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It’s Official: Abraham Lincoln’s Political Party Died Today

Donald Trump’s MAGA takeover of the Republican National Committee is complete.

splitscreen of Michael Watley and Lara Trump
Getty x2

The Republican National Committee elected a pair of new leaders on Friday and, surprise surprise, they were both hand-selected by Donald Trump. Their introduction to the higher echelons of conservative fundraising stands as a marking point: Trump’s takeover of the party is now complete.

North Carolina GOP Chairman Michael Whatley was elected to replace outgoing RNC Chair (and expired Trump favorite) Ronna McDaniel, while the former president’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, was selected as co-chair.

Their introduction comes at a critical juncture for Trump, who is struggling to pay for a legal comeuppance that so far includes more than half a billion dollars in judgments and mountains of cash for his four upcoming criminal trials.

Both of the new RNC leaders are 2020 election deniers, and both also echoed Trump’s agenda in their acceptance speeches. Whatley claimed he would hire “real-time monitors” to oversee the upcoming presidential election to thwart interference (a plan that didn’t work out so well for conservatives last time), while the younger Trump “bigly” quoted some of his catchphrases.

Both also pledged that raising money would be a top priority for the caucus, which in January reported a measly $8.7 million in its coffers—nearly a third of what the DNC has on hand. Still, it’s a bit transparent why that might be so important to them. Even though the RNC typically functions to back campaigning officials all the way down the ballot, the co-chair has already sworn the RNC’s cash will help cover the presumed GOP presidential nominee’s legal woes.

“We have no time to waste,” the 41-year-old Trump said on Real America’s Voice earlier this week. “We have to ensure that every single penny of every dollar donated goes to causes that people care about. That’s part of the reason that I think I’m such a great fit for this: There’s no one more loyal to Donald Trump.”

Some members of the party are fearful of the consequences of that decision, including Nikki Haley, who warned upon bowing out of the presidential race that Trump could make the RNC his “personal piggy bank.”

“There will be zero money available for any candidates down ballot. Zero,” Liz Mair, a Republican strategist, told USA Today. “All of it will be funneled into the presidential, and despite what (Trump aide) Chris LaCivita says, I’m pretty sure as much of it as can be will actually be funneled into covering Trump lawsuit costs.”

What Idiot Backed Trump’s Bond in E. Jean Carroll Trial? This One.

Good luck to this man.

Evan Greenberg sits on a chair and is speaking
Yukie Nishizawa/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Chubb CEO Evan Greenberg

Donald Trump raised a lot of eyebrows on Friday when he finally posted bond for E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit against him, amid reports that the former president is broke.

Trump posted a $91.6 million bond, which covers the $83.3 million he was ordered to pay in damages for defaming Carroll and interest for putting off payment for so long. He had repeatedly tried to get the deadline to pay delayed or get the total ruling amount reduced, but the presiding judge struck him down every time.

But the question on everyone’s mind is, how did Trump get that money together? He appears to be struggling to post bond in his multiple lawsuits and reportedly only has about $413 million in liquid assets. That’s not nearly enough to cover everything he owes in legal fines.

It turns out that Trump may have called in a major favor: Court records filed Friday show that the bond was guaranteed by the Chubb Corporation, an insurance group. In 2018, Trump appointed Chubb’s CEO Evan Greenberg to a White House advisory committee for trade policy and negotiations.

Trump only just managed to make his deadline to post bond. He had to post and then appeal by March 11, or Carroll’s lawyers could start collecting on damages. But his financial woes are far from over.

The former president still owes Carroll $5 million for her first lawsuit, when he was found liable for sexually abusing her and defaming her when denying the attack. Trump also owes more than $466 million for committing real estate–related fraud in New York. He was initially fined $354 million, but interest adds an additional $112,000 per day.

He owes $400,000 to The New York Times and has racked up thousands more in fines and gag-order violations during his myriad lawsuits. And just Thursday, Trump was ordered to pay $382,000 in legal fees for Orbis Business Intelligence, the consulting firm owned by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.* Trump had sued Orbis over a dossier Steele compiled in 2016 that alleged Trump and members of his inner circle had been “compromised” by Russia’s security service.

* This article originally misstated the name of Christopher Steele.

Trump Is About to Face an Avalanche of January 6 Lawsuits

Donald Trump’s legal woes are multiplying after that stupid immunity claim.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s legal woes continue to grow, as three more lawsuits against him were greenlit on Friday to proceed.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., has approved three lawsuits related to Trump’s role in the January 6 attack. One of the suits, Moore v. Trump, was brought by Capitol Police Officer Marcus Moore. Moore, who has been on the force for more than 10 years, accused Trump of inflicting “physical and emotional injuries” on him via his actions surrounding the insurrection.

The appellate court order listed Moore’s case and the case numbers for two other lawsuits. “These appeals raise the same question that this court recently decided in Blassingame,” the three-judge panel wrote, referring to the ruling that Trump does not have presidential immunity from prosecution.

“As a result, the merits of the parties’ positions are so clear as to warrant summary action,” the judges said, meaning they can make a decision without releasing a legal opinion.

Trump has already lost two major cases via summary order. The first was E. Jean Carroll’s second lawsuit against him for defamation. The presiding judge determined that since Trump had already been found liable for sexually abusing Carroll and defaming her while denying it, his other comments about her were by default defamatory.

The second was when a judge ruled that there was sufficient evidence to prove Trump had committed real estate–related fraud in New York. A trial was only necessary to set damages, not to prove whether the allegations against him were true.

The D.C. appeals court ruled in early February that Trump does not have “presidential immunity.”

“For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant. But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution,” the judges said in the ruling.

That ruling, however, could soon be overturned. The Supreme Court agreed to hear Trump’s appeal on immunity. The justices will hear arguments on April 25.

Trump Posts Whopping $92 Million Bond in E. Jean Carroll Trial

The Republican Party’s front-runner is in a ton of debt.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

The former host of The Apprentice just lost a boat load of “money, money, money, money.”

On Friday, Donald Trump posted a $91.6 million bond in the second defamation case brought against him by writer E. Jean Carroll. Trump is still working to appeal the ruling, which hit him with $83.3 million in damages in January for continuing to defame Carroll, claiming he hadn’t raped her and she had made up allegations for her book, despite a prior ruling in which a jury found Trump liable for having sexually assaulted her in the mid-1990s.

But, of course, it isn’t Trump’s money on the line. Instead, it appears that Trump had to cash in one of his favors to cover the multi-million expense, which was guaranteed by Federal Insurance Company, a subsidiary of the Chubb Group—whose CEO, Evan Greenberg, Trump appointed to the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations in 2018.

The “grab ‘em by the pussy” former president narrowly skirted his deadline for posting bond, which was set for Monday. In a written order released Thursday, Judge Lewis Kaplan rejected Trump’s efforts to delay the posting date, deciding that the appeals process should not get in the way of Trump setting aside what he rightfully owes Carroll.

And appeal he did, with his legal team filing to do so moments after posting the bond.

Trump spent his time in and out of the courtroom attacking every character involved in the defamation trial, including Kaplan, whom he decried as “abusive” and Trump-hating, while claiming the entire case was a “hoax” akin to “election interference at a level never seen before.”

But for all his complaining, Trump can only thank himself for the magnitude of the fine, which came after the court considered what an appropriate penalty would be for a self-purported billionaire who has bragged about his wealth in every format, from deposition videos to TV appearances.

That same strategy earned him another shocking fine—nearly half a billion dollars—after he was found to have committed bank fraud in New York State. Trump has until March 25 to implement a stay on that order, by which he would need to cough up the money, assets, or an appeal bond to cover the $466 million disgorgement.*

But all this, of course, has not stopped Trump from continuing to flaunt his wealth, insisting to anyone that will listen that he’s not worried about the fines that cut so deep they threaten his real estate empire. “I have a lot of money,” Trump told Fox News on Tuesday. Let’s see how that works out for him.

This article has been updated, including a correction of the amount Trump owes for committing bank fraud.

Republicans Torch Their Own “Creepy” State of the Union Response

Alabama Senator Katie Britt gave a truly bizarre SOTU rebuttal—and even other Republicans are baffled by it.

Katie Britt smiles and stares off camera
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Nobody seemed to enjoy Alabama Senator Katie Britt’s melodramatic response to the State of the Union address on Thursday, least of all Republicans, who had no qualms about mocking their colleague’s breathy, overenunciated speech.

Locked in a kitchen, Britt appeared on the verge of tears for more than 17 minutes as she complained about the curtailing of rights (but didn’t refer to the reversal of Roe v. Wade), used a sexual assault anecdote from a migrant sex-trafficked by a Mexican cartel (while arguing that we should restrict asylum into the United States), and accused Biden of making the country look bad while international threats loom, like Vladimir Putin’s escalations in Ukraine (while failing to mention former President Donald Trump’s cozy relationship with the Russian dictator).

Republicans flatly panned the performance, calling the address “creepy” and “scary.”

“Well, that Katie Britt experience was … experiential,” posted Michael Steele, former chair of the Republican National Convention, on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

The prerecorded speech quickly became a gossip item overnight with operatives connected to Trump, according to Republicans who spoke to The Daily Beast.

“Everyone’s fucking losing it,” one GOP strategist told the outlet, likening the moment to Marco Rubio’s water-break faux pas. “It’s one of our biggest disasters ever.”

One Trump adviser was so frustrated by Britt that they reached out to Rolling Stone, facetiously asking “What the hell am I watching right now?”

That’s a stark reversal and a major loss for the freshman lawmaker, who had been set on the rising-star fast track and was even being floated as a potential vice president pick for Trump, whose draft for the “most insignificant office” seems to be growing longer by the day.

Even those that liked her couldn’t bear to endure the performance.

“Katie Britt is exactly the right pick for the response, but this is hard to watch. She’s acting instead of just speaking,” conservative podcaster Allie Beth Stuckey wrote on X.

“Senator Katie Britt is a very impressive person. She ran a hell of race in [Alabama],” Alyssa Farah Griffin, The View co-host and Trump’s 2020 White House communications adviser, posted on X. “I do not understand the decision to put her in a KITCHEN for one of the most important speeches she’s ever given.”

Media commentators, meanwhile, had a field day coming up with snark worthy of throwing at Britt’s response, taking particular aim at her shoddy acting chops.

“The acting chops on display here are somewhere between porn and high school play,” wrote Puck News’s Julia Ioffe.

“There is no way that this Katie Britt address does not end up as part of the SNL cold open,” posted The Atlantic’s Tom Nichols, looking ahead to Saturday Night Live.

“Gee, #KatieBritt looks like she’s doing all right. Nice kitchen! Shame she’s such a bad actress. Big smile, the cross (always), all the accouterments, even a fake catch in her voice. But she’s fake fake fake as Kari Lake,” posted actress Bette Midler, later adding her surprise upon discovering that Britt is, in fact, a senator.

“She’s been in Community Theater too long. Delivery? D-, Kitchen B, Text -2, Policies F,” Midler wrote.

There’s a New Republican Whine About Biden’s Energy, and It’s Insane

Republicans are harping on an unbelievable part of Joe Biden’s State of the Union address.

Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Republicans are annoyed that Joe Biden successfully delivered the State of the Union address, disproving their many potshots about his mental and physical infirmity.

Biden was animated during his Thursday night speech, successfully going back and forth with GOP hecklers. Apparently, his energy did not sit well with a Republican Party that has long mocked him as “Sleepy Joe.”

Immediately after the address, Fox News host Sean Hannity described Biden’s speech as “so hyped-up it was bizarre” and even “frightening.” Later in his segment, during an interview with House Speaker Mike Johnson, Hannity said Biden was “very jacked up” and “overcaffeinated.”

Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump, at whom Biden took aim several times throughout the speech, made several all-caps comments about the State of the Union on Truth Social.


He also suggested that “THE DRUGS ARE WEARING OFF!”

Trump’s favorite doctor, Texas Representative Ronny Jackson, also posited Biden was overmedicated. We should probably trust Jackson on this one, as he allegedly knows a thing or two about overmedicating people in order to get results.

Ari Fleischer, who served as George W. Bush’s White House press secretary, insisted that Biden’s energy was still a sign of the president’s age. “Biden sounds like an elderly man arguing with his family because they’re trying to convince him he shouldn’t drive,” Fleisher wrote on social media.

Republican political consultant Frank Luntz warned that Biden’s volume levels could be off-putting to undecided voters.

The GOP has insisted throughout all of Biden’s presidency, as well as his two campaigns, that he is too old to hold office. Republicans insist he is suffering from cognitive decline (while ignoring Trump’s own many gaffes and fumbles).

Many people were quick to point out that Republicans cannot have it both ways.

“You people are actually pathetic,” reporter Elie Mystal replied to Fleischer. “‘Biden’s too old’ to ‘Biden’s too loud’ in sixty seconds.”

Mike Johnson Hits All-Time Low in Stupidity With Latest IVF Comments

The House speaker is doing some serious mental gymnastics to explain why Republicans are doing nothing to protect IVF.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Mike Johnson continues to get tongue-tied when trying to talk about IVF, with his latest bonkers comments coming during an interview on Thursday.

Republican lawmakers have rushed to portray themselves as defenders of in vitro fertilization after the Alabama Supreme Court ruling that classified embryos as children. But Johnson appears to be struggling to reconcile his party’s newfound talking points with his avowed far-right Christian and anti–reproductive rights beliefs.

In an interview on Thursday, CBS host Tony Dokoupil asked Johnson whether destroying embryos constituted murder for someone who believes life begins at conception, as the House speaker does.

“It’s something that we’ve got to grapple with,” Johnson said. “It’s a brave new world. IVF’s only been invented, I think, in the early ’70s.”

The 1970s were half a century ago, so the technology on this one isn’t exactly up for debate—as many of Johnson’s own colleagues who have relied on IVF to start a family know quite well.

Johnson has refused to explicitly say whether he believes that the destruction of an embryo constitutes murder. But his past actions speak plenty loud. Johnson has long argued that life begins “from the moment of fertilization,” the same logic applied in the Alabama ruling.

He has repeatedly voted against increasing reproductive rights, ranging from abortion access to contraception. He also co-sponsored the Life at Conception Act, alongside most of the rest of his caucus, which would federally enshrine fetal personhood. But when asked in November about his history on legislating against fertility treatments, Johnson claimed he couldn’t remember “any of those measures.”

Since the Alabama ruling, Johnson and his Republican colleagues have talked plenty about supporting IVF, but they have done very little to actually protect access to the treatment. A group of seven GOP representatives introduced a resolution last week expressing support for IVF and calling on elected officials to protect the treatment, but the measure is nonbinding and doesn’t actually achieve anything. Five of the co-sponsors represent swing districts and are likely just trying to appeal to their constituents.

Johnson’s comment Thursday also echoes the logic in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, the landmark Supreme Court case that rolled back the nationwide right to abortion. The court’s conservative justices determined that abortion was not a fundamental right because “abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and tradition.” Essentially, because modern medicine has progressed, people do not have the right to bodily autonomy.

But it’s unclear how far back something has to go to be considered “history.” Again, IVF has now been around for half a century. The first record of abortion in the world is from 1550 BCE, and the procedure was definitely being performed in the American colonies.

For what it’s worth, Johnson himself was also only invented in the 1970s. He was born in 1972, and now, 50 years later, we’re all having to grapple with his policy choices.

Trump Has Way Too Much Info About the Jury in His First Criminal Trial

Donald Trump is getting a troubling amount of personal information about the jurors in his hush-money case.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

A New York judge has ruled that the jury in Donald Trump’s hush-money trial should be kept completely secret—except, of course, to Trump and company.

Both parties and their attorneys, staff, and consultants in the case will have access to the names of jurors, though other details will be kept more secret, according to Judge Juan Merchan. Residential addresses and places of work will be kept strictly confidential and shared only with attorneys and away from Trump, Merchan noted, citing the potential for harassment in the high-profile case of the volatile former president as reason for the safeguards.

The Court further finds good cause … that there is a likelihood of bribery, jury tampering, or of physical injury or harassment of jurors,’” Merchan wrote, adding that Trump has “an extensive history of publicly and repeatedly attacking trial jurors and grand jurors.”

It remains to be seen if that precaution will be enough to keep Trump from targeting the batch of private citizens conducting their civic duty.

Trump’s habit of lashing out at those around him in the courtroom became abundantly clear during a couple of his legal trials last year. During his New York fraud trial, for example, he repeatedly smeared Justice Arthur Engoron as “crooked” and baselessly asserted that one of the judge’s law clerks was having an affair with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. He has extended similar treatment to other court staff doling out his judgment, including special counsel Jack Smith, New York Attorney General Letitia James, Judge Tanya Chutkan, and countless others, sometimes defying court-ordered gag orders in order to do so.

And his rabid followers took that a step further in his Fulton County case, during which far-right conspiracy theorists doxxed a grand jury, circulating their full names, ages, and addresses and ushering a deluge of hate and violent threats their way.

“Defendant’s conduct in this and other matters—including his extensive history of attacking jurors in other proceedings—presents a significant risk of juror harassment and intimidation that warrants reasonable protective measures to ensure the integrity of these proceedings, minimize obstacles to jury selection, and protect juror safety,” prosecutors wrote in their motion to Merchan.

About a third of Trump’s 91 criminal charges stem from the hush-money case, in which Trump is accused of using his former fixer Michael Cohen to sweep an affair with porn actress Stormy Daniels under the rug ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

It wouldn’t be the first extraordinary measure taken to keep a jury safe from the ire and scrutiny of Trump’s followers. Jurors were kept fully anonymous and partially sequestered in E. Jean Carroll’s defamation case, with Judge Lewis Kaplan citing Trump’s behavior as reason for the extreme measures.

Shortly after the jurors handed down the verdict, Judge Kaplan warned them to “never disclose” that they were on the jury, out of concerns for their safety.

Marjorie Taylor Greene: No, I Won’t Promise to Behave at SOTU!

Marjorie Taylor Greene is threatening chaos again during Biden’s State of the Union address.

Marjorie Taylor Greene wearing a white coat with a white fur collar yells and makes a thumbs down. She is standing while others around her are seated.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

There are still hours on the clock before President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, but Republicans have already thrown off House Speaker Mike Johnson’s plea for civility.

Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene made clear that she would have no qualms about slinging more mud at the president’s annual visit to Congress.

Greene told Fox News’s Chad Pergram Thursday that her “district was fine with me calling him a liar last year” and that she would “decide in the moment” if she felt the urge to do it again.

She reportedly made the comments while handing out pins with the name Laken Riley, the 22-year-old woman who was killed by an undocumented immigrant and who has since become the face of a bill that would require U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain undocumented immigrants arrested for theft.

During Biden’s 2023 State of the Union address, Greene, clad in a $495 fur-trimmed, white alpaca coat that was meant to echo the Chinese spy balloon, led a GOP chorus that loudly booed and jeered the president. The group regularly interrupted the address and caused a scene so humiliating for the party that it got former Speaker Kevin McCarthy to mouth to them to “shush.” At one point, while Biden explained the potential for cuts to Social Security and Medicare in talks on the debt limit, Greene shouted, “Liar.”

That show necessitated a similar warning from Republican leadership ahead of Biden’s return to Capitol Hill.

On Wednesday, House Speaker Mike Johnson privately urged party members to keep decorum during Congress’s annual visit by the president.

“He just said, ‘Let’s have the appropriate decorum,’” one GOP lawmaker told The Hill on Wednesday.

“We don’t need to be shrill, you know, we got to avoid that. We need to base things upon policy, upon facts, upon reality of situations. Let them do the gaslighting, let them do the blaming,” the lawmaker added, referring to Democrats. “I think the American people know who is responsible for the many worldwide crises that we have.”

Stable Genius Trump Hit With Massive Fine in Steele Dossier Lawsuit

Donald Trump’s legal debts just keep piling up.

Above shot view as Donald Trump yells, staring off camera
Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Donald Trump must have gotten tired of winning, because he just added a six-figure legal bill to his ever-growing pile of lawsuit fines.

A London judge has ordered Trump to pay £300,000 (or $382,000) in legal fees for Orbis Business Intelligence, court documents released Thursday showed. Orbis is a consulting firm founded by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele.

During his career in British intelligence, Steele ran the Russia desk. In 2016, he compiled a dossier that alleged Trump and members of his inner circle had been “compromised” by Russia’s security service. Documents in the dossier, which have not been verified, claimed Russia had been grooming Trump for collaboration for years. Two memos also said that Trump had participated in “sex parties” in St. Petersburg and received “golden showers” from sex workers in Moscow.

Trump sued Orbis, claiming he had “suffered personal and reputational damage and distress,” particularly from the sex-related claims. He has denied all the allegations in the dossier, which was leaked to and then published by Buzzfeed in 2017.

But presiding Judge Karen Steyn threw the case out last month, saying it was “bound to fail.” And now, she has ordered Trump to reimburse Orbis for the company’s legal fees incurred during the daylong hearing.

That $382,000 bill, however, is just a drop in the bucket of Trump’s growing legal fees. The former president owes more than $466 million for committing real estate–related fraud in New York. He was initially fined $354 million, but interest adds an additional $112,000 per day.

Trump also owes a total of $88.3 million to writer E. Jean Carroll—$5 million for sexually abusing and defaming her and $83.3 million for defaming her a separate time. He owes $400,000 to The New York Times and has racked up thousands more in fines and gag order violations during his myriad lawsuits.

What’s more, Trump’s former personal attorney Rudy Giuliani says he still hasn’t been paid for legal services. Giuliani estimated that Trump owes him about $2 million in total.