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Wait Till You Hear What GOP Has to Say on Tom Cotton’s Latest Remarks

Spoiler alert: not much.

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Senator Tom Cotton is doubling down on his calls for mass violence against protesters, suggesting online that the proper way for fellow citizens to handle a group of people peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights is to physically assault them.

The alarming post came Tuesday, a day after the Arkansas Republican reacted to a group of activists that shut down traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge for five hours in protest of Israel’s war on Gaza, telling Fox News that the protesters would be thrown off the bridge if the demonstration had occurred in Arkansas.

“If something like this happened in Arkansas on a bridge there, let’s just say that there would be a lot of very wet criminals that would have been tossed overboard, not by law enforcement, but by the people whose road they are blocking,” Cotton said. “If they glued their hands to a car or pavement it would probably be pretty painful to have their skin ripped off, but I think that’s the way we’d handle it in Arkansas.”

“And I’d encourage most people, anywhere, that get stuck behind criminals like this that are trying to block traffic like this, to take matters into their own hands. There’s only usually a few of them, and there’s a lot of people being inconvenienced,” Cotton continued. “It’s time to put an end to this nonsense.”

And his fellow Republican lawmakers don’t seem bothered by that one bit—or at least not enough to condemn him for explicitly endorsing violence between citizens.

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough called him out on that, recalling a time when such behavior was deemed unpatriotic and morally reprehensible within the conservative party.

“Because of Donald Trump there is no peer pressure anymore,” Scarborough—a former Republican legislator for Florida—said on Tuesday. “I will tell you, if a senator of either party or a member of Congress of either party said we need to throw people off the bridge, we need to rip the skin off their hands—at any time before Trump—that senator would be apologizing this morning. Now it won’t even leave a mark. He’ll probably raise more money off it.”

“They’re suggesting that violence is conservative,” the anchor continued. “It’s what Tom Cotton is saying, it’s what Donald Trump is saying, it’s what those people who use ‘violence rhetoric’ are suggesting. It’s not. It’s the opposite of being conservative.”

Comedy World Righteously Roasts Trump Over Gettysburg Gaffe

People can’t stop cracking up over the former president’s bizarre, bumbling speech.

Donald Trump speaks into a microphone
Hannah Beier/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Speaking outside Allentown, Pennsylvania, on Sunday, Donald Trump left everyone confused when he attempted to explain the Battle of Gettysburg, praised (and invented a quote from) Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and generally had no idea what he was talking about.

When his off-the-cuff remarks hit late-night television on Monday, the hosts couldn’t hide their laughter.

“You have to hand it to this guy: On the weekend before his unprecedented criminal trial begins, he somehow manages to overshadow it with this broken-brained interpretation of what happened at Gettysburg during the Civil War,” Jimmy Kimmel quipped.

“What a stirring orator. I look forward to Ken Burns’s updated documentary,” Stephen Colbert said.

“That is plagiarized almost directly from my seventh-grade book report, ‘Gettysburg: Wow,’” said Jon Stewart on The Daily Show.

Donald Trump’s knowledge of history has long been suspect—we’re still not sure if he knows who Frederick Douglass is, for example. His remarks on Saturday aren’t even the first time that he’s made this bizarre recounting of the Battle of Gettysburg. Perhaps he should follow in Abraham Lincoln’s footsteps and pay a visit to the actual battlefield—though he clearly didn’t learn much from an October 2016 visit. But how much free time will he have before the election, since he has to be in a courtroom most of the time?

Another Republican Signs onto MTG’s Effort to Oust Mike Johnson

The House speaker is one vote closer to losing his job.

Mike Johnson looks up
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House Speaker Mike Johnson just lost one more party member to the simmering Republican effort to strip him of his job.

Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie announced on Tuesday that he had sided with Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene to rid the lower chamber of Johnson’s leadership.

“I just told Mike Johnson in conference that I’m cosponsoring the Motion to Vacate that was introduced by @RepMTG,” Massie wrote on X. “He should pre-announce his resignation (as Boehner did), so we can pick a new Speaker without ever being without a GOP Speaker.”

And the straw that broke the camel’s back?

“All of the above. This camel has a pallet of bricks,” Massie wrote, following a string of tweets pointing to the Ukraine-Israel-Taiwan foreign aid package, the expansion of a “warrantless” domestic surveillance program, a proposal to ban TikTok, and the lack of a border bill.

Johnson has, according to Massie, already issued his response, telling the Kentuckian that he “won’t resign.”

“I said to him that he is the only one who can prevent us from going through what happened last fall,” Massie posted.

Massie’s defection from the pro-Johnson camp adds incredible pressure to the speaker’s already tenuous position in a monumentally divided House GOP. As of Tuesday, Greene needs just one more conservative defector in order to oust Johnson—or, if the vote takes place after Republican Representative Mike Gallagher takes his leave from Congress on Friday, the pair might be enough to give Johnson the boot on their own.

In March, Greene filed a motion to vacate after Johnson worked with Democrats and Republicans in the Senate to pass a $1.2 trillion omnibus bill, torching him for accomplishing one of the legislature’s primary annual responsibilities: funding the government.

But last week the Georgia Republican ramped up her attacks, circulating a vicious five-page memo calling for his removal while accusing the caucus of ignoring the wills of its constituents via the party’s alleged “complete and total surrender” to Democrats under Johnson’s helm.

Alina Habba Reawakens Severe Doubts About Her Legal Education

Does Alina Habba even know what “due process” means?

Alina Habba speaks into microphones
GWR/Star Max/GC Images

Donald Trump’s lawyer is complaining that her client is being denied due process because he can’t attend all of his legal proceedings.

Alina Habba slammed Judge Juan Merchan Monday night for not making a special exception to allow Trump to attend the Supreme Court case on presidential immunity in Washington, D.C. She insisted that refusing to do so violated a basic right outlined in the Constitution.

“Not even allowing a person due process, the right to go sit in front of the Supreme Court and hear a case that determines many lawsuits that are currently against President Trump on immunity,” Habba complained to Fox News’s Sean Hannity.

“Due process” simply means that legal proceedings must be carried out according to certain rules. Trump is getting due process by going to trial over alleged hush-money payments. Due process does not guarantee him the right to go sit in the Supreme Court.

Another issue is that New York state law requires a criminal defendant to attend every day of their trial unless they receive an exception from the judge. Trump’s hush-money trial began Monday, with Merchan outlining that requirement. Merchan also noted that it was too early to say if Trump could attend his son Barron’s high school graduation.

Trump and his fellow Republicans may finally be realizing that even a former president is subject to the same laws and rules as every other criminal defendant. This is Trump’s first criminal trial, and he can’t expect to continue his life as normal while the trial is ongoing, even if that means less traveling around the country campaigning or celebrating. And he’s not completely restricted: Trump can still be on the campaign trail every weekend, evening, and Wednesday as long as the case continues.

The schedule of the trial, and how it conflicts with the other legal proceedings, can hardly be considered a constitutional question. In fact, it is in large part due to Trump’s legal strategy: repeatedly delaying proceedings as long as possible to hopefully push decisions about him until after Election Day, which might not even work out in his favor.

And it’s not the first time that Habba has seemingly failed to grasp important pieces of the law. During Trump’s defamation trial in January, she repeatedly failed to understand courtroom procedure and spoke out of turn, and was admonished by Judge Lewis Kaplan several times.

Trump Keeps Digging His Grave Deeper Over Hush Money Trial Gag Order

The former president demanded to be released from the gag order in his hush-money trial.

Donald Trump gestures while he speaks
Jabin Botsford/Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump issued some fresh vitriol against Judge Juan Merchan Tuesday morning, clamoring once again for the gag order imposed on him to be removed, even though he seems to be willfully ignoring it anyway.

“MY TRIAL IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA!” Trump posted on Truth Social.

“This conflicted, Trump Hating Judge won’t let me respond to people that are on TV lying and spewing hate all day long,” he continued. “He is running rough shod over my lawyers and legal team. The New York System of ‘Justice’ is being decimated by critics from all over the World. I want to speak, or at least be able to respond. Election Interference! RIGGED, UNCONSTITUTIONAL TRIAL! Take off the Gag Order!!!”

The GOP presidential nominee isn’t really forbidden to speak, though. 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, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, or anybody else, for that matter, including his political rivals.

According to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Trump may have already violated his gag order several times—including at least one instance in which he seemingly posted while in court.

But none of this should be news to Trump, who so far has been hit with two other gag orders in his prior legal trials. In October, Judge Arthur Engoron silenced the former president after he ushered a wealth of far-right venom 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 Trump in his election interference trial.

Still, the level of punishment for Trump’s disregard of his gag order could vary, according to MSNBC analyst Caroline Polisi, who noted on Monday that it might range from a “tongue lashing” to “monetary sanctions” to actually “putting him in jail.”

“The judge is in a tough spot here,” Polisi said during live coverage of the first day of the trial. “No judge wants to be that, you know, person. That is, the one to throw former President Trump in jail for criminal contempt. I personally just don’t see that happening. But the judge’s hands may be tied here. You know, we’ve seen previous judges issue these sort of escalating sanctions, monetary sanctions.”

Trump Just Made the Weirdest False Claim About Hush-Money Trial Judge

The former president said he was banned from attending his son’s high school graduation.

Donald Trump gestures with his hands as he speaks
Jabin Botsford/Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump had a strange claim at the end of the first day of his hush-money trial: He said that the judge had barred him from attending his son’s high school graduation next month.

“It looks like the judge will not let me go to the graduation of my son who’s worked very, very hard and he is a great student,” Trump told reporters outside of Manhattan district court Monday. “It looks like the judge isn’t going to allow me to escape this scam. It’s a scam trial.”

Trump’s legal team had filed a motion requesting the former president be allowed to attend the graduation ceremony. Judge Juan Merchan declined to decide the issue on Monday, saying it depends on if everything is running on schedule.

But the thing is, if Trump can’t go, then he has no one to blame but himself. Trump’s legal strategy has been to delay, delay, delay in order to keep the rulings in his many legal cases as late as possible, hopefully past the November election. But now that strategy may backfire on him—but in his personal life.

It’s an unexpected development in the legal saga of the former president who, in addition to his Manhattan hush-money trial, is on trial in Florida for mishandling classified documents; in Washington, D.C., for attempting to overthrow the election; and in Fulton County, Georgia, for interfering in that state’s election.

He’ll be required to be in court for every session of his New York trial—which is standard procedure for criminal trials but beyond the pale to Trump and his Republican supporters—and he’ll only be able to be on the campaign trail every weekend, evening, and Wednesday as long as the case continues. If he misses a day in court, he could even face prison time.

The former president had to know that dragging each case out would eventually cause a scheduling issue between his presidential campaign and his personal life. It’s unprecedented for a former president to face criminal charges, let alone while they are campaigning for reelection, so this is probably not the end of any new, weird developments. In the end, though, if Trump is still in court by the time Election Day comes around in November, it could be bad for his chances of returning to the White House.

What else about the trial has Republicans angry:

Republicans Are Furious Over This Very Normal Thing in Trump’s Trial

Trump’s allies are accusing the court of bias against the former president.

Donald Trump, seen in three-quarter profile, looks ahead while sitting at a table with his hands folded
Jabin Botsford/Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s MAGA disciples were left fuming after the first day of his hush money criminal trial… but all their heat boiled down to one detail: that the GOP presidential nominee was being held to the same legal standards as every other private citizen.

The weeks-long proceeding will require Trump to be in court for every session—something Trump himself has challenged as “election interference” on the basis that it will keep him away from the campaign trail—even though he’ll be permitted to campaign every weekend, evening, and Wednesday during the process. If he fails to appear in court, he could face an arrest warrant.

But that standard expectation for a criminal trial was, apparently, all too much for his allies, with the campaign’s official spokesperson Karoline Leavitt condemning the procedure on Monday as “banana republic tactics.”

Screenshot of a tweet

New York Representative Elise Stefanik—who has been vying to become Trump’s vice presidential pick—undercut the expectations of New York law, similarly suggesting in a post that Trump was being unfairly treated, when in actuality the judge was just going through the usual motions.

“Corrupt Judge Merchan, a Biden donor whose family member has profited off this case & who illegally gagged President Trump just said ‘If you do not show up, there will be an arrest,’” Stefanik posted. “A 6-8 week show trial... Total election interference.”

In her replies, one attorney reminded the New York lawmaker that Trump was being held to the same standards as any criminal defendant. The rule about presence in court is called the Parker Warning, and it is given to all defendants in New York state.

“Elise. You know that this is a standard charge given to every defendant in every criminal case pending in nys,” wrote Joshua Stein, a law partner at Greenberg & Stein. “Why, if you’re so in the right, do you have to mislead your constituents?”

And Trump’s other GOP followers, such as Florida Representative Byron Donalds, just don’t seem to care if he’s guilty anymore, according to a new report by The Daily Beast which found that just one in 20 interviewed GOP lawmakers showed concern for the possibility that their nominee for the White House might become a convicted felon.

But their perspective wasn’t shared by prospective jurors, one of whom told MSNBC contributor Adam Klasfeld that they “feel that nobody’s above the law, whether it’s a former president, a sitting president or a janitor.”

Trump is accused of using former fixer Michael Cohen to sweep an affair with adult film actress Stormy Daniels under the rug ahead of the 2016 presidential election. He faces 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.

Once Again, We Must Wonder What the Heck George Santos Is Doing

The serial fabulist has raised no money in his current congressional campaign.

George Santos looks to the side
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Former Representative George Santos has raised $0 in his campaign to return to the House, and he says it’s for a good reason: to stop people from thinking he’s a grifter.

The New York Republican has a well-established reputation as a serial fabulist whose lies got him expelled from Congress. He is currently facing 23 felony counts for aggravated identity theft, credit card fraud, and illegally receiving unemployment benefits.

A report published Monday by the Daily Beast reveals that Santos hasn’t raised any money in an effort to overcome his reputation as a conman. But according to a Federal Election Commission filing, also released Monday, Santos’s campaign account has spent money without raising any, which isn’t exactly a good sign.

“I will not be raising a single dime until I’m confirmed on the ballot, unlike many in the media speculating I’m only running to ‘grift.’ I’m setting the standard that only confirmed ballot access candidates should raise money,” Santos said in a statement.

Santos is running as an independent against Nick LaLota, a Republican, in New York’s first congressional district. LaLota was one of the first members of Congress, from either party, to call for Santos’s resignation—Santos made no secret of his animosity.

“He’s not well liked. He’s an arrogant person. He’s not a nice guy. He’s cocky,” Santos said of LaLota the day before his expulsion in December. “He’s a traditional meathead, somebody who’s not nice to you for no reason.”

It’s not just LaLota, either: Santos has been on a petty, scorched-earth path since being expelled from Congress, taking shots at several of his ex-colleagues.

The former congressman faces an uphill battle running as an independent. In order to even get on the ballot, he needs to obtain enough petition signatures from district residents—which some legal experts say is unlikely. Based on Santos’s record, outside observers could think it’s another attempt for him to make a few bucks, perhaps to supplement his Cameo earnings.

Tesla’s Value Is Crashing Like a … Well, Like a Tesla

The electric-car maker laid off more than 10 percent of its workforce.

Elon Musk holds a microphone as he stands in front of a Tesla logo
Nora Tam/South China Morning Post/Getty Images

Electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla announced Monday that it will be laying off more than 10 percent of its global workforce—at least 14,000 employees—following a catastrophic first quarter, in which the company missed delivery estimates and suffered a year-over-year reduction in sales.

“As part of this effort, we have done a thorough review of the organization and made the difficult decision to reduce our headcount by more than 10% globally,” Musk wrote, blaming the cuts on redundancies in a leaked memo to employees first obtained by Electrek. “There is nothing I hate more, but it must be done. This will enable us to be lean, innovative and hungry for the next growth phase cycle.”

While it’s unclear which teams will be most significantly affected by the layoffs, news of the cuts came hand in hand with resignations from some of the company’s top talent.

“I made the difficult decision to move on from Tesla after 18 years yesterday,” Andrew Baglino, Tesla’s senior vice president for energy engineering and powertrain, wrote on Monday. “I am so thankful to have worked with and learned from the countless incredibly talented people at Tesla over the years.”

Stock traders were quick to observe, however, that Baglino had been offloading millions of dollars’ worth of Tesla stock each month for the last several years.

Screenshot of a tweet

Rohan Patel, Tesla’s vice president of public policy and business development, also put in his two weeks’ notice after the automotive giant announced the cuts, writing his thank-yous to the company’s customers, his fellow employees, his parents, former President Barack Obama, and Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk.

“The past 8 years at Tesla have been filled with every emotion—but the feeling I have today is utmost gratitude,” Patel posted on X.

Tesla has been struggling with complaints stemming from myriad issues with its car models, as well as with its latest release, the Cybertruck. The company froze Cybertruck sales on Monday after it was reported that the vehicle’s gas pedal cover had become dislodged, pinning itself against the floor for at least one customer. In 2022, complaints related to the Tesla’s misadvertised driving range became so pervasive that the company developed a secret “Diversion Team” to suppress the noise.

Tesla will deliver its quarter one report on April 23. “Analysts estimate that Tesla will still turn a profit of around 50 cents a share, down from 85 cents a share in Q1 2023,” reported Electrek.

You Won’t Believe How Trump Spent Day One of His Trial. Wait—You Will.

Trump decided his hush-money trial was the perfect time for a nap.

Donald Trump sits at a table with his hands folded on top while he looks to the side
Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Bloomberg/Getty Images

For all of the insults Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans like to lob at President Biden over his energy levels, perhaps he should look in the mirror.

As his hush-money trial in Manhattan started Monday, the former president seemed to be sleeping, according to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who was present in the courtroom.

“Trump didn’t pay attention to a note that his lawyer Todd Blanche passed him. His jaw kept falling on his chest and his mouth kept going slack,” Hagerman told CNN.

It’s pretty ironic behavior for someone who has long mocked his presidential election opponent by calling him “Sleepy Joe.”

Before the trial began this morning, Trump characteristically took to his Truth Social account to attack presiding Judge Juan Merchan and Biden and complain about the gag order against him.

Trump is accused of paying off adult film actress Stormy Daniels to cover up an alleged affair before the 2016 presidential election. He is charged with 34 felony counts for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime.

Republicans aren’t likely to acknowledge Trump’s dozing, and plenty of them don’t have room to talk. When Biden repeatedly demonstrates his mental sharpness before national audiences, they try to explain it away with some ridiculous excuses. Meanwhile, Trump keeps making verbal gaffes and going on nonsensical rants whenever cameras are on, as recently as a Saturday rally in Pennsylvania.