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E. Jean Carroll Lawyer Highlights the Moment Trump Screwed Himself Over

In a new interview, Roberta Kaplan points out that Donald Trump could have gotten himself off the hook—but he caused his own downfall instead.

Donald Trump wears a navy suit and looks off camera. (It appears as if he is sitting.)
Brendan McDermid-Pool/Getty Images

E. Jean Carroll’s lawyer has revealed in a new interview that Donald Trump has only himself to blame for his two massive losses to the writer.

Roberta Kaplan represented Carroll in both of her lawsuits against Trump—and won both of them in the span of less than a year. Just last week, a jury determined Trump owes Carroll $83.3 million for defaming her in 2019 after she revealed he sexually abused her in the mid-1990s.

In an interview with Politico published Thursday, Kaplan said that Trump was the master of his own downfall.

“The single most important thing that convicted Donald Trump—both from his deposition and from the trial—is Donald Trump’s own behavior,” she said.

Carroll is far from the only woman to accuse Trump of sexual assault, with at least 26 other women accusing him of some form of misconduct. Trump has vehemently denied all of the allegations, but he aimed particular vitriol at Carroll, singling her out both when she first accused him and multiple times during this most recent trial.

Targeting Carroll specifically is what ultimately landed Trump in legal trouble, Kaplan explained. In her deposition, Carroll alleged she had also been assaulted by television executive Les Moonves in Los Angeles in the mid-1990s.

In 2018, multiple other women accused Moonves of sexual assault. He stepped down as CEO of CBS and denied all of the allegations, including Carroll’s when she accused him a year later. Carroll said she didn’t sue Moonves because he had issued a blanket denial.

“If Donald Trump had done that here, I wouldn’t have sued him,” Carroll said, according to Kaplan. “She also said if Donald Trump had said that it happened, but he thought she consented, she wouldn’t have sued him. What was so offensive about it was the idea that she was just making it up to sell a book or two as part of a Democratic plot.”

Carroll accused Trump in her 2019 memoir of raping her in the Manhattan Bergdorf Goodman department store in the mid-1990s. He repeatedly claimed that she only accused him in order to garner publicity for her book. Her first lawsuit against him was for the assault and for posts he made about her on social media in November 2022.

During that first trial, Carroll’s lawyers played part of Trump’s video deposition, in which he brags about being able to get away with assaulting women. In the second trial, which Trump attended, he repeatedly got in trouble with the judge for his disruptive behavior. Kaplan believes that contributed to the massive amount of damages he now has to pay.

“One of the flaws—one of the huge mistakes that he made—is he really thought that showing up was going to make a difference,” Kaplan said. “He thought that the jury was going to be like at a MAGA rally. And he could not have been more mistaken in that regard.”

Lauren Boebert Publicly Torched by Fellow Republican Over Groping Date

Representative Lisa McClain absolutely dragged Lauren Boebert.

Lauren Boebert stands in a hallway, partially obscured by shadow
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Colorado Representative Lauren Boebert is still getting skewered by her fellow lawmakers for getting caught groping a date back in September.

On Wednesday, Representative Lisa McClain mocked that she’d have no patience for any funny business ahead of the Washington Press Club Foundation Dinner. Then she called Boebert out by name.

“If everyone could, please keep their hands above the table. And I know it’s date night for some of you, but no inappropriate touching,” McClain said.

“That includes you Lauren Boebert. No vaping, either,” she added, to a round of shocked laughter.

McClain, a self-described “Trump-lovin’ MAGA Republican,” also spent the lighthearted evening throwing digs at “Oscar winner, an Emmy winner, a two-time Olympian” George Santos, and warned the press club to be careful around the silverware with Senator Bob Menendez, who’s indicted on bribery charges.

But the fallout with Boebert stems specifically from a September incident, when the freshman congressman was ejected from the Buell Theatre in Denver for “causing a disturbance” during an evening screening of Beetlejuice. Patrons allegedly made several complaints about Boebert’s inappropriate behavior, which included vaping, singing along, and recording the show, before security officials escorted Boebert and her date out of the show.

In a clip of released security footage, Boebert can be seen initially refusing to leave her seat. Police were called to the scene and stayed in the theater lobby until the congresswoman and her date had left the premises.

On their exit, Boebert allegedly told employees “do you know who I am,” gave security the middle finger, and claimed that she would contact the mayor over the incident, according to a report issued by the theater.

Republican Congressman Says Quiet Part Out Loud on Doomed Border Deal

Republican Representative Troy Nehls is admitting very clearly why he and other Republicans are killing a bipartisan border deal.

Julia Nikhinson/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Texas Representative Troy Nehls on Wednesday urged Congress not to do anything about the border at all.

“Congress doesn’t have to do anything to secure our southern border and fix it. Joe Biden, you destroyed it, you can fix it on your own through executive order,” Nehls said while waving a cigar around steps away from the U.S. Capitol, according to a video obtained by Rolling Stone.

“Why would I help Joe Biden improve his dismal 33 percent, when he can fix the border and secure it on his own? He can secure it on his own through executive order.”

“Donald Trump, the greatest president of my lifetime, he did it. We had Paul Ryan, he was the speaker. What did he do? Very little. We had both chambers, did very, very little. Donald Trump did it all on his own,” Nehls continued.

“So this bipartisan border security bill is not border security,” he added.

It’s not clear which Trump executive order exactly Nehls sees as inspiration. But many of the former president’s attempts to single-handedly rewrite immigration law were found to be unconstitutional.

Republicans have spent months clashing with the federal government and one another over a border security deal as well as the applications of actual, physical security measures along the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas, seemingly all to appease Trump’s re-election bid where he plans to make immigration a central issue.

But some lawmakers appear to be fatiguing from the runaround, arguing that their own chances for re-election will be shot if they fail to take advantage of the bipartisan opportunity.

“I don’t see that coming back as a reward to us,” North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer told CNN. “If we don’t try, then shame on us.”

President Joe Biden also took a more aggressive stance on the issue over the weekend, following a Supreme Court decision that launched a standoff between Texas state officials and federal border patrol agents.

“Give me the power, I asked them the very day I got into office,” Biden said. “Give me the Border Patrol, give me the people, give me the judges, give me the people who can stop this and make it work,” he added.

Matt Gaetz Is Trying to Get Republicans to Absolve Trump of Insurrection

The Republican representative is rallying support for a measure that completely rewrites Donald Trump’s role in the January 6 insurrection.

Matt Gaetz puts a hand in his suit pocket and looks off camera. Others surround him in the background; one points at him.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Representative Matt Gaetz is trying to drum up support for a resolution stating that Donald Trump did not engage in insurrection.

Gaetz first began shopping the resolution around via email last week, according to the Daily Mail. He started handing out hard copies on Wednesday, requesting people to sign on as co-sponsors by the end of the following day.

The resolution would express “That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that former President Donald J. Trump did not ‘engage in insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or give aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.’”

If the resolution makes it to the House floor, it would force Republicans to show their hand, and whether they are ultimately loyal to Trump or to their country. Gaetz’s resolution already has multiple far-right, pro-Trump cosponsors including Marjorie Taylor Greene and Andy Biggs.

Of course, the resolution doesn’t magically get rid of the indictments Trump still faces. He was indicted for his role in the January 6 insurrection and charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to corruptly obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against the right to vote. He was set to go on trial in March, but that has been put on hold until a Washington, D.C., appeals court determines whether Trump has presidential immunity from legal proceedings.

Trump has also been booted from the primary ballots in Colorado and Maine, after the Colorado state Supreme Court and the Maine Secretary of State determined he was guilty of insurrection, rendering him constitutionally ineligible to run for president. Many Republicans are livid over his disqualification and have accused the Democratic Party (which is not involved in the decision process) of election interference.

Judge Tosses Disney Lawsuit, Greenlights Ron DeSantis Retaliation

A federal judge just gave a massive boost to Ron DeSantis and his crusade against all things “woke.”

Ron DeSantis, wearing a suit and tie, laughs and looks off camera
Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

A Trump-appointed judge effectively handed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis the keys to Disney World on Wednesday, ruling that the governor’s choice to dissolve the company’s special tax district and personally appoint every member of its new local governing body was “facially constitutional.”

U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor, in an order issued on Wednesday, found that the entertainment behemoth “lacks standing to sue the governor,” specifying that the drama around the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, or CFTOD, formerly known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District, could not be challenged with a free speech claim.

The lawsuit, which was filed by Disney in April, accused DeSantis of weaponizing his political position to punish the company for speaking out in disagreement after the state in 2022 passed the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law banning the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools. In a statement released the same day DeSantis signed the controversial bill, Disney said it would remain committed to supporting organizations that would help repeal the law or bring legal challenges against it.

But DeSantis didn’t like that, arguing that Disney’s statement had “crossed the line” and that he would “fight back.”

Pointing to DeSantis’s own memoir, which was released last spring, Disney claimed that the Florida governor had attempted to punish the company for exercising its right to free speech, citing sections of his book that pegged the media conglomerate as “pledging a frontal assault” on the state of Florida, after which “things got worse for Disney.”

But according to Winsor’s ruling, Disney “has not alleged any specific actions the new board took (or will take) because of the governor’s alleged control” and “has not alleged any specific injury from any board action.”

“Its alleged injury … is its operating under a board it cannot control,” Winsor wrote. “That injury would exist whether or not the governor controlled the board.”

“To the extent the Governor contributed to Disney’s injury by appointing CFTOD board members, that action is in the past,” the order read. “Because Disney seeks injunctive relief, it must allege an imminent future injury, and it has not alleged facts showing that any imminent future appointments will contribute to its harm.”

“At the end of the day, under the law of this Circuit, ‘courts shouldn’t look to a law’s legislative history to find an illegitimate motivation for an otherwise constitutional statute,’” Winsor added, effectively dismissing the entire premise of Disney’s case.

DeSantis’s office glibly celebrated the win, with his press secretary, Jeremy Redfern, calling it an end to the “corporate kingdom.”

“This ruling finally ends Disney’s futile attempts to control its own special government and receive benefits not available to other businesses throughout the state,” the press release said.

But Disney vowed its great adventure against the state wasn’t over, promising in a statement that it would continue the legal battle.

“This is an important case with serious implications for the rule of law, and it will not end here,” a Disney spokesperson told CNN. “If left unchallenged, this would set a dangerous precedent and give license to states to weaponize their official powers to punish the expression of political viewpoints they disagree with. We are determined to press forward with our case.”

Tom Cotton Goes Full Racist, Badgers TikTok CEO on Whether He’s Chinese

Not all Asians are the same dude.

Closeup of Tom Cotton speaking, black background
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Republican Senator Tom Cotton grilled the CEO of TikTok on Wednesday with a series of increasingly racist questions about the tech executive’s ties to the Chinese government.

TikTok chief Shou Zi Chew testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee alongside the CEOs of Meta, X (formerly Twitter), Snap, and Discord about the risk of child sexual abuse material on their platforms. This was Chew’s second time on Capitol Hill, after a marathon House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing in March about data privacy.

At one point, Cotton repeatedly demanded if Chew had been a member of or affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party. Chew, clearly growing increasingly frustrated, replied every time that he is Singaporean.

Cotton also asked if Chew had any citizenship or passport other than Singaporean. Chew said no. (Neither China nor Singapore allow dual citizenship.)

This is not the first time lawmakers have implied (or in Cotton’s case, suggested outright) that Chew has links to the CCP. During the House hearing in March, Representative Dan Crenshaw asked questions about whether Chew had to abide by the Chinese national intelligence law that requires citizens to cooperate with government intelligence agencies. Members of Congress returned to that line of questioning on Wednesday, as Chew tried to explain that every business that operates in China has to abide by the law.

TikTok is a popular target for Democrats and Republicans alike, because the company is headquartered in China. A company associated with the Chinese government also owns a 1 percent stake in TikTok parent company Bytedance. With both political parties eager to seem tough on China, cracking down on TikTok is an easy move.

Republicans also regularly use TikTok as a scapegoat because the platform is popular with young people, the majority of whom tend to lean left.

But TikTok is far from the only problematic actor when it comes to child welfare, which is what Wednesday’s hearing was allegedly meant to focus on. A report published last year by the Tech Oversight Project revealed that Google and its affiliate YouTube were found in 2019 to have violated children’s privacy. Amazon’s livestreaming platform Twitch is rife with sexual harassment and child predators, while Apple and Google parent Alphabet design their products to be addictive for teenagers.

Internal documents leaked in 2021 showed that Meta knew its products were destroying teens’ mental health, particularly teenage girls’, but made no changes to its platform. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg was aware of this but lied to Congress under oath about it.

Meanwhile, Congress has repeatedly failed to pass laws that would actually protect children online. In the past decade, Congress passed just one narrow children’s online safety law. Since then, all other safety bills have been stalled by interparty disagreements about specific security and privacy provisions, as well as pushback from the tech industry.

Looks Like Trump Might Say Those Famous Old Apprentice Words to Alina Habba

Donald Trump is on the hunt for new lawyers after that damning $83.3 million loss in the E. Jean Carroll trial.

Alina Habba speaks in front of a mic, while Donald Trump stares at her. A row of U.S. flags are in the background.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Donald Trump doesn’t seem quite so keen on one of his star attorneys anymore.

Instead, the former president says he is scanning for new legal talent to appeal the verdict after losing the second defamation case brought by the writer E. Jean Carroll, which cost him a whopping $83.3 million.

“I am in the process, along with my team, of interviewing various law firms to represent me in an Appeal of one of the most ridiculous and unfair Witch Hunts our Country has ever seen—The defamation Sham presided over by a Clinton appointed, highly partisan, Trump Hating Judge, Lewis Kaplan, who was, together with certain other Radical Left Democrat Judges, one of the most partisan and out of control activists that I have ever appeared before,” Trump wrote on TruthSocial late Tuesday evening.

That could mean that Alina Habba, the attorney who went above and beyond embarrassing herself while representing Trump, to the point of butting heads with Judge Lewis Kaplan over what he described as “evidence 101,” is finally on the outs.

Habba set herself apart not just by her pathetic, over-the-top courtroom displays for the GOP front-runner but by making unexpected appearances in places she had no business to be, including at Trump’s victory party following his New Hampshire primary win, just one day after Habba claimed she wasn’t feeling well and the trial was postponed due to Covid concerns.

On Truth Social, Trump then went on to baselessly accuse Kaplan of being a “bully” who “only allowed me to be on the witness stand for minutes,” decrying the trial he lost as a “hoax” and a “disgrace” to the American judicial system.

But Trump might have a harder time than he’s letting on finding someone to replace his already paltry legal team. Law firms are reportedly hesitant to represent the bombastic TV star for fear that they won’t be able to keep him from damaging his own defense—and that he won’t pay them.

“First, Trump has a reputation for not paying his lawyers. And he is so toxic to half the population, that lawyers risk losing other business when they accept him as a client,” Neama Rahmani, the president of West Coast Trial Lawyers, told Newsweek.

Earlier this month, another of Trump’s key attorneys, Joseph Tacopina, announced that he and his firm would no longer represent Trump in the E. Jean Carroll lawsuit and the criminal case against Trump, in which the GOP front-runner is accused of making hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels via his fixer and another former personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

Man Decapitates His Father, Calls for Uprising Against “Biden Regime”

Justin Mohns has been arrested after posting a YouTube video showing what he claimed was his father’s decapitated head.

Justin Mohns (a white, young man with brown hair) is in a bedroom yelling at the camera. He wears a gray sweater. Behind him is a white comforter, and three sets of doors.
Justin Mohns

A Pennsylvania man was arrested on suspicion of killing his father early Wednesday, after he reportedly uploaded a far-right-conspiracy-laden YouTube video that featured the decapitated head.

Justin Mohn, 32, is charged with first-degree murder, abuse of a corpse, and possessing an instrument of crime with intent, according to local authorities.

“We got called to the home and officers went in and discovered the father upstairs deceased,” Middletown Township Police Chief Joe Bartorilla told reporters late Tuesday evening.

The father, Michael Mohn, was found beheaded in the bathroom of the home he shared with his son in Levittown. Police said his wife, Denice Mohn, discovered the body in the first-floor bathroom after arriving home about 7 p.m. on Tuesday, after which her screams led neighbors to summon police to the scene.

Local authorities found the head inside a plastic bag in a pot in the first-floor bedroom, according to a police affidavit. Mohn reportedly used a machete and a large kitchen knife to sever the body. Both weapons were found in a bathtub in the home, according to court documents.

The younger Mohn was arrested in his father’s car, hours later, in Fort Indiantown Gap, home of a large National Guard Training Center, more than 100 miles away from the home, according to police.

“We didn’t know where he was going and what his intentions were when he left here,” Middletown Township Police Captain Pete Feeney told NBC News. “Fortunately, we were able to get a location based on his cell phone.”

A YouTube video, titled “Call to Arms for American Patriots” and posted to the channel Mohn’s Militia, showed Mohn lifting his father’s decapitated head while claiming he now had control over America’s military.

“He is now in hell for eternity as a traitor to his country,” Mohn said in the clip.

The video has since been removed from YouTube for violating the site’s policy on graphic content but reportedly featured a scripted political rant about “far-left woke mobs” and the “traitorous Biden regime,” reported The Daily Beast.

Over the course of 14 minutes, Mohn raged against the LGBTQ community, the Black Lives Matters movement, and antifascist group antifa, which he referred to as a “terrorist organization.” He also called for the seizure of federal buildings and claimed that federal employees should be “publicly executed for betraying their country”—adding, however, that state employees should not be targeted in his fantasy uprising, reported local outlet

“He talked about his dad a lot,” a former friend of Mohn’s told the Beast. “He believed in all these conspiracies. The government is putting stuff in the water, they’re bugging places to listen to our conversations, stuff like that. His dad was always tied up in them somehow.”

Mohn is being held without bail. His hearing is scheduled for February 8.

Suddenly, Marsha Blackburn Is Really, Really Afraid of Taylor Swift

The Republican senator from Tennessee is worried what Taylor is going to say this election.

Taylor Swift wears a green spaghetti strap dress. It looks like she's being photographed at an award ceremony.
Lionel Hahn/Getty Images

Senator Marsha Blackburn on Wednesday became the latest Republican to run scared from Taylor Swift.

Swift has not yet weighed in on the 2024 elections, nor has she given any indication that she intends to. Yet in recent days, Republicans have increasingly accused Swift of being a Democratic operative, including insisting that she will rig the NFL Super Bowl to get more attention ahead of endorsing President Joe Biden (as if one of the biggest musical performers in the world needs to attract more attention).

While Swift rarely weighs in on politics, instead tending to encourage her fans to act without telling them how to do so, she did endorse Biden in 2020. And in the past, she has taken particular aim at Blackburn, who represents Swift’s home state of Tennessee and is up for reelection this November.

When asked Wednesday morning if she thought Swift’s endorsement could affect the upcoming election, Blackburn quickly became tongue-tied. She started by complimenting Swift, in an obvious effort to not alienate the singer’s millions of fans, and then stumbled her way to complaining about the “border, the open border, the Biden border policy.”

Blackburn is one of many Republican senators resisting a bipartisan deal on the border. The GOP has actually spent months working to tank the deal because Donald Trump, Biden’s likely 2024 opponent, has said that any compromise with Democrats will be too lenient on immigrants. He also doesn’t want a bill that could potentially benefit Biden to pass.

Swift broke her long-running apolitical approach to publicity in 2018, when she endorsed Blackburn’s Democratic opponents in the midterm elections. Swift said in a statement that Blackburn’s voting record “appalls and terrifies me.”

Swift’s 2020 documentary Miss Americana shows the singer crying as she explains to her father why she needs to speak out against Blackburn, over the latter’s opposition to LGBTQ rights and the Violence Against Women Act. Swift criticizes Blackburn’s policies and calls her “Trump in a wig.”

Blackburn isn’t the only one getting worked up over Swift. Trump himself is frustrated by all the attention on the singer, and has privately insisted that he is “more popular” than she and has more loyal fans, Rolling Stone reported Tuesday. Trump also said it “obviously” made no sense that Swift was named Time magazine’s 2023 Person of the Year instead of him.

Trump’s anti-Swift ire has some of his more powerful supporters plotting a “holy war” on the pop star, according to Rolling Stone.

The real danger that Swift poses to Republicans isn’t her politics, specifically. Instead, as Edith Olmstead wrote for The New Republic in September, “it’s because of her vast influence over a younger demographic that conservatives have famously struggled to attract or exert an influence upon themselves.”

Mike Johnson’s Disturbing Ties to Slavery-Defending Christian Nationalists

The House speaker won’t exactly disavow the connection, according to a new report.

Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Mike Johnson’s ties to Christian nationalism are well documented, but a new report reveals his long-standing connection to a particularly extremist strain of Christianity—and the House speaker’s refusal to disavow it should be a source of major concern.

An investigation published Wednesday by The Daily Beast reveals Johnson has particularly close relationships with leaders of Christian dominionism, a radical sect of Christian fundamentalism that supports establishing an entirely Christian nation, opposes LGBTQ rights, and even defends slavery.

The Beast asked Johnson’s office whether the speakerthought biblically sanctioned violence conflicted with his duties as an officer of the constitution, whether he denounced the teachings of hardline fundamentalists who have endorsed biblical slavery and rejected constitutional provisions like liberty and justice, and whether he personally believed the Bible permitted slavery.” A spokesperson declined to explicitly disavow any of those beliefs.

“None of these actions or comments you are referencing were made by Speaker Johnson. The Speaker is not going to apologize to the Daily Beast for his Christian faith or judge the beliefs or statements of others,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

While Johnson has been open about his fervent faith, he has previously evaded other questions about just how deeply he believes in Christian fundamentalism. Keri Ladner, a religious studies scholar and author, told the Beast that Johnson is “too smart” to openly state he backs widely decried Christian sects.

But “when you dig into the people around Johnson, that’s what you find when you peel back the layers,” Ladner said. “It’s absolutely in that orbit.”

One of those people is David Barton, a Christian nationalist author and activist. The Southern Poverty Law Center notes that Barton has repeatedly “demonized LGBTQ persons and communities, arguing that HIV and AIDS are god-given consequences for living out one’s LGBTQ life.” Barton has also argued against aspects of the Thirteenth Amendment, insisting there is a biblical defense for slavery.

Johnson has known Barton for at least a quarter-century, and said at a Christian lawmakers’ event two years ago that Barton has had “a profound influence on me, and my work, and my life, and everything I do.”

After Johnson was elected speaker, Barton said on a podcast in October that he and his organization had been advising the Louisiana Republican on who to hire for his staff. In another, more recent podcast, Barton said Johnson becoming speaker gave him and his group “some tools at our disposal” that “we haven’t had in a long time.”

Johnson has also touted close relationships with Tony Perkins, a vocal Christian nationalist, and Mat Staver, who has called for the criminalization of same-sex relationships.

It’s no secret that Johnson holds extreme beliefs. He blames the collapse of the Roman Empire on LGBTQ people and opposes abortion access. He compared himself to Moses, decried the separation of church and state, and has a Christian nationalist flag hanging outside his office. The growing evidence of the people and causes he allows to influence him are further proof that he will try to push Congress to the right.