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Donald Trump Will Face His First Criminal Trial Before the Election

A New York judge has officially put Trump’s hush-money case on the calendar.

Mary Altaffer/Pool/Getty Images

The Stormy Daniels hush-money trial against Donald Trump will begin jury selection on April 15, ruled Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan on Monday.

This is Trump’s first criminal trial on the books, as it’s still unclear if others will take place before the election.

Outside the court, Trump slammed the decision, calling Merchan a “disgrace to this country” and claiming that the proceedings “should not be allowed to happen.”

The trial was initially scheduled to begin on Monday, but was delayed by 30 days after the U.S. Attorney’s office dumped more than 100,000 pages’ worth of documents on the trial, with more than 31,000 pages being released just days before the initial start date.

On Thursday, however, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg declared that the document dump had amounted to a big nothingburger, estimating that just 270 documents are new and relevant to the case and that most of them implied guilt or corroborated existing evidence.

“The overwhelming majority of the production is entirely immaterial, duplicative or substantially duplicative of previously disclosed materials,” a filing by Bragg’s office said.

Still, Trump’s team attempted to argue that the district attorney was withholding information within the documents that could help Trump’s defense, alleging prosecutorial misconduct during the first half of Monday’s hearing—though Merchan didn’t have much patience for such serious allegations.

“That you don’t have a case right now is really disconcerting,” he said before the hearing went into recess. “You are literally accusing the Manhattan D.A.’s office and the people assigned to this case of prosecutorial misconduct.”

“The People went so far above and beyond what they were required to do that it’s odd that we’re even here,” he continued.

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. He’s facing 34 felony charges in this case for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime. Trump has pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Cohen, who is anticipated to be a star witness in this trial, has no doubts that the former president will be found guilty in this case.

“I can tell you from everything I know about it, he’s going to be found guilty,” Cohen, the former Trump lawyer, said during The New Republic’s Stop Trump Summit in October.

It was a day of highs and lows for the former president, who also got a financial reprieve in his $464 million New York bank fraud disgorgement on Monday after a New York appellate court gave Trump an additional 10 days to pay a reduced $175 million bond.

Trump Secures a Lifeline Over Massive Fraud Bond … for Now

A New York appeals court has handed Trump a partial win over that massive $464 million fraud bond.

Donald Trump waves as he stands in a crowd
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Donald Trump secured a big win related to his New York bank fraud ruling on Monday, securing a reduced bond as well as a delayed deadline. The self-proclaimed billionaire and GOP front-runner will have an additional ten days to pay a reduced $175 million bond.

“It is ordered that the motion is granted to the extent of staying enforcement of those portions of the Judgment (1) ordering disgorgement to the Attorney General for $464,576,230.62, conditioned on defendants-appellants posting, within ten (10) days of the date of this order, an undertaking of $175 million dollars,” wrote Susanna Molina Rojas, a clerk of the Appellate court, in an order filed Monday.

The decision still bans Trump and his sons from serving as directors of officers of New York businesses for several years, as well as former Trump Organization CFO Alan Weisselberg and the business’s former controller, Jeff McConney.

Trump and his attorneys argued in a court filing last month that it would be “impossible” to secure a bond covering the full amount of the $464 million disgorgement, claiming they had tried and failed to the several guarantors and 30 suretors they had spoken to to lend Trump money on his terms.

“The exorbitant and punitive amount of the Judgment coupled with an unlawful and unconstitutional blanket prohibition on lending transactions would make it impossible to secure and post a complete bond,” Trump’s lawyers wrote.

But in a bizarre rant on his social media platform last week, the GOP presidential pick admitted that he actually has half a billion dollars in cash, which he decided would be better used to fund his presidential campaign than pay back the state of New York for defrauding its taxpayers, banks, and businesses.

“THROUGH HARD WORK, TALENT, AND LUCK, I CURRENTLY HAVE ALMOST FIVE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS IN CASH, A SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF WHICH I INTENDED TO USE IN MY CAMPAIGN FOR PRESIDENT,” Trump wrote on Truth Social on Friday. “THE OFTEN OVERTURNED POLITICAL HACK JUDGE ON THE RIGGED AND CORRUPT A.G. CASE, WHERE I HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG, KNEW THIS, WANTED TO TAKE IT AWAY FROM ME, AND THAT’S WHERE AND WHY HE CAME UP WITH THE SHOCKING NUMBER WHICH, COUPLED WITH HIS CRAZY INTEREST DEMAND, IS APPROXIMATELY $454,000,000.”

And Trump is expected to come into even more money in the coming months. Also on Friday, Truth Social successfully merged with Digital World Acquisition Corporation—a deal that will allow the company to be traded publicly and is expected to net the financially beleaguered Trump upwards of $3 billion (though he may not be able to tap into that cash for some time.)

Ultimately, the decision comes as a blow to New York Attorney General Letitia James, whose office was gearing up to begin seizing some of Trump’s New York assets, such as 40 Wall Street and Trump Tower, as early as Monday.

This story has been updated.

Idiot Trump Doubles Down on Mar-a-Lago Lie in Fraud Bond Freak-Out

The clock is ticking on Donald Trump’s deadline to post bond in the New York fraud trial—and he’s losing it.

Brendan McDermid/Pool/Getty Images

One nagging detail is still plaguing Donald Trump as the deadline looms for the $464 million bond in his New York bank fraud trial: how much Mar-a-Lago is worth.

Trump faces a Monday deadline to post the massive bond in his fraud trial—and if he doesn’t, New York state is prepared to seize his assets. Amid a Monday morning freak-out over the reality he now faces, Trump once again doubled down on the claim that Mar-a-Lago is worth far more than the judge claimed—an exaggeration that won him the huge fraud fine in the first place.

“[Judge Arthur] Engoron’s fraudulent valuation of Mar-a-Lago for $18,000,000, when it is worth 50 to 100 times that amount, is another piece of the Election Interference HOAX. It’s all a giant and totally illegal Witch Hunt against Biden’s Political Opponent!” Trump posted on Truth Social Monday morning, a handful of minutes before entering a Manhattan courtroom for a hearing related to his Stormy Daniels hush-money trial.

In other words, Trump is once again trying to claim that Mar-a-Lago could be worth as much as $2 billion—surely a claim that an appeals court could consider when hearing his desperate attempt to overturn the judgment against him.

Attorneys for the GOP presidential pick have claimed in court filings that Trump has tried and failed to get upward of 30 suretors to help him secure a bond for the half-billion-dollar disgorgement. But after a trial that found Trump had massively overinflated the value of himself and his assets, with evidence of a massively downsized evaluation for one of his biggest Florida properties, who would?

So Trump has attacked the thorny detail for months, claiming every which way that the trial constituted an “election interference scam,” that the estate’s value is worth “50 to 100 times” more, flailing accusations that the price tag was cooked up either by New York Attorney General Letitia James or Engoron, and outright demanding that “the only fraud was the valuation of Mar-a-Lago at $18,000,000 by the Crooked Judge in order to help his already fully debunked narrative.”

“They should pay me damages for what they have done, and ultimately will,” Trump wrote ominously on Sunday. “THESE ARE NOT THE PEOPLE THAT MADE AMERICA GREAT, THESE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT ARE DESTROYING AMERICA!”

Still, the accusations that either New York official conjured the valuation is, itself, a fabrication. In the judge’s initial September 26 ruling, in which he decided that the Trump Organization had committed fraud, Engoron turned to a local—a Palm Beach County property appraiser—for an estimate on the 20-acre property. It was the appraiser that determined Mar-a-Lago was worth “between $18 million and $27.6 million,” rather than the $426 to $612 million valuation that Trump had tagged it for, and which Engoron noted had overvalued the property by “at least 2,300 [percent].” That lower assessment was for tax purposes.

Elon Musk Loses Pathetic Defamation Case Against Hate Speech Watchdog

A judge has absolutely destroyed Elon Musk over his transparent attempt to suppress free speech.

Elon Musk
Antonio Masiello/Getty Images

A California judge on Monday dismissed X owner Elon Musk’s pathetic lawsuit against a nonprofit that studies misinformation and hate speech for highlighting the social network’s flaws.

Musk sued the Center for Countering Digital Hate in August, accusing the research group of conducting “a scare campaign to drive away advertisers.” The group had shared research that hate speech had flourished on X (formerly Twitter) after Musk took over in the fall of 2022.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer struck down the lawsuit on Monday, ruling that Musk definitely isn’t the free speech champion he claims to be.

The CCDH “has met its burden at the first step of the anti-SLAPP analysis,” Breyer wrote in his ruling. Strategic lawsuits against public participation, also known as strategic litigation against public participation, are lawsuits meant to censor, intimidate, or silence critics by saddling them with legal defense costs until they drop their criticism.

“Sometimes it is unclear what is driving a litigation, and only by reading between the lines of a complaint can one attempt to surmise a plaintiff’s true purpose,” Breyer noted. “Other times, a complaint is so unabashedly and vociferously about one thing that there can be no mistaking that purpose. This case represents the latter circumstance. This case is about punishing the Defendants for their speech.”

“The Court notes, too, that X Corp.’s motivation in bringing this case is evident. X Corp. has brought this case in order to punish CCDH for CCDH publications that criticized X Corp.—and perhaps in order to dissuade others who might wish to engage in such criticism.”

Musk indicated he intended to take legal action against the CCDH in July, when X parent company X Corp sent the nonprofit a letter accusing the group of making “a series of troubling and baseless claims that appear calculated to harm Twitter generally, and its digital advertising business specifically.”

X Corp alleged that the nonprofit was funded by X’s competitors or foreign governments “in support of an ulterior agenda.” The letter specifically cited research on hate speech on X that the center published in June. One of the eight papers the organization published found that X took no action against 99 of the 100 Twitter Blue accounts that the center had reported for “tweeting hate.”

But Breyer found that X Corp’s allegations about the CCDH’s supposedly misleading publications “provide the only support for X Corp.’s contention that it has been harmed.”

Advertisers have left X in droves since Musk took over, promising to make X a bastion of free speech. The most recent exodus was in November, after an explosive Media Matters report revealed that X has been placing ads for brands including Apple, Bravo, IBM, Oracle, and Xfinity next to posts that promote Hitler and Nazi beliefs. But Musk has tried to blame any and everyone other than himself, accusing companies of trying to “blackmail” him by withholding ad dollars.

It may be, though, that companies just don’t want their branding next to hate speech. Since taking over X, Musk has allowed Nazis and the Taliban on Twitter—and even verified them. He also has done nothing to rein in antisemitic and transphobic speech on the platform. If anything, he’s one of the main sources of it.

As a result, the platform’s value has nosedived. X is worth just a fraction of the $44 billion Musk paid for it—by Musk’s own estimate, X’s value may have dropped 90 percent.

This story has been updated.

Morning Joe Completely Torches NBC Decision to Hire Ronna McDaniel

MSNBC is in uproar over the decision to hire former RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

MSNBC reporters are in revolt against the network’s decision to hire former Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, publicly calling out their bosses on air.

Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the co-hosts of Morning Joe, made it clear Monday morning that they disagreed with the decision and had no intentions of allowing McDaniel on their show.

“We weren’t asked our opinion of the hiring, but if we were, we would have strongly objected to it for several reasons, including, but not limited to, as lawyers might say, Ms. McDaniel’s role in Donald Trump’s fake elector scheme and her pressuring election officials to not certify election results while Donald Trump was on the phone,” Scarborough said.

Brzezinski echoed the sentiment, saying, “We believe NBC News should seek out conservative Republican voices to provide balance in their election coverage. But it should be conservative Republicans, not a person who used her position of power to be an anti-democracy election denier.”

They then played a compilation of the many, many falsehoods McDaniel has spewed on air.

McDaniel made her on-air debut during Sunday’s episode of Meet the Press, just days after NBC announced she would join the network to provide conservative political analysis. NBC News political coverage chief Carrie Budoff Brown explained that McDaniel was chosen because she can provide “an insider’s perspective on national politics and the future of the Republican Party.”

Before McDaniel appeared Sunday, Meet the Press host Kristen Welker told viewers the appearance was a “news interview” that had been scheduled for weeks. During the segment, McDaniel did finally admit that Joe Biden had legitimately won the 2020 presidential election. But when Welker asked why it had taken McDaniel so long to say so, McDaniel was quick to caveat her words.

“I’m going to push back a little because I do think it’s fair to say there were problems in 2020 and to say that does not mean he’s not the legitimate president,” McDaniel said.

Despite multiple investigations, many paid for by Trump himself, there is no evidence of fraud during the 2020 election.

Shortly after McDaniel’s interview, NBC anchor Chuck Todd tore into the network’s brass for hiring the former RNC chair.

“I think our bosses owe you an apology for putting you in this situation,” Todd told Welker. “Because I don’t know what to believe. She is now a paid contributor by NBC News, so I have no idea whether any answer she gave to you was because she didn’t want to mess up her contract.”

Todd pointed out that McDaniel has “credibility issues” and that many journalists at NBC were “uncomfortable” with the decision to bring her on board.

“Many of our professional dealings with the RNC over the last six years have been met with gaslighting, have been met with character assassination,” he said. “So when NBC made the decision to give her NBC News’s credibility, you got to ask yourself, ‘What does she bring NBC News?’”

Many NBC employees have been asking themselves that exact question. Multiple NBC political reporters, speaking anonymously, told Politico that had they been consulted, they would have advised against hiring McDaniel because she has nothing to offer the network.

McDaniel is not close to Republican leaders in Congress. She is unpopular with anti-Trump voters, who think she tipped the primaries toward the former president. And she has fallen out of favor with Trump himself, who ousted her from the RNC in March. So it’s not as if she can bring any insider information to the table.

What’s more, MSNBC President Rashida Jones told multiple anchors over the weekend that they would not be forced to book McDaniel, The New York Times reported, citing anonymous sources. So if McDaniel has nothing special to offer the network and no one is required to bring her on air, why is she even there?

A lookback on Ronna:

You Have to See This Hilariously Cringey Jim Jordan TV Moment

Representative Jim Jordan completely shut down after being asked a very easy question on the 2020 election.

Jim Jordan speaks at a lectern with two mics. He makes a hand gesture and looks down.
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Ohio Representative Jim Jordan completely shut down while answering a simple, direct question about who’s still listening to MAGA ramblings about the proven-to-be-baseless 2020 election lie.

During an interview on 60 Minutes on Sunday, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee couldn’t defend the campaign that he and his Republican coalition have spent the last four years failing to prove.

“Well what about this idea that the 2020 election was stolen? You think that these companies should allow people to say that, and individuals can make up their own minds and that there should be—” said anchor Lesley Stahl, before being interrupted by Jordan.

“I think the American people are smart. I’ve not said that, I’ve said there were concerns about the 2020 election, I think Americans agree with that,” Jordan said.

“No they don’t,” Stahl retorted. (Several polls conducted over the last year indicate that roughly two-thirds of the country believes that Biden was fairly elected and don’t believe the conspiracy holds any water.)

“You don’t think there were concerns with the 2020 election?” Jordan shot back.

“Most people don’t question the result. That’s all I’m saying,” she responded.

“Oh, they’re there,” Jordan interjected

“They don’t question whether Biden won or not. Right?” Stahl continued, before insisting against Jordan’s blank expression. “Right?” she prompted.

“Oh, OK. Right,” Jordan said, seemingly agreeing.

Watch the bewildering exchange below.

In Harrowing Speech, AOC Warns the U.S. Is Aiding “Genocide” in Gaza

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called Israel’s war on Gaza a genocide—and reminded Joe Biden of his own words on the topic.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez raises her eybrows in concern as she is speaking. A man stands behind her, out of focus.
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

More than five months into the horrifying conflict, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has finally called Israel’s war on Gaza a genocide.

On Friday, the New York lawmaker echoed language that President Joe Biden used during his vice presidency, reminding the lower chamber that “preventing genocide is an achievable goal.”

“Too often these efforts have come too late, after the best and least costly opportunities to prevent them have been missed,” she said during a harrowing speech on the House floor.

“As we speak, in this moment, 1.1 million innocents in Gaza are at famine’s door. A famine that is being intentionally precipitated through the blocking of food and global humanitarian assistance by leaders in the Israeli government,” she continued.

“This is a mass starvation of people, engineered and orchestrated, following the killing of another 30,000, 70 percent of whom were women and children,” she said. “There is hardly a single hospital left. And this was all accomplished, much of this accomplished, with U.S. resources and weapons.”

“If you want to know what an unfolding genocide looks like, open your eyes,” she added. “It looks like thousands of children eating grass as their bodies consume themselves while trucks of food are slowed and halted just miles away. It looks like good and decent people who do nothing or too little too late.”

Also on Friday, Ocasio-Cortez voted against a $1.2 trillion federal funding package that will gut U.S. funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which sends aid to Palestine. On Thursday, she called the cuts “unconscionable” and “highly political.”

Friday also saw another failed vote at the United Nations Security Council supporting an immediate cease-fire in Gaza. The resolution was the first one proposed by the U.S. calling for an immediate cease-fire, even if it wasn’t legally binding. Ultimately, the effort was torpedoed by Russia and China.

Last week, a cohort of senators in the Democratic caucus called on Biden to immediately suspend military aid to Israel so long as the Western ally continued to block humanitarian aid efforts into a starved Palestine.

More than 31,000 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict, in which Israel has weaponized mass starvation as well as blocking or destroying access to critical resources such as water, food, fuel, electricity, and medical aid.

House Democrats Say They’ll Save Speaker Mike Johnson—for a Price

Democrats could rescue House Speaker Mike Johnson from Marjorie Taylor Greene’s motion to vacate.

Aaron Schwartz/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Mike Johnson may not be out of a job just yet, but staying on as House speaker is going to cost him.

Several House Democrats indicated Friday that they would be willing to shield Johnson from Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s motion to vacate. In exchange, the speaker must bring a Ukraine aid package to the floor for a vote.

“If Taylor Greene puts forth a motion to vacate because there’s a bill on the floor that we have the ability to vote on—the Senate-passed Ukraine bill—I would absolutely vote to table,” Representative Abigail Spanberger told Politico.

She was referring to a $95 billion aid package that has already passed the Senate with broad bipartisan support. The measure includes $60 billion in aid for Ukraine, an increasingly unpopular issue among far-right Republicans, as well as aid for Israel and Taiwan. If the package were to go up for a House vote, it is widely expected to pass, but Johnson has so far refused to bring the measure to the floor.

“I think Speaker Johnson should demonstrate a willingness to govern in a way that is helpful to the plight of democracy and our allies across the world,” Spanberger said.

Representative Jamie Raskin said that voting to table the motion to vacate would not be about “saving Mike Johnson.”

“I’ll make a common cause and an alliance with anybody in Congress who will try to save the Ukrainian people at this point,” the Maryland Democrat said.

The lawmakers are likely taking their cue from House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, who said recently that his caucus would be willing to support Johnson if he brought the aid package up for a vote.

“It does seem to me,” Jeffries told The New York Times in late February, “based on informal conversations, that were Speaker Johnson to do the right thing relative to meeting the significant national security needs of the American people by putting it on the floor for an up-or-down vote, there will be a reasonable number of people in the House Democratic Caucus who will take the position that he should not fall as a result.”

Johnson has previously refused to consider the aid package because it does not include regulations for the U.S.-Mexico border that he considers strict enough. But in recent days, he privately told some Democrats that he would prioritize foreign aid next and would put a Ukraine aid bill to a vote after Easter recess, according to Politico.

Other Democrats, including Tom Suozzi and Jared Moskowitz, indicated Friday that they would back Johnson’s efforts to remain speaker. Moskowitz made it clear on social media that he does not actually support Johnson but just wants to ensure that Greene does not “take over the people’s House.”

Greene revealed Friday that she had filed a motion to vacate Johnson, just moments before the House voted to approve a $1.2 trillion omnibus spending bill. The Georgia Republican, who just four months ago backed Johnson for speaker, said she wanted him to view her motion as a “warning.” But Greene said she intended to bring the motion to a vote, she just wasn’t sure when that would happen.

Here’s Why Judge Aileen Cannon’s Law Clerks Seem to Have Suddenly Quit

Things began to take a turn around the time Cannon was assigned the Trump classified documents case, a new report says.

Judge Aileen Cannon headshot (looks like a yearbook photo, blue background)
United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida

Judge Aileen Cannon used to be a gem to work for, say early former employees. So why did two of her law clerks up and leave their one-year posts a few months ago? According to attorney David Lat, it all boils down to a major character change in the judge’s behavior that began in August 2022—when she was assigned Trump v. United States, Trump’s case against the FBI for raiding Mar-a-Lago.

Early clerks for Cannon described their time with the judge as an “invaluable learning experience” and “wonderful,” Lat reported Friday in his Substack Original Jurisdiction.

“How you enjoy your clerkship with Judge Cannon will be shaped by your priors,” one source told Lat. “If you get easily stressed or try to get through life with minimal work, you’ll find her overly demanding and domineering. But if you’re used to adversity, being in difficult situations, and making hard calls, you’ll do well. You’ll find her to be a tough boss, but one who gets your best work out of you.”

But that glowing outlook on time with Cannon changed when she issued a bizarre ruling in Trump v. United States that was quickly chopped up and reversed by the Eleventh Circuit. That left a significant marr on her record—one which an incoming clerk determined would be a “drag on their résumé,” wrote Lat. Others who were already clerking for the judge were “unhappy” about how the “credential value” of their clerkship had declined.

Then, in June 2023, Cannon was randomly selected to oversee United States v. Trump, better known as the classified documents case. That required Cannon’s already stressed staff to obtain security clearances. In the process, one clerk’s clearance was delayed, forcing the other two to take on even more work and resulting in her chamber falling behind.

Newer reviews of the judge’s managerial style, in light of her recent, headline-grabbing caseload, have been less than kind. One clerk who recently left her side described the judge to friends as “mean,” reported Lat.

One January post on the Top Law Schools forum described Cannon’s post-Trump office as a micromanaged, round-the-clock commitment that at times required more than 100 hours of work per week, even when Cannon herself showed up a fraction of the time.

“Generally, she treats clerks (and the entire chambers staff) very poorly and tends to get angry to the point of screaming at them and talking to them in condescending ways. I know her courtroom deputy quit less than two years into the job,” the user wrote.

“She frequently requires that clerks come into the office on weekends and federal holidays (including some major ones), even though she herself is there less than 1/4 of those days. And when she does require weekend or holiday work, she won’t let you know until last minute so if you bought a plane ticket, you’re out of luck,” the anonymous user continued. “Even if she doesn’t mandate weekend work in the office, the deadlines she sets are so unrealistic that 9 times out of 10 you’re going to be working on a weekend just to turn in a not-great draft by the deadline (which only contributes to more yelling and screaming for it not being polished enough).”

“Average hours worked in a week are between 80-100, with 100+ hours a week not being uncommon. It’s definitely not a clerkship to take if you have a family,” they added.

Another House Republican Quits, Timing His Departure for Maximum Chaos

Wisconsin’s Mike Gallagher is following Colorado’s Ken Buck out the door—and the way he’s doing it is totally screwing over House Republicans.

Representative Mike Gallagher, a Republican from Wisconsin, speaks with members of the media following a vote at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Al Drago/Getty Images
Representative Mike Gallagher speaks to media following a vote at the U.S. Capitol.

Republican Representative Mike Gallagher announced Friday that he will leave Congress in just a few weeks, leaving his party’s majority in the House in its most precarious position yet.

Screenshot of a tweet from Mike Gallagher
Screenshot

Gallagher’s departure will leave House Republicans with 217 seats in the chamber, compared to Democrats’ 213. The GOP has already struggled to pass any legislation, and Gallagher’s resignation means the GOP now has just a one-vote majority. That number is likely to shrink even more in coming months as more Republican lawmakers leave early.

Gallagher was seen as a rising star in the Republican Party. A four-term lawmaker, he was chosen to lead the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party. Republicans also viewed the young Wisconsin representative as their “best shot” to unseat Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin.

But Gallagher had been at odds with his party on several key issues recently. He rejected the conspiracies that the 2020 election had been rigged, and slammed the January 6 insurrection as “banana republic crap” (although he ultimately voted against impeaching Donald Trump).

Crucially, in a stunning upset, Gallagher voted against impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in February.

“I whipped ‘no’ for over a month,” Gallagher said at the time, explaining he was worried his caucus didn’t have the votes to pass articles of impeachment and would just embarrass itself by plowing ahead.

Gallagher made his announcement the same day that Representative Ken Buck, one of the few other Republicans to oppose impeaching Mayorkas, leaves Congress. When he announced his early retirement last week, Buck had hinted that more Republican resignations were imminent.

I think it’s the next three people that leave that they’re going to be worried about,” Buck said. Two more to go.

This article has been updated.