Skip Navigation
Breaking News
Breaking News
from Washington and beyond

Sex Trafficking Survivor Detests Being in Republicans’ SOTU Response

Karla Jacinto Romero isn’t happy about the way Republican Senator Katie Britt used her story for the State of the Union rebuttal.

Katie Britt rests her chin on her hand. A nameplate before her reads "Mrs. Britt."
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

The sex trafficking survivor who was mentioned by Republican Senator Katie Britt in the State of the Union rebuttal says her story was totally warped by the senator as part of an attack on Joe Biden’s immigration policies.

“I hardly ever cooperate with politicians, because it seems to me that they only want an image. They only want a photo—and that to me is not fair,” Karla Jacinto Romero told CNN on Sunday. Jacinto Romero also confirmed that no one from Britt’s team had reached out to her asking to share her story.

In her widely criticized State of the Union response, Britt shared the graphic story of a woman who was raped by human traffickers for years.

“When I first took office, I did something different. I traveled to the Del Rio sector of Texas, where I spoke to a woman who shared her story with me. She had been sex trafficked by the cartels starting at age 12,” Britt said in her speech, seeming to imply that this happened in the United States during Biden’s presidency.

Britt’s communications director has already stated that the woman in the story was Jacinto Romero. And Jacinto Romero, in her interview with CNN, is confirming a viral TikTok that Britt got all the dates—and some other details—wrong.

In reality, Jacinto Romero was kept in captivity in Mexico from 2004 to 2008, when President George W. Bush was president. She was not trafficked in the United States, nor was she trafficked by drug cartels as Britt alleged in her speech, but by a pimp who kidnapped young girls.

Jacinto Romero also disputes Britt’s version of the story, which made it seem like the two women met in a private meeting.

Jacinto Romero told CNN that she actually met Britt at an anti-trafficking event last year at the southern border, with several other government officials in attendance, including Republican Senators Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi.

As these clarifications have come to light, how has Britt responded? Well, she’s doubling down of course.

When Fox News host Shannon Bream asked Britt Sunday if she meant to imply that this all happened during Biden’s presidency, Britt responded, “No. I very specifically said, ‘This is what President Biden did during his first 100 days.’ He stopped all deportations, he halted construction of the border wall and he said, ‘I’m going to give amnesty to millions.’ Those types of things act as a magnet to help more and more people here.”

She followed up that sentence with the statement, “President Biden’s border crisis is a disgrace. It’s despicable. And it’s almost entirely preventable.”

Trump Can’t Stop Trashing E. Jean Carroll—And She’s Watching All of It

Trump can’t resist digging his own grave deeper on E. Jean Carroll.

E. Jean Carroll wears sunglasses and a light blue blazer
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Donald Trump may have just landed himself in hot water—again—over E. Jean Carroll, as the former president simply cannot accept that he lost both of her lawsuits against him.

Trump appeared Monday on CNBC’s Squawk Box, and he promptly took aim at Carroll. He called her “Ms. Bergdorf Goodman,” referring to the store where he assaulted her, and said her story was a “false allegation” and that he had never met her before.

Just two days prior, during a rally in Georgia, Trump told supporters he had been forced to post bond on a “totally made up story.”

Based on false accusations made about me by a woman that I knew nothing about, didn’t know, never heard of it. I know nothing about her,” Trump continued.

He also claimed Carroll’s lawyers are “Democratic operatives” and the presiding judge—with whom Trump and his lawyers repeatedly clashed—was a “disaster.”

Trump posted a whopping $91.6 million bond last week, 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. Trump only just beat the deadline to post: Had he waited one more business day, Carroll’s lawyers could have started seizing his assets to collect.

But now, Trump has handed Carroll’s legal team fresh ammunition. The day after Trump’s comments in Georgia, legal analyst Lisa Rubin said since Trump had made the comments after he posted bond, it would be difficult to keep penalizing him for the same lawsuit.

“Should E. Jean Carroll and her team want any further relief now, their only option is to file another case,” Rubin said on MSNBC’s The Weekend.

“I think her recourse here is to sue again or at the very least to oppose the bond.”

Carroll’s attorneys sent a letter Monday to presiding Judge Lewis Kaplan indicating that they do not oppose the bond. But Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan (no relation to the judge) has indicated that they haven’t ruled out a third defamation lawsuit.

The statute of limitations for defamation in most jurisdictions is between one and three years,” Kaplan told reporter Maggie Haberman. “As we said after the last jury verdict, we continue to monitor every statement that Donald Trump makes about our client, E. Jean Carroll.”

Carroll’s other lawyer, Shawn Crowley, had also hinted that there might be another lawsuit in Trump’s future. “We’re watching, we’re listening,” she said in February. “We had really hoped that, as I think the jury found, that $83 million would maybe be enough to convince him to keep E. Jean Carroll’s name out of his mouth. Apparently, he showed us this weekend that he really cannot control himself and that maybe it wasn’t.”

We Must Now Wonder: Is Nancy Mace Right in the Head?

The Republican representative is pretending she’s being shamed as a rape victim, just because she was asked about her support for Donald Trump.

Nancy Mace close-up
Jemal Countess/Getty Images/Congressional Integrity Project

Representative Nancy Mace, an outspoken sexual assault survivor, had a baffling response when asked why she continues to support rapist Donald Trump for president.

Mace, who endorsed Trump in January, appeared Sunday on ABC’s This Week. When host George Stephanopolous asked Mace how she can “square” her support for Trump with his being found liable for sexually abusing E. Jean Carroll and then defaming her, Mace immediately began repeatedly accusing Stephanopoulos of trying to “shame” her for being sexually assaulted.

When Stephanopolous reiterated that a jury had found Trump liable for rape, a decision upheld by the presiding judge and then reinforced by a second jury, Mace snapped, “It was not a criminal court, number one.”

“Number two, I live with shame, and you’re asking me a question about my political choices, trying to shame me as a rape victim, and I find it disgusting,” Mace continued. “And quite frankly, E. Jean Carroll’s comments, when she did get the judgment, joking about what she was gonna buy? It makes it harder for women to come forward when they make a mockery out of rape.”

Stephanopolous pointed out that getting defamed by the sitting president also makes it harder for women to come forward, but Mace stuck to her guns. As of Monday morning, the pinned post on her X (formerly Twitter) account says, “There is nothing ‘valiant’ about shaming a rape victim.”

The irony was lost on Mace, but not Carroll. The popular author tweeted Sunday afternoon, “I wish Representative @RepNancyMace well. And I salute all survivors for their strength, endurance, and holding on to their sanity.”

Obviously, survivors of sexual assault should never be shamed for the attack. But Mace’s mental gymnastics here are just the latest demonstration of the congresswoman’s stunning hypocrisy.

According to Mace, it only counts as rape if the attacker is found guilty in a criminal court, not a civil court as Trump was. By this logic, sexual assault isn’t such a big deal, because out of every 1,000 instances of rape, only 13 get referred to a prosecutor. Only seven actually result in a felony conviction.

In fact, by her own logic, was Mace even attacked? Because she did not report the assault to the police. Again, that is her completely within her right, but she can’t then argue that being found liable for rape doesn’t count.

Mace has made her story of surviving sexual assault a major part of her political identity. She said it took her 25 years to share the story, after she was raped at just 16 years old, and it was one of the hardest things she’s ever done.

But for all her talk about helping victims of sexual assault, she hasn’t fully showed up for them when it comes to actual votes. Despite urging her party to adopt more moderate stances on abortion, for example, she then turns right around and falls in line with her party every single time.

As a reminder, Trump was found liable for sexually assaulting Carroll. The judge in the case went out of his way to clarify that as we understand the common definition of the word “rape,” Trump can be considered a rapist. The former president owes Carroll a total of $88.3 million—$5 million for assaulting her and defaming her, and the rest for defaming her a separate time.

After being awarded the $83.3 million in damages, Carroll vowed to spend the money on “something Donald Trump hates.”

“Perhaps a fund for the women who have been sexually assaulted by Donald Trump,” she said.

Rudy’s Back, and He’s in New Hot Water

Rudy Giuliani could be forced to explain his “legal services” for Trump, thanks to troubles in bankruptcy court.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

One of Donald Trump’s former fixers has turned into a headache that just won’t go away.

Attorneys for Rudy Giuliani’s creditors negotiating his Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed a request on Thursday, demanding that Giuliani reveal his financial secrets, including details on his cable TV earnings, the origin of his legal defense fund (led by his son), and even the nature of his work for Trump.

The far-reaching order is only possible thanks to allegations that Giuliani participated in “discovery misconduct”—that is to say, he failed to spill all the beans the first time around when he was sued by Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss.

“Indeed, it was Giuliani’s discovery misconduct in the Freeman Litigation—concerning Giuliani’s defamatory statements about two Georgia 2020 election workers—that led U.S. District Court Judge Beryl A. Howell to enter a $148 million default judgment against Giuliani,” reads the motion, obtained by Law & Crime,

“Judge Howell found Giuliani’s misconduct in the Freeman Litigation so egregious that she further ordered immediate dissolution of the automatic thirty-day stay of enforcement of the judgment, allowing the plaintiffs in the Freeman Litigation to take immediate steps to enforce the judgment,” the motion continued, noting that Giuliani’s “willful shirking of his discovery obligations” effectively lost him the case by default.

The attorneys argue that Giuliani has every reason to continue to lie and hide his assets without a court order, especially as he wrestles with the multimillion-dollar judgment for defaming Freeman and Moss. Meanwhile, Giulani has several other legal woes, including other defamation suits from Hunter Biden, Dominion Voting Systems, and Smartmatic, not to mention the Georgia election-interference case in which Giuliani is one of more than a dozen co-defendants. And on top of all that, there’s still one more lawsuit against Giuliani—one of his former business associates, Noelle Dunphy, has accused him of sexual assault.

Attorneys for Giuliani’s creditors argue that all those threats could pose up to $4 billion in potential damages—an extremely tall order for anyone to contend with, but especially for an unpaid attorney with a reported $10 million in assets.

Tuberville Tried to Defend That SOTU Response. It Did Not Go to Plan.

Tommy Tuberville says “housewife” Katie Britt did quite well during that State of the Union rebuttal. (She’s also a senator, by the way.)

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

While pretty much everybody unanimously hated the Republican response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Thursday, at least one conservative loved it … albeit for all the wrong reasons.

Republicans tapped one of their youngest lawmakers, Alabama Senator Katie Britt, to helm the response. Over the course of 17 choked-up minutes, Britt, holed up in a kitchen somewhere, staccato-skipped her way through heavy topics, including immigration, sex trafficking, the curtailing of human rights (but not women’s), national security, and foreign affairs. Between the awkward pain behind her voice that most viewers read as disingenuous, and the Steven King–esque smile glitched between forced sorrows, Bette Midler rated Britt’s performance a D-, and her policies an F.

But amid the frenzy of criticism, Alabama’s other senator, Tommy Tuberville, attempted to pass along a compliment to the 42-year-old. Still, even he couldn’t see past the image of a little woman tucked away behind her big kitchen table.

“She was picked as a housewife, not just a senator, somebody who sees it from a different perspective,” Tuberville told HuffPost, apparently seeing the diminished image as a good thing. “I mean, she did what she was asked to do. I thought she did a good job. And it’s hard when you’ve never done anything like that.”

Tuberville said much the same during a Newsmax appearance on Friday, claiming Britt was the right choice (to be used by the party hell-bent on stripping abortion access) because “she’s a mom” and a “housewife.”

People were, unsurprisingly, aghast at the patronizing message.

“Journalists should just ask Tommy Tuberville about everything; he’s always going to say the dumbest fucking thing possible,” posted Hysteria podcast host Erin Gloria Ryan.

“‘Picked as a housewife.’ Britt is a United States senator. Just like Tuberville is,” wrote Punchbowl News’s Jake Sherman.

It’s just another of a dozen such blunders that Tuberville has made in recent memory, highlighting his complete disregard for how the other half of the human race lives. Last month, Tuberville let slip that he couldn’t be bothered to read up on a court decision that stripped in vitro fertilization access within his state, even in the days that followed the ruling.

No Labels Vows to Introduce Fresh Hell to 2024 Election

No one is asking for a No Labels presidential candidate except for No Labels.

Shadows of several individuals cast on an orange background that reads "No Labels"
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The centrist group No Labels has decided that it will plow ahead with its so-called “unity ticket” in the presidential election, promising to open Pandora’s box ahead of the November vote.

Nearly 800 No Labels delegates convened virtually on Friday and “voted nearly unanimously” to move forward with their presidential ticket, according to No Labels National Convention Chair Mike Rawlings.

The third-party movement has not named who its presidential and vice presidential nominees are. It will announce its candidate selection process on Wednesday.

The group, which has repeatedly been accused of running a pro-Donald Trump spoiler campaign, wants to offer a bipartisan ticket, with the presidential nominee from one major party and the vice presidential pick from the other.

No Labels has repeatedly positioned itself as a viable alternative to both Trump and Joe Biden, and promised only to run a ticket if the group believed it had a candidate that could actually win. Until now, No Labels’ reportedly preferred candidates have either been generally unpopular or have said no—and in some cases, both.

The group reportedly courted Nikki Haley, Joe Manchin, and former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. Haley dropped out of the Republican presidential primary earlier this week after a terrible performance. Manchin is one of the most unpopular senators nationwide. Both turned down No Labels before a formal offer could be made.

Hogan, who left office with record-high approval ratings, had weighed a presidential run on a No Labels ticket. But he ultimately decided to run for Maryland senator instead.

The only person who has actually offered to be on a unity ticket is Dean Phillips, who ran a painfully cringey Democratic campaign and who does not appear to have even made it onto No Labels’ radar.

It’s unclear just who No Labels will pick now, but Friday’s decision has definitely revealed one thing: No Labels just wants attention.

Political strategists and even former allies have warned that No Labels is “dangerous.” Jim Messina, who ran Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, suggested to The New Republic in May that No Labels CEO Nancy Jacobson and her husband, Mark Penn, “are sort of no longer relevant within the [Democratic] Party.”

“So now they’re going outside the party looking for relevancy,” Messina said.

Historically, third-party candidates perform poorly in presidential elections, typically receiving (at best) a sliver of the electorate. The exceptions (Theodore Roosevelt in 1912; Ross Perot in 1992) prove the rule. But a third-party candidate could peel critical votes away from Biden while Trump cruises to victory.

Another outcome could be that a third candidate prevents anyone from getting 270 electoral votes, meaning that state delegations in the House of Representatives pick the winner. If Republicans maintain their state-delegation majority in the next Congress, it would almost certainly swing for Trump.

So while No Labels says it doesn’t want either Biden or Trump in power, it could be the thing that ensures Trump gets back to the White House.

For a group that bills itself as nonpartisan, No Labels seems to court connections exclusively with right-leaning figures. The organization has accepted donations from a man with close financial ties to Jared Kushner, as well as Nazi memorabilia collector Harlan Crow.

And one of the group’s members is former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, who oversaw a contentious, highly partisan, and decidedly far-right four years. He defended voter ID laws, rejected the Obamacare expansion of Medicaid, and backed a bill that banned people from using the bathroom that matched their gender identity.

One Line in Biden’s SOTU Is About to Show Up in Every GOP Attack Ad

Joe Biden went off-script to talk about immigration during the State of the Union. He really, really shouldn’t have.

Joe Biden speaks during the State of the Union and points both index fingers outwards and up
Shawn Thew/Pool/Getty Images

Joe Biden may have handed Republicans a massive win when he went off script and referred to an undocumented migrant as an “illegal” during his State of the Union address.

At one point during the speech, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene began heckling Biden about Laken Riley, a college student who was murdered. A Venezuelan national named José Ibarra has been charged for her death.

In a back and forth with Greene, during which Biden repeated into his microphone what the Georgia MAGA Republican was shouting, the president said, “Laken Riley, an innocent young woman who was killed by an illegal. That’s right.”

To Biden’s credit, he immediately then said, “But how many thousands of people being killed by legals? To her parents I say, my heart goes out to you having lost children myself.”

But the damage was already done—and Republicans are reportedly planning to capitalize on it.

Punchbowl News reporter Mica Soellner reported Friday that a Republican aide, speaking anonymously, had told her Biden’s comments would be used in upcoming Republican ads.

Republican lawmakers were particularly delighted that he had used the term “illegal” and said “thousands have been killed,” the aide said. It was “good of him” to acknowledge that, the aide also told Soellner.

For what it’s worth, Biden did not actually say that thousands of Americans have been killed by migrants. But the damage may have already been done.

Republicans have continually accused Biden of allowing an unchecked flow of undocumented migrants into the country. They falsely claim that immigration is the cause of rising crime levels and the deadly fentanyl epidemic.

Biden has responded by trying to get tougher, even cruel, on immigration, including supporting a draconian bill that would have increased security regulations on the border—a measure that the GOP promptly killed, at the behest of Republican presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump.

While Biden’s campaign co-chair tried Friday to brush off using the word “illegal” as a “small mistake,” many progressive Democrats are concerned about the damage Biden has wrought with just one word. Soon after he said it, Representatives Ilhan Omar and Delia Ramirez both tweeted that “no human being is illegal.”

Many lawmakers reportedly grew visibly upset while sitting in the chamber. Representative Joaquin Castro said the comment was “ugly and uncalled for.”

Castro’s guest to the speech was Priscilla Martinez, the widow of North Texas rancher Aaron Martinez. Martinez was killed by a neighbor who had repeatedly harassed the family over their Latino ethnicity.

Across Texas, many families can tell similar stories of hate and harassment inspired by the rhetoric of Donald Trump,” Castro tweeted after the State of the Union.

“The rhetoric President Biden used tonight was dangerously close to language from Donald Trump that puts a target on the backs of Latinos everywhere. Democrats shouldn’t be taking our cues from MAGA extremism.”

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.