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Surprise, Surprise: Trump Now Wants an Even More Extreme Abortion Ban

At this rate, Trump is making it clear exactly where he stands on abortion.

Donald Trump speaks at a mic
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

In what should be a shock to no one, the man who bragged about overturning Roe v. Wade is now talking about banning abortion after 15 weeks.

Donald Trump floated the new number during his bizarre trip Thursday to the U.S.-Mexico border. While there, he sat down for an interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity, who asked about abortion.

Republicans are “coming in with a certain number of weeks, and the number 15 is mentioned,” Trump said. “I haven’t agreed to any number. I’m gonna see. We wanna take an issue that was very polarizing and get it settled and solved so everybody can be happy.”

Many Republican lawmakers have suggested banning abortion after 15 weeks as some sort of compromise. The argument is generally that fetuses can feel pain after that point. But just two years ago, Republicans were arguing that a 22-week cutoff was reasonable because that was when fetuses started to feel pain.

In reality, most medical experts agree that fetuses don’t develop the necessary physical sensors to experience pain until at least 24 weeks, possibly not even until 28 weeks. So it’s more likely that, now that the protection of Roe is gone, Republicans are just trying to shift the goal posts and ban abortion sooner.

The surprising thing about Trump’s interview is not that he expressed openness toward limiting abortion. Just two weeks ago, Trump suggested a 16-week federal abortion ban.So it’s possible—likely, even—Trump will keep reducing what he considers a reasonable number of weeks to allow abortions until he’s reached zero.

Trump has bragged about his role in overturning Roe and even demanded credit for individual state abortion bans. He is reportedly planning to gut reproductive rights if he is reelected, likely by relying heavily on the Comstock Act, a century-old law that conservatives are using to ban access to abortion and abortion medication.

Meanwhile, the vast majority of Americans—61 percent, according to the Pew Research Center—think abortion should be legal in all or most cases. This is why, even in otherwise deep red states, people keep voting to increase abortion access.

Cognitive Decline? Trump Goes on Bonkers Rant at Border

The former president has taken issue with languages.

Donald Trump stands with his hands flared out next to a large American flag
Kent Nishimura/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Donald Trump seems to have a weird idea of who’s entering through our borders, claiming on Thursday that a good chunk of them are people “who don’t speak languages.”

“Everybody I speak to says how horrible it is,” Trump said, adding that there were “millions of people” arriving from “places unknown,” from “countries unknown” with no language.

That is, at best, a woefully missed opportunity for a one-of-a-kind anthropological study, or at worst, an unfortunate admission from the reputed monolinguist. Trump apparently was having a tough time recalling any of the 350 different languages spoken by U.S. communities—maybe chief among them Spanish, which ranks as the second-most-popular language in the nation, and which the vast majority of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border speak.

“We have languages coming into our country, nobody that speaks those languages,” Trump droned. “They’re truly foreign languages. Nobody speaks them.”

In the last few months, Trump has made a number of increasingly worrying verbal gaffes, including claiming that he would stop banks from “debanking” Americans, mixing up former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and his only remaining rival in the GOP race, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and describing his plan for America’s missile defense system by going, “Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.… Boom. OK. Missile launch. Woosh. Boom.”

He has also appeared with mysterious, unexplained red sores on his hands that political commentators couldn’t help but notice looked an awful lot like syphilis.

But have no fear: The 77-year-old wants you to know he is totally, undoubtedly, mentally all there. He recently “aced” a cognitive test that required him to correctly identify a giraffe, a tiger, and a whale. According to Trump, that meant his “mind is stronger now than it was 25 years ago.” In reality, that test is meant to measure dementia or cognitive decline, and it has never included the combination of animals Trump mentioned.

Trump Is Broke as Heck and Completely “Embarrassed” by It

The former president is struggling to pay his New York civil fraud fine.

Donald Trump dances with his fists raised
Kent Nishimura/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Donald Trump has had to admit that he can’t afford his legal comeuppance—a punishment that might have been even worse for the self-proclaimed billionaire than the actual $454 million penalty in his New York civil fraud trial.

“Well, of course, he’s embarrassed because his entire net worth, the constant reiteration that ‘I’m worth at least $10 billion,’ maybe even more, obviously goes to his id, his ego, his super-ego,” former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen told CNN on Thursday.

“And that’s now super deflated because it’s just not true,” he continued. “They had to acknowledge that they don’t have it. It wasn’t that long ago that he stood on the stand, and he told everybody that he was worth many, many, many, many billions of dollars and has a very low debt-to-value ratio.”

Trump’s last-ditch effort to postpone paying the full amount in lieu of a $100 million bond was rejected by a New York appeals court judge on Wednesday. The judge did, however, grant some relief after Trump’s legal team argued in an 1,800-page court filing that it would be “impossible” to secure a bond covering the full amount of the multimillion-dollar ruling. The granted request will allow Trump to continue borrowing money, though the ruling is temporary until a full panel of judges deliberates on the order.

Failing to obtain a loan, however, could result in the seizure of Trump’s assets, warned New York Attorney General Letitia James.

“I mean, what is he going to do?” Cohen continued. “What’s he going to call like a J.G. Wentworth and say, ‘I need cash now’? How was he going to raise more than this half a billion?”

Justice Arthur Engoron had originally slapped a $354 million fine on Trump for committing real estate–related fraud in New York, but by last week, that sum had grown to $454.2 million thanks to added interest, which is tacking on an additional $112,000 with each passing day.

The penalty also came with an addendum that Trump cannot serve as an officer or director of a New York company for three years, including his own Trump Organization. His two adult sons were also penalized by the ruling: They were fined $4 million each and will have to stay out of New York business for two years. They will also be prevented from obtaining loans from any New York financial institutes for three years.

Lauren Boebert Has Another Weird Sex Scandal in the Family

More details are emerging about Tyler Boebert’s arrest for a crime spree.

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

The story around Tyler Boebert’s arrest just keeps getting worse.

Representative Lauren Boebert’s 18-year-old son allegedly made a sex tape with a minor, according to an affidavit following his arrest on Tuesday.

The younger Boebert was arrested over “a recent string of vehicle trespass and property thefts” in Rifle, a town in Colorado’s 3rd congressional district, which his mom currently represents, said police. He is facing 22 charges, including criminal possession of a financial device and criminal possession of ID documents.

But if that wasn’t bad enough, an arrest affidavit released by the Garfield County Clerk of Court noted Tyler “supposedly made a sex tape with” one of the other suspects, a female minor. That tape was reportedly sent around to people they knew. It’s not clear from the affidavit how old Boebert or the suspect were at the time they did so.

The four suspects involved are reportedly two female minors, one male minor, and the 18-year-old Boebert.

The affidavit also sheds more light on how exactly the four friends were caught. The investigation reportedly began on February 20, when a woman informed police that someone broke into her parked car and took her wallet the day before. The wallet contained a stolen card that was then used at various locations on February 19 and 20.

Police say that Tyler and his friends were out to steal people’s wallets and credit cards in order to use them for purchases. One of the victims included a woman with a brain tumor who said she had just $75 “left to her name,” according to police.

And how were they caught? Surveillance footage from one of the stores the cohort stopped at reveals Tyler wearing a gray “Shooters Grill” hoodie—the name of his mother’s former restaurant in Rifle, Colorado.

Lauren Boebert, for her part, said in a statement that her son “will take responsibility for his actions and should be held accountable for poor decisions just like any other citizen.”

“I love my son Tyler, who has been through some very difficult, public challenges for a young man, and the subject of attention that he didn’t ask for,” she said. “It breaks my heart to see my child struggling and, in this situation, especially when he has been provided multiple opportunities to get his life on track. I will never give up on him and I will continue to be there for him.”

Still, it’s a rough spot to be in for the Colorado representative who likes to rail about the “Biden crime family” every chance she gets. She’s already facing a tough congressional bid this primary season. Beobert chose late last year to move to and run in Colorado’s 4th congressional district, a much more right-leaning seat and thus one that should theoretically be an easier election win for her. That decision followed a rather embarrassing national spectacle when she and a date were caught on security cameras groping each other, vaping, and eventually getting kicked out of a performance of Beetlejuice.

Unfortunately, things still aren’t looking good for Boebert. During a campaign event earlier this month, Republicans weren’t impressed.

“I don’t appreciate, as a Christian, people saying they’re Christian to get your vote and then turning out to be a lowlife, and now I just kind of think of her as a lowlife,” one voter told The Wall Street Journal.

Missouri GOP Candidate: It’s OK, I’m Only an “Honorary” KKK Member

Darrell McClanahan III thinks his ties to the hate group aren’t that bad because he wasn’t an official member.

Young white men hold tiki torches and shout
Zach D Roberts/NurPhoto/Getty Images
Darrell Leon McClanahan III attended the 2017 Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia

It wasn’t all too long ago that political candidates would be disowned by their parties upon the discovery of ties to hate groups. But the first candidate listed on the unofficial Republican gubernatorial ballot in Missouri has been outed as a white supremacist—and nothing seems to be happening.

Darrell Leon McClanahan III’s name appeared even higher than the party’s front-runners due to the names being drawn in ballot order, with the lowest ballot numbers—such as McClanahan’s—appearing first. This is now the second time that the state Republican Party has accepted a filing fee and candidacy paperwork from McClanahan. The known white supremacist had a failed run for U.S. Senate in 2022, when he placed fifteenth in a group of 21 candidates, pulling more than 1,100 votes.

“Hey @MissouriGOP I just learned the candidate listed first on our primary ballot for Governor is a cross-burning KKK member who ran for US Senate 2 years ago and freely admits his KKK membership & white supremacist beliefs,” former Missouri State Representative Shamed Dogan wrote on social media, calling on the party to reject the “racist loser” as a candidate.

A tweet from Shamed Dogan

McClanahan has tried to downplay the facts, saying he is just an “honorary” member instead of a formal member of the Knight’s Party Ku Klux Klan. He identifies with the racist religious sect Christian Identity, and has attended several events hosted by the Arkansas-based Christian Identity Klan, including a cross burning in which he is pictured performing a Nazi salute beside a man clad in the KKK’s white-hooded garb. McClanahan tried to brush that off by describing the event as “religious Christian Identity Cross lighting ceremony.”

He has, however, advertised his membership in the League of the South, a white extremist group demanding a “white-dominated South,” according to the Anti Defamation League.

McClanahan also attended the 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protest—an experience that he wrote positively about for the Knights Party’s newsletter, The Torch, cataloging his descent into far-right, race-based radicalization.

In a defamation suit he filed against the ADL for aligning him with white supremacists and antisemites, McClanahan described himself as a “Pro-White man, horseman, politician, political prisoner-activist who is dedicated to traditional Christian values,” reported the RiverFrontTimes. The lawsuit has since been dismissed.

“Shamed Dogan I would like to respectfully request that you cease and desist from making defamatory statements about me on the X platform. Your statement about me being a cross-burning KKK member and white supremacist is false and damaging to my reputation,” McClanahan said in a statement to the RiverFrontTimes addressed directly to Dogan.

It is currently unclear if the Missouri Republican Party can or will reject McClanahan’s candidacy, or if he’ll make the official ballot come August.

The Three Johns Who Could Succeed McConnell, Ranked From Horrible to Worse

So far, the main contenders to replace Mitch McConnell are all men named John. What differentiates them?

From left, John Barrasso, John Thune, and John Cornyn stand behind Mitch McConnell
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
From left, John Barrasso, John Thune, Mitch McConnell, and John Cornyn

Republicans have until the end of the year to replace Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who announced Wednesday he will step down as the longest-serving Senate leader in American history. But that hasn’t stopped GOP lawmakers from clamoring about who would take his place.

So far, the candidate pool is (perhaps unsurprisingly) looking a little monotonous, with the top three contenders all old, white men named John. They include Minority Whip John Thune, former Whip John Cornyn, and GOP Conference Chair John Barrasso.

HORRIBLE: John Thune

At 63 years old, the South Dakota senator is the youngest of the bunch. He’s also reputed to be the current favorite and most moderate of the three Johns, supporting sending more aid to Ukraine—a stance that soured many more extreme Republicans on McConnell.

Thune also has a long history of going head to head with Trump, initially endorsing Senator Tim Scott in the GOP presidential primaries over the former president, surviving a round of primary threats from Trump, and roundly criticizing him for interfering in the 2020 presidential election results. At the time, Thune argued that the former president’s effort to “undermine faith in our election system and disrupt the peaceful transfer of power is inexcusable.”

WORSE: John Cornyn

The path to GOP leadership for the Texas senator is not as clear as it would have been two years ago, according to senior Republican aides. Out of the trio, Cornyn is the only candidate not currently in the inner sanctum of Republican leadership—though his résumé is long. Previously, the 72-year-old served as the conference’s whip from 2013 to 2019. He also served as a committee chairman and has chaired the Senate GOP’s campaign arm two times.

Cornyn offers the party a Goldilocks solution between Thune and Barrasso—he is a Trump skeptic capable of the kind of quintessential bipartisan deal-making that modern conservatives appear to loathe. In 2022, Cornyn worked with Democrats to pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act after the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, putting some of the strongest gun restrictions on the books since the 1990s.


The 71-year-old is the third-highest-ranking senator in the GOP. Barrasso is a strong Donald Trump ally who became the second member of the upper chamber to endorse the GOP front-runner for 2024. The Wyoming Republican could easily be considered the most conservative of the three Johns on sale. That could win him favor with a growing Trump base within the U.S. legislature, who have voiced that they would prefer a dark-horse candidate over more of the same—that is, another McConnell.

Out of the three, Barrasso is the only one lingering on whether to announce his official candidacy.

“There’s a much more important election between now and then,” he told Politico on Wednesday, referring to the general election. “And that’s the election we need to take the presidency and the Senate and the House, and that’s where my focus is.”

It remains to be seen if Trump’s favor will help—or hurt—any of the candidates.

“Trump’s support would definitely help with some senators, but it cuts the other way too,” a senior GOP leadership aide told The Daily Beast. “It probably helps more than it hurts, but this is a closed-door, secret-ballot election. It’s really not like some local primary where everyone is waiting to hear from Trump.”

Ultimately, whoever wins will need the backing of about 25 senators. “Either Cornyn or Thune could probably get there with or without Trump’s endorsement,” the aide said.

But with so much time before decisions have to be made, most Senators appear to have no clear favorites.

“Listen, I don’t have a favorite candidate—I’m persuadable,” Senator Josh Hawley told Politico.

More on McConnell’s potential successor:

Watch: Mike Johnson Desperately Tries to Avoid Talking About IVF

The House speaker all but ran away when asked about his stance on the procedure.

Mike Johnson looks forward
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Please don’t ask House Speaker Mike Johnson about his stance on IVF. It’s hard for him to give a comprehensible answer.

The far-right speaker struggled Thursday to answer a question about in vitro fertilization, which has taken center stage following an Alabama Supreme Court ruling earlier this month that determined frozen embryos can in fact be considered children.

“On IVF, do you favor a bill to protect IVF and do you believe discarding embryos is murder?” a reporter asked Johnson.

“Look, I believe in the sanctity of every human life. I always have. And because of that, I support IVF and its availability,” Johnson began.

“If you look at the statistics, it’s really an amazing thing. Since the technology became available in I think the ’70s, maybe the mid-’70s, an estimated eight million births in the U.S. have been brought about because of that technology,” he continued. “So it needs to be readily available, it needs to be something that every American supports, and it needs to be handled in an ethical manner.”

“I don’t think there’s a single person in the Republican conference who disagrees with that statement, and there’s a lot of misunderstanding about it, but it’s something I think we ought to support.”

Well, there’s at least one person who disagrees with that statement: Mike Johnson.

Like many other anti-abortion lawmakers, Johnson has a long record of arguing that life begins “from the moment of fertilization.” And that’s the exact same logic the Alabama Supreme Court used when ruling that even embryos created through in vitro fertilization are protected under the Wrongful Death of a Minor Act.

Johnson has used this logic to oppose nearly every form of reproductive rights, including contraception. Along with most other Republicans in the House, Johnson has also co-sponsored the Life at Conception Act, which would grant legal personhood to fertilized eggs.

The Alabama ruling has already pushed at least three fertility clinics in the state to put a pause on IVF. A major embryo shipping company has also paused business, making it harder for Alabamans who’ve already started the IVF process to now seek that care out of state. The Life at Conception Act would give legal personhood to every fertilized egg much like the Alabama ruling, and thus it would have a very similar effect on restricting IVF—but on a national scale.

Shortly after becoming House speaker in November, Johnson was asked about his previous records on legislation against fertility treatments.

“I’m not sure what they’re talking about,” Johnson conveniently replied. “I don’t really remember any of those measures.”

Similarly, when the reporter tried to ask Johnson on Thursday whether he supports any legislation to protect the right to IVF, he quickly ended the press conference.

Senate Republicans, meanwhile, blocked a bill to protect IVF treatment late Wednesday.

Here’s How Long the Supreme Court Could Delay Trump’s Jan. 6 Trial

The Supreme Court’s decision to hear Donald Trump’s immunity case is slowing everything down.

Donald Trump stands while holding his fist in the air
Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Supreme Court has said it will hear the case on whether former President Donald Trump can claim presidential immunity to get out of his federal election interference trial.

But that announcement, which came Wednesday, has legal experts concerned about how this could just be a delay tactic by the Supreme Court and its three Trump-appointed justices.

Until the Supreme Court issues its final decision on Trump’s immunity claim, the federal trial over Trump’s efforts to overthrow the 2020 election—overseen by Judge Tanya Chutkan and originally scheduled to begin next week—will remain on hold.

Legal analyst Lisa Rubin explained on MSNBC Thursday just how much the Supreme Court’s decision shifts back the timeline for when Trump could finally be in a courtroom and potentially face justice over his actions around the 2020 election.

“When Donald Trump’s case was paused to allow for further consideration of the immunity issue, there were 88 days left till trial,” Rubin said. “Judge Chutkan has publicly committed herself to giving Donald Trump around seven months to prepare for trial. So we have to assume that she takes that 88 day remainder fairly seriously. She has also said … that this is a trial that will take around three months. So you have to build into the calendar that 88 days plus 90 days to try the case, if you think that this is going to happen before the election.”

“And that’s why folks like me are asking the Supreme Court, why didn’t you write like you’re running out of time?” she continued. “Because time is quickly elapsing here.”

The Supreme Court has said it will hear arguments beginning the week of April 22.

While many legal experts agree that the Supreme Court will likely strike down Trump’s presidential immunity claim, as Rubin explained, they have different opinions on how quickly they think the Supreme Court will actually issue that decision after hearing the case.

Neal Katyal, the former acting U.S. solicitor general, thinks the decision will come pretty quickly, perhaps by early May. But if we consider Rubin’s math, even in the most sped-up version of the timeline, Trump wouldn’t face a decision in the federal election interference trial until early November. The 2024 election is on November 5.

The Supreme Court’s term usually ends at the end of June or early July. If the court waits until then to issue its ruling, the timeline looks even worse.

Former appeals court Judge Michael Luttig predicted that it is “unimaginable” that Trump will be tried in special counsel Jack Smith’s federal election interference trial before the 2024 election.

Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe also warned that the delay we’ve seen thus far “is just the beginning.”

“If [the Supreme Court] really had any interest in expedition, any interest in satisfying the public need to get this trial going and to have a verdict one way or the other before the election, they would have asked a narrower question,” Tribe told MSNBC Wednesday night. “They would have simply asked whether a president charged with criminally seeking to remain in office beyond the end of his term has absolute immunity from prosecution or crimes committed in that vein. That would have been the right question to ask, and it could have only had one answer.”

Of course, the Supreme Court’s scope in hearing the case is much broader—and it won’t even begin considering the many questions of immunity until April.

As a reminder, Trump’s immunity claim is so outlandish that it has been struck down by two courts already. At one point, his lawyers even tried to argue that a president would be immune from criminal prosecution if he ordered the assassination of a political rival, so long as Congress did not vote to impeach him first.

Guess Which Crooked GOPer Didn’t Even Listen to Hunter Biden’s Testimony?

Hunter Biden’s testimony did not appear to go as planned.

James Comer speaks into microphones
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Moments after the end of Hunter Biden’s closed-door deposition, Republicans signaled that the seemingly endless impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden had finally started to wrap up.

By all means, Wednesday did not look like a success for Republicans, who were roundly accused of ignoring evidence supporting the president’s innocence and pushing a double standard by refusing to examine the term-specific financial gains of former President Donald Trump, who “openly pocketed” money from his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s business dealings—including a $2 billion deal with a Saudi crown prince and Trump ally.

But none of that seemed to linger on the minds of the Republicans leading the probe, who hours later could only seem to remember that the hearing had proved extremely damaging for the Biden family—which, frankly, makes sense considering they hardly attended.

In an interview on Fox News’s Hannity, House Oversight Chair James Comer, Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, and Ways and Means Chair Jason Smith—who have led the charge against the Biden family—refused to acknowledge the startling truth.

“On a scale of one through 10, how damaging was today’s testimony—or deposition—to Hunter Biden?” asked Hannity.

“Well I would say that they’re pretty good at not recalling many things so I’d say an eight,” said Smith.

Oversight Democrats Communications Director Nelly Decker later pointed out that Smith was not present for the deposition.

“I’d say an eight,” Comer replied curtly, failing to admit that he had left the deposition early and didn’t ask a single question of the witness at the very center of their impeachment probe.

Tweet from Eric Swalwell

“Sean, Sean, I think it was very good for us,” Jordan said. “As I said I think we got a lot of information that we can use if in fact we have a public hearing as Chairman Comer has talked about.”

Republicans are preparing for a public hearing with Hunter Biden—though that was the format that the president’s son has demanded since at least December, when he risked a contempt of Congress charge by refusing the first closed-door invitation. Now we can see why.

Radical Freedom Caucus Torches McConnell After Retirement Announcement

The far-right wing of the House is overjoyed Mitch McConnell is stepping down from Senate leadership.

Mitch McConnell stands in profile next to an American flag

The far-right House Freedom Caucus couldn’t hide its glee after Mitch McConnell announced that he’ll step down as Senate minority leader by the end of the year.

The 82-year-old Kentucky Republican said Wednesday he’ll resign from his leadership position by November, and the Freedom Caucus responded by calling him a RINO.

“Our thoughts are with our Democrat colleagues in the Senate on the retirement of their Co-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (D-Ukraine),” the caucus wrote in a statement on X, formerly Twitter, clearly labeling McConnell a Democrat.

“No need to wait till November,” the statement continued. “Senate Republicans should IMMEDIATELY elect a *Republican* Minority Leader.”

A tweet from the House Freedom Caucus

Perhaps this statement shouldn’t be a huge surprise from the far-right caucus, which has bullied House Republicans into adopting more extreme stances at every turn. Most of the members who blocked former Representative Kevin McCarthy’s first bid for the speakership in January 2023 were members of the Freedom Caucus. And seven of the so-called “Gaetz Eight” representatives who successfully kicked out McCarthy just nine months later were also members of the caucus.

More recently, the group has pressured House Speaker Mike Johnson to resist voting on the border deal and on Ukraine aid, in line with the wishes of former President Donald Trump. McConnell, meanwhile, had tried to rally Senate Republicans in support of the legislation.

All this to say: It makes sense that the Freedom Caucus is excited by McConnell’s departure. But calling McConnell—the man who blocked campaign finance reform and helped Donald Trump appoint conservative judges and reshape the courts for decades to come—a RINO is truly next level.

McConnell’s decision to step down, and the Freedom Caucus’s immediate response, is a sign of where the Republican Party is headed. And it’s not looking good.

“Believe me, I know the politics within my party at this particular moment in time,” McConnell said during his resignation speech Wednesday. “I have many faults. Misunderstanding politics is not one of them.”