on Threat of Trump With No Gag Order

The Manhattan district attorney has filed a blistering request to extend Donald Trump’s gag order.

Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg speaks at a lectern and makes a hand gesture. Others stand by him in the background.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Donald Trump is still awaiting sentencing after being convicted in his hush-money trial, but he thinks that means his gag order should be lifted. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg vehemently disagreed Friday.

In an emphatic brief, Bragg took Trump and his legal team to task, pointing out bomb threats made to two people involved in the case, as well as an avalanche of other threats to the district attorney and his employees. The New York Daily News reported Thursday that the D.A.’s office has received more than 100 threatening emails, including several with racial slurs.

Bragg also called out Trump for lying, saying that his motion to drop the gag order “includes a number of categorically false assertions.”

“For example, defendant claims that the District Attorney is acting in concert with defendant’s electoral opponent and an unspecified ‘cast of associates’ in an effort to restrict defendant’s speech at an upcoming presidential debate,” the brief stated. “Defendant offers no factual basis for this assertion, and there is none: this claim is a lie.” Bragg has thrown Trump a bone, though: He asked that the restriction on criticizing witnesses be lifted.

Trump’s gag order in his hush-money trial came after he repeatedly attacked not only prosecutors but witnesses, Judge Juan Merchan, and the judge’s daughter. He repeatedly violated the order, racking up fines totaling $10,000 and a warning from Merchan that he’d go to jail upon further infractions. Trump still criticized prosecutors after the warning, and even got some of his political supporters to make attacks on his behalf.

Why does Trump think he needs to attack prosecutors, jurors, and judges to mount a presidential campaign? It could be paranoia, fed by ongoing cognitive decline.

Judge Cannon Brutally Roasted for “Partisan Prima Donna” Behavior

Donald Trump’s former ally Ty Cobb slammed the judge’s “petty” behavior.

Ty Cobb holds up an umbrella
Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s former ally took Judge Aileen Cannon to task after a shocking new report showed that she’s been fighting to protect the former president in his classified documents case since it first landed on her desk.

Cannon refused early calls from senior federal judges to hand off Trump’s classified documents case, according to a new report from The New York Times Thursday, making it clearer than ever that she has been determined to help the former president from the beginning.

Case in point: Cannon was set to begin a multiday hearing Friday to determine the constitutionality of special counsel Jack Smith’s appointment to the classified documents case, simply because Trump requested one.

Ty Cobb, a former lawyer in Trump’s White House, wasn’t having any of it.

In an interview on CNN Thursday night, he told Erin Burnett that the hearing is unlikely to remove Smith from the case, since “the law requires that she validate Jack Smith’s appointment, and not disqualify him.”

“The jurisprudence on this goes back to 1988 when the Independent Counsel statute, which preceded special counsel appointments … was fully vetted in the Supreme Court and upheld,” explained Cobb.

“The worst thing that could happen to her is that she actually does rule for Trump on this, because that would go to the Eleventh Circuit, and then I think this petty, partisan prima donna would be put in her place, and they would remove her,” the lawyer said.

Cobb called Cannon’s willingness to acquiesce to Trump’s requests “silly” and “shocking,” and said her actions go “way beyond” just being inexperienced. “The reality is, she is slow. And she’s slow on purpose,” he said.

Cobb has repeatedly spoken out against the former president, previously saying Trump “poses the gravest threat to American democracy that we’ve ever seen.” Cobb also signed onto a brief to the Supreme Court challenging Trump’s claim to presidential immunity.

He’s also been one of Cannon’s strongest critics. Last month, Cobb said the judge was “incapable of ruling intelligently,” and previously called her decision to consider the constitutionality of Smith’s appointment “ludicrous,” “ridiculous,” “dangerous,” and “incendiary.”

Sotomayor Issues Dire Warning on Supreme Court Ruling on Noncitizens

Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented in the Supreme Court’s latest marriage ruling—and warned that same-sex marriage will be next on the chopping block.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor speaks and makes hand gestures
Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty Images

In a ruling delivered Friday, the Supreme Court decided 6–3 that U.S. citizens have no constitutional interest in their noncitizen spouses being able to enter the United States—despite the fact that a married person has an inherent interest in their spouse being able to live in the same country as they do. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor warned the ruling is an obvious sign the court will seek to overturn protections for marriage equality next.

Sotomayor issued a dire warning in her dissent, accusing the conservative supermajority of chipping away at constitutional protections for married couples and saying they’re making “the same fatal error” as they did in Dobbs v. Jackson, the 2022 Supreme Court ruling that overturned federal abortion protections.

“The majority, ignoring these precedents, makes the same fatal error it made in Dobbs: requiring too ‘careful [a] description of the asserted fundamental liberty interest,’” Sotomayor wrote. “The majority’s failure to respect the right to marriage in this country consigns U.S. citizens to rely on the fickle grace of other countries’ immigration laws to vindicate one of the ‘basic civil rights of man’ and live alongside their spouses.”

The case involved Sandra Muñoz, a U.S. citizen whose husband was denied a visa by the U.S. consulate in El Salvador. That denial came from a broad provision in U.S. immigration law that disqualifies a person from obtaining a visa if the consulate knows “or has reasonable ground to believe” that a person is trying to enter the U.S. “to engage solely, principally, or incidentally in” unlawful activity. Her husband was denied because of tattoos he has, which a court-appointed gang tattoo expert later determined were not gang-related.

Muñoz sued the State Department, arguing that her husband’s inexplicable denial of entry into the U.S. infringed on her constitutional liberty interest in her husband’s visa application and their inability to start a life together in the U.S. In upholding the denial, the Supreme Court’s conservative justices decided not just that the State Department doesn’t need to provide reason for denying a visa but that a citizen’s right to be married doesn’t supersede the state’s strict, and often questionable, immigration processes. The conservative supermajority of the Supreme Court’s ruling chips away at the core of Obergefell v. Hodges—the landmark ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in 2015—which decided that citizens have a right to marriage.

In her dissent, Sotomayor cast urgent warnings on the impact of restricting who is allowed to be married in the U.S., noting that the conservative decision will extend to couples “like the Lovings and the Obergefells, [who] depend on American law for their marriages’ validity.”

“Same-sex couples may be forced to relocate to countries that do not recognize same-sex marriage, or even those that criminalize homosexuality,” Sotomayor added. “Obergefell rejected what the majority does today as ‘inconsistent with the approach this Court has used in discussing [the] fundamental rights’ of ‘marriage and intimacy.’”

“Despite the majority’s assurance two Terms ago that its eradication of the right to abortion ‘does not undermine … in any way’ other entrenched substantive due process rights such as ‘the right to marry,’ ‘the right to reside with relatives,’ and ‘the right to make decisions about the education of one’s children,’ the Court fails at the first pass,” Sotomayor wrote in dissenting the conservative supermajority’s decision issued on Friday.

Trump Makes Most Revealing Slip Yet About the Big Lie in New Audio

Does the former president actually know he lost the election?

Donald Trump looks forward
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

New audio from Variety co–editor in chief Ramin Setoodeh’s interview with Donald Trump confirms what the American public has known all along: The former president knows he lost the 2020 election.

During one of his six interviews with Trump for his book Apprentice in Wonderland, about Trump’s time on his reality show The Apprentice, Setoodah inquired about Trump’s relationship with former Fox News host Geraldo Rivera, who was a contestant on season 7 of the show. “And are you guys still close, or you no longer … ?” asked Setoodeh.

“No, I don’t think so. He is, uh, after I lost the election,” Trump began. Catching himself revealing that he never believed his own claims of a rigged election, he quickly revised his answer.

“I won the election, but when they said we lost, he called me three or four times,” he continued.

This is not the first time the veil has been pulled back on what was clearly a cynical attempt by Trump to prevent the peaceful transfer of power after his legitimate loss in the 2020 election. Former Attorney General William Barr alleged in 2023 that Trump “knew well he lost the election,” and former chief of staff Mark Meadows, as well as aides Cassidy Hutchinson and Alyssa Farah Griffin, made similar claims when testifying before the House January 6 select committee.  

As CNN anchor Jim Acosta pointed out, however, Trump has never before admitted that he lost out loud, maintaining—even as lawsuit after lawsuit has ruled out the possibility of voter fraud or voting machine malfunctions—that he defeated Joe Biden.

The slip is more than just embarrassing for the 2024 presumptive Republican nominee, who continues to stoke the flames of electoral conspiracy among his supporters, four years after they stormed the Capitol. Trump’s claim may have legal consequences. 

Special counsel Jack Smith’s indictment of Trump alleges that he employed “knowingly false” claims of election fraud in his attempt to overturn the results of the election. That Trump would so quickly walk back a comment made during an interview for a book about his prepresidential reality TV show suggests that he’s aware of the tightrope he’s walking. 

Clarence Thomas Says Domestic Abusers Should Have Guns

Thomas whined that his Supreme Court colleagues had misinterpreted one of his previous opinions in their latest ruling.

Clarence Thomas looks to the side
Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday upheld a federal law prohibiting domestic abusers under restraining orders from carrying firearms, with one lone dissenter: Justice Clarence Thomas.

In his dissenting opinion in United States v. Rahimi, Thomas sided with gun rights advocates who opposed the rule, arguing that the other Supreme Court justices had somehow misunderstood a three-year-old opinion he’d written about gun regulation. In this case, however, Thomas only has himself to blame.

In 2021, Thomas wrote the majority opinion in the case New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, a decision that kneecapped New York’s ban on publicly carrying firearms, by establishing a confusing new rule for determining whether gun laws violate the Second Amendment. Spoiler alert: Under the new rule, a lot of gun regulations would, which is precisely how Rahimi came to the Supreme Court in the first place.

According to Thomas’s opinion, regulation on a firearm must be “consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation,” an impossibly vague guideline that has sparked chaos in the lower courts. But it was par for the course for the staunch originalist, who consistently leans on eighteenth-century doctrine.

While the majority opinions found that the law barring domestic abusers from possessing firearms was consistent with this test, Thomas was obviously not convinced.

“The Court and Government do not point to a single historical law revoking a citizen’s Second Amendment right based on possible interpersonal violence,” Thomas wrote. “Yet, in the interest of ensuring the Government can regulate one subset of society, today’s decision puts at risk the Second Amendment rights of many more.”

Thomas regularly points to historical tradition when trying to strip away people’s rights: He cited this reason when overturning the nationwide right to abortion and hinted he might do the same for same-sex marriage. And now, apparently, it also applies to safety in a person’s own relationship.

Thomas argued that criminal prosecution is a good enough means of keeping guns out of the hands of those who would do harm, insisting that the government could not “strip the Second Amendment right of anyone subject to a protective order—even if he has never been accused or convicted of a crime.”

Unfortunately for Thomas, his opinion in Bruen invites courts to look for historical analogues to rules befitting modern American society—but doesn’t determine in what way that analogue needs to be similar.

In the majority opinion, Chief Supreme Court Justice Roberts found that the law did satisfy Bruen’s requirement. “Our tradition of firearm regulation allows the government to disarm individuals who present a credible threat to the physical safety of others,” Roberts wrote.

As a result of Friday’s decision in Rahimi, many lower courts may see challenges to their rulings under Bruen, as they are forced to reconsider the application of Thomas’s originalist rule.

Desperate Steve Bannon Makes Final Appeal to Supreme Court

The ex–Trump aide is begging the Supreme Court (with its three Trump-appointed justices) to save him.

Steve Bannon smiles while walking in court
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Steve Bannon desperately wants to stay out of prison—and now he’s making a last-ditch effort to the Supreme Court.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday night denied Bannon’s latest request to delay his prison sentence, which is set to begin July 1. Now the former Trump aide and MAGA king is appealing to the Supreme Court to save him.

Barring a Supreme Court intervention, Bannon will head to prison for four months for defying a subpoena from the House January 6 committee investigating the Capitol riot in 2021. The Justice Department took the matter to federal court, leading to Bannon’s 2022 trial and conviction. The former Breitbart editor and Trump adviser fought tooth and nail, from trying to turn the trial into a circus to attempting to delay his prison sentence with last-ditch appeals, including this latest effort.

In the likely event that Bannon goes to prison, it won’t be to a minimum-security prison camp, thanks to the fact that he’s also facing charges in New York over a border wall fraud case. Instead, he’d serve time at a low-security prison, possibly Rikers Island. He’s expected to stand trial for the fraud case in September, a second attempt at holding him accountable after Trump pardoned his federal charges.

None of this appears to have humbled Bannon. He has attempted to interfere in Brazil’s politics, in addition to the upcoming election in this country, and his radio show continues to serve as a haven for far-right Republicans to rant about whatever they want. He also told a crowd at the Turning Point Action convention last Saturday about all of the people in the Justice Department that Trump will go after if he’s reelected, saying without a trace of irony that “we’re gonna use the Constitution and the rule of law to go after you and hold you accountable.”

If Bannon is expecting the Supreme Court to use the Constitution to help him avoid accountability, he may be out of luck. Peter Navarro, the former director of the White House National Trade Council, was convicted of similar charges and tried the same thing, only to be rebuffed.

Morality Police Lauren Boebert Accidentally Exposes Own Hypocrisy

The Colorado Republican seems to have conveniently forgotten about all the commandment violations in her own life.

Lauren Boebert gestures as she speaks
Dylan Hollingsworth/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Representative Lauren Boebert wants to bring morality back. Ironic, no?

The Colorado Republican went off on a tangent Thursday evening while cheerleading Louisiana’s wild new law mandating that the Ten Commandments be hung in every public school classroom, from kindergarten to state university, on prison-bound Steve Bannon’s podcast.

The Louisiana legislation is a blatant violation of the separation between church and state created by the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution. To Boebert, it’s exactly what this country needs.

“I think this is something we need throughout our nation, and I am so proud of Governor Jeff Landry, he’s a wonderful man, a great friend of mine, and I’m glad he’s in that position and taking action because we need morals back in our nation, and back in our schools,” she said.

At this point, Boebert’s name has become so synonymous with her do-nothing record, as well as many humiliating scandals, that she is the last politician anyone would look to for moral guidance.

“If there is anything that we’re going to present in front of our children, it’s going to be, it should be the word of God because this is the one truth that is never going to change, and never going to leave them. It’s not some woke fad of the day that you can get canceled for believing in 10 years from now,” Boebert said.

There are about one million things that could be hung on the wall of a classroom that would (a) be true, and (b) not get you canceled in the future, without being an egregious violation of federal doctrine. Quick, someone tell her about multiplication tables!

“I don’t think it’s wrong to have something that says honor your father and mother, so that you will live a long life, that is the First Commandment that has a promise attached to it,” she continued. “I don’t think it’s bad to teach children that adultery is something that you should not do.” Boebert once fretted that if she ever left office, students might be taught “comprehensive sex-ed” in Colorado schools.

Boebert also took the opportunity to do a quick plug for the Big Lie.

“And also elicit in the Ten Commandments, ‘Thou shalt not steal,’ and maybe the Left and some of these politicians are having a meltdown over having that right there listed in our classrooms.”

Whatever happened to “Thou shalt not bear false witness,” which Boebert seems to have conveniently forgotten?

Boebert’s zealous grandstanding marks the final week of her death crawl toward the Colorado primaries next Tuesday, when the far-right Republican will either be kept by constituents in her new district or brutally cast out.

Secretive Right-Wing Billionaire Makes Massive Donation to Trump

The Trump campaign just got a sorely needed boost.

Donald Trump smiles and stands before a lectern
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Elusive right-wing billionaire Timothy Mellon made a massive donation—$50 million—to a Trump super PAC the day after Trump was convicted of 34 felonies, according to disclosure filings. The donation is one of the largest single disclosed contributions ever, according to The New York Times, and one of the worst ways to burn $50 million, according to anyone with a functioning brain.

Mellon earned his wealth the way all hard-working Americans do: He inherited it from his grandfather, banking magnate and former Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon. Timothy Mellon’s introduction into the world of being a political powerplayer started from humble, hateful beginnings in 2010 when he donated $1.5 million for legal fees to defend Arizona’s ultra-racist “show me your papers” law, Senate Bill 1070, in court. The reclusive 81-year-old went on to become a major player in conservative politics in 2018, when he spent big on conservatives in midterm elections that year.

Fast-forward to 2024, and Mellon has spent this year’s election blowing through cash on both Trump and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s campaigns, previously donating equal amounts of $25 million to both. Because when your options are between a racist demagogue and a brain-wormed conspiracy theorist, why choose?

According to The Washington Post, Mellon has made a bunch of statements that would make your ultra-racist grandfather proud. His 2015 self-published autobiography included passages that said Black people became “even more belligerent” after the expansion of social programs in the 1960s and ’70s, called people receiving social services “slaves of a new Master, Uncle Sam,” and described programs that help people not making enough money because billionaires hoard everything for themselves and dump money into presidential candidates who continue to cut their tax rates as “slavery redux.” Charming.

Prior to this latest billionaire boondoggle, Mellon donated $5 million to RFK Jr.’s campaign in April, according to The New York Times. Maybe he meant to give that same amount to Trump, accidentally added an extra zero and, being too wealthy for numbers to have meaning, just let it ride. Who knows. What we do know is that days after his donation, Make America Great Again Inc.—the super PAC that received the funds—stated it had raised $70 million in May (most of it Mellon’s) and had reserved $100 million in advertising in states where Trump already leads Biden.

Following his conviction, Trump’s campaign coffers now report having more cash on hand than Biden’s for the first time this election cycle—a feat that is expected to not last, as Biden gears up to collect two billion smackeroos in direct donations and another billy from outside groups with less prolifically heinous politics. According to The New York Times, Mellon’s spending spree has made him “the first donor to give $100 million in disclosed federal contributions in this year’s election,” an impressive investment that will nevertheless not be remembered by the sands of time.

Trump’s Disturbing Message on Lousiana’s Ten Commandments Law

Donald Trump has come out in support of forced religion.

Donald Trump smiles weirdly and raises his fist as if in victory
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Donald Trump is a big fan of the new Louisiana law that requires the Ten Commandments to be displayed in public classrooms.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee and convicted felon posted his approval early Friday morning on Truth Social in an all-caps post, noting “HOW CAN WE GO WRONG???”


The bill almost certainly will invite a lawsuit on First Amendment grounds, which would likely make its way to the Supreme Court, which, thanks to Trump, has a conservative majority. In past decades, however, the court has struck down similar bills.

But Trump knows what he’s doing. This is a calculated effort to appease the Christian right, along with his attacks on abortion rights, which he tries to disguise but very clearly states to Christian audiences. Somehow, despite his philandering, lying, business fraud, and numerous other violations of the Ten Commandments, he continues to be thought of as a person of faith by 64 percent of Republicans.

Trump depends on support from the Christian right, not just for himself but also to keep the Republican Party behind him. He will need their votes to have any chance of reelection in November, and they are already making plans for what to do if he returns to the White House.

Trump’s Failed Media Bid Continues Torturous Crawl to the Bottom

Trump Media & Technology Group’s value hit its second-lowest point yet.

Donald Trump looks down
Justin Lane/Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s media company stock has been steadily slipping in value following his conviction on 34 felony charges, and on Thursday, it dropped back down near its all-time low. 

Since the verdict in Trump’s hush-money case was decided last month, shares of Trump Media & Technology Group, the company behind Truth Social, have dropped in value by nearly 40 percent, according to CNBC

The stock market closed Thursday with DJT (Trump Media’s stock symbol) another 15 percent down, valued at just $26.75—dipping dangerously near its all-time low of $22.84, which it hit in April. At the time, Trump stock was doing so badly that Trump Media CEO Devin Nunes wrote a letter to Congress asking them to investigate the anonymous trading of DJT stock. He was previously torched for reaching out to NASDAQ to complain about “naked short-selling.”

It’s been another particularly tumultuous trading week for DJT, beginning with Trump’s stock plummeting nearly 10 percent on Tuesday. After closing that day, the SEC declared that Trump Media’s registration statement had gone into effect, which caused the value to dip another 17 percent in post-market trading.  

The registration statement allowed some investors to exercise warrants, which permit them to swap and sell shares. Unfortunately for standard shareholders, who are not granted the benefit of warrants, this can dilute the value of their shares.

Less than a month ago, everything was different for DJT. Shares of Trump Media stock cost a whopping $49, and Trump’s 114,750,000 shares were worth more than $5.6 billion.

At today’s rate, the former president’s shares would be worth closer to $3.2 billion, and it’s hard to imagine what they will be worth by September, when Trump will actually be allowed to sell. 

DJT continues to prove itself to be a uniquely volatile stock, the value of which is tied to the fate of one convicted felon and his ability to appeal to voters.