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Does Trump Still Have a Classified Document?

A classified Pentagon document on a potential attack on Iran is suddenly unaccounted for.

James Devaney/GC Images

Former President Donald Trump may still have a classified document, one that details a potential Pentagon plan for attacking Iran.

Federal prosecutors for special counsel Jack Smith, who is investigating Trump for his alleged mishandling of classified documents, obtained an audio recording of a meeting held in July 2021, during which the former president essentially admitted that he knows he can’t declassify documents at will. He brags explicitly about having kept a classified Pentagon plan to potentially attack Iran, and the sound of rustling papers can be overheard, as if Trump were waving that document around.

That meeting took place six months before Trump’s legal team sent 15 boxes of records and classified documents back to the National Archives, and more than a year before the FBI raided Mar-a-Lago, seizing more than 100 documents.

But now, no one can find the Iran document.

Trump’s attorneys handed over material related to the document in mid-March, in response to another federal subpoena, CNN reported Friday, citing anonymous sources. But the legal team was unable to find the actual document in question.

Prosecutors were already skeptical that Trump had returned all of the classified documents he took. The special counsel’s team even reportedly asked a judge last year to hold Trump in contempt until he handed over all documents, but the judge declined. Trump’s team instead hired two outside people to search his properties again.

It is entirely unclear where the Iran document is, or if it was already returned to the government in one of the many boxes taken from Mar-a-Lago. Considering it lays out a plan to attack a foreign nation, it sounds like a pretty important document. Maybe someone should have kept closer tabs on its whereabouts.

Trump has been getting a lot of heat in recent weeks, as new reports continue to surface that he knew that he wasn’t supposed to keep classified documents and that he couldn’t classify them at will. But when asked about the recording during a Fox News town hall on Thursday, Trump denied all wrongdoing.

“I don’t know anything about it,” Trump said. “All I know is this: Everything I did was right.”

Elon Musk Calls to Imprison Therapists Helping Trans Kids

The Twitter CEO suggested throwing the medical professionals in jail, shortly after vowing to lobby for the criminalization of gender-affirming care.


Elon Musk wants to criminalize gender-affirming care, and he supports imprisoning any therapists and medical professionals involved.

The Twitter CEO on Friday morning promoted a transphobic documentary produced by the petulant, vicious, and dull extremist commentator Matt Walsh.

“Every parent should watch this,” said Musk, the global elite whose own daughter disowned him.

But that wasn’t enough. Amid his  bowing down to the far-right mob, which he so desperately wants to earn the approval of, Musk called gender-affirming care for people under the age of 18 “a major problem” that he will be “actively lobbying to criminalize.”

Far-right “thinker” Jordan Peterson hopped on to Musk’s tweet, adding his vision for what that regime would look like: “Prison. Long term. Without parole. No mercy,” he said, adding that he’d subject the therapists who support this medical care to such policing.

“Absolutely,” Musk responded.

Screenshot via Twitter

This is how the CEO of Tesla, which used to celebrate Pride Month, is beginning it this time. “Musk’s words are not an empty threat, as anti-trans bills, many criminalizing medical professionals, are sweeping across the nation in state legislatures everywhere.”

Reminder once again that the richest man in the world is not taking on the rich and powerful. He is not only doing the bidding of power-hungry governments but welcoming and promoting content that punches down on some of the most marginalized among us.

Judge Rejects Bid to Dismiss E. Jean Carroll Case Because Trump Is Oppressed “White Christian”

Yeah, that’s not why Trump is being prosecuted.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

A judge denied an attempt by a Donald Trump ally to dismiss one of writer E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuits against the former president on the grounds that he is being treated unfairly for being a “white Christian.”

Trump was unanimously found liable in May for sexual abuse and battery against Carroll in the mid-1990s, and for defaming her in 2022 while denying the assault. Carroll has two more defamation lawsuits against Trump pending: one from 2019 and one from last month after he bashed Carroll during the CNN town hall.

James H. Brady, a friend of Trump’s, filed a motion on Wednesday to dismiss the 2019 suit, saying he was “unwilling to sit silent and watch another white Christian be treated as poorly and unfairly as I personally have been treated” in the New York courts. Brady has been sanctioned by New York state and federal courts for filing so many lawsuits that he clogged up the system.

Judge Lewis Kaplan, who presided over Trump’s May trial, summarily dismissed Brady’s motion the next day. Kaplan explained that there are only two reasons for someone to intervene in a civil suit. One reason is an “intervention as of right,” meaning the person is entitled via federal statute or has a financial interest in the matter. The second is by “permission of the court,” meaning the person has been granted the conditional right to intervene or they have a law- or fact-based defense for the main action in the lawsuit.

“Mr. Brady does not satisfy any of these criteria,” Kaplan said in his decision. “Accordingly, this motion is denied.”

Carroll accused Trump in her 2019 memoir of raping her in the Manhattan Bergdorf Goodman department store in the mid-1990s. She initially sued him twice for defamation: first in 2019, when he said she made up the rape allegation to promote her book, and again in November for posts he made about her on social media. Her lawsuits are civil, not criminal, because she waited too long to report the assault to police.

A New York jury unanimously found Trump liable of sexual abuse and battery against Carroll and of defaming her in 2022. They recommended she be awarded a total of $5 million in damages.

Carroll is not the only woman to accuse Trump of sexual assault, but her case was the first to make it to a courtroom. Trump continues to vehemently deny all of the allegations, including by launching fresh vitriol at Carroll during the disastrous CNN town hall. So Carroll sued him for defamation again.

It hardly bears saying, but Trump is of course not being prosecuted (nor persecuted) for being a Christian. He’s being prosecuted because he’s a convicted sexual abuser who simply will not learn to keep his mouth shut.

Trump’s Pathetic Response to the Recording of Him Discussing Classified Documents

Trump was caught on tape bragging about keeping classified documents after leaving the White House. He has no good answer for it.

Donald Trump
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Donald Trump is sticking to a tried-and-true method of responding to bad news: Deny everything.

Prosecutors for special counsel Jack Smith, who is investigating Trump for his alleged mishandling of classified documents, obtained an audio recording of a meeting held in July 2021, during which the former president essentially admitted that he knows he can’t declassify documents at will. He brags explicitly about having kept a classified Pentagon document, and the sound of rustling papers can be overheard, as if Trump were waving that document around.

During a Fox News town hall on Thursday, Sean Hannity—a longtime Trump confidant—asked Trump about the recording.

“I don’t know anything about it,” Trump replied. “All I know is this: Everything I did was right.”

Trump then went on to accuse President Joe Biden of having almost 2,000 boxes of classified documents, “seven or eight” of which he had stashed in Chinatown, in Washington, D.C.

“Chinatown is very—it’s, it’s, it’s in favor of China,” Trump said, throwing a nice bit of xenophobia into the mix.

It’s no good denying or deflecting anymore, though. In addition to the recording of Trump acknowledging that he can’t declassify materials whenever he wants, Smith’s team also recently acquired a slew of records including handwritten notes, transcriptions of audio recordings, and invoices from Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran. A judge ruled in March that some of Trump’s attorney-client privileges could be “pierced” after prosecutors for Smith’s team found that Trump intentionally misled his own lawyers, including Corcoran, about keeping classified materials when he left office.

Those records reveal that Trump knew he wasn’t supposed to keep classified documents. Not only did he do so anyway, but Corcoran was also prevented from searching Trump’s office at Mar-a-Lago, where the FBI later found some of the most sensitive material.

Smith has not yet issued any criminal charges, but Trump has plenty of other legal struggles to keep him busy in the meantime. He is under investigation in Georgia for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and he was indicted on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records for paying hush money to porn actress Stormy Daniels.

Trump also was found civilly liable for sexually abusing and defaming writer E. Jean Carroll—and last week, she sued him for defamation again over comments he made about her during a CNN town hall.

Elon Musk Personally Elevates Transphobic Video Originally Flagged as Hate Speech

“Every parent should watch this,” said the man disowned by his trans daughter.


“Every parent should watch this.” This is what Elon Musk—one of the world’s most powerful elites—said about The Daily Wire’s transphobic documentary What Is a Woman? hosted by the vicious and intellectually dull Matt Walsh.

Musk’s personal promotion of the video follows his total capitulation to the far-right media company’s personal complaints of being suppressed. On Thursday, Daily Wire co-founder and co-CEO Jeremy Boreing posted a Twitter thread explaining that Twitter reneged on a commitment to buy a package to host the showing of the entire 90-some-minute movie on a “dedicated event page and to promote the event to every Twitter user over the first 10 hours” (something that has never been done in such a way for any kind of content).

According to Boreing, after Twitter reviewed the film, they said they would not purchase the package and would limit the reach of the film, calling it “hateful conduct” due to misgendering. Twitter had removed “misgendering” from its safety policies, but the company told The Daily Wire they still consider it to be abuse and harassment.

After Boreing and company personally appealed to Musk, however, the tide turned.

“This was a mistake,” Musk said on Twitter. “Whether or not you agree with using someone’s preferred pronouns, not doing so is at most rude and certainly breaks no laws.” Musk went on to say he personally uses someone’s preferred pronouns, just as he would someone’s preferred names, for the sake of “good manners.”

“However,” he continued, “for the same reason, I object to rude behavior, ostracism or threats of violence if the wrong pronoun or name is used.”

Afterward, the prospects for What Is a Woman?’s exclusive treatment crystallized. “Commenting & deliberate sharing will be allowed. Sensitive content just won’t be pushed to people unless they ask for it or a friend sends it to them,” Musk said Thursday night, explaining that the post would not be recommended to people who don’t follow The Daily Wire, nor would any advertising be associated with it.

Of course, this whole seemingly compromising, “measured” response blew up by Musk’s own hand, when he told his 141.8 million followers that “every parent should watch” the documentary. Which is to say, the content would be pushed to anyone who follows Musk or even follows someone who follows him, even if they did not ask for it—explicitly contradicting Musk’s own statement (setting aside the irony of Musk giving any parenting advice, given his own transgender daughter disowned him as a father after she turned 18).

What’s more, though, is that the contradiction certainly did not seem accidental.

“The Streisand Effect on this will set an all-time record!” Musk tweeted in response to a user encouraging people to watch the movie.

“The controversy will drive viewership,” Musk assured Boreing after The Daily Wire’s head complained about the “terrible day.”

Walsh, for his part, called the final outcome of “Elon Musk himself tweeting out the film and urging people to watch it” a “huge win.”

Again, Musk’s decision-making did not have all interests in mind. Also on Thursday, Musk tweeted that gender-affirming care “is a major problem” and that he will “be actively lobbying to criminalize” such care for people under the age of 18.

The episode comes after Musk has been quick to heed requests from Turkey and India to suppress free speech; the common denominator being a complete lack of principle or standards and a pathetic subservience to power interests on the far right. Musk, who often pretends to be a moderate, is neither, in his politics nor in his role as Twitter CEO.

Again, even if Musk was some universal free-speech maximalist, he wouldn’t have to personally promote videos that only happen to punch down against transgender people. He could, for instance, be promoting content that confronts the corruption of fossil fuel or weapon companies, or Big Pharma, or Israel’s treatment of Palestine. Instead, it just coincidentally happens that the “free speech” Musk advocates for is often language that attacks already marginalized people, and seldom challenges corporate interests that harm all of us.

Funny too Musk, again, one of the world’s biggest elites, thinks he is speaking truth to power. Fellow delusionally self-proclaimed moderate Tim Pool proclaimed Friday that “Elon is facing the reality of going up against the world’s political powers.”

“I am on team humanity,” Musk responded simply.

The Biden Economy Keeps Growing—and the Experts Hate It

Another 339,000 jobs added in May. Doesn’t Biden understand the economy is supposed to suck?

Now Hiring sign on a window
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Like Rasputin, the Biden economy refuses to die even as the Federal Reserve, Congress, and the nation’s bank executives try to club it to death. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, reported Friday morning that 339,000 jobs were created in May. That’s pretty much in line with the average over the previous 12 months (341,000).

The Fed won’t be pleased. It has raised interest rates 10 times since March 22, with three quarter-point hikes this year, and Fed governor Philip Jefferson signaled in a speech this week that the Fed would not raise them again in June while it assessed the state of the economy. It may have to reconsider. Inflation has been drifting down for nearly a year, but Fed Chairman Jerome Powell believes it necessary to increase unemployment significantly to keep it down. The BLS report said unemployment ticked up slightly in May, to 3.7 percent, which is still extremely low. (How can job growth increase while unemployment rises, you may wonder? The numbers are taken from different surveys.)

The Republican-controlled House did its best to wreck the Biden economy with its threatened refusal to raise the debt limit. But that dream died when it reached agreement this week with Biden on a package projected to reduce spending by $1.5 trillion over the next decade. The debt ceiling bill cleared the House Wednesday and the Senate late Thursday, well in advance of the so-called “X date.” We’re still waiting to see what kind of revenge House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s hard-right flank will take.

Executives of three now-defunct midsize banks—Silicon Valley, Signature, and First Republic—threatened to bring on a recession through enthusiastic mismanagement enabled by deregulation. It’s mostly on the banking sector’s behalf that the Fed is contemplating a pause in interest rate hikes. But the Biden expansion continues, undaunted and undead.

“We Have to Bring Religion Back Into Our Country,” Says Sexual Abuser Donald Trump

It’s not clear when exactly Trump thinks religion left our country.

Donald Trump
Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

On Thursday, twice-impeached, criminally indicted, and liable-for-sexual-abuse former President Donald Trump told a room of faith leaders in Iowa that “we have to bring religion back into our country.”

It’s unclear when or how religion exactly “left” the United States, according to Trump. As far as Christianity goes, it still is deeply baked in an array of American institutions, not least in the pledge of allegiance children are forced to recite every morning in their supposedly politics-free classrooms. Moreover, we have representatives like Marjorie Taylor Greene, who proudly proclaimed herself to be a Christian nationalist, or Lauren Boebert, who said, “I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk.”

Bar nothing, Republicans’ most drawn-upon course of action in the face of tragedies is not government action or policy change, but prayer.

Recall that as president, Trump explicitly brought religion into politics by targeting religious minorities with things like his infamous Muslim ban, regularly sharing antisemitic conspiracy theories, and nominating a Supreme Court justice who was part of a religious covenant that called for women to be subservient to men.

More likely than not, Trump’s comments are part of a broader handwave toward vilifying LGBTQ people (framed by the far right as perverse or “ungodly”) at the beginning of Pride Month, and a token of reminder toward conservative religious groups that have jostled to erode abortion rights in this country. Given Trump is in primary mode for now, he’s looking to harden all bases of support, especially in the wake of groups like Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America condemning the former president for refusing to declare his support for a federal abortion ban.

Of course, whether Trump is encouraging even further encroachment of religion into our institutions, or whether he’s specifically nodding toward vilifying LGBTQ people or eroding abortion rights, it’s all unpopular. So he can throw the comments out as much as he wants—funnier too given that every other primary candidate will try to one-up everything he says. Once the primary is all said and done, the output will be a Republican candidate whose agenda is enveloped in the kind of extreme conservative objectives that have led the party to lose over and over and over again.

Montana Library Cancels Trans Speaker for Fear of Punishment Under Anti-Drag Law

The drag bans were never just about drag. This was the intended effect.

Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post/Getty Images

A public library in Montana on Thursday canceled a talk that would feature a transgender speaker, due to the state’s newly implemented drag ban.

The Butte-Silver Bow Public Library hosts a monthly series called First Fridays, which features a speaker or documentary on the first Friday of each month. The library was set to host trans Indigenous journalist Adria Jawort on June 2 to discuss the history of two-spirit (the Indigenous term for trans and nonbinary) people in Montana and the community’s current experiences.

But on Thursday, the library announced they were canceling Jawort’s appearance out of concern it would violate the law. “Our ‘First Friday’ speaker has been cancelled due to recent legislation (HB359) and at the recommendation of Butte-Silver Bow County legal council,” the library wrote on its Facebook page.

“Our commitment to promoting inclusivity and intellectual exploration remains, but not in violation of law.”

Jawort told The New Republic that she was “surprised” and “shocked” the library had canceled her lecture. There had already been complaints, to the point that the library was considering having a police presence during her speech, but she did not expect the event to be canceled altogether.

“The lecture was how LGBTQ2s, trans, two-spirit people have existed since time immemorial in the Americas,” Jawort said. “That’s always my greatest weapon in the fight against bigotry and ignorance, is knowledge. And that’s why these lectures are important.”
Jawort noted that her lecture was canceled just two months after the Montana state legislature censured Zooey Zephyr, the state’s first and only trans lawmaker. “They’ll [say,] ‘Oh, it’s because of this, because of that,’ but then the bottom line is no, you’re explicitly choosing to silence trans people,” Jawort said.

Governor Greg Gianforte signed the extreme, vaguely worded drag ban just last week. The law bans drag performers, which are defined as “a male or female performer who adopts a flamboyant or parodic feminine persona with glamorous or exaggerated costumes and makeup,” from performing where children are present. It is also the first measure to specifically ban drag story hours in public libraries, meaning it does not only restrict performances that might be more openly sexual.

Jawort is not a drag queen, and the lecture was intended for adults, although children could have attended if they wanted. The library’s decision is a sign that the drag bans are having their intended effect: forcing LGBTQ people out of public view. The law is so confusing, and the punishments are so high, that many people and organizations are trying to avoid the risk.

Montana was the third state to ban drag performances, after Tennessee in March and Florida in May. The Tennessee law was blocked by a judge for violating free speech rights, but Pride groups in Florida are already canceling events in light of the new legislation. A similar bill has passed the Texas legislature, and Governor Greg Abbott is widely expected to sign the measure into law.

This post has been updated.

Here Are the Three “Liberal” Senators Who Helped Republicans Block Biden’s Student Loan Relief

The senators, who ordinarily caucus with Democrats, voted against helping millions of people struggling with student debt.

Capitol Building
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

On Thursday, the Senate voted to block President Joe Biden’s student loan relief program. Senate Republicans were joined by Democrats Joe Manchin and Jon Tester and independent Kyrsten Sinema in leaving up to 43 million people in crippling debt.

Thanks to their vote, the legislation now heads to the desk of Joe Biden.

Note that these conservative senators, all of whom caucus with the Democrats, are fans of preserving the 60-vote filibuster threshold, which prevents affirmative policy changes from happening. Meanwhile, they’ll happily vote with a simple minority to do whatever they can to actively stop affirmative government action too.

The vote comes after two House Democrats, Jared Golden and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, joined Republicans to block the plan last week. Golden and Perez are co-chairs of the famously inefficacious conservative Blue Dog caucus, which has served as a home to corporate-chasing Sinema and NRA A-rated, anti-choice conservative Henry Cuellar.

As a reminder, while these conservative Democrats pretend their votes are in line with “everyday Americans,” their votes signify keeping the soul-crushing boot of wildly undue debt on the backs of 43 million people. That boot harms those individuals’ lives, as well as the lives of the millions of friends, family members, and neighbors who surround them.

Estimates show that 87 percent of the relief from Biden’s plan would go to individuals earning less than $75,000 a year, while none would go to those earning more than $125,000. Ninety-five percent of the total benefits would go to households making less than $150,000.

Biden has previously said he would veto such a measure to block his plan; some thus argue the conservative Democrats’ votes are symbolic. But even if they are, the symbol is one of cowardice, of an incredible refusal to communicate to voters that a policy that uplifts millions of working people is worth pursuing at all.

Ron DeSantis Says He Wants to Do Ballot Harvesting

“We’re gonna do ballot harvesting,” the Republican candidate proudly told an Iowa voter.

Scott Eisen/Getty Images
Ron DeSantis

On Wednesday, when he wasn’t busy snapping like a petulant child at reporters, Ron DeSantis was assuring Iowa voters that he is “gonna do ballot harvesting.”

To be clear, ballot harvesting—or what it’s known as when not in scare quotes: ballot collection—has long historical precedence in helping burdened communities have their voices heard (and those most burdened by society ought to be heard, so those burdens ideally become less heavy). The practice can help collect the ballots of the elderly, disabled, or those who do not have easy access to polling locations. Consequently, 24 states and Washington, D.C., allow voters to choose someone to return mail ballots on their behalf.

The left has long sought to expand voting access for all voters, no matter their party identification. Republicans, on the other hand, facing loss after loss, have only recently begun to embrace measures like ballot drop boxes and ballot collection. It’s often framed as “getting back” at the supposedly cheating left, and paired with more troubling proposals on voting rights.

DeSantis, for example, while telling the Iowa voter of his plans to pursue ballot harvesting, made sure to contrast such a practice with Nevada’s, where everyone is sent a ballot, “which is bad.”

The oscillation has been championed by the Republican primary leader as well. In February, twice-impeached, criminally indicted, and liable-for-sexual-abuse former President Donald Trump called putting ballot drop boxes “ALL OVER THE PLACE” the “BEST IDEA I’VE HEARD IN A LONG TIME.”

DeSantis, though, has been at the forefront of making the case. In April, after a left-leaning judge beat a conservative one by 11 points to give Wisconsin a liberal majority on the Supreme Court for the first time in 15 years, the Florida governor chided Republicans for their “culture of losing.” He called on the party to use tactics like ballot harvesting.

“I think you should have ballot harvesting where it’s legal and then fight to have the legislatures in those states get rid of it, because that’s not the way you should conduct an election,” DeSantis said.

Last year, DeSantis signed a bill making ballot harvesting a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and up to five years of probation. Other recent Florida laws have cut the number of ballot drop boxes available to the public and made it more difficult for formerly incarcerated individuals to regain their voter rights (to the point of intimidating them from trying at all).

Instead of calling for ballot harvesting while also working to make it illegal, Republicans could make ballot collection moot by making voting more accessible in general. Until that mythical day that conservatives support more democratic enfranchisement, though, we’ll keep seeing Republicans clamoring to reap whatever advantage they can out of an electoral system that already allows them to win elections, and policy outcomes, while barely ever winning the popular vote.