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“The Judge Got It Wrong”: Trump’s Fake Electors Just Got a Lucky Break

A judge has dismissed the fake electors case in Nevada.

Donald Trump holds up his fist
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Nevada’s case against fake electors in Donald Trump’s alleged scheme to overturn the 2020 presidential election results just took a massive hit.

A Nevada state judge dismissed an indictment Friday against six Republicans accused of submitting certificates to Congress that falsely declared Trump triumphant over President Joe Biden, in a move that could potentially kill prosecutors’ bid to convict fake electors on criminal charges.

Lawyers for the fake electors insisted that the case should have been brought to a court further north, closer to where the alleged crime took place, as opposed to the court in Las Vegas. The phony certificates were signed outside of the state Capitol building in Carson City, while the real ones were being signed inside.

Clark County District Court Judge Mary Kay Holthus granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that it had been brought to the wrong venue. As a result of Friday’s ruling, the trial date set for January was subsequently vacated.

“The judge got it wrong and we’ll be appealing immediately,” Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford told reporters at the courtroom. He declined to comment further.

Meanwhile, the defense attorneys declared the case dead on arrival, as the three-year statute of limitations for filing new charges against their clients had passed months ago.

In November, it was reported that Ford was investigating a fake elector scheme in the key battleground state, a plot that was intended to flood Congress with election irregularities so the states’ votes could potentially be flipped for Trump.

The six people in Nevada who signed up to be fake electors included Michael McDonald, the chairman of the Nevada Republican Party; Jim DeGraffenreid, a committee member of the Republican National Committee; and Shawn Meehan, a Douglas County committee member. McDonald and DeGraffenreid testified for special counsel Jack Smith in return for protection from federal charges but were still subject to state-level proceedings.

Each of the six fake electors was charged with offering a false instrument for filing and uttering a forged instrument, both of which are felonies that carry sentences of up to five years in prison. All but Meehan are set to appear as delegates for Nevada at Lara Trump’s Republican National Convention next month.

Nevada is among the seven battleground states with cases against fake electors who sought to flip the outcome of the democratic process for Trump. The others are Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Trump’s Surprising Promise to Immigrants Quickly Retracted by Campaign

Donald Trump made a shocking pledge to help international students—only for his campaign to immediately add some caveats.

Donald Trump wears a Make America Great Again cap and speaks at a lectern
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Donald Trump made a very interesting immigration proposal on a podcast released Thursday: giving green cards to all foreign college graduates in the United States. But hours later, his campaign said the plan would not be so clear-cut.

Appearing with right-wing tech baron David Sacks on the All-In podcast, Trump said he would implement the proposal helping international students if he returns to the White House. It’s a departure from Trump’s usual anti-immigrant rhetoric, and the statement came after one of the other podcast hosts, investor Jason Calcanis, asked him to “promise us you will give us more ability to import the best and brightest around the world to America.”

“I do promise, but I happen to agree,” Trump said, and added that “what I will do is—you graduate from a college, I think you should get automatically, as part of your diploma, a green card to be able to stay in this country, and that includes junior colleges.”

If Trump was serious, it would open up citizenship possibilities to a large number of foreigners—there were about one million international students in the United States in 2022, for example. But Trump’s campaign press secretary, Karoline Leavitt, walked back the plan hours later, issuing a statement to The New York Times that it would include an “aggressive vetting process,” excluding “all communists, radical Islamists, Hamas supporters, America haters and public charges.” She added that the plan would only include the “most skilled graduates who can make significant contributions to America.”

This would seem to bring the college plan in line with Trump’s previous immigration policies, which have been long criticized as xenophobic, racist, and cruel. The mention of “aggressive vetting” seems very similar to “extreme vetting,” which was the language used to describe Trump’s travel ban, frequently referred to as a “Muslim ban” for its targeting of nationals from several Muslim-majority countries. Indeed, Trump’s new proposal for international students came shortly after he claimed that high levels of immigration constitute an “invasion of our country.”

Trump’s recent rhetoric also makes clear his views on immigration haven’t improved: He’s discussed a mass deportation plan involving police, continues to smear immigrants as criminals, and makes crazy rants at the southern U.S. border. Even before his campaign walked back his college plan, it should have been taken with a big grain of salt.

Samuel Alito’s Mysterious Absence From Supreme Court Raises Questions

Why is the Supreme Court justice missing from the bench two days in a row?

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito
Erin Schaff/Pool/Getty Images

Samuel Alito was again absent from the Supreme Court on Friday after skipping out on Thursday. No information has yet been provided by the court for Alito’s mysterious absence, which comes as the court is issuing decisions before the end of its term and leaves nothing but questions on his whereabouts.

Is he combating a hangover from a particularly raucous flag day with Martha-Ann? Is he ducking out to delay the decision on Trump’s presidential immunity case?

Alito’s absence poses the possibility that the Supreme Court will have to extend its term into July to complete its decisions for the term. One major case waiting in the wings is a decision on presidential immunity, which will decide if former presidents can extend immunity protections after they leave office—a determination that would greatly benefit Trump in his federal election interference case, currently still on hold.

The most conservative justice on the bench, Alito’s absence hasn’t stopped his name from appearing on Supreme Court decisions. This week, he helped ensure that U.S. citizens can’t sue over their spouses’ visa denials, or in the case of Smith v. Arizona,
declared the court had dealt a “crippling wound on modern evidence law.” Wherever he is, he’s still turning in his homework and is as dramatic as ever.

Why the Hell Is Teamsters’ President Attending Trump’s RNC?

Teamsters President Sean O’Brien will speak at the Republican National Convention—even as the party tries to destroy workers’ rights.

Teamsters President Sean O’Brien stands in front of a sign that reads “Teamsters Local 25”
Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald/Getty Images

On Friday, Donald Trump boasted that Teamsters President Sean O’Brien was personally invited by Trump to speak at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee in mid-July, and had, to the confusion of many, accepted the invitation.

“Our GREAT convention will unify Americans and demonstrate to the nation’s working families they come first,” Trump wrote on Truth Social, announcing O’Brien’s attendance. “When I am back in the White House, the hardworking Teamsters, and all working Americans, will once again have a country they can afford to live in and be respected around the world.”

The news initially provoked skepticism, as the Teamsters have never spoken at the RNC before, and Trump’s pro-billionaire politicking and history of being a scab don’t really align with the blue-collar union, or any union for that matter. The Teamsters released a statement confirming the booking—adding they were waiting on an invite by the Democratic National Convention to do the same.

“General President Sean O’Brien asked to speak at both the RNC and DNC, and we are very happy former President Trump has extended this invitation,” a statement from a Teamsters spokesperson read. “Our 1.3 million members represent every political background, and their message needs to be heard by as wide an audience as possible, and that includes all political candidates running for office.”

Twitter screenshot Dave Jamieson: Teamsters spox says union prez O'Brien asked to appear at both the RNC and DNC, and was grateful for Trump's "openness to inviting a labor leader to speak." Full statement: Screenshot: General President Sean O'Brien asked to speak at both the RNC and DNC, and we are very happy former President Trump has extended his invitation. This is truly unprecedented since it will be the very first time a Teamsters General President has addressed the RNC. Our 1.3 million members represent every political background, and their message needs to be heard by as wide an audience as possible, and that includes all political candidates running for elected office. We appreciate former President Trump’s oppenness to inviting a labor leader to speak on behalf of working families.

O’Brien was elected general president of the Teamsters in 2022. Throughout the 2024 election cycle, O’Brien’s Teamsters have made a series of moves that have provoked upset and confusion among its traditionally Democrat-leaning ranks. The Teamsters met with five candidates for president in December—none major contenders—before donating $45,000 to both the DNC and RNC in December 2023 and January of this year, respectively. In early January, O’Brien met with Trump at Mar-a-Lago. Later that month, the Teamsters executive board held a roundtable with Trump in D.C., which sparked a cascade of backlash. Executive board member John Palmer, who was invited to attend the meeting and rejected the invitation, issued a letter to O’Brien calling Trump a “known union buster, scab, and insurrectionist.” The Teamsters reportedly invited Biden to a similar meeting to take place the same day, but that meeting didn’t take place until mid-March.

The Teamsters have traditionally endorsed Democratic candidates for president, according to AP’s VoteCast. Teamsters endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Biden in 2020, who has touted himself as “the most pro-labor president in American history.”

“There’s always a threat to organized labor, so we want to be proactive and make certain every candidate—not just President Biden—understands how important our issues are,” O’Brien said, after meeting with Biden in March. With Trump’s personal invitation for O’Brien to speak at the RNC, it’s now up to Biden whether O’Brien will be invited to speak at the DNC.

Judge Cannon’s Upcoming Decision Could Spell Disaster for Trump Case

In his next move, Donald Trump will ask his favorite judge to toss out evidence central to the whole classified documents case.

Donald Trump smiles weirdly and claps. You can see the outline of his spray tan on his face.
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Donald Trump is trying to get the strongest evidence against him in his classified documents case thrown out: the memos written by his former lawyer Evan Corcoran.

The former president and convicted felon’s legal team is expected to ask Judge Aileen Cannon next week to remove the prosecution’s access to memos made by Corcoran, according to The Guardian. The memos note what Trump and his lawyer discussed regarding Trump complying with a court order to search his Mar-a-Lago estate for the missing classified documents.

According to the memos, after Trump received the court’s subpoena, he said to Corcoran, “Well, what if we, what happens if we just don’t respond at all or don’t play ball with them?” and “Wouldn’t it be better if we just told them we don’t have anything here?” and “Well, look, isn’t it better if there are no documents?”

Trump’s federal indictment alleged that Trump had his employees (and now co-defendants) Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira move 64 boxes from a storage room to his residence so he could go through them, but only return 30 boxes back to the room where Corcoran would conduct his search. Corcoran would find 38 classified documents there, and Trump reportedly asked him, “Did you find anything? ... Is it bad? Good?” and then made a plucking motion to suggest “if there’s anything really bad in there, like, pluck it out.”

Trump’s lawyers are expected to argue that the memos don’t fit under the crime-fraud exception to attorney-client privilege and that chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in Washington, D.C., should not have allowed them as evidence. And Cannon has been particularly receptive to Trump requests, agreeing to hear pretrial motions that have slowed down proceedings, throwing out parts of the case, and postponing the trial indefinitely.

The Trump-appointed judge, who had minimal trial experience prior to taking the classified documents case, turned down offers from more senior and experienced judges to take over the case. Her actions have drawn criticism, even from one of Trump’s former lawyers, who has called her a “partisan prima donna.” And that’s exactly what Trump wants.

Struggling Lauren Boebert Dragged for Beetlejuice Drama in New Ad

The Colorado Republican remains haunted by her disastrous date.

Lauren Boebert looks to the side
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Lauren Boebert has not yet won the Republican nomination in Colorado’s 4th district, but that hasn’t stopped a Democratic challenger from blasting her for her infamous behavior at a performance of Beetlejuice in Denver.

John Padora, a Democrat running to replace Republican Representative Ken Buck in the district, has wasted no time going after Boebert, the best-known candidate in next week’s Republican primary. His new advertisement, recorded at a similar angle to the security camera that captured her vaping and groping her date in the middle of the musical, is going viral.

“I’m sitting in the very same seat Lauren Boebert got kicked out of, the same way she got kicked out of Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. Now she’s picked up her bags and fled to eastern Colorado,” Padora says in the fundraising spot.

Boebert announced she would not run for reelection in the 3rd district after eking out a reelection victory in 2022 and then being outraised by a Democratic challenger and losing the endorsement of several prominent district Republicans for the upcoming election. She fled to the redder 4th district—but her date-night hijinks seem to have followed her, and Padora is taking full advantage.

“Boebert’s an opportunistic carpetbagger, and we deserve real leadership here in Colorado’s 4th,” Padora says.

Of all of Boebert’s transgressions that Padora might have seized on—promoting the QAnon conspiracy, engaging in election denialism, giving customers at her open-carry restaurant diarrhea by serving them tainted pork—accusing her of carpetbagging seems, if anything, tame.

Missouri A.G. Wants to Sue New York Over Trump. There’s One Problem.

Andrew Bailey made one obvious error in his threat to sue New York over Donald Trump’s hush-money trial.

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey stands outside at a lectern with several mics
Valerie Plesch/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey announced Thursday night that he plans to sue the state of New York in retaliation for Donald Trump’s criminal conviction. The conservative AG vowed to “restore the rule of law”—but not the ones that found Trump guilty, of course—and deemed Trump’s hush-money trial “unconstitutional lawfare.”

Twitter Screenshot Attorney General Andrew Bailey: 🚨BREAKING: I will be filing suit against the State of New York for their direct attack on our democratic process through unconstitutional lawfare against President Trump.

But it doesn’t seem like Bailey understands the law in New York at all, and it doesn’t look like he’s paid much attention to the details of Trump’s hush-money trial. According to Axios, Bailey is pursuing his lawsuit against New York on the basis that the statute of limitations for misdemeanor business records falsification expired in 2019.

There’s just two big hiccups with Bailey’s argument: Trump was indicted on 34 felony counts, not misdemeanors, and the statute of limitations for those felonies is five years after the start of criminal proceedings—not two like with misdemeanors. It’s also unclear where Bailey is getting 2019 as a statute of limitations from: The federal criminal proceedings against Trump kicked off in 2018 after an explosive Wall Street Journal story stated Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen paid off Stormy Daniels in 2016. The FBI soon raided Cohen, who that same year pleaded guilty to giving hush-money payments to Daniels and another woman, claiming he did so on Trump’s behalf. State criminal proceedings based on Cohen’s testimony formally began in August 2019, four years before Trump was indicted and five years before he was convicted, all of which fall well within New York’s five-year statute of limitations.

Whether Bailey is just bad at math, the law, or keeping up to date on Trump trial chaos ultimately matters little. His lawsuit represents a new wave of attacks that can be best described as, to use Bailey’s wording, “unconstitutional lawfare” being carried out in retaliation for Trump’s conviction. In his rush to preen himself as the ultimate pro-Trump attorney general (during an election year where he’s running against a member of Trump’s legal team), Bailey may soon find himself falling flat on his face: It doesn’t seem Bailey bothered to look into New York’s extremely strong anti-SLAPP laws, which prohibit against retaliatory lawsuits attempting to impede against public participation of matters of public interest. And convicting a former president certainly constitutes a matter of public interest.

Matt Schlapp Attempts to Mock Reporter—and Regrets It Immediately

The head of CPAC got called out for even more unreported shady behavior.

Matt Schlapp is seen in profile
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Trump ally Matt Schlapp is poking the bear—or should we say, the Beast.

Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, took to social media Friday to taunt the Daily Beast over the reported exit of its new D.C. bureau chief, Martin Pengelly, who joined the embattled outlet only recently.

In his post, Schlapp tagged the Beast’s senior political reporter Roger Sollenberger, who in January 2023 was the first to publish anonymous allegations that Schlapp had sexually assaulted Carlton Huffman, a former campaign staffer for Herschel Walker.

Schlapp and his wife, Mercedes, have since crusaded against the Beast, calling it “Satan’s publication to persecute Christians and their families.”

Sollenberger has continued to rigorously document the subsequent sexual battery and defamation lawsuit against Schlapp, and when it was dropped earlier this year, the reporter revealed that it was because Schlapp had paid Huffman $480,000 to do so, through the ACU’s insurer.

And Friday was no exception, with Sollenberger hitting back hard at Schlapp’s post on X, formerly Twitter, toasting Pengelly’s exit.

“Life’s a real bitch,” Schlapp wrote, tagging Sollenberger. He may yet live to regret the popcorn bucket emoji he added, as Sollenberger was quick to respond.

“Heard about your wedding. Heard about the DC parties in the 90s. Heard about the Meatpacking District,” Sollenberger wrote. “Why didn’t you run for Senate in 2020?”

“I can keep going,” he continued in a separate post.

“Matt is saying this knowing full well what was in our first comment request and apparently does not give a damn about the restraint we’ve shown him,” Sollenberger wrote in another tweet.

It seems that Sollenberger has plenty of dirt to drop, and the disgraced conservative lobbyist might do well to remember that.

Only Defense of the Ten Commandments Law Just Imploded Spectacularly

Louisiana Republican Representative Lauren Ventrella failed miserably to defend the law she co-authored.

A monument of the Ten Commandments
David Brewster/Star Tribune/Getty Images

The co-author of a bill mandating that the Ten Commandments be displayed inside public school classrooms in Louisiana took to cable news for her victory lap after the measure was signed into law. Needless to say, her justifications for the blatant violation of religious freedom crumbled under the most basic scrutiny.

On two different CNN programs, Louisiana state Representative Lauren Ventrella trotted out the same defense. “Boris, I bet you CNN pays you a lot of money, and I bet you’ve got a bunch of dollar bills in that wallet,” she told anchor Boris Sanchez, who was floored by her apparent non sequitur. “I got a dollar bill in my wallet. ‘In God We Trust’ is written on that dollar. It is not forcing anybody to believe one viewpoint; it’s merely posting a historical reference on the wall.”

When Sanchez pointed out Ventrella’s ahistoricism, she retreated into crime-wave fearmongering: “This nation has gotten out of hand, with crime, with the bad, negative things that are going on. Why is it so preposterous that we would want our students to have the option to have some good principles instilled in them?” she said.

Sanchez asked what she would tell parents, students, and teachers of different faiths who objected to the commandments’ mandatory classroom presence, and Ventrella’s mask slipped. “Don’t look at it,” she replied.

The Republican lawmaker repeated her dollar bill argument during an interview with Abby Phillip Thursday night. “Look, ‘In God We Trust’ is on the dollar bill. If I had one right, I’d show you,” she said.

Phillip reminded Ventrella that the phrase did not appear on dollar bills until the 1950s and does not represent an original document comparable to the Constitution, from which references to God are absent.

“Well, it’s still on our dollar bill, no matter how you want to look at it,” Ventrella shot back.

Ventrella then laid bare the mechanisms by which Christian nationalists, cloaked in religious liberty and “good principles,” hope to install their broadly unpopular agenda. “You have to remember,” she told Phillip, “this is a new bench.”

“The Lemon decision was completely different. Now, it is a different bench,” she said, referring to a previous Supreme Court precedent that banned religious displays in publicly funded schools—and blatantly rejecting the very idea of precedent.

Minoritarian institutions like the conservative-majority Supreme Court and Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals have been shown to dispense with precedent when conservative lawmakers knowingly bring unconstitutional laws up through the courts until they find a friendly one. Ventrella, after struggling to articulate a convincing alternative defense, just gave away the game.

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.