Skip Navigation
Breaking News
Breaking News
from Washington and beyond

Trump Jr. Just Uttered the Word That Could Trip Up His Family’s Entire Defense

Donald Trump Jr. may have made a big error when testifying in the fraud trial against his family.

Donald Trump Jr.
Adam Gray/Pool/Getty Images
Donald Trump Jr.

Donald Trump Jr. might have tripped up his legal team’s entire defense on Monday, slipping into his testimony that the family’s Florida property, Mar-a-Lago, is an “estate” rather than a club.

“My father purchased what was one of the finest estates anywhere in the world,” Don Jr. said Monday morning in reference to the building, which he called “amazing” and likened to an “American castle.”

But no amount of embellishment will hide Trump Jr.’s admission: The family’s beloved Florida home at Mar-a-Lago—which, incidentally, Trump has used as his primary residence since leaving the White House in 2021—is perceived by the family as an estate, or residential property.

The contested valuation of Mar-a-Lago is at the heart of the fraud trial against the Trump Organization. Last week, attorneys for the New York state attorney general’s office highlighted incongruous deeds and assessments for the former president’s various international properties, including a development deed for Mar-a-Lago that restricts the status of Trump’s primary residence to a club.

Despite the deed restrictions, the New York Attorney General’s Office argues, Trump overinflated the value of Mar-a-Lago on the basis that it was used as a private home and could be sold as such.

The $250 million bank fraud case hopes to prove that Trump deceived banks and insurers by massively overvaluing his net worth—with properties like Mar-a-Lago. So far, New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron has already ruled that Trump and his two sons, Don Jr. and Eric, committed fraud.

After All That Pressure, Supreme Court Adopts Most Pathetic “Code of Ethics” Ever

It doesn’t seem like the court’s new code of ethics will do all that much.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Supreme Court unveiled a new, incredibly vague “code of ethics” on Monday, following several high profile ethics scandals.

All nine justices signed the 14-page document, which includes five canons of conduct under which the justices should recuse themselves and is based on similar codes used by lower courts.

It requires justices to “uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary” and “avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities,” according to the code. The code does not mention any enforcement mechanisms, however, and disclosures are completely voluntary.

In a statement attached to the code, the justices highlighted that the court has “long had the equivalent of common law ethics rules,” which they believe added to confusion around the court’s behavior.

“The absence of a Code, however, has led in recent years to the misunderstanding that the Justices of this Court, unlike all other jurists in this country, regard themselves as unrestricted by any ethics rules,” the justices said in a statement. “To dispel this misunderstanding, we are issuing this Code, which largely represents a codification of principles that we have long regarded as governing our conduct.”

Yet the new set of rules fails to outline possible consequences should ethics violations persist.

“This is a long-overdue step by the justices, but a code of ethics is not binding unless there is a mechanism to investigate possible violations and enforce the rules,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, noting that the court’s “honor system” holding justices accountable hasn’t worked in the past.

The court has faced increased scrutiny since several ProPublica investigations revealed that Justice Clarence Thomas had been pocketing favors from Republican real estate developer Harlan Crow, including private school tuition for his nephew, the renovation of the home where his mother still lives, and undisclosed trips on the billionaire’s yacht, private jet, and at his private resort. Two months later, the outlet unveiled a similar scandal with Justice Samuel Alito, who failed to report a luxury fishing vacation to Alaska with hedge fund billionaire ​​Paul Singer in 2008.

Trump’s Idiot Lawyers Just Shared Faulty Evidence in Fraud Trial

Apparently, it can keep getting worse.

Stefan T. Jeremiah/Pool/Getty Images
Attorney Christopher Kise, Donald Trump Jr., attorney Cliff Robert, and attorney Alina Habba sit in the courtroom for Trump’s civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court on November 13.

Donald Trump’s lawyers shared faulty evidence on Monday during his business fraud trial in New York, accidentally adding further fuel to the allegations against him.

The New York attorney general has accused Trump, his sons Don Jr. and Eric, the Trump Organization, and other company executives of fraudulently inflating the value of various real estate assets to get more favorable terms on bank loans. When Don Jr. took the stand Monday, Trump’s lawyers appeared to demonstrate exactly how the family overrepresented their assets.

Trump’s lawyers displayed a screenshot of a property tax document for 40 Wall Street, now called the Trump Building. The slide described the property as a “72 story landmark building in the Financial District, directly across from the New York Stock Exchange.”

The Trump Building is only 63 stories, according to filings from New York City and the Securities and Exchange Commission, and is actually around the corner from the Stock Exchange. The Trump Organization’s chief legal officer, Alan Garten, explained to Forbes a month ago that 40 Wall Street has 63 floors of commercial space, but “when you add the space from 63 to the cupola, the building totals 72 floors.”

Trump’s lawyers also showed a slide claiming the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas is 64 stories. But an architectural drawing shows it likely has fewer levels because the floor numbers jump from eight to 16.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has alleged that Trump lied about the size and value of his many real estate holdings. His lawyers’ evidence, shared to make Trump’s case, actually appears to undermine it.

Trump may want to consider getting new lawyers, as his team seems to continually blow up his defenses in his various legal disputes. In addition to the New York fraud trial, Trump’s lawyers stumbled trying to defend against his federal indictment for attempting to overthrow the 2020 election.

His lawyer Alina Habba, who is also working on the fraud trial, undermined his defense in the other case by admitting that “everybody was made aware that he lost the election,” and his lawyer John Lauro also publicly confessed that Trump asked then–Vice President Mike Pence to delay certifying the nation’s votes (which is illegal).

Trump Team Responds to Hitler Accusations by Proving Accusers Right

Donald Trump’s rhetoric is becoming more dictatorial with each passing day.

Alon Skuy/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s team defended his authoritarian comments over the weekend by doubling down on dictatorial language, a frightening preview of what could happen if Trump wins the presidency.

During a Veterans Day speech on Saturday, Trump called his political opponents and critics “vermin” and accused them of being a bigger threat to the U.S. than countries such as Russia, China, and North Korea. Historians and researchers were quick to warn that his language was reminiscent of authoritarian leaders including Hitler and Mussolini.

Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung defended the former president’s comments with some reasonable language of his own.

“Those who try to make that ridiculous assertion are clearly snowflakes grasping for anything because they are suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome and their entire existence will be crushed when President Trump returns to the White House,” Cheung told The Washington Post on Monday.

Cheung later added that he meant to say their “sad, miserable existence” instead of their “entire existence.”

Cheung’s statement is a chilling example of just how extreme Trump has become. His team isn’t even trying to downplay or explain away his authoritarian tendencies. Instead, his team is leaning into it.

During his speech, Trump promised to “root out the Communists, Marxists, fascists, and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country that lie and steal and cheat on elections.”

“The threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous, and grave than the threat from within. Our threat is from within,” he said.

Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a historian at New York University, warned that Trump is following in Hitler and Mussolini’s footsteps.

“Calling people ‘vermin’ was used effectively by Hitler and Mussolini to dehumanize people and encourage their followers to engage in violence,” she explained to The Washington Post.

Brian Klaas, a political scientist, told MSNBC on Monday that Trump is “lifting not just rhetoric but actual plans from the authoritarian playbook.”

I study the breakdown of democracy, and I don’t know how to say this more clearly: We are sleepwalking towards authoritarianism,” he said.

Because of Course He Is: QAnon Shaman Now Running for Congress

Jacob Chansley, known as the “QAnon shaman” during the January 6 insurrection, has filed paperwork to run for office.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

The spear-wielding conspiracy theorist convicted for attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election results on January 6, 2021, has decided it’s his time to run for the very government he attempted to overthrow.

Jacob Chansley, a 35-year-old convicted felon better known as the Qanon Shaman, filed a candidate statement of interest Thursday in the Arizona race to fill Representative Debbie Lesko’s seat, apparently hoping to return to the scene of the crime. Chansley plans to run for Congress as a Libertarian, reported the Associated Press, and has officially filed his paperwork.

Lesko, a Republican, announced in October that she won’t be seeking reelection after her term ends in 2025.

In late 2021, a federal judge sentenced Chansley to 41 months in prison for his role in the January 6 insurrection. Prosecutors described him as the “public face of the Capitol riot,” who used his platform on social media to spread “false information and hateful rhetoric” in the days immediately preceding the assault.

Once at the Capitol Building, Chansley was one of the first group of rioters to break inside. Wielding a bullhorn, he worked to “rile up the crowd and demand that lawmakers be brought out,” according to a sentencing memo.

Inside the Senate gallery, Chansley climbed the dais, photographing himself and leaving a note that read: “It’s Only a Matter of Time. Justice Is Coming!”

RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel Is in Fantasy Land on Abortion

The head of the Republican National Committee is straight up delulu.

RNC chair Ronna McDaniel speaking at a Republican debate
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel appears to be living in an alternate reality, insisting that Republicans can actually win elections on their abortion message.

Republicans suffered bruising losses last week in Ohio and Virginia, as state residents voted overwhelmingly for measures and candidates that will protect abortion access. But on Sunday, McDaniel claimed Americans actually want abortion restrictions.

I’m proud to be a pro-life party, but we can win on this message,” she told NBC. “The American people are where we are, and they want commonsense limitations. They want more access to adoption. We want to make sure that there’s pregnancy crisis centers. These are things we can win on.”

McDaniel also said that Republicans can’t avoid the issue of abortion anymore. “I think there’s a lot of discussion to be had, but we can’t just say it’s a states’ issue and be done,” she said.

The RNC chair is onto something there, but it’s entirely the wrong thing. The American people are not at all where Republicans are: More than 60 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to the Pew Research Center.

And if that data weren’t enough, in every election since Roe v. Wade was overturned, Americans have voted to increase abortion rights. This is true even in otherwise red states such as Ohio, Kentucky, and Montana.

Candidates who campaign heavily on protecting abortion have pulled off amazing feats: Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer was overwhelmingly reelected in November 2022, while her Democratic Party flipped the state legislature for the first time in 40 years. In neighboring Wisconsin, pro-abortion state Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz won her April 2023 election handily.

McDaniel has sought to soften her party’s overall stance on abortion. She urged the GOP in January to “go on offense” against abortion rights and pass new restrictions, including six-week bans. But a few months later, McDaniel began telling candidates to back a 15-week ban instead, a move that’s still incredibly unpopular.

Republicans don’t win on their abortion messaging. So instead, they lose and try to subvert democracy to get their way anyway.

Trump Allies Are Creating an Army of Loyalists to Implement His Every Whim

Donald Trump’s allies have a dangerous plan to make sure he can do whatever he wants as president.

Mike Segar/Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s allies are already working overtime to create an army of tens of thousands of Trump loyalists who they can install at every level of government should he win the presidential election.

The consolidated effort attempts to block Republican moderates from weighing in on Trump’s decisions in a potential second presidency like they did in the early days of his first, allowing an echo chamber of the most extreme voices in U.S. politics.

Allies are looking to install as many as 54,000 pre-vetted Trump loyalists in the executive branch while purging anyone who dissents from the new administration, reported Axios.

The massive political project, orchestrated by the Heritage Foundation under the banner Project 2025, has already collected more than 4,000 résumés, though the process is more focused on political philosophy than experience or other credentials, the outlet reported.

“Never before has the entire movement ... banded together to construct a comprehensive plan to deconstruct the out-of-touch and weaponized administrative state,” Project 2025’s director, Paul Dans, told Axios.

Trump will use this army to implement his every whim. That includes using the Justice Department to target his political enemies and unleashing a new set of extreme anti-immigration policies, like setting up deportation camps for undocumented immigrants.

Also behind the effort are Stephen Miller and John McEntee, both of whom advised Trump during his last presidency and are expected to play key roles should Trump reclaim the Oval Office. McEntee, in particular, has prior experience rooting out obstructive staffers—in 2020, he was appointed to sniff out those working against Trump’s agenda, as Trump’s personnel chief.

Earlier this month, Trump allies made it clear they were cutting ties with the Federalist Society, which staffed most of the hard-line, conservative legal advisers during his first term. Trump allegedly wasn’t satisfied with their brand of politics, however, and was left frustrated by their objections to harsher immigration policies and Trump’s bid for a tighter grip on the Justice Department, reported The New York Times.

Here’s Another Big Far-Right Thing Mike Johnson Never Reported

The new House speaker has a sketchy history when it comes to reporting expenses.

House Speaker Mike Johnson speaks at a podium. Representatives Elise Stefanik and Cory Mills stand on either side of him.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
House Speaker Mike Johnson (center) flanked by Representatives Elise Stefanik and Cory Mills

When House Speaker Mike Johnson gave the keynote speech at an elite right-wing conference in 2019, he failed to report the trip on his financial disclosure forms. Four years later, it’s still not clear who paid for him to get there or how much the trip cost, according to a Daily Beast report published Monday.

Johnson delivered his 31-minute speech to the Council for National Policy’s conference in person, traveling from Washington, D.C., to New Orleans for the October 4, 2019, event. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the CNP as “a shadowy and intensely secretive group [that] has operated behind the scenes … to build the conservative movement.”

It’s not unusual for lawmakers to speak at the CNP conference, which occurs three times a year. Representative Jody Hice spoke to the group in February 2019, while Representatives Mark Green and Chip Roy spoke to CNP in 2019 and 2022, respectively. The difference, though, is that all three men reported their trips as gifted travel. They also list the trip on their personal financial disclosure forms. Johnson did not file anything, The Daily Beast found.

“The most reasonable inference is that the very well-heeled CNP covered Johnson’s expenses when he addressed the group’s meeting in 2019, but the new speaker failed to report those gifts,” Brendan Fischer, the deputy executive director of the watchdog group Documented and a legal expert on campaign finance and ethics rules, told The Daily Beast.

“What [would make] it an ethics violation is if the payments aren’t reported.”

Hice, Green, and Roy reported gifted expenses ranging from more than $1,400 to more than $2,600 for travel, lodging, and the event registration fee. Johnson’s financial disclosure forms, already incredibly barren, do not show any trips funded by the CNP.

It’s possible that Johnson paid out of pocket for the trip. But again, given the spare nature of his reported financial situation, that seems highly unlikely (unless he has mounds of cash squirreled away under his mattress).

Johnson could have used campaign or PAC funds to travel, but his campaign and leadership PAC expenses don’t reflect costs that match the CNP event. Another explanation would be that Johnson used taxpayer money for the trip. The House statement of disbursements at the time shows his office reported commercial travel and lodging expenses that match the October 4 trip.

It’s unclear why Johnson would feel the need to pay for his trip at all, though. The CNP is well funded and clearly has no issue paying for his colleagues to speak. What’s more, Johnson has been a member of the CNP since at least July 2012. It’s strange that the organization would reward his loyalty by making him foot the bill.

The New Republic reached out to Johnson’s office for comment, but they had not responded by time of publication.

Johnson is no stranger to speaking at far-right events. He was scheduled to give the keynote address Friday for the Worldwide Freedom Initiative. Johnson spokesman Raj Shah assured TNR that Johnson did not travel for any events over the weekend, but he refused to explicitly confirm whether Johnson had spoken virtually or why the speaker was featured so prominently on WFI social media and event publicity if he did not speak.

State Department: Biden Spreading Misinformation Amid Israel’s War on Gaza

The internal State Department memo urges Joe Biden to reassess his policy toward Israel.

Palestinians arrive south of Gaza City on November 12, after fleeing their homes in Gaza City and the Northern Gaza Strip.

An internal memo floating around the U.S. State Department is urging senior officials to rethink their approach to the Israel-Hamas war, criticizing America’s unwavering support of Israel’s counteroffensive as backing “crimes against humanity.”

The five-page memo, signed by 100 State Department and USAID employees, also accuses President Joe Biden of “spreading misinformation” in his October 10 speech, in which Biden described Hamas’s October 7 massacre as an “act of sheer evil” and likened it to the “worst rampages of ISIS” while unequivocally aligning U.S. military capabilities with Israel.

“Members of the White House and (the National Security Council) displayed a clear disregard for the lives of Palestinians, a documented unwillingness to de-escalate, and, even prior to October 7, a reckless lack of strategic foresight,” the memo said, reported Axios.

The bulk of the memo focuses on condemning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assault on Gaza, which has constituted attacking hospitals, cutting off access to water and electricity, limiting humanitarian aid, and displacing 1.6 million Palestinians.

All of these actions, according to the memo, “constitute war crimes and/or crimes against humanity under international law.”

“Yet we have failed to reassess our posture towards Israel,” the memo reads, according to the outlet. “We doubled down on our unwavering military assistance to the (Israeli government) without clear or actionable redlines.”

It’s not the first such memo to be leaked out of the State Department. Last week, another memo blasted the U.S. response to Israel as inappropriate, arguing that supporting the Middle Eastern state’s “settler violence” went “against American values,” reported Politico.

Will Marsha Blackburn Be Censured for This Racist Tweet on Rashida Tlaib?

Senator Marsha Blackburn is smearing the only Palestinian American member of Congress.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
Senator Marsha Blackburn

Senator Marsha Blackburn shared a racist tweet about Representative Rashida Tlaib over the weekend. Recent evidence shows she likely won’t face any consequences for it.

Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress, has understandably been vocal in her support for Palestine and for a cease-fire since the war in Gaza began. The House censured her last week for her words, with 22 of her fellow Democrats joining Republicans in reprimanding her.

But Blackburn has gone a step further and accused Tlaib, with no evidence, of being linked to Hamas.

Rashida Tlaib has alleged ties to Hamas,” the Tennessee Republican tweeted Sunday. “Based on these allegations, it’s sadly not surprising she’s calling for a genocide against the Jewish people.”

Blackburn is referring to Tlaib’s use of the phrase “from the river to the sea.” While many Jewish and pro-Israel groups say the saying is antisemitic, it has also been used by Israeli politicians. Tlaib defended her use of the phrase, saying it was a call for “freedom, human rights, and peaceful coexistence.” Before she was censured, Tlaib called out the rise of both antisemitism and Islamophobia.

But while Tlaib has been censured for calling for peace, there is no outcry on Capitol Hill yet over Blackburn accusing her colleague of links to an extremist group. And there may never be one.

Republicans have repeatedly said outrageous things about Palestine, primarily calling for the extermination of an entire country and people. They make no distinction between Hamas and Palestinian civilians, and yet no one is getting in trouble for it.

What’s more, House Speaker Mike Johnson has a Christian nationalist flag flying outside his district office. The creation of a Christian nation implies the elimination of all other religions, and yet no one is accusing Johnson of calling for genocide.

The closest another lawmaker got to facing consequences was when Representative Brian Mast compared Palestinian civilians to Nazis. A Democratic representative drafted a resolution to censure the Florida Republican, but it has since been dropped.

More than 11,000 Palestinian civilians, mostly women and children, have been killed in Israel’s ongoing retaliation to Hamas’s October 7 attack. The fighting has also killed at least 39 journalists and other media workers and more than 100 United Nations employees.