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Trump Keeps Spreading Notorious Abortion Lie in Biden Debate

Donald Trump repeatedly said that Democrats support “abortion after birth.”

Donald Trump gestures while speaking into a microphone
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump repeatedly insisted during Thursday night’s presidential debate that Democrats have advocated for abortion legislation that will allow doctors to kill newborn babies.

“He can take the life of the baby in the ninth month, and even after birth, because some states—Democrat-run—take it after birth,” the former president said. “Again, the governor, former governor of Virginia, ‘put the baby down, then we decide what to do with it,’ so he’s, he’s willing to, as we say, rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month and kill the baby. Nobody wants that to happen, Democrat or Republican. Nobody wants it to happen.”

“That is simply not true,” Biden responded.

Biden was right, both as a policy, and as a point of definition, a fetus cannot be aborted after it has been born. That’s not abortion, it’s plainly infanticide. A policy of infanticide was not the standard of care under Roe v. Wade.

Trump’s right about one thing, nobody wants that to happen, including President Joe Biden, who promised to restore Roe v. Wade if elected.

Biden Kicks Off Trump Debate by Leaning Into GOP’s Stupid Conspiracy

Relax, Jack. It’s just a joke!

Joe Biden smiles and waves
Antonio Masiello/Getty Images

On Thursday night, half an hour before the first 2024 presidential debate between Biden and Trump, Biden posted on X (formerly Twitter) an image of himself holding a canned drink called “Dark Brandon’s Secret Sauce” with the caption, “I don’t know what they’ve got in these performance enhancers, but I’m feeling pretty jacked up.”

@JoeBiden I don't know what they've got in these performance enhancers, but I'm feeling pretty jacked up. Try it yourselves, folks. See you in a bit:

The canned drink, which is available for sale for $4.60 each, lists its ingredients as “MAGA tears, mysterious orange liquid, melted chocolate chip ice cream.” The stunt appears to be winking at a conspiracy that’s been circulated by Team Trump ever since the debate was scheduled, claiming Biden’s predestined debate success would be the result of him getting pumped up with drugs.

Jim Jordan Throws Trump Lifeline by Reviving 2020 Debate Conspiracy

Republicans are trying everything to help Donald Trump ahead of his debate with Biden, now including one of their oldest CIA conspiracy theories.

Representative Jim Jordan speaks and makes a hand gesture in a congressional hearing
Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Hours before the first Biden-Trump presidential debate on Thursday, House Republicans tried reviving an old 2020 debate conspiracy theory in hopes of helping out Donald Trump.

The theory, elevated by House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, is based on a statement published in October 2020, signed by 51 former intelligence community leaders casting concern over the release of emails purportedly belonging to Hunter Biden. Republicans claimed the statement was a “coordinated hit against President Trump.”

The House Judiciary GOP also claimed the “51 former intel officials coordinated with the Biden campaign to publish a statement to discredit @NYPost reporting about Hunter Biden’s laptop and the Biden family’s influence peddling.” That alleged “influence peddling” stems from yet another conservative conspiracy concocted by an FBI informant with ties to Russian intelligence who was charged with lying to Congress for claiming Hunter and Joe Biden were paid $5 million apiece to place Hunter Biden on the board of a Ukrainian energy company to protect the company from investigation.

The letter at the base of the conspiracy theory was published on October 19, 2020—and it didn’t confirm or deny the authenticity of the Hunter Biden emails. It only noted that the distribution of them appeared “deeply suspicious” and contained “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” To that end, the letter stated:

We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails, provided to the New York Post by President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement—just that our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case. If we are right, this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election, and we believe strongly that Americans need to be aware of this.

But since its release, Republicans have insisted the letter was crafted by the CIA at the behest of Biden—pointing to the fact that he brought up the statement in one of the 2020 presidential debates against Trump. (At the time, most experts agreed that Trump lost both presidential debates handily.)

In reality, the statement was written by officials acting in their individual capacity (which is why they all signed it under their names!). Yet some of those who signed had active contracts with the CIA, a point of disdain in the intelligence community as it poses a conflict of interest and throws the CIA into the political muck. That’s really only a boon for conservatives, who have enjoyed years of insisting Trump was cheated out of a second term by the CIA and FBI.

Republicans have tried to add a new twist to the old conspiracy theory by pointing to a recounting from former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell, who in April 2023 testified before the House Judiciary Committee. Morrell detailed receiving a call from Anthony Blinken, who at the time was an adviser on Biden’s campaign, about the New York Post story on Hunter Biden’s emails.

“[Blinken] asked me if I thought that the Russians may have been involved in any way in the emergence of these emails,” Morell said in his testimony, noting that he hadn’t seen the New York Post story prior to Blinken’s call about it. Asked what the intent of the letter was, Morell responded, “One intent was to share our concern with the American people that the Russians were playing on this issue. And, two, it was to help Vice President Biden.” Asked why he wanted to help Biden, Morell responded, “Because I wanted him to win the election.”

Conservatives have incessantly confused the Hunter Biden situation, claiming—as with the Fox News segment cited in the video published by the House Judiciary GOP account—that the concern expressed by the 51 signatories about Russian interference in the distribution of Biden’s emails was not about the distribution. Instead, conservatives argue, the intelligence community, Biden campaign, and Democrats all colluded to claim Hunter Biden’s laptop was fake in its entirety. That’s simply not what the letter says.

As Raw Story’s Daniel Hampton notes, the timing of the released testimony is suspicious, seemingly intended to give Trump a reheated talking point to throw at Biden during Thursday’s debate. It also appears to be its own attempt at election meddling, a way for Republicans to get back at the “spies who lied” for releasing their letter that was issued three days before the last presidential debate of 2020. In any case, meddling sure is a funny way to condemn meddling. Join The New Republic’s live debate watch party at 9 p.m. E.T. here to see if it comes up.

Pete Buttigieg Obliterates House Republican’s Racist Conspiracy

Representative Mike Collins tried to blame the Norfolk Southern train derailment on DEI.

Pete Buttigieg speaks into a microphone
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Republicans are still hung up on diversity, equity, and inclusion principles somehow being a factor in the 2023 Norfolk Southern train derailment, where toxic chemicals were released into the town of East Palestine, Ohio.  

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg appeared before the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure Thursday to discuss the committee’s 2025 fiscal budget and oversight of the department, but the conversation quickly went off on a tangent about the derailment. 

“Norfolk Southern, in their annual shareholders report, said that they were going to focus on DEI initiatives over anything else, and that’s what led to that accident,” Representative Mike Collins said to Buttigieg, who quickly responded in the negative. 

“I’ve never seen a single shred of data or evidence associating what happened—and somehow trying to blame that on women and minorities, that really is not consistent with what the [National Transportation Safety Board] found,” Buttigieg said, referring to an NTSB report on the disaster released earlier this week, with Collins trying to speak over him the whole time. 

Collins has blamed the recent rise in freight train derailments on DEI for more than a year now instead of actual factors, such as deregulation, railroad companies lobbying politicians for weaker laws that made the rails less safe, or the poor working conditions imposed on rail workers. He seems to have given weight to nonsensical conspiracy theories instead of the obvious reality: Corporations are putting profits over safety. 

It’s no surprise that Collins would blame DEI, as it’s conservatives’ favorite bugbear these days, becoming a useful euphemism for racism and bigotry. Republicans in Congress introduced a bill to ban DEI from all government offices and contracting earlier this month, and blaming DEI was among the many conspiracies thrown around after the Baltimore bridge collapse in March. Last year, DEI was blamed for the Hawaii wildfires, and Ron DeSantis has practically used most of his time as governor of Florida to launch a statewide crusade against DEI.

Who’s to say Donald Trump won’t try to sneak in DEI in Thursday night’s presidential debate? After all, he and his supporters have already announced plans to fight the made-up problem of “anti-white racism” if the convicted felon returns to the White House. 

Deranged Ten Commandments Law Is Already Spawning Copycats

Another Christian nationalist mandate has hit public schools, this time in Oklahoma.

The cover of a Bible
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket/Getty Images

Oklahoma’s superintendent of public instruction is going to try to push Christian nationalism into the state’s schools by requiring every teacher to have a Bible in their classroom and use it for lessons.

“The Bible is a necessary historical document to teach our kids about the history of this country, to have a complete understanding of western civilization, to have an understanding of the basis of our legal system,” Ryan Walters said Thursday during a state school board meeting. “It is one of the most foundational documents used for the Constitution.

“Every teacher, every classroom in the state, will have a Bible in the classroom and will be teaching from the Bible in the classroom,” Walters added.

This rule blatantly violates the Constitution, but in Walters’s defense, he’s not great at citing historical precedent. He has previously denied that the infamous Tulsa race massacre had anything to do with race.

The move comes two days after the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that a religious charter school couldn’t receive public funds, otherwise it would violate the establishment clause, which prohibits the government from establishing or favoring a particular religion over others. Walters tried to intervene in the case but was denied three times.

It seems that the ruling, as well as a new Louisiana law requiring the Ten Commandments to be displayed in public school classrooms, has inspired Walters to make a move of his own. He even cited the state Supreme Court case in Thursday’s meeting, promising to take his new rule to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Louisiana has already been sued over its law, with the case likely headed to the nation’s highest court. The law’s backers have tried to defend the measure, only to fail miserably. In Walters’s case, he might defend his rule by enlisting the woman behind the anti-LGBTQ+ social media account Libs of TikTok, Chaya Raichik, who already supervises Oklahoma’s school libraries. However, one wonders how Raichik, an Orthodox Jew, feels about teaching the New Testament in schools.

Walters likely won’t have the support of Oklahoma’s Republican attorney general, who led the charter school lawsuit and called the state Supreme Court decision “a tremendous victory for religious liberty.” But Walters may have the backing of Oklahoma’s Governor Kevin Stitt, who said the ruling sent a “troubling message.” In the end, the support that matters will likely have to come from the U.S. Supreme Court, whose rulings on religion in public schools have tilted toward the Christian right.

Read more about Christian nationalism in schools:

Trump Reveals His Idiotic Debate Talking Points for Some Reason

He just … tweeted it out.

A sign for the CNN-hosted presidential debate
Andrew Harnik/Getty Images

Only hours before the first debate in the 2024 presidential race, Donald Trump posted some of his talking points on social media. Why he did that is as yet unclear.

In a post on Truth Social, Trump tweeted a screenshot of a document containing bullet points on climate and energy policy that appear to have been written for the presumptive Republican nominee by his former Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler.

“Mr. President, I am sure that a climate question will come up during your debate this week and I suggest the following talking points,” the document reads, signed by Wheeler.

Wheeler then listed multiple bullet points: “Under my Administration CO2 emissions went down, and at the same time we became more American energy dominate which helps Americans at the gas pump and with their electricity bills,” he wrote. “We can do both. Biden just increased the energy costs for everyone.”

While carbon emissions did drop under Trump’s administration, pollution levels decreased at a slower rate than they did under Barack Obama. Trump’s low carbon levels were likely helped by lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic that brought travel and industry to a screeching halt.

Wheeler wrote a point attacking President Joe Biden’s decision to rejoin the Paris climate accord, which Trump had exited during his term, claiming the move sent money overseas to “benefit other countries like China.” Wheeler also suggested criticizing Biden’s climate and tariff policies, claiming that they are causing people to buy “Chinese solar panels instead of American energy.”

“Under my Administration we will continue to reduce CO2 and focus on American made energy,” Wheeler wrote.

The notes from Wheeler also advise the former president to bring up Biden “canceling pipelines,” in the case that “you get push back during rebuttal and you need another point.”

Screenshot of a Truth Social post
Screenshot of a Truth Social post

Note that Trump’s comments on the environment don’t make a single reference to climate change, as during his presidency he marked himself as one of the many Republicans who is staunchly in denial about the existential threat of global warming.

Biden’s campaign hit back, noting that Wheeler is a former coal lobbyist.

Wheeler took over the EPA from Scott Pruitt in 2019 and immediately set about deregulating the agency, repealing Obama’s Clean Power Plan, and removing restrictions on U.S. fossil fuel power plants put in place to lower their carbon dioxide emissions. In general, Trump’s approach to climate legislation seemed to be to just undo everything from the previous administration—and that appears to be his plan again if he’s elected in November.

Trump won’t be able to actually use any pre-written talking points during the 90-minute debate. Each candidate will only be given a bottle of water, a blank pad of paper, and a pen while onstage. According to CNN’s terms, their campaign staff will be unable to communicate with them during the breaks.

It’s really not clear why Trump would bother to share his talking points. Maybe he doesn’t think he’ll get the chance to say them; maybe he doesn’t think he can actually remember them.

Hypocrite James Comer’s Unbelievable Number of Email Aliases Exposed

Representative James Comer has long accused Biden of using fake email addresses. Turns out the accusation was to cover his own guilt.

Representative James Comer speaking
Tierney L. Cross/Bloomberg/Getty Images

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer may have attacked President Joe Biden for utilizing email aliases, but he’s no stranger to the practice himself.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Comer had used two pseudonymous email addresses instead of his government one while serving as Kentucky agriculture commissioner, both of which were uncovered during a records request into Comer’s 2014 marijuana mishap. But a new FOIL request filed by The Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberger has uncovered an eyebrow-raising trove of other aliases used by the Kentucky representative—approximately 1,600 to 2,700 more.

“In a previous communication, you were advised that more than 1591 parent emails containing 199 attachments had been identified as possibly related to your request,” the FOI officer email to Sollenberger read in part. “During a subsequent search, we found an additional 2,716 emails and attachments possibly related to your request.”

One finding in the document load suggested that Comer had used one such alias to handle classified information.

Twitter screenshot Roger Sollenberger @SollenbergerRC: Oh was James Comer using an alias email address to handle confidential govt documents With an email screenshot From: Kentucky Department of Agriculture Subject: Urgent from Kentucky Department of Agriculture Date: Monday, December 29, 2014 7:56:53 AM Hello Today we receive some documents at Kentucky Department of Agriculture payments department, Please view some confidential documents sent to me from your email address today and I've upload the documents for you on dropbox, just CLICK HERE to be able to view the documents just login with your email you don't need to be registered . Kind Regards ? Kentucky Department of Agriculture Phone: (502) 573-0282 Fax: (502) 564-2133

Some parts of the request were denied, including one exemption that was particularly notable.

“One email from a loan officer to former Commissioner Comer discussing a personal financial matter that was unrelated to government business was redacted,” the letter read.

Judge Cannon Schedules New “Mini-Trial” in Quest to Delay Trump Case

In a new ruling, Judge Aileen Cannon details exactly how she’ll waste more time in Trump’s classified documents case.

Judge Aileen Cannon headshot (looks like a yearbook photo, blue background)
United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida

Judge Aileen Cannon denied a motion by Donald Trump’s legal team on Thursday, but she isn’t ready to stop what legal experts have decried as inessential hearings intended to indefinitely delay the actual trial.

The denied motion pertained to Trump’s effort to suppress 32 classified documents seized by the FBI during its raid on Mar-a-Lago. But in the same order, she granted Trump’s team an evidentiary hearing that could suppress key obstruction evidence, including former Trump attorney Evan Corcoran’s notes that describe a client who not only knew he had committed a crime but was also knowingly attempting to obstruct the federal effort to retrieve the documents.

The decision to hold what special counsel Jack Smith’s office has described as a “mini-trial” over the notes would effectively overrule a D.C. District Court’s decision that ruled that Corcoran’s notes fell under a crime fraud exception of attorney-client privilege. It would also further postpone the classified documents trial, likely until after the November election, after which Trump could theoretically pardon himself from the federal charges.

In a written order clearly conscientious of the time-wasting criticisms being levied against her, Cannon claimed that there “is a difference between a resource-wasting and delay-producing ‘mini-trial,’ on the one hand, and an evidentiary hearing geared to adjudicating the contested factual and legal issues on a given pre-trial motion to suppress, on the other.”

Trump faces 42 felony charges in the case related to willful retention of national security information, corruptly concealing documents, and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Meanwhile, the Trump-appointed judge overseeing the case has slow-walked the trial so aggressively that she has been accused by legal experts of attempting to postpone it indefinitely. Last week, Cannon began hearing arguments not related to Trump’s actions—but instead on whether Smith’s appointment to the case, and its subsequent prosecution, was constitutional.

MAGA Fumes Over Microphone Rule at Biden-Trump Debate

MAGA is melting down over what they claim is proof of CNN bias.

Trump and Biden splitscreen
Getty x2

It’s exceptionally cool and normal that the network hosting the Biden-Trump debate has been forced to roll out stopgaps to prevent a descent into chaos. CNN on Wednesday explained in child’s terms how they’ll be muting mics at Thursday night’s presidential debate to avoid interruptions, sending MAGA viewers into a frenzy.

CNN’s Victor Blackwell and Phil Mattingly demonstrated how it will sound when a candidate attempts to interrupt the other, showing a green light appearing on their podium when their mic is on and—get this—turning off when their mic is off. According to Mattingly, the same explainer was provided to both the Trump and Biden campaigns and by appearing at the debate, both are agreeing to abide by the muted mic rules. Notably, the muting appears intended to protect against cross talk, a disruption where no one can make head or tail of what anyone is saying—not to preemptively silence the content of a candidate’s response.

The very simple rule was enough to set off Trump’s base.

Twitter Screenshot MissBeck71 🍊🇺🇸✝️ Trump2024 @MissBeck12: CNN is showing everyone how their censorship works. I’m old enough to remember when debates included candidates having to interact with each other speaking freely. Welcome to dystopian “political debates.” We’ve arrived.
Twitter Screenshot Chuck Pfauth @InsiderChuck: This is absolutely kindergarten bullshit @CNN Could you look more foolish?! I don’t think so!
Twitter Screenshot Dan Klabunde @daniel_klabunde: This is what it looks like to rig an election.
Twitter screenshot Henry Benedict @henrywbenedict: Why did Trump agree to do the CNN debate at all? This seems like such a staged event.

While MAGAs fume, many view CNN’s decision to mute mics as a grim indictment on the state of debate that requires technological intervention to ensure the basic rules are followed—and the unwillingness to let the debate get derailed by a certain Republican presidential candidate prone to ranting incoherently.

Twitter Screenshot Shark3ozero (Sigma Male) @Shark3ozero: after 64 years of televised presidential debates the media has finally discovered the mute button and conservatives are seething

Desperate Trump V.P. Hopeful Tim Scott Says Racism Is Over

The South Carolina Republican seems to think racism has been solved.

Tim Scott looks to his side
Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

Senator Tim Scott made a wild comment suggesting that his being in contention for Donald Trump’s vice presidential pick demonstrates that we’re living in a post-racism utopia.

During an interview with Ainsley Earhardt on Fox & Friends that aired Thursday, the South Carolina Republican was asked how being on the short list for Trump’s running mate made him feel.

“I think it’s exciting, no matter the outcome,” Scott gushed. “It’s the evolution of the Southern heart that we see on display, and we Southerners get so little credit for the progress we’ve made.

“The whole notion of judging a person on the content of their character, not the color of their skin has happened,” Scott continued. “It’s not going to happen. It’s not around the corner. It’s in the rearview mirror. We are living Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream.”

Since dropping out of the race, Scott has been desperately shilling to join Trump’s ticket as his vice president, and he has repeatedly contradicted his own policy positions so he can breathlessly repeat the former president’s campaign talking points. 

Unfortunately for Scott, Trump is exactly the kind of racist he imagines American society has moved past. 

Trump uses his Black friends to claim he isn’t racist, and while his campaign bragged about receiving endorsements from dozens in a group called Black Americans for Trump, the team  failed to mention that a few of them were on the Trump family’s payroll. Recently, Trump has railed against so-called “anti-white racism” and claimed that Black voters will like him more because of his indictments and his mug shot, comparing his legal battles to the systemic discrimination experienced by Black people in the U.S. As recently as Wednesday, Trump literally phoned it in on a roundtable event with Black business leaders in Atlanta. 

Meanwhile, recent polling found that Black voters in Michigan and Pennsylvania feel Trump should receive jail time at his sentencing in July. A study conducted in April by the Pew Research Center found that a vast majority of Black voters still identify as or lean Democratic, and 77 percent said they’d back President Joe Biden, despite Trump’s claims that Black voters are abandoning the incumbent. 

During the interview, Scott also revealed that the former president had come to him in 2017 after his infamous remark on the deadly “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump angered many by claiming that there were “very fine people on both sides,” despite the fact that one side was entirely neo-Nazis, including one man who drove a car into a crowd.

At the time, Scott had criticized Trump, saying his moral authority had been “compromised.”

“He wanted me to share with him my perspective,” Scott told Earhardt. “He listened, and after we finished talking, he said, ‘Help me help those I have offended.’”

Looks like that’s going really well.