Skip Navigation
Breaking News
Breaking News
from Washington and beyond

A Desperate Trump Appeals Fani Willis Decision as Georgia Case Looms

Donald Trump is once again trying to get Fani Willis tossed from his criminal trial.

Alex Slitz/Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump on Friday asked a Georgia state appeals court to remove Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from his election interference case, the former president’s latest attempt to delay legal proceedings.

Judge Scott McAfee ruled two weeks ago that Willis could remain on the case she built against Trump if her special prosecutor resigned. Nathan Wade submitted his resignation that same day, and the case could once again proceed.

Trump and eight of his 18 co-defendants in the case filed an application Friday with the Georgia Court of Appeals asking it to reconsider McAfee’s decision. They argued that Willis had a personal stake in the election interference case and should step down.

While the trial court factually found DA Willis’s out-of-court statements were improper and Defendants proved an apparent conflict of interest, the trial court erred as a matter of law by not requiring dismissal and DA Willis’ disqualification,” the court filing said. “This legal error requires the Court’s immediate review.”

“If this law means anything, the trial court’s actual findings here establish an actual conflict.”

Willis’s office has 10 days to respond to the appeal application.

Trump and several of his co-defendants accused Willis of having an improper relationship with Wade, who has billed her office—and thus county taxpayers—for more than $728,000 in legal fees. Trump’s team alleges that Willis and Wade began dating in 2019 and that, over the course of their romantic relationship, the couple took extravagant vacations that Wade supposedly paid for in part by billing Willis’s office.

Willis and Wade, who are no longer together, say they didn’t start seeing each other until 2022, after Willis hired Wade for the Georgia case. Willis also says they each paid their own share of the vacation bill.

During the hearings, the key witness against Willis crumbled on the stand, admitting he didn’t know when Willis and Wade began dating, how their relationship began, or even what trips they took together. But the most important thing to remember, Willis has stressed, is that Trump and his co-defendants are currently on trial for “trying to steal an election.”

McAfee chastised Willis for what he described as a “tremendous lapse in judgment.” But he ultimately refused to throw her off the case, saying she must resolve the “appearance of impropriety” by either recusing herself or removing Wade. And again, Wade has already stepped down.

The former president’s strategy has been to delay every single one of his legal battles as long as possible, in the hopes that he is reelected in November and can use his newfound presidential powers to shield himself from prosecution. His accusation against Willis dragged out the Georgia proceedings for weeks, and if the appeals court accepts his application, legal proceedings could take even longer to get going. A trial date has not yet been scheduled.

This story has been updated.

Conservative Judges Sound Alarm: Trump Will Shred Our Justice System

Prominent conservative judges are warning that Trump is posing a threat that’s like “nothing in American history.”

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Former Appeals Court Judge J. Michael Luttig

Donald Trump’s attacks on the judges and court staff overseeing his criminal trials have much deeper legal implications than petty fines. Instead, the attacks—and the responding “passivity, acquiescence, and submissiveness by the nation”—are actively undermining the entire judicial system, prominent conservative judges are warning.

In a CNN interview Thursday evening, Republican-appointed federal District Judge Reggie B. Walton felt compelled to announce that Trump’s continued attacks could result in “tyranny.” Just hours later, former Appeals Court Judge J. Michael Luttig, also a conservative, issued his own warning cry, declaring that Trump is responsible for the “dismantling” of the nation’s “system of justice.”

“The Nation is witnessing the determined delegitimization of both its Federal and State judiciaries and the systematic dismantling of its system of justice and Rule of Law by a single man—the former President of the United States,” started Luttig in a multipart thread on X.

“In the months ahead, the former president can only be expected to ramp up his unprecedented efforts to delegitimize the courts of the United States, the nation’s state courts, and America’s system of justice, through his vicious, disgraceful, and unforgivable attacks and threats on the Federal and State Judiciaries and the individual Judges of these courts.”

“Never in American history has any person, let alone a President of the United States, leveled such threatening attacks against the federal and state courts and federal and state judicial officers of the kind the former president has leveled continually now for years.”

Luttig also warned that Trump isn’t accomplishing the task alone. It’s the complicit Supreme Court—and the American people—that are letting Trump get away with it.

“It is the responsibility of the Supreme Court of the United States in the first instance to protect the federal courts, the federal judges, and all participants in the justice system from the reprehensible spectacle of the former president’s inexcusable, threatening attacks, just as it is the responsibility of the respective State Supreme Courts in the first instance to protect their courts and their state judges from the same,” he added. “Ultimately, however, it is the responsibility of the entire nation to protect its courts and judges, its Constitution, its Rule of Law, and America’s Democracy from vicious attack, threat, undermine, and deliberate delegitimization at the hands of anyone so determined.”

Here was Walton’s own dire warning:

Georgia Republicans Pass Bill Making It Easier to Purge Votes in 2024

Georgia Republicans are rewriting election law just in time for the next election.


Georgia Republican lawmakers, in the dead of night, passed a bill that will make it easier to challenge a voter’s registration, dealing a huge blow to voting rights just months before the 2024 election.

The measure, which has already passed the Senate, also passed the House along party lines early Friday, despite opposition from Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. If Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signs the bill into law, it will go into effect on July 1.

The bill increases the number of reasons that a person’s voter registration can be challenged, such as registering in another state or jurisdiction, using a different residence to obtain a homestead tax exemption, or registering at a nonresidential address. In smaller Georgia towns, where there aren’t enough residents in the zip code for the post office to deliver mail to home addresses, many residents use their post office box as their voter registration address. This would also be banned.

The measure would require homeless people to use the country registrar’s office as their voting address, which could be complicated for both the registrars and the people trying to register. This requirement could also violate the National Voter Registration Act.

The bill would make other changes to Georgia’s voting laws, including requiring that the printed text on a ballot be used to count votes, instead of a scannable bar code, and requiring absentee and advanced ballots to be counted within one hour of polls closing on Election Day.

Voting rights advocates have slammed both the bill and Republicans for seeking to create more barriers to voting. Andrea Young, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, warned the bill would encourage “anti-democratic vigilantes to come in and challenge your right to be on the voting list.”

“What we’re saying is that it should be easy for every citizen to vote,” she told The Guardian. “That’s what makes this a democracy. And all of these tricks to try to create barriers for Georgia citizens to have a voice in their government is anti-democracy.”

Since the 2020 election, Republicans across the country have tried to pass restrictions on voting, particularly mail-in and advanced voting. While the GOP lawmakers claim they are trying to protect the integrity of U.S. elections, the real effect of their actions has been to make it that much harder for many people, especially people of color, to vote.

Ironically, the measure passed Georgia’s House of Representatives just days after a judge determined that a state resident had voted illegally. Brian Pritchard, the first vice chairman of the state Republican Party, violated state election laws when he voted illegally in nine elections from 2008 to 2010. At the time he cast those votes, Pritchard was still on probation after being convicted of a forgery felony in Pennsylvania in 1996.

New Jersey Judge Kills the County Line and Sets Off Primary Earthquake

New Jersey ballots are about to look a whole lot different.

New Jersey Representative Andy Kim speaks at a lecturn outside
Eric Lee/Bloomberg/Getty Images
New Jersey Representative Andy Kim

Party backed-candidates competing in New Jersey’s elections will no longer have a leading edge after a judge ruled on Friday that the state’s controversial balloting system must undergo an immediate redesign, with the “integrity of the democratic process” at stake.

The decision is a major win for Representative Andy Kim, who, along with House candidates Sarah Schoengood and Carolyn Rush, brought the lawsuit to buck the state establishment and a coalition of local party bosses. The decision will level out the playing field in the state’s June 4 primary to replace indicted Senator Bob Menendez, who faces charges of corruption and obstruction of justice for allegedly acting as a foreign agent and accepting bribes in exchange for coordinating business deals between New Jersey real estate titans and Qatar and Egypt. So far, Menendez has refused to resign and has even left the door open for himself to run for reelection as an independent candidate.

The ruling will scrap a feature of the Garden State’s ballot known as the “county line”—an entire column, usually the first, leftmost line—that allowed each county to prominently advertise the candidate that its local party wanted to feature in the ballot’s prime real estate. Candidates who didn’t win the coveted nomination would be relegated to what was referred to as “ballot Siberia,” columns so far away from the county line that they were practically abandoned.

“Plaintiffs have put forth credible evidence not only that their constitutional rights are violated by the present ballot design used in New Jersey, which is used in no other state in the country,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge Zahid Quraishi in a 49-page decision, noting that “defendants would suffer minimal harm in implementing the ballot design requested.”

“The integrity of the democratic process for a primary election is at stake and the remedy Plaintiffs are seeking is extraordinary. Mandatory injunctive relief is reserved only for the most unusual cases. Plaintiffs’ burden on this Motion is therefore particularly heavy,” concluded Quraishi. “Nevertheless, the Court finds, based on this record, that Plaintiffs have met their burden and that this is the rare instance when mandatory relief is warranted.”

Republicans Somehow Find Worst Possible Nominee to Replace Ken Buck

Republicans have nominated Greg Lopez to take over Ken Buck’s House seat. And he has a long history of losing elections thanks to how extreme he is.

Greg Lopez speaks at a podium and makes a hand gesture, brows furrowed
Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post/Getty Images

The man who will likely temporarily replace Representative Ken Buck in Congress has a history of frightening run-ins with the law.

A Republican committee on Thursday chose Greg Lopez, the former mayor of Parker, Colorado, as the party nominee for the upcoming special election to replace Buck. Buck, who left Congress last week, represented Colorado’s 4th district, a Republican stronghold. While Lopez’s victory was a surprise, his nomination almost guarantees he will be the one to complete Buck’s term.

If Lopez wins, it will be his first victory in a while. He ran for Colorado governor in 2018 and 2022, but he lost both times during the primaries.

Aside from struggling with elections, Lopez has also struggled with the law. He is open about his past encounters with law enforcement, which include being arrested for driving under the influence. Lopez has said he can’t remember when that happened.

But the most frightening instance occurred in 1993, when Lopez and his wife, Lisa, were both charged with domestic violence. He allegedly shoved Lisa, who was six months pregnant at the time, to the floor and kicked her after she hit him on the top of the head. They each pleaded guilty to a single charge of harassment.

Reporter Kyle Clark asked Lopez about the domestic assault in 2022, comparing it to Lopez’s anti-abortion stance in that both involve “exerting control over a woman’s body.” Lopez hastily insisted the domestic violence “wasn’t a violent situation.”

“There’s only been one perfect man that’s ever walked this earth, and we nailed him to the cross,” Lopez said. “I’m not a perfect man. I’ve made my mistakes. But I’ve learned from them.”

Lopez also paid $15,000 in 2020 to settle a lawsuit filed by federal prosecutors who accused him of trying to improperly influence the Small Business Administration, a violation of federal law. Lopez worked at the SBA from 2008 to 2014 as the Colorado district attorney, and his alleged attempts to influence the organization occurred after he had left.

Lopez has backed banning abortion with no exceptions and falsely claimed that climate change isn’t caused by human activity. His conservative beliefs should be no surprise, given the strength of the Republican Party in the 4th district.

Buck was similarly in favor of exerting control over other people’s bodies. He was staunchly anti-abortion and did not believe in exceptions for rape or incest. What’s more, in 2005, when he was still a district attorney, Buck refused to prosecute an alleged rape case. The alleged victim released a recording of an interview she had with Buck, during which he appeared to blame her for the assault.

But a key difference between the two men is that Lopez has said that Donald Trump won the 2020 election, which is not true. Buck, on the other hand, has repeatedly pushed back on the 2020 election conspiracies, slamming them as “self-serving lies.” He is also one of the only Republicans who has refused to fall in line with his party’s efforts to impeach Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, continually noting that neither impeachment effort is based on any evidence of wrongdoing.

Following multiple departures, the House Republican majority is razor-thin. And it seems Lopez can be counted on to vote with his party on their main priorities.

Republican Lawmaker Gives Unhinged Answer on Free and Fair Elections

Representative Byron Donalds was asked about ensuring “free and fair elections”—and it went downhill from there.

Byron Donalds speaking
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

One of the MAGA foot soldiers tapped as a potential vice president pick by Donald Trump argued in an interview on Fox Business on Friday that the federal government “should not be involved in elections.”

“There are a lot of questions about some of the efforts around the open border and what it means for the census and what it might mean for the upcoming election,” started Maria Bartiromo. “What are you doing to ensure a transparent and free election in November?”

“The federal government, we don’t get involved in elections,” Donalds responded. “We should not be involved in elections. That is something that states have to do.”

Byron’s answer then extended into the territory of fearmongering, baselessly claiming that New York state allows undocumented immigrants to participate in elections—which it absolutely does not.

“Unfortunately, New Yorkers lost their ever-loving mind, I don’t know what they’re doing in that state when it comes to the law, but it’s going to be incumbent on other states to make sure that illegal aliens do not vote in our upcoming elections,” he added.

While the Florida Republican may not have intended to involve Trump in his answer, it’s hard to ignore the irony in his words. The former president—who is on the wire for a slew of criminal charges related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results while he was still president—would definitely fall under the umbrella of his critique.

Donalds has been critical of Trump in the past. In a batch of recently unearthed messages, he referred to Trump as a “huge distraction” and celebrated when Trump announced he wouldn’t run against former President Barack Obama.

“Trump is a huge distraction, and cares more about himself than the country in my opinion, but I could care less about him,” he wrote in a 2011 Facebook post, referring to Trump’s attacks on Obama’s birth certificate.

John Fetterman Is Bleeding Staff Since His “I’m Not Progressive” Flip

The Pennsylvania senator has lost several of his top staff members after his sudden break with the left.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

John Fetterman has lost his top three communications staffers in the past month, a striking series of departures that follows the Pennsylvania senator’s sudden break with the left.

Deputy communications director Nick Gavio’s last day in Fetterman’s office is Friday, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. His departure follows that of Fetterman’s former communications director Joe Calvello, who left earlier this month, and press and digital aide Emma Mustion.

Mustion left to join the reelection campaign for Bob Casey, the other Pennsylvania senator. But Calvello now works for Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, and Gavio is about to join the Working Families Party—both far more progressive spaces.

Calvello and Gavio were highly complimentary about their time in Fetterman’s office, with Gavio saying he was “deeply honored” to have worked with the freshman senator. But their new employers stand in stark contrast with Fetterman, who in recent months has received blowback for his conservative stances on Gaza, immigration, and public funds.

The Working Families Party is a minor left-wing party focused on labor rights and education reform, among other issues. Johnson was elected in April after campaigning on redirecting public funds away from policing and toward investments in mental health, public housing, and youth opportunities. When Calvello’s appointment was announced in early March, he described Johnson as a “true progressive” and said he was “deeply honored to join his administration.”

Although Fetterman campaigned as an irreverent, progressive outsider, he has alienated many supporters in recent months over his staunch support for Israel during its war on Gaza and his support for heavy restrictions on immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border. In December he proudly declared, “I’m not a progressive.” Fetterman has also accused Democrats criticizing Joe Biden of essentially being MAGA voters in disguise.

But despite what many see as a complete 180, Fetterman continues to insist that he hasn’t changed at all.

Trump Again Escalates Attack on Judge’s Daughter Despite Gag Order

Donald Trump’s first criminal trial is coming up—so of course he’s attacking the judge and his family.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Donald Trump is still tiptoeing around violating the gag order in his hush-money trial, this time launching fresh vitriol at Judge Juan Merchan’s daughter while referring her to his followers by name.

“Judge Juan Merchan is totally compromised, and should be removed from this TRUMP Non-Case immediately,” Trump posted on Truth Social Thursday afternoon. “His Daughter, Loren, is a Rabid Trump Hater, who has admitted to having conversations with her father about me, and yet he gagged me.”

“She works for Crooked Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Adam ‘Shifty’ Schiff, and other Radical Leftists who Campaign on ‘Getting Trump,’ and fundraise off the ‘Biden Indictments’—including this Witch Hunt, which her father ‘presides’ over, a TOTAL Conflict—and attacking Biden’s Political Opponent through the Courts. Former D.A. Cy Vance refused to bring this case, as did all Federal Agencies, including ‘Elections,’” he continued.

Trump’s new line of attack against Merchan’s daughter comes after he targeted her for allegedly sharing a doctored photo of Trump behind bars on social media. That theory was quickly debunked after a representative for the New York state court system pointed out that the account wasn’t hers.

Judge Merchan is overseeing Trump’s first criminal trial and the only one currently scheduled to take place before the election. On Tuesday, Trump won himself a gag order after attacking Merchan’s daughter. The partial gag order forbids Trump from speaking publicly about courtroom staff, prosecutors, or any of their family members. Comments about jurors are also prohibited, as well as comments about witnesses—but wiggle room still exists within the order that allows Trump to attack Merchan or Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

It remains to be seen what, if any, consequences there will be for the continued attacks.

Trump should be no stranger to the legality of gag orders—so far, he’s been hit with them in two of his other legal trials. In October, Judge Arthur Engoron silenced the former president after he ushered a scourge of far-right vitriol onto Engoron’s chief law clerk. Trump was later fined $15,000 for violating the order. Judge Tanya Chutkan also imposed a gag order on the former president in his election interference trial.

Biden and Obama Absolutely Torch Trump With Record-Breaking Fundraiser

Team Trump already knows it can’t match these numbers.

Obama puts his hand on Biden's shoulder as both laugh

A record-breaking fundraiser for President Joe Biden’s 2024 campaign raised a whopping $26 million, with the help of two high-profile speakers and a star-studded guest list.

On Thursday, former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton joined Biden in New York City for a unique campaign event that included comedians Mindy Kaling and Stephen Colbert as moderators; House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer as additional speakers; and Queen Latifah, Lizzo, Ben Platt, Cynthia Erivo, and Lea Michele as guests. It was, as First Lady Jill Biden put it, “the fundraiser to end all fundraisers.”

The historic unity train stood in stark contrast to Biden’s opponent, Donald Trump, whose team has already admitted they won’t be able to match those numbers. His aggressive, far-right politics and derisive approach to leadership (that includes strong-arming the party on the national stage and one notorious instance in which he allowed a mob of his followers to ransack the Capitol building) have also kept his former Cabinet members and former Vice President Mike Pence from endorsing his bid for reelection.

The only semblance of support that Trump could get similar to Thursday’s turnout for Biden would be to convince the last Republican president, George W. Bush, to endorse him … though it would be a long shot. In past elections, the majority of the Bush family, including Presidents George W. Bush and his since deceased father, George H.W. Bush, refused to back Trump.

Trump’s campaign schedule has also been waylaid by his myriad criminal trials, gluing him to East Coast metropoles instead of rallies across the nation. And the trials have cost him a pretty penny too—so much so that the self-purported billionaire has turned to unconventional means and get-rich-quick schemes to pocket some dough fast, including launching a Trump sneaker campaign at a Philadelphia sneakerhead event, turning to a supporter-backed GoFundMe, selling “collectible” NFT cards featuring images of himself as an astronaut, and hawking limited-edition Bibles.

“Blood Is on Your Hands”: Cease-Fire Protests Disrupt Biden Fundraiser

Pro-Palestine protesters interrupted Biden’s big fundraiser to remind him of his horrific stance on Gaza.

Protesters gather. Many wear the keffiyeh, wave Palestinian flag, or hold up signs that read "Stand with Palestine! End the Occupation Now!" One woman in the forefront wears a hijab and keffiyeh and yells.

Pro-Palestinian protesters disrupted Joe Biden’s exclusive multimillion-dollar fundraiser on Thursday, repeatedly interrupting the bougie event to criticize Biden’s stance on Israel’s war in Gaza.

More than 32,600 Palestinians have been killed and more than 75,000 wounded in Israel’s constant bombardment of Gaza since October 7. The majority of the victims have been women and children. Biden’s repeated refusal to call for a permanent cease-fire has become a major sticking point with Democratic voters, particularly younger people.

Protesters were able to get into Radio City Music Hall in New York City on Thursday night and repeatedly interrupted Biden as he spoke onstage with former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. They shouted, “Shame on you!” and accused Biden of having “blood on your hands.”

Demonstrators also stood outside the venue and shouted things including, “Genocide supporter” and “Cease-fire now” as event attendees came and left.

The protests were organized by Jewish Voice for Peace, the Palestinian Youth Movement, and several other advocacy groups.

“We refused to be silenced,” Jay Saper of JVP said Thursday. “We will continue to raise our voices of dissent until Palestinians are free.”

The three presidents pushed back on protesters, trying to keep the focus on the dangers of a second Donald Trump term. Clinton argued that Biden cares about Palestinian self-determination and establishing two states in the region. Obama said Biden had the moral clarity to lead the United States during the war.

He also chastised the protesters, saying, “You can’t just talk and not listen. That’s what the other side does.”

Biden called to stop “the effort that is resulting in significant deaths of innocent civilians” in Gaza, although he still stopped short of calling for a cease-fire. He said he is working with Arab nations to find a solution to the crisis.

The protests somehow did not seem to dent the glitzy event, where entry fees started at $225 and the crowd was studded with celebrities. Biden raised about $26 million overall.

New York Representative Gregory Meeks, who attended the event, said the protests were “minor” and that he “didn’t think that marred [the event] at all.”

“It’s part of what our democracy is about,” he added.

Pro-Palestinian protesters have frequently interrupted Biden’s recent campaign events, which has reportedly prompted his aides to try to shield the president from the demonstrations. Their strategies include decreasing the number of attendees, avoiding college campuses, and withholding event locations from the media until Biden has arrived.

This has led to a proliferation of campaigns in multiple states urging people to vote “uncommitted” during the primaries to protest Biden’s policy on Israel. And while the pressure seems to have slowly started making an impact on the White House, Biden is still deeply unpopular among young voters as a result of his refusal to budge.