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Trump Confesses He Spoke to Putin About “Dream” to Invade Ukraine

Donald Trump used the debate with Biden to make it clear what he thinks of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Donald Trump speaks and points at the debate
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Donald Trump claimed during Thursday night’s debate with President Joe Biden that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin wouldn’t have happened on his watch.

Trump claimed that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan was so chaotic that it encouraged Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.

“When Putin saw that, he said, ‘You know what? I think we’re gonna go in and maybe take my …’ This was his dream. I talked to him about it. His dream,” Trump said. Did Putin actually speak to Trump about attacking Ukraine, or is this Trump being braggadocious? But Trump has made no secret of his close, sometimes subservient relationship with Putin.

Trump also blamed Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel on Biden, claiming that Iran was broke during the Trump presidency and couldn’t fund Hamas.

Watch Trump’s bizarre recollection here:

Trump Brings Back Stunning Racism in Debate With New Biden Insult

Donald Trump slammed Joe Biden as weak, “like a Palestinian.”

Donald Trump gestures as he speaks
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump suggested President Joe Biden has “become like a Palestinian,” during Thursday night’s presidential debate.

“But he’s like a weak one, they wouldn’t like him,” Trump sneered.

This isn’t the first time the former president has made this particularly racist remark: Earlier this month, Trump said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had become “like a Palestinian” after the staunchly pro-Israel Democrat supported a cease-fire.

Trump Loses It in Biden Debate Over His Own “Suckers and Losers” Quote

Donald Trump insisted Biden had made up the now-infamous phrase.

Donald Trump and Joe Biden stand at podiums
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Donald Trump just took offense during Thursday night’s debate at the revival of his infamous quote where he allegedly described American World War I veterans as “suckers and losers.”

Trump said, “It was a made-up quote by a third-rate, failing magazine,” referring to The Atlantic, after Biden confronted him with it. But the truth is that the quote is corroborated by multiple sources, including John Kelly, Trump’s former chief of staff and a retired general himself.

Trump demanded that Biden apologize for bringing up the quote, and Biden refused, saying that it was corroborated by a four-star general on his staff, referring to Kelly.

In 2018, Trump refused to visit the graves of American soldiers buried near Paris because the cemetery is “filled with losers,” and he also said that 1,800 U.S. Marines who died in the Belleau Wood were “suckers” for getting killed. Kelly later confirmed the story in an October 2023 interview with CNN, and Biden put out a pro-veteran ad highlighting Trump’s comments earlier this month.

Watch the exchange here:

Trump Proudly Brags About Rollback of Abortion Rights in Biden Debate

Clip and save this for the next time Donald Trump pretends he doesn’t want to restrict abortion.

Donald Trump yells at the debate with Biden
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Donald Trump proudly took responsibility for the overturning of Roe v. Wade during the first presidential debate on Thursday, rewriting history as though he had accommodated the majority of Americans in choosing to do so.

“What I did is I put three great Supreme Court justices on the court, and they happened to vote in favor of killing Roe v. Wade and moving it back to the states,” Trump said after claiming he would not block the Supreme Court decision that salvaged access to the abortion pill. “This is something that everybody wanted.”

“Now 10 years ago or so they started talking about how many weeks and how many this—getting into other things, but every legal scholar, throughout the world, the most respected, wanted it brought back to the states,” Trump continued. “I did that.”

Then he went through a list of states that chose to ban abortions: Ohio—which Trump described as “a little more liberal than you would have thought”—Kansas, Texas, and Florida.

“Like Ronald Reagan, I believe in the exceptions,” Trump said. “I’m a person that believes. And frankly I think it’s important to believe in the exceptions, some people, you have to follow your heart, some people don’t believe in that, but I believe in exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. I think it’s very important. Some people don’t. Follow your heart. But you gotta get elected.”

However, the vast majority of Americans—some 63 percent—believe that abortion should be legal in all or some circumstances, per a March study by the Pew Research Center.

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.