Skip Navigation
Breaking News
Breaking News
from Washington and beyond

Will Mitch McConnell Cave to Trump Again?

Trump wants the Senate Majority Leader's endorsement.

Mitch McConnell looks at Donald Trump in that goofy turtle like way he looks at people.
Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump in happy times (for them, at least) in 2017.

Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are not friends. They have not spoken since December 2020, when the powerful lawmaker recognized that Joe Biden had won the presidency, undermining Trump’s election interference campaign.

And yet there is a coordinated effort by key advisers behind both politicians to reconcile the rift, according to unidentified members of both camps that spoke with The New York Times.

Should he get it, McConnell’s endorsement of Trump would prove an incredible vote of confidence amid unparalleled legal troubles for a presidential candidate, suggesting to Republican voters and (more importantly) donors that the frontrunner could still have a shot at retaking the White House. That could translate to a much-needed spending boost for Trump, who is so far on the hook for $354 million for committing real estate-related bank fraud in New York state; $88.3 million to E. Jean Carroll after he sexually assaulted her, lied about it, and defamed her twice; $50 million in legal fees, and $400,000 he owes The New York Times.

Trump and McConnell have both been aware of the back-channel communications since at least January, when Trump acknowledged to members of his team that he would be expecting McConnell’s endorsement.

Even without the added communications, that would make sense. McConnell has pledged to endorse the GOP nominee, even if that nominee turns out to be Trump. It is still unclear, however, if the GOP intends to nominate its frontrunner amid a flurry of ongoing criminal trials, the first of which is set to begin in late March.

“President Trump is the presumptive nominee and it is time for the entire party to coalesce behind him to defeat Crooked Joe Biden,” Trump’s communications director, Steven Cheung, told the Times.

“Senior members of the campaign have had many conversations,” he continued, “but only engage with those who are actually willing to fight for America First principles and to take back the White House.”

Special Counsel: The Hur Report Is Bad for Trump, Actually

Special counsel Jack Smith argues that the controversial report shows how egregious Trump's handling of classified material was.

David Becker/Getty Images
Donald Trump at a campaign event in Las Vegas last month.

Special counsel Jack Smith argued Monday that a blistering report on Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents actually demonstrates just how bad Donald Trump’s handling of sensitive material is.

Smith indicted Trump in June for hoarding classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. Trump claimed two weeks ago that the charges are part of a pattern of selective prosecution by attorneys working at the behest of the Biden administration. Trump had argued that his behavior was no worse than that of Biden, who was found to have kept classified documents after leaving the vice presidency.

Smith’s team said in a Monday court filing that the report on Biden shows that the two cases are not comparable at all.

“T​here has never been a case in American history in which a former official has engaged in conduct remotely similar to Trump’s,” assistant special counsel David Harbach wrote.

“The defendants have not identified anyone who has engaged in a remotely similar suite of willful and deceitful criminal conduct and not been prosecuted. Nor could they. Indeed, the comparators on which they rely are readily distinguishable.”

Trump faces 41 criminal counts for willful retention of national defense information, making false statements, and conspiracy to obstruct justice, among other things. Smith’s indictment revealed Trump stored the sensitive material in the ballroom and in bathrooms.

Trump also refused to give the documents back, despite requests from the National Archives and urging from his lawyers. The material wasn’t recovered until the FBI raided Mar-a-Lago in 2021, and even then, Trump may still have some documents hidden in the Palm Beach compound.

The report on Biden’s handling of classified documents, which was released two weeks ago, painted a damning portrait of the president as senile and unable to recall basic facts of his life, including his time as vice president or the death of his son Beau. Special counsel Robert Hur described Biden as having “significant limitations” with his memory. But Hur also found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing and did not issue charges against Biden. Biden also made sure to cooperate fully with the investigation.

“Trump, unlike Biden, is alleged to have engaged in extensive and repeated efforts to obstruct justice and thwart the return of documents bearing classification markings,” Harbach wrote in his filing. “And the evidence concerning the two men’s intent—whether they knowingly possessed and willfully retained such documents—is also starkly different.”

One of Trump’s Election Fraud Lawyers Just Got Caught in a Big Lie

Kenneth Chesebro had a secret Twitter feed that undermines the core of his legal defense.

Kenneth Chesebro looks into the camera and smiles at court.
Alyssa Pointer/Getty Images
Trump attorney Kenneth Chesebro at a hearing in which he accepted a plea deal for charges relating to his attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

Donald Trump ally Kenneth Chesebro is suddenly up to his neck in his own legal troubles.

On Monday, the architect of Trump’s 2020 fake elector plot was discovered to have been lying to Michigan prosecutors about his social media presence at the time, hiding the presence of an account with dozens of posts that reveal his role in the plot and  illustrate a far more aggressive election subversion strategy, according to a CNN investigation.

In a recording of Chesebro’s interview with Michigan investigators obtained by the outlet, Chesebro repeatedly denied having any social media presence or alternative identities online, claiming he didn’t do “any tweeting.”

But attorneys for Chesebro have since confirmed the presence of one such hidden ID to CNN, after the outlet tied the anonymous account—BadgerPundit—to the Trump ally via matching “biographical information regarding his work, family, travels and investments” and its notable interest in the Electoral College process.

In a series of posts starting even before the 2020 election, Chesebro used the account to make arguments that he would later disavow when interviewed by Michigan prosecutors, including claims that Republican legislatures could override the electoral system and that former Vice President Mike Pence could be leveraged to throw the election for Trump—the last of which he posted about more than 50 times.

“You don’t get the big picture. Trump doesn’t have to get courts to declare him the winner of the vote. He just needs to convince Republican legislatures that the election was systematically rigged, but it’s impossible to run it again, so they should appoint electors instead,” wrote BadgerPundit on November 7, 2020, the day after the majority of U.S. media outlets called the election for President Joe Biden.

That could mean bad news for Chesebro, who struck a plea deal in Trump’s Georgia election interference case and has so far managed to skirt charges in other states impacted by the fake elector scheme thanks to his cooperation with prosecutors.

“Chesebro appears to have pursued a legally perilous path in his dealings with Michigan authorities,” Ryan Goodman, a law professor at New York University, told CNN after reviewing some of Chesebro’s posts, noting that the cover up could put Chesebro “at great legal risk.”

“The Twitter posts strongly suggest Chesebro committed the crime of making false statements to investigators… his entire cooperation agreement may now fall apart,” Goodman added.

Republicans Are Lying About Supporting IVF

After a draconian Alabama ruling banning the procedure, Republicans claim they'll protect it—but many have sponsored recent efforts that mirror the court decision.

Nancy Mace stares into space in front of a black background
Allison Joyce/Getty Images
Rep. Nancy Mace

Republicans are working on a mass rebranding following a devastating ruling from the Alabama Supreme Court that effectively stalled in vitro fertilization across the state. The instant backlash to the decision has led to droves of GOP lawmakers to issue statements in which they claim to be champions of the procedure—despite the fact that many of them had supported a bill to ban the practice just three years ago.

On Friday, the Senate Republican campaign arm issued a memo urging its political candidates to “clearly and concisely reject efforts by the government to restrict IVF.” The National Republican Senatorial Committee derided the all-conservative court’s decision in a deep red state as “fodder for Democrats hoping to manipulate the abortion issue for electoral gain,” according to a copy of the memo obtained by Axios.

Since then, several lawmakers, including House Speaker Mike Johnson and Representatives Nancy Mace and Byron Donalds, have come out in support of the medical procedure, claiming that they would do anything in their power to thwart restrictions to the practice.

“I totally support the procedure,” Donalds said on NBC News’s Meet the Press
on Sunday. “We really want the Alabama legislature to make sure that that procedure is protected for families who do struggle with having children, that helps them actually create great families, which is what our country desperately needs.”

But that doesn’t quite square away with their recent voting records. In 2021, those legislators and 163 other House Republicans co-sponsored the Life at Conception Act, which hoped to recognize fertilized eggs as children at the federal level in an attempt to ban abortions nationwide.

On Friday, Johnson issued a statement supporting IVF, correctly arguing that it “has been a blessing for many moms and dads who have struggled with fertility.” That is, however, not how he felt just one year ago. In 2023, Johnson affirmed his legislative stance against the medical procedure, supporting another iteration of the Life at Conception Act, which garnered 124 Republican co-sponsors.

Donald Trump Jr. Has a Gross New Obsession

Why is the former president's son obsessed with the current president's sex life?

Joe Biden smiles.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Donald Trump Jr. managed to get even more crass over the weekend while leveling a new attack on Joe Biden’s age.

In previews of an upcoming book about first ladies throughout the past few decades, the president reportedly quips the secret to his marriage is “good sex.” The author notes Biden has said this before, “much to his wife’s chagrin.”

Apparently it was also to Trump Jr.’s chagrin, because he took to social media on Sunday to air out his grievances.

“There’s literally no amount of Viagra on earth that’s going to give Joe Biden (who can barely walk without falling over) wood. Just stop!” he tweeted.

“The more desperate they become trying to make him seem young and vibrant the more obvious it is to everyone that he’s not up to any task!”

Trump Jr.’s gross and wholly unnecessary comment is just the latest in one the GOP’s favorite refrains on Biden. Republicans have repeatedly argued (and some Democrats worry) that Biden, who at age 81 is the oldest president ever, is mentally and physically unfit to hold office.

But those attacks ignore the fact that Trump, at a spry 77 years old, doesn’t seem to be doing so well, himself. The Republican primary front-runner has made multiple slip-ups recently, including mixing up the names of two authoritarian leaders, confusing Nancy Pelosi and Nikki Haley, and describing a missile launch as, “Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding…Missile launch. Woosh. Boom.”

Most recently, on Saturday, Trump completely forgot to name one of his children in speech—despite the fact he appeared to be using note cards to aid his memory. After winning the South Carolina primary, Trump thanked his family members for supporting him.

“My family, Melania, Barron, Don Jr. and Kimberly, Ivanka and Jared, Tiffany and Michael, they are so, so supportive,” Trump said, noticeably looking down at notes in between listing names. “So supportive of me, and we really appreciate it and love them. We have a great family.”

He failed to mention his son Eric Trump or his daughter-in-law Lara Trump, despite the fact that they were standing on stage with him, just a few feet away.

What’s more, Trump has tapped Lara to be the Republican National Committee co-chair. Since she’s clearly central to his plan for a total Republican Party takeover, you’d think he’d remember her.

Donald Trump Just Ousted One of His Biggest Supporters From the RNC

After making Ronna McDaniel remove "Romney" from her name, Trump forced her out of her position as chair of the RNC.

RNC chair Ronna McDaniel speaking at a Republican debate
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
RNC chair Ronna McDaniel speaks at Republican debate in September of 2023.

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel announced Monday that she will step down on March 8, ending a months-long standoff with Donald Trump over his demands for total loyalty.

“I have decided to step aside at our Spring Training on March 8 in Houston to allow our nominee to select a Chair of their choosing,” McDaniel said in a statement.

Her co-chair Drew McKissick also announced his resignation on Monday.

McDaniel was elected RNC chair in 2017, at first with Trump’s support—though the former president first insisted she drop her maiden name (Romney) to win his support and show loyalty. She was reelected four times—helping to transform the party into the mirror of Trump that it is now—but the GOP has soured on her over the past year. McDaniel was failing at the two main parts of her job: fundraising and winning elections—thanks in large part to her embrace of Donald Trump.

By the end of October, the RNC had a little more than $9.1 million in its coffers, the smallest amount in nearly a decade. But McDaniel insisted there was “nothing unusual” about the low funds.

Republicans also suffered wave after wave of bruising losses, from the 2022 midterm elections to, most recently, the special election for former representative and serial fabulist George Santos’s seat in New York. The party has largely blamed McDaniel for the defeats, despite the fact that the failed candidates mostly embraced Trump’s policies and talking points.

Trump himself has withdrawn his favor from McDaniel, despite reportedly supporting her as recently as the hotly contested 2023 RNC chair election. The biggest point of contention was the fact that the RNC refused to crown Trump, by far the Republican primary frontrunner, as the party’s presidential nominee and instead opted for a contested primary.

The former president has grown increasingly frustrated over the past few months with McDaniel for continuing to host RNC-backed primary debates. It’s tradition for the party without a White House incumbent running to host debates, and canceling them would have tacitly declared Trump the nominee. Trump refused to participate in any of the three debates.

Another reported reason why Trump and his allies want McDaniel out is that they hope to replace her with a loyalist who will use RNC funds to pay his massive legal bills.

Trump announced Monday that he wants North Carolina Republican Party Chair Michael Whatley to take over from McDaniel, and he tapped his daughter-in-law Lara Trump for co-chair. Trump’s choices make it clear that he wants to stack the RNC with stooges. Whatley, who has helped state Republicans chip away at voting access and gerrymander district maps, is a major proponent of 2020 election fraud conspiracies.

Lara Trump said two weeks ago, before McDaniel even officially announced she would resign, that her goal was to turn the RNC entirely into a pro-Trump machine.

“If I am elected to this position, I can assure you there will not be any more $70,000—or whatever exorbitant amount of money it was—spent on flowers. Every single penny will go to the number one and the only job of the RNC. That is electing Donald J. Trump as president of the United States and saving this country,” she told Newsmax.

Read more about Ronna McDaniel's failures

Surprise: The GOP’s Favorite Gathering Was Full of Nazis

Despite denials from the conference's leaders, white supremacists, conspiracy theorists, and racists did attend CPAC over the weekend.

Donald Trump kisses a flag at CPAC.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Donald Trump speaking at CPAC, which was attended by several well-known Nazis and white supremacists.

Self-identified Nazis were at CPAC—and for all of the event leadership’s political waffling, NBC News had the receipts to prove it.

On Saturday, NBC News reported that the fascists “didn’t meet any perceptible resistance” at the conservative conference, and mingled openly with Republican personalities and members of Turning Point USA, describing themselves as “national socialists” while discussing “race science,” skull measurements, and anti-Semititc conspiracy theories.

CPAC’s Chairman Matt Schlapp refused to comment on the article, but he did take to Twitter to instill his own spin, claiming that NBC had made the whole story up and that liberals were ideological Nazis—rather than his event’s attendees.

“Yawn. This is a tired old cliche,” Schlapp posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “The Neo-Nazis in our midst are the ones controlling our college campuses and major institutions and grossly populate the newsrooms of corporate media, calling for an Israeli surrender.”

In another post on Sunday, CPAC’s account described NBC’s reporting as “false, misleading, and grossly manipulative,” while condemning the report’s author, Ben Goggin, for his coverage of Gaza.

But Goggin had his evidence ready to go, dropping photos and clips of the Nazi cohort peacefully navigating the event and its conference hotel—including an image catching one of the Nazis shaking hands with Jared Taylor, the founder of the blatantly white supremacist publication American Renaissance.

“Here’s a post from one mentioned in my piece wearing a CPAC badge. In the next video, he’s giving a Nazi salute in the lobby of the conference hotel,” Goggin wrote. “There was a notable presence at the conference whether CPAC was aware of it or not.”

“Either CPAC is lying about having no idea about this, or they simply don’t have a grasp on who they approved to come to their conference,” he continued.

At best, it appears that CPAC was willfully ignorant of the Nazi presence inside their walls—at worst, they knowingly allowed it. But either way, their quiet navigation of the event points to a deeper horror: that Nazis at CPAC have become so commonplace that they simply do not illicit shock anymore. Instead, they are now a banal presence within the conservative conference.

“Nazis, antisemitism, the great replacement theory, Fuentes, have become so common among conservatives that I think attendees, even journalists, didn’t think too deeply about them being at CPAC. There was very much an ‘oh them’ attitude about the Nazis,” Goggin wrote online following the initial release of the article.

“It really illustrated how successfully extremists have shifted the Overton window. This year, they were expected, and their presence was tolerated,” he added.

It’s Now Also Harder for Alabama IVF Patients to Get Care Out of State

It’s not just fertility clinics. Now embryo shipping companies also say it’s too risky to do business in Alabama after that court ruling.

A person uses a syringe to pick up embryos from a Petri dish
BSIP/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

At least two major embryo shipping companies have temporarily halted business in Alabama, after the state’s Supreme Court ruled that embryos created through in vitro fertilization are considered children. This will make it harder for IVF patients in Alabama to pursue that health care, even out of state.

Cryoport, one of the leading embryo shippers, told Alabamian fertility clinics on Friday that it is “pausing” shipments into and out of the state until it determines the effect of the court ruling, The New York Times reported.

“Until the company has further clarity on the decision and what it means for Cryoport, clinics and intended parents, it is pausing all activity in Alabama until further notice,” the company said in an email received by a clinic and shared with the Times.

The New Republic reached out to Cryoport for confirmation but did not hear back by time of publication.

A source familiar with the situation, who asked to remain anonymous, told TNR that Reprotech, another major embryo shipper, was also pausing shipping in and out of Alabama. But Reprotech told TNR on Monday that this was not the case.

“ReproTech will continue to accept embryos from Alabama for long-term storage at our facilities. Patients can rest assured that we will continue to offer safe, reliable shipping to and from Alabama,” the company said in a statement.

At least one other embryo shipping company will continue to operate in Alabama, though. The CEO of IVF CRYO, Don Fish, said in a statement Friday that his company “will continue to service patients and clinics in the state of Alabama regardless of the increased legal complexity and risk that our business now take[s] on.”

The Alabama high court’s ruling is only one week old and yet is already kneecapping the state’s fertility industry. The state Supreme Court ruled last week that embryos created through IVF can be considered children and are thus protected under the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act. Since it’s common for fertilized eggs not to survive the IVF process, the ruling puts doctors and clinics at risk of being charged for wrongful death of embryos.

At least three fertility clinics have already ceased IVF treatments to avoid potential legal repercussions. The CDC lists a total of eight clinics in the state that provide assisted reproductive technology services.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s medical school announced Wednesday that it is pausing IVF treatments. The next day, the Center for Reproductive Medicine and Mobile Infirmary Medical Center, which was a defendant in the Supreme Court lawsuit, and Alabama Fertility Specialists announced they were also halting IVF treatment.

Patients could still ship their embryos out of state and continue seeking IVF treatment elsewhere. But if shipping companies keep halting their business, that leaves Alabama IVF patients—who have already invested time, resources, and their own health in the process—few options left.

The president and CEO of Resolve: The National Infertility Association, Barbara Collura, lamented Cryoport’s decision but laid the blame squarely on the state Supreme Court.

“Since the court’s ruling, doctors have been forced to deliver devastating news to their patients, who dream of becoming parents and whose plans are on hold indefinitely, all because of the court’s disregard for science. And now, this slight window of hope for Alabamans currently undergoing IVF to continue their family-building treatment in other states just slammed shut,” Collura said in a statement.

“Thousands of Alabamans trying to build their families are being held hostage by this destructive ruling.”

This story has been updated.

Jim Jordan Offers Startling Confession on Indicted Biden Informant

House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan finally revealed the truth about ex–FBI informant Alexander Smirnov.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

After trying and failing to salvage Republicans’ crumbling impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, Ohio Representative Jim Jordan at last, finally, conceded on Friday that Alexander Smirnov’s story might not be totally accurate.

“I don’t know, maybe the guy did lie,” Jordan said at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday.

The House Judiciary chair spent the better part of the week attempting to twist and tweak Smirnov’s testimony, insisting, as he had for months, that Smirnov’s allegations—that Biden had reaped millions off of a business deal between his son and the Ukrainian company Burisma—still held weight, and could prove the most viable pathway to successfully charge the sitting president. That is, even after Smirnov was indicted for lying to the FBI about those claims—and then reportedly admitted to prosecutors that the story had been drawn up with the help of top Russian intelligence officials and the whole thing was a bed of lies.

Still, Jordan couldn’t totally put the theory to rest at CPAC on Friday, attempting instead to distract from the dumpster fire probe by claiming the Department of Justice was operating under a double standard by arresting Smirnov for lying to investigators.

“But there sure is quite a contrast for—Christopher Steele can give false information about President Trump, and he continues to get paid. This guy, this Mr. Smirnov, can give false information—what they’ve said is false information—and he gets arrested,” Jordan added, referring to former British spy Christopher Steele and his private report of raw intelligence on Trump’s suspected ties to the Russian government, better known as the Steele Dossier.

Trump and his allies have attempted to claim that the dossier served as the basis for Trump’s impeachment inquiry. In reality, a Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee (which Jordan has sat on since 2019) helped prompt an FBI investigation with its memo on former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos.

The Ohio lawmaker’s confession also comes two days after one of his colleagues, Representative Ken Buck, revealed that Jordan and House Oversight Chair James Comer had both been warned ahead of time that the story sold by their primary witness was full of holes.

“Obviously, this witness—and we were warned at the time that we received the document outlining this witness’s testimony—we were warned that the credibility of this statement was not known,” Buck told Kaitlin Collins on CNN’s The Source.

GOP Congresswoman Shows Mind-Blowing Hypocrisy on Alabama IVF Ruling

Republican Representative Michelle Steel says IVF helped her start a family. Then what’s up with her voting record?

Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register/Getty Images

A Republican representative is outraged by the recent Alabama Supreme Court ruling restricting IVF—despite supporting a federal bill that would have done just that.

As someone who struggled to get pregnant, I believe all life is a gift. IVF allowed me, as it has so many others, to start my family,” California Representative Michelle Steel tweeted on Thursday. “I believe there is nothing more pro-life than helping families have children, and I do not support federal restrictions on IVF.”

Steel’s solidarity with Alabaman IVF patients rings pretty hollow considering she co-sponsored the Life at Conception Act. The measure, which was introduced first in 2021 with 166 co-sponsors and then again in 2023 with 124, would have established that life begins at fertilization. The bill has not advanced since.

Like the Alabama ruling, the Life at Conception Act would have severely restricted—if not effectively banned—IVF treatments as well, because it grants “equal protection” to “preborn” humans, including embryos. Since it’s common for fertilized eggs not to survive the IVF process, the act would put doctors at risk of being charged for wrongful death of embryos. That risk would be enough to scupper the IVF industry.

And that is exactly what is happening in Alabama. The state Supreme Court ruled 7–2 last week that embryos created through IVF can be considered children and are thus protected under the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act. Since then, at least three fertility clinics have ceased IVF treatments to avoid potential legal repercussions.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s medical school announced Wednesday that it is pausing IVF treatments. The next day, the Center for Reproductive Medicine and Mobile Infirmary Medical Center, which was a defendant in the Supreme Court lawsuit, and Alabama Fertility Specialists announced they were also halting IVF treatment. The CDC lists a total of eight clinics in the state that provide assisted reproductive technology services.

Other Republican lawmakers have also spoken out against the Alabama decision, and their responses are just as hypocritical as Steel’s, although for a different reason. Party leadership is rushing to preserve the GOP’s supposedly pro-family reputation, and on Friday, the Senate Republican campaign arm sent a memo to GOP candidates, urging them to “clearly and concisely reject efforts by the government to restrict IVF.”

In the memo, the National Republican Senatorial Committee slammed the all-conservative Alabama court’s decision as “fodder for Democrats hoping to manipulate the abortion issue for electoral gain.”