Skip Navigation
Breaking News
Breaking News
from Washington and beyond

“We’re Ready to Go”: Georgia DA Warns New Trump Charges Are Coming

District Attorney Fani Willis says she will announce charging decisions soon.

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is expected to indict Donald Trump for trying to overturn the 2020 election within the next few weeks.

“The work is accomplished,” Willis told local outlet 11Alive on Saturday. “We’ve been working for two and a half years. We’re ready to go.”

Willis has been investigating Trump for his role in efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results. One of the charges could be for racketeering, which could in part refer to Trump’s phone calls begging Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes—the exact amount needed to flip the state’s election results to Trump.

Willis sent a letter to local law enforcement back in April asking them to be ready for “heightened security and preparedness” during the summer. The letter indicated she plans to announce “charging decisions resulting from the investigation my office has been conducting into possible criminal interference in the administration of Georgia’s 2020 General Election” between July 11 and September 1. Willis confirmed Saturday that she will still deliver a decision on charges by September.

She warned Saturday that “some people may not be happy with the decisions that I’m making. And sometimes, when people are unhappy, they act in a way that could create harm.”

Willis told 11Alive she has also reached out to the county sheriff to protect the courthouse. “I’m not willing to put any of the employees or the constituents that come to the courthouse in harm’s way,” she said.

Her requests for increased security are understandable. New York City police stepped up their presence around the Manhattan district court where Trump was arraigned in April. Only a handful of people actually answered Trump’s call for protests, but the last time he urged his supporters to take to the streets, the result was the January 6 insurrection.

If Willis indicts Trump, it would likely be his fourth indictment this year. Trump has been charged with 34 counts of business fraud in New York relating to hush-money payments made during the 2016 election and indicted for mishandling classified documents. Special counsel Jack Smith, who issued the documents indictment, is expected to indict Trump for his role in trying to overturn the 2020 election any day now.

Separately, Trump has been found liable for sexual abuse and defamation, and has been sued for defamation yet again. But he has promised to keep running for president, even from prison.

Alito to Congress: You Have No Business Snooping Into Our Ethics

The Supreme Court justice is warning Congress to give up its attempts to impose a code of ethics on the court.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has a warning for Congress: Stop trying to do anything about corruption on the court.

Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a bill that would require the justices to adopt a code of ethics. According to Alito, Congress has no “authority” to do any such thing.

“Congress did not create the Supreme Court,” he told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published Friday. “I know this is a controversial view, but I’m willing to say it,” he continued. “No provision in the Constitution gives them the authority to regulate the Supreme Court—period.”

Asked whether the other justices agree, he said: “I don’t know that any of my colleagues have spoken about it publicly, so I don’t think I should say. But I think it is something we have all thought about.”

Alito’s comments are particularly brazen for two reasons.

First, he is one of the justices recently caught in a major ethics scandal. Last month, ProPublica reported that he accepted a luxury vacation from Republican billionaire megadonor Paul Singer, which included flying on Singer’s private jet to Alaska and then staying for free in a fishing lodge that cost $1,000 a night. Alito didn’t disclose the vacation and later ruled on a case that Singer had before the court. Right-wing activist Leonard Leo helped organize the whole thing.

Second, Alito’s reading of the Constitution is particularly twisted. Here’s what Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution actually says:

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

An unelected, lifetime-appointed Supreme Court justice, caught in a major ethics scandal, believes that Congress has no authority to do anything about it. How convenient.

Madman Trump Promises to Run for President From Prison if He’s Convicted

Donald Trump is facing new felony charges, but that’s still not stopping him.

Donald Trump
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Donald Trump said Friday that nothing will stop him from running for president, not even a conviction in his federal indictment case.

Trump has been indicted for mishandling classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, and the investigating special counsel Jack Smith unveiled new charges Thursday evening. This is the first time that Trump has acknowledged that going to jail is a possibility, as he generally insists that he has done nothing wrong.

During a radio interview, pro-Trump host John Fredericks asked the former president, “If, going forward, right, you get these indictments, there ends up—you got a jury in D.C., you get convicted and sentenced. Does that stop your campaign for president if you’re sentenced?”

“Not at all. There’s nothing in the Constitution,” Trump replied. “Even the radical left crazies are saying, ‘No, that wouldn’t stop!’ And it wouldn’t stop me either.”

Technically, Trump is right. There is nothing in the Constitution prohibiting incarcerated people from running for office, although it is unclear how things would work if Trump won.

It’s also not entirely unprecedented for someone to run for office from jail. Socialist Party nominee Eugene Debs ran for president in 1920 despite being imprisoned for his opposition to World War I. An advisory neighborhood commissioner in southeast Washington, D.C., ran for office while incarcerated—and is working while still in prison.

Even Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was unofficially on the campaign trail while in prison. His incarcerated status made him ineligible to run, but he still led incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in the polls. After the Supreme Court overturned his conviction, he was elected in October.

A major difference, though, is that Lula condemned an attempt by Bolsonaro supporters to overthrow the country’s democracy. Trump is under investigation for allegedly instigating such an attempt. He faces decades in prison for the charges against him.

In addition to the classified documents case, Trump is under investigation in both Washington and Georgia for his efforts in trying to overturn the 2020 election. Indictments in both of those cases are expected within the next few weeks.

Elise Stefanik Wins the Prize for Stupidest Trump Indictment Reaction

The New York Republican claims that Biden is “engulfed in one of the biggest political corruption scandals of all time.”

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Representative Elise Stefanik

Republicans seem completely unconcerned that their party’s front-runner has been charged with trying to destroy evidence purportedly showing he stole and hid classified national security documents.

Former President Donald Trump is facing three new federal criminal charges in the documents case: two charges of obstruction of justice and an additional charge under the Espionage Act for keeping a highly classified Pentagon war plan on Iran. An employee of his, Carlos De Oliveira, was also charged with trying to erase surveillance video footage related to where the classified docs were moved.

But Republicans don’t care about any of it. House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik may have had the stupidest reaction of the whole lot. “Our Republic is in peril, our justice system is broken,” she declared in a statement.

“The American people understand that Joe Biden and his administration are engulfed in one of the biggest political corruption scandals of all time,” she added, referring to a Republican investigation that has produced no evidence and a star whistleblower who was charged with being a Chinese spy.

Unfortunately, other Republicans were not much better.

“What concerns me is you have a sitting president that has a situation like this … where nothing has happened,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said.

Biden, as well as former Vice President Mike Pence, have been found in possession of classified documents. However, in both cases they handed over the documents as soon as they were discovered. Trump did not—and was accordingly charged with obstruction.

Despite CNN’s Manu Raju repeatedly asking the House speaker about the obstruction charge in Trump’s case, McCarthy continued to defend Trump and rant about a “two-tiered system of justice.”

Senator Josh Hawley—who describes himself as “one of the nation’s leading constitutional lawyers”—acted like the charges against the former president and De Oliveira were completely out of bounds.

“It’s so brazen right now, what they’re doing,” Hawley claimed on Fox News Thursday night. “It is really a subversion of the rule of law. I mean, they’re taking the rule of law, turning it on its head, and we cannot allow this to stand.”

“The DOJ’s decision to pursue additional charges against President Trump is further evidence of the politicization of our nation’s top prosecutorial agency,” Senator Marsha Blackburn tweeted Thursday night.

Senator Ted Cruz called for the impeachment of Attorney General Merrick Garland. “The Democrats hate democracy,” he said, blaming the entire party for Trump’s alleged crimes. “They are trying to use the machinery of law enforcement to prosecute him. I think these indictments are a disgrace.”

Republican lawmakers may be rallying behind Trump because they know he still has a hold on the party. A poll released this week found that half of Republicans don’t think that Trump took any classified documents at all. When he says he did nothing wrong, they believe him.

“He Is Just Not Processing”: Republicans Want a New Mitch McConnell

The Republican Senate leader has had a few public health scares recently—and the rest of his party seems ready for his successor.

Mitch McConnell
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Senator Mitch McConnell

Some Republican lawmakers are suggesting that Senator Mitch McConnell should step down, amid widespread concern for his health after he froze during a press conference earlier this week.

The Senate minority leader was escorted away from the cameras during a news conference Wednesday, after he froze and appeared unable to continue speaking. When he returned later, McConnell declined to comment on what happened or whether it was related to the fall he suffered in March, which resulted in a concussion and his weeks-long absence from the Senate.

Republican lawmakers are already saying that McConnell should resign or even that he’s on his way out. One senator confided anonymously to Politico that “the next leadership election is well underway.”

Another Republican senator told NBC anonymously that McConnell is “definitely slower with his gait” and that he declines to discuss his health in private.

A third GOP senator, normally a McConnell ally, told NBC they “kind of do” think the Kentucky Republican should step down.

“I’d hate to see it forced on him,” the senator said, speaking anonymously. “You can do these things with dignity, or it becomes less dignified. And I hope he does it in a dignified way—for his own legacy and reputation.”

The senator said that McConnell doesn’t speak nearly as much during the weekly party meetings. Senators John Thune and John Barrasso—who came to McConnell’s aid when he froze at the podium—have been taking over more frequently.

“I think that he is just not processing,” the senator said.

Even those who are brave enough to go on the record seem concerned about McConnell’s ability to remain in leadership.

He suffered a really bad fall, and that’s actually had an impact on him,” Senator Ron Johnson told NBC, without going into more detail about McConnell’s ability to keep working. “Obviously, that fall affected him.”

“Age affects us all,” Johnson said. “You can’t deny that reality.”

Ted Cruz said he had “every hope” that McConnell would bounce back, but he didn’t sound sure. “That obviously was concerning. I hope it was just a momentary issue and that he’s doing better,” the Texas senator told Politico.

In addition to his concussion, McConnell reportedly fell while at the airport just two weeks ago, and he has been using a wheelchair to get around crowded areas. His physical condition isn’t actually that surprising: At 81, he’s the longest-serving Senate party leader, and he’s a member of the second-oldest Senate in history.

What is not understandable is his apparent decision to cling to power after suffering incapacitating physical harm. His situation is starting to look like that of Dianne Feinstein, who has refused to step down despite growing concerns that she is no longer mentally capable of governing. Feinstein now risks tarnishing her impressive legacy by refusing to walk away. McConnell could soon do the same.

House Democrats Blast James Comer for Hiding “Key Evidence” in Biden Probe

Democrats say James Comer is refusing to publish a transcript that would disprove many of Republicans’ claims.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
House Oversight Chair James Comer

House Democrats are accusing Oversight Chair James Comer of “concealing key evidence” that disproves Republicans’ claims in their investigation into the Biden family.

Jamie Raskin, the ranking Oversight member, sent Comer a letter on Friday demanding he release the complete transcript of a committee interview last week with a former FBI supervisory special agent. The Oversight Committee had released five “key takeaways” from the interview, but not the transcript of what was actually said.

“This failure to release a transcript is the latest in your troubling pattern of concealing key evidence in order to advance a false and distorted narrative about your ‘investigation of Joe Biden’ that has not only failed to develop any evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden but has, in fact, uncovered substantial evidence to the contrary,” Raskin charged in his letter, which was obtained by The New Republic.

“Your conduct flies in the face of the Committee’s traditional commitment to transparency and underscores the illegitimacy of an investigation that you have described as your ‘top priority’ and that has recently devolved into a voyeuristic obsession with salacious aspects of Hunter Biden’s life.”

House Republicans, led by Comer, have for months accused the Biden family of corruption but have been unable to provide any actual evidence linking President Joe Biden or his son Hunter to any wrongdoing. They recently seized on Hunter Biden’s taxes, insisting that he committed fraud.

The Oversight Committee heard testimony last week from two IRS agents who say the Department of Justice dragged its feet on investigating the younger Biden for tax fraud. The hearing produced zero actual evidence, so instead, Marjorie Taylor Greene held up poster-size prints of Biden’s nude photos, which she says were taken off of his laptop. (This would be the “voyeuristic obsession” Raskin mentioned.)

In his letter, Raskin accused Comer of refusing to release the FBI agent’s transcript because it “discredited” the IRS whistleblowers’ claims. Raskin said the testimony would instead show the investigation into Hunter Biden’s taxes followed procedure and was free of political motivations.

This is not the first time that Raskin has urged Comer to be more transparent about his Biden investigation. Raskin sent Comer a letter in April calling on him to share information with committee Democrats.

Since then, Raskin said in Friday’s message, Comer has refused to give his colleagues a copy of Hunter Biden’s laptop hard drive, despite continuously citing information from it in media appearances.

Comer has also pushed a years-old, widely debunked conspiracy theory originally started by Rudy Giuliani, and he has publicly discussed confidential but unverified information, including anonymous whistleblower claims and the contents of bank suspicious activity reports, or SARs. Earlier this month, Comer accused the president of laundering money through his granddaughter’s account, insisting he had a SAR to prove it.

“Your decision to publicize details of a confidential SAR and speculate about President Biden’s grandchild, who was a minor for much of the time period covered by the SAR, suggests that the aim of your investigation is simply to smear President Biden and his family,” Raskin said in his letter.

Comer has let his true intentions slip before. He and his fellow Republicans continue to insist Biden is guilty of corruption, despite repeatedly admitting that they have no evidence, they don’t know if their information is legitimate, and they don’t even really care if the accusations are accurate.

“The Boss” Wants the Footage Deleted: The Damning New Evidence Against Trump

Trump allegedly tried to destroy the evidence in a cover-up attempt.

Donald Trump
Steve Marcus/Getty Images
Donald Trump

Special counsel Jack Smith surprised everyone by issuing new charges against Donald Trump—in the classified documents case (we’re still waiting on charges for trying to overthrow the 2020 election). And evidence for the new allegations is pretty overwhelming.

Smith filed a superseding indictment Thursday night, and Trump now faces 41 criminal counts for willful retention of national defense information, making false statements, and conspiracy to obstruct justice, among other things. Smith also added another defendant to the case, a Mar-a-Lago employee named Carlos De Oliveira. This brings the total number of defendants to three, including Trump’s body man Walt Nauta.

In general, the new charges paint the picture of a cover-up, as Trump allegedly sought to destroy evidence. He, Nauta, and De Oliveira have all been newly charged with altering, destroying, mutilating, or concealing an object, as well as corruptly altering, destroying, mutilating, or concealing an object. De Oliveira has also been charged with making false statements.

De Oliveira is accused of helping Nauta move boxes of documents out of a Mar-a-Lago storage room (Nauta says he did not know what was in the boxes at the time). De Oliveira also allegedly asked an I.T. employee about deleting security footage off of a server. When the tech employee said they didn’t know if doing so was authorized, De Oliveira said that “the boss” wanted it.

The indictment does not explicitly say that De Oliveira was referring to Trump when he mentioned “the boss” (although it’s also unclear who else De Oliveira’s boss could be). But the indictment does list multiple conversations Trump had with Nauta and De Oliveira, seemingly to prove how hands-on the former president was regarding plans to delete security footage.

De Oliveira is also apparently the employee who drained the Mar-a-Lago pool last October into a room full of computer services used to store surveillance footage from around the property. Prosecutors were told that, fortunately, none of the equipment was damaged.

Two of the new charges against Trump also include an additional count of willful retention, as well as a brand new charge of “presentation concerning military activity in a foreign country.” The new indictment accuses Trump of showing a document that supposedly details a potential plan to attack Iran to people with no security clearance. Trump allegedly waved the paper around during a meeting at his Bedminster club.

Smith’s new indictment is so all-encompassing that one of Trump’s former lawyers has a message for his old boss: Good luck.

“I think this original indictment was engineered to last a thousand years, and now this superseding indictment will last an antiquity,” Ty Cobb, who represented Trump during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, told CNN. “This is such a tight case, the evidence is so overwhelming.”

Cobb also said Trump had likely been advised by his lawyers “not to destroy, move [documents], or obstruct this grand jury subpoena in any way.”

“So this is Trump going not just behind the back of the prosecutors; this is Trump going behind the back of his own lawyers and dealing with two people who are extremely loyal.”

“Lazy Shits”: Republican Congressman Curses Teenage Senate Pages

This is not the first time Representative Derrick Van Orden has threatened a bunch of teenagers.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images
Representative Derrick Van Orden

Wisconsin Representative Derrick Van Orden yelled at a group of teenage Senate pages early Thursday morning, calling them “lazy shits” and “jackasses.”

Senate pages are typically high school teens sponsored by their home state’s senator to help out in the chamber. When the Senate works late—as it was on Wednesday, as votes on the national defense bill stretched into Thursday—pages sometimes rest in the Capitol Rotunda. This week is their last in Congress before their session ends.

According to Punchbowl News, several pages were lying on the floor taking pictures of the building’s dome when Van Orden spotted them. He immediately began cursing at them, calling them “lazy shits” and ordering them to “get the fuck up.”

A Senate page wrote down a transcript of the interaction, which was later reported on in The Hill.

“Wake the fuck up you little shits.… What the fuck are you all doing? Get the fuck out of here. You are defiling the space you [pieces of shit],” Van Orden reportedly told the pages. “Who the fuck are you?”

After one of the kids clarified that they were Senate pages, Van Orden replied, “I don’t give a fuck who you are, get out.”

“You jackasses, get out,” he repeated.

Van Orden, for his part, defended his behavior, arguing that the Capitol Rotunda was used as a field hospital during the Civil War for Union soldiers.

“I would think that I’d be terribly disrespectful to lay on the grave of a soldier that died fighting for freedom,” Van Orden told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “And I don’t know anybody that disagrees.”

Van Orden did not seem to recognize that a hospital and a cemetery are two different things—and the Capitol Rotunda is neither one of them.

The Wisconsin Republican seems to have a penchant for bullying teenagers. In 2021, the then-candidate threatened a 17-year-old staff member at a local library, demanding to know who set up the Pride Month display of books. Van Orden went on to check out every book from the display so that they would not be available to other patrons.

The teenage employee went home and told her parents she no longer felt safe at work.

Half of Republicans Don’t Think Trump Took Classified Docs. That’s Terrifying.

Trump still controls the Republican Party—and they’ll believe anything he says.

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
Donald Trump

Half of Republicans don’t actually think that Donald Trump had hidden classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, a poll released Thursday found, a troubling sign that the party is still deeply in his thrall.

Trump was charged in June with 37 criminal counts of willful retention of national defense information, making false statements, and conspiracy to obstruct justices, among other things. The indictment included multiple photos of the boxes of documents that Trump hoarded at his Florida resort. He kept them stored everywhere around the property, from the ballroom to the bathroom. And there’s even a public recording of him admitting he kept the classified materials.

But despite the seemingly overwhelming evidence against him, only 49 percent of Republicans actually believe there were classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, according to a new Marquette Law School survey, while 50 percent don’t believe there were documents there.

Those numbers are a fortunate shift from September, when only 40 percent of Republicans believed there were documents, and 60 percent did not.

Democrats, meanwhile, have never been in doubt. The survey found that 95 percent of left-leaning voters believe classified material was kept at Mar-a-Lago, compared to 91 percent in September.

Independents are not quite as convinced as Democrats, but far more believe the indictment than Republicans. Seventy-eight percent say classified documents were present at the resort, up from 66 percent in September.

Republicans’ refusal to see the facts right in front of them is a clear sign of how much influence Trump still has over the party. He is leading the pack of Republican presidential candidates by a mile, and if anything, the multiple indictments against him have made him even more popular.

This is a chilling indication of what we can expect next November. If Trump wins the GOP presidential nomination, then he will still have a solid fan base on which to draw come Election Day.

And if he does return to the White House, good luck prosecuting him for anything.

This Senate Is the Second-Oldest in History

A recent incident with Mitch McConnell has cast a light on just how old this Congress is.

Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Senators Dianne Feinstein and Mitch McConnell

Congress is even older than you think it is.

On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell seemed to shut down while giving a press conference at the Capitol. He froze, apparently unable to speak, as several of his colleagues asked him if he was alright. Eventually, he had to be escorted away.

While he seems to have recovered shortly thereafter—glaring at reporters who asked him whether he had chosen a successor yet—the incident has revived questions about his age and fitness to serve. After all, this isn’t the 81-year-old lawmaker’s first public health scare.

But zooming out, it also casts a light on just how old our Congress is getting.

According to an NBC News analysis, this Congress is the third-oldest since 1789, when the legislative branch as we know it today was first established. The Senate is the second-oldest in U.S. history.

And as the House keeps getting younger, the Senate keeps getting older.

A Pew analysis found that the median age of House lawmakers is 57.9 years, down from 58.9 in the last Congress. The Senate’s median age, however, is 65.3 years, an uptick from 64.8 in the last session. These reverse trends have been continuing for years now.

While age isn’t everything, and we don’t have the full details of what happened to McConnell, it’s hard not to be concerned about this trend.

In March, McConnell tripped and suffered a concussion and cracked rib, leaving him out of session for nearly six weeks before he was finally able to return to Congress. His injury is a common one among older people, as an estimated 800,000 seniors per year are hospitalized for injuries from falling. After Thursday’s incident in the press conference, reporters revealed that McConnell has fallen multiple times this year and has taken to using a wheelchair in airports to avoid future accidents. (McConnell, it should be noted, is a polio survivor and walks with a limp, but his recent history is troubling even his Republican colleagues.) 

On the other side of the aisle, Senator Dianne Feinstein was missing from the chamber for nearly three months due to a particularly bad bout of the shingles. The illness led her to contract Ramsay Hunt syndrome, causing facial paralysis and vision and balance impairments, as well as encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain that can cause “lasting memory or language problems, sleep disorders, bouts of confusion, mood disorders, headaches and difficulties walking,” according to The New York Times.

When she did finally return to Congress, Feinstein seemed completely unaware that she had been missing at all.

On Thursday morning, during a vote on the defense appropriations bill, she launched into a full speech instead of simply casting her vote.

“Just say ‘aye,’” Senator Patty Murray advised Feinstein, giving her a thumbs up.

“OK, just—?” she replied, looking confused. “Aye.”