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Mike Johnson Steps Smack Into a Major House Intra-GOP Foodfight

Republicans are fighting after one representative called some of his colleagues “scumbags.”

Mike Johnson grimaces
Nathan Howard/Getty Images

Another conservative appeared to be sour on House Speaker Mike Johnson on Tuesday amid what has turned out to be a major party upheaval.

Texas Representative Chip Roy said he is “beside himself” after witnessing Johnson help out another Republican colleague, Tony Gonzales, who has openly berated some caucus members as “scumbags.”

“I’m being attacked. Conservatives are being attacked,” Roy told KTSA News. “I cannot tolerate what’s happening to the people that I think are fighting for this country… the primary season matters.”

Roy’s comments come amid a growing push from members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus to penalize Gonzales after he went scorched earth on the party’s moral standards over the weekend. More caucus members have endorsed Gonzales’s primary opponent, a far-right social media influencer.

“I served 20 years in the military. It’s my absolute honor to be in Congress, but I serve with some real scumbags!” Gonzales told CNN on Sunday.

“Matt Gaetz, he paid minors to have sex with him at drug parties. Bob Good endorsed my opponent, a known neo-Nazi. These people used to walk around with white hoods at night. Now they’re walking around with white hoods in the daytime,” he continued. “Look, it didn’t surprise me that some of these folks voted against aid to Israel, but I was encouraged to see by a nearly 10-to-1 mark that Republicans supported our allies on the battlefield.”

If push came to shove, Gonzales said he didn’t believe Johnson would lose the gavel—even though the beleaguered speaker has been bleeding support in the weeks since Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene filed a motion to vacate in March. The fracture came after Johnson worked with Democrats and Senate Republicans to pass a $1.2 trillion omnibus bill, with the House GOP torching him for accomplishing one of the legislature’s primary annual responsibilities: funding the government.

But Johnson’s recent (successful) efforts to pass a foreign aid bill reminded others that there are adults in the room willing to push back on Greene’s intraparty drama—even if she only needs a handful of conservative defectors to actually kick Johnson out from leadership.

“For some reason, these fringe people think as if they have the high ground. They do not,” Gonzales told CNN. “I assure you, the rank and file members that normally are kind of easygoing, doing the right thing, put their head down, they vote yes or no but they’re not public about it—those days are over. The fight is here.”

“If someone pokes you in the chest, the way you take care of a bully is you bloody their nose.”

Hush-Money Witness Unmasks Team Trump’s Shady Inner Workings

David Pecker testified that the former president’s team was careful to hide their actions.

Donald Trump gestures while he speaks
Brendan McDermid/Pool/Getty Images

It seems Donald Trump didn’t want to leave any trace of certain conversations with a tabloid magnate just before the 2016 election.

During Trump’s hush-money trial on Tuesday, David Pecker, the former publisher of the National Enquirer and former CEO of its parent company, American Media Inc., revealed that Trump’s team very well knew what they were doing was shady. In fact, Pecker said, the president’s fixer and attorney in 2016, Michael Cohen, tried to steer conversations about payments off of the phone and onto an encrypted messaging app.

In conversations concerning Playboy model Karen McDougal, with whom Trump had an affair, Pecker said that Cohen sought to shift their conversations to Signal, an encrypted app with the ability to make messages disappear.

Trump faces 34 felony counts for allegedly paying off adult film actress Stormy Daniels to cover up an affair before the 2016 presidential election. At the time, Pecker was using his position in a “catch-and-kill” scheme to buy off anyone, like McDougal and Daniels, with any disparaging stories about Trump, he admitted earlier in court Tuesday.

Attempting to have conversations without a record is suspect, to say the least, and seems to indicate that Trump and his people knew that their activities were suspicious, if not outright illegal. It’s another strike for Trump’s defense team, which already has to deal with the impending playback of audio evidence where Trump himself discusses making payments to McDougal with Cohen “with cash.”

Effectively, Pecker confessed he was the “eyes and ears” for the Trump campaign regarding “women selling stories,” and he promised to notify Cohen in order to have such stories “killed.”

According to Pecker, Trump directly asked him what he and his magazines could do to help Trump’s campaign. The tabloid publisher responded that he could “publish positive stories about Trump” and “negative stories about his opponents.”

Republicans Have Outrageous Response to Columbia University Protest

The students’s protest in support of Gaza has sparked some truly dumb comments.

Students participate in an encampment in support of Gaza at Columbia University
Selçuk Acar/Anadolu/Getty Images

Republicans have started commenting on the Columbia University protests staged in support of Gaza—and unsurprisingly, the comments have been lackluster, punitive, and completely beside the point.

Columbia University and Barnard College students have been protesting for months against the war in Gaza, including setting up an encampment on campus last week. University officials and police have responded with arrests and disciplinary action, causing the protest, which sought to persuade the institutions to divest from weapons manufacturers and companies doing business with Israel, to spread across the country.

Fox News’s Maria Baritromo called the protests “barbaric” on Tuesday, drawing a completely inaccurate comparison. “And yet, you don’t see the upset that you saw around January 6,” she said, referring to the Capitol insurrection

Unlike the January 6 riots, there have been no reports of buildings being stormed, or law enforcement getting attacked. And contrary to accusations that the demonstration is inherently antisemitic, the protesters held Jewish Shabbat services over the weekend followed by Muslim evening prayers. 

Screenshot of a tweet

David Frum, a senior editor at The Atlantic and former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, thought that protesters should lose their student loan forgiveness. Critics were quick to point out that he was effectively saying that poorer students shouldn’t be able to peacefully protest on campuses.  

Republican Senators Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley demanded that the National Guard be called in to subdue the peaceful protesters. Cotton referred to the protest as “nascent pogroms.”

Such comments are not out of character for these two. Cotton has practically made a career out of calling for violence against peaceful protests, including his infamous “send in the troops” op-ed during the 2020 to Black Lives Matter protests. Hawley, meanwhile, raised his fist right before the January 6 riot—only to be seen running scared through the Capitol once the mob breached the building. 

Meanwhile, in Gaza, mass graves are being discovered, and the death toll keeps rising even as it becomes harder to count. Student protests continue to spread, not just in the U.S., but even overseas. But the discourse in the United States seems to be over offensive language and not offensive military aid, which continues to get majority votes in Congress. 

Hush-Money Witness Reveals Trump’s Plan to Influence 2016 Election

David Pecker dropped a bombshell about the lengths Trump was willing to go in order to win.

Donald Trump sits with his hands folded
Curtis Means/Pool/Getty Images

A longtime friend of Donald Trump’s admitted on the stand Tuesday that their relationship had devolved into an orchestrated scheme to influence the 2016 election on Trump’s behalf.

David Pecker, the former publisher of the National Enquirer and former CEO of its parent company, American Media Inc., told the court Tuesday that he and Trump had coordinated not just to publish positive coverage of his friend ahead of the 2016 election, but also to publish negative coverage of other presidential candidates. In doing so, Pecker practically admitted to the catch-and-kill media scheme that Trump has repeatedly denied.

Trump had asked “what can I do and what my magazines can do to help the campaign,” Pecker said. Pecker had responded that he could “publish positive stories about Trump” and “negative stories about his opponents.”

Stories about Hillary Clinton were already popular amongst the Enquirer’s audience, so continuing to publish those articles was a “mutual benefit,” according to Pecker. Still, Pecker knew the plan should be kept “highly, highly confidential,” describing the undocumented meeting he had with Trump and Trump’s then-fixer Michael Cohen in August 2015 as “just an agreement among friends.” Pecker would later tell the Enquirer’s former editor-in-chief, Dylan Howard, to instruct the east and west coast bureau chiefs of the publication to redirect any stories about Trump to Pecker.

“We’re gonna try to help the campaign, and to do that I want to keep this as quiet as possible,” Pecker recalled telling Howard.

That, effectively, made Pecker the “eyes and ears” for the Trump campaign regarding “women selling stories.” Pecker promised to notify Cohen in order to have such stories “killed.”

Trump is accused of using Cohen to sweep an affair with porn star 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.

Trump’s Bizarre Claim on Hush Money Trial Gets Brutal Fact-Check

Donald Trump is just making things up now in the calls to his followers, as legal proceedings against him continue.

Donald Trump speaking and furrowing his brows
Curtis Means-Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump claimed that a massive police presence has shut down traffic for blocks around the Manhattan courthouse where his hush-money trial is being held, preventing his supporters from showing their support and protesting on his behalf. But reality looks a little different.

NBC News reporter Vaughn Hillyard posted a video outside the courthouse Tuesday morning. The clip shows a pretty quiet street fully open to traffic, with only one Trump supporter there, according to Hillyard.

Either Trump has no idea what’s going outside of court, he’s deluding himself, or he’s trying to make excuses about a poor show of support. It’s not the first time, either: When the former president was initially indicted in his hush-money case in March 2023, the show of support outside of the court was abysmal, with trolls and media outnumbering supporters. When he was charged with 34 felony counts in the following month, news crews again dwarfed the MAGA faithful.

Trump clearly is hoping for January 6-level turnout at his trials, even calling for his supporters to show up in large numbers. But it seems he’s going to be repeatedly disappointed. Many Republicans, clinging to conspiracies about the Capitol riot, think that the government was behind the whole thing, and don’t want to play into a “deep state” plot.

But that hasn’t stopped Trump from continuing to urge his supporters to show up—something that might not bode all that well for the presidential election in November.

Judge Warns Trump’s Idiot Lawyer His Entire Credibility Is at Risk

Todd Blanche appears to be quickly making things worse for Donald Trump in the hush-money trial.

Shot from above of Todd Blanche and Donald Trump sitting side by side in court
Timothy A. Clary-Pool/Getty Images

An attorney for Donald Trump’s legal defense in his New York criminal trial took a serious misstep on Tuesday that resulted in a critical warning from Judge Juan Merchan.

On the second day of the trial, attorney Todd Blanche attempted to portray Trump as an individual fully aware of the limitations of the partial gag order imposed on him in the trial, which forbids him 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, though comments about Merchan and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg are still on the table.

Still, Trump has already managed to violate the gag order about a dozen times, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

“President Trump does in fact know what the gag order allows him to do and what it does not allow him to do,” Blanche told the court, insisting that his client had not violated the court order since Trump’s comments toward witnesses, including adult film actress Stormy Daniels and his former fixer Michael Cohen, allegedly came after they had spoken about him first.

“He’s allowed to respond to political attacks, your honor,” Blanche said, according to MSNBC’s Adam Klasfled.

But Merchan remembered the order of events, reminding Blanche that Trump’s disparaging remarks had in fact come before the others’.

“President Trump ‘Truths’ repeatedly, all day, virtually seven days a week, your honor,” Blanche replied.

The ensuing back-and-forth between Blanche and Merchan continued to a rolling boil until Blanche suddenly claimed that the violations at hand—which involve Trump “reposting an article from a news site” or a “news program”—don’t actually violate the order. Still, Blanche had no precedent or case law to support such a claim.

“I don’t have any case law,” Blanche said, instead calling it “common sense” and doubling down that Trump had been “very careful to comply” with the order.

That was, apparently, the straw that broke the camel’s back, after which Merchan dropped that the attorney had gone too far.

“Mr. Blanche, you are losing all credibility with the court,” Merchan said, according to LawFare’s Anna Bower.

“You say the posts are ambiguous, you say he didn’t know, but you’re not offering me anything to support your argument. You’re not giving me anything to hang my hat on,” Merchan continued.

“The fact that the prosecution did not come running in here as [soon] as your client posted things too close to the line is not probative of anything here,” he added before telling the court to take a break.

Ex-Giuliani Associate Exposes “How Things Work” in Trump Government

Lev Parnas revealed Rudy Giuliani employed a pay-to-play scheme.

Lev Parnas sits at a table
Alex Wong/Getty Images

A former associate of Rudy Giuliani is still dishing out the dirt on the inner machinations of Donald Trump’s administration.

Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian American businessman, helped Giuliani connect with Ukrainian officials in his effort to “find dirt on the Bidens” that could potentially hurt then-presidential candidate Joe Biden’s chances at taking the White House. That included connecting the Trump administration with an assortment of Ukrainian leaders, including the former Minister of Internal Affairs Yuriy Lutsenko.

Parnas dropped an eyebrow-raising story about Lutsenko Monday night, revealing how twisted international affairs became under the Trump administration.

“Lutsenko told me, ‘I’m the General Prosecutor of Ukraine, I want to meet A.G. Barr,’ so, I tell that to Rudy and he’s like, ‘Look, you want to meet Attorney General [Bill] Barr, the way things work here is you pay a lobbyist and they will get you in there, so you can pay me $200,000 and I will introduce you to Attorney General Bill Barr,’” Parnas told MediasTouch in a sprawling story about Giuliani’s meeting with the Ukrainian official.

“That evening I go meet with Lutsenko… they get drunk. Lutensko is pouring his heart out to me, like he can’t believe what just happened, he looked up to Giuliani as his hero and here Giuliani is basically shaking him down for $200,000 to meet with Attorney General Barr.”

“I explained to him that, ‘Listen, you know how things work all over the world, this is just how things work in the United States,’” Parnas added.

The information that Giuliani extracted from meetings with a host of Ukrainian officials transformed into a conspiracy accusing Biden of orchestrating a political cover-up in the Eastern European nation while serving as vice president in order to protect his son Hunter’s seat on the board of Ukrainian oil company Burisma. Once Biden became president, that conspiracy became the primary allegation in a Republican-led impeachment effort—even though Parnas had warned Giuliani long before that the entire story was false.

“The American people have been lied to, by Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and various cohorts of individuals in government and media positions. They created falsehoods to serve their own interests knowing it would undermine the strength of our nation,” Parnas testified at a House impeachment inquiry hearing in March.

Trump Tried to Strike a Wild Deal with Classified Docs Co-Defendant

The former president allegedly asked his body man Walt Nauta to lie on his behalf.

Donald Trump and Walt Nauta stand together
Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Donald Trump allegedly asked his valet Walt Nauta to lie to the FBI about whether the former president was hoarding classified documents, promising to pardon Nauta if he was ultimately charged with lying to the agency.

The shocking revelation came from an FBI interview with a witness identified only as a White House employee under Trump, CNN reported Monday night. In the interview, the transcript of which was released Monday, the witness paints Trump as paranoid as he was investigated for withholding classified documents, and increasingly desperate to ensure absolute loyalty from those who worked for him after his presidency ended.

“NAUTA was told by FPOTUS’ people that his investigation was not going anywhere, that it was politically motivated and ‘much ado about nothing,’” an interview summary states. FPOTUS refers to the Former President of the United States. “NAUTA was also told that even if he gets charged with lying to the FBI, FPOTUS will pardon him in 2024.”

The witness, referred to as “Person 16,” didn’t want the FBI to record the interview, claiming that it would be “a far bigger risk for him in the Trump world.” The interview notes do not indicate how Person 16 came to know about the promised pardon.

Monday was full of bad news for Trump, who faces 40 felony charges in the classified documents case, including 32 counts of willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding documents, and concealing records. In another interview transcript released Monday, a different witness in Trump’s orbit said that, when Trump refused to return classified documents to the federal government, the witness resorted to begging members of the former president’s family to convince him to return the material.

Trump himself has even admitted to taking and keeping classified documents after his presidency, but insists that he took and kept them “very legally.” Statements like that, along with revelations that he misled his attorneys, are probably why Trump’s lead attorney in the classified documents case reportedly quit.

Nauta and a co-defendant in the classified documents case, Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira, are each accused of helping Trump move boxes of classified documents so that federal investigators could not find them, and of trying to delete security footage that showed them moving boxes. The pair claim that they had no idea what was in the boxes, and they are seeking to have the cases against them dismissed.

Trump Blames Wrong Person for Trying to Cause TikTok’s Downfall

The former president suddenly seems to have amnesia about his previous stance on TikTok.

The TikTok app opens on a phone
Antonin Utz/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump took aim at Joe Biden on Monday for trying to ban TikTok, conveniently forgetting how hard he worked to ban the popular app during his own presidency.

Trump posted an angry screed on TruthSocial claiming that “Crooked Joe Biden” is responsible for banning TikTok after a bill attached to a major foreign aid package passed the House of Representatives over the weekend. The bill would ban TikTok from U.S. app stores if its parent company, China-based ByteDance, doesn’t sell the platform within a year.

“He is the one pushing it to close, and doing it to help his friends over at Facebook become richer and more dominant, and able to continue to fight, perhaps illegally, the Republican Party,” Trump wrote, urging young people to remember this on Election Day.

Either Trump’s memory is suspect, or he’s trying to pull a fast one on the public. He attempted to ban the popular video-sharing app in an executive order back in 2020, ostensibly to protect Americans’ data from the Chinese government. The ban was later shot down in court.

Just last month, however, he claimed in an incoherent TV interview that a ban would help Facebook, and even expressed support for the social media platform on TruthSocial.

“If you get rid of TikTok, Facebook and Zuckerschmuck will double their business,” Trump posted in March. “I don’t want Facebook, who cheated in the last Election, doing better.”

Since then, two possible explanations for Trump’s dramatic shift in position have emerged. One of Trump’s allies, former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, revealed plans to purchase TikTok. And billionaire Jeff Yass, a powerful backer of Trump’s reelection campaign, reportedly owns a 15 percent stake in TikTok worth billions of dollars.

Over the last several months, the app, popular with younger Americans, has come under fire for allegedly being too pro-Palestinian from the right, as well as from pro-Israel Democrats. As inflated an argument as that seems, Trump may see supporting TikTok as helping his reelection efforts by encouraging more criticism of Biden’s policies in Israel and Gaza. Not to mention that keeping the app around keeps powerful allies happy.

Read more about Trump's new TikTok thoughts:

Witness: We Were Begging Trump’s Entire Family in Classified Docs Case

Newly unsealed documents show how Trump’s whole family got dragged into his alleged mishandling of classified documents.

Boxes of classified documents are stacked in a bathroom at Mar-a-Lago
U.S. Department of Justice/Getty Images

A newly unsealed FBI interview with an unidentified Trumpworld character unearths some eyebrow-raising details regarding Donald Trump’s classified documents case—namely, that family members were told to beg him to return the sensitive material back to the federal government.

In late October/early November of 2021, the unidentified individual pleaded with the former president, telling him that “whatever you have, give it all back,” according to the FBI memo, made public Monday.

But attempting to reason with Trump directly didn’t work. Instead, Trump “wanted to know how anyone knew of the issue.” When he was informed it was all documented in writing, he replied “we’ll check and think about it.”

So, in lieu of that, the unidentified individual claimed they tapped several people around the president in a coordinated effort to get Trump to return the documents, believing that hearing a ubiquitous call to return the federal property would influence Trump to actually do so. That included reaching out to some of his children.

The message was, essentially, “there are issues with the boxes. They belong to the government, talk to your dad about giving them back, It’s not worth the aggravation,” according to the FBI memo.

While the names of the individuals interviewed or involved in the scheme were redacted prior to the interview’s release, other Trumpworld individuals have already speculated as to who could have been behind or involved in the scheme to return the trove of documents to the government. According to former Trump fixer Michael Cohen, that may have been Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

Trump has since outright admitted to taking the sensitive records. In a prerecorded interview on Newsmax, Trump claimed point blank that he actually did take the classified documents, describing the process of shamelessly packing them away while leaving office.

“I took ’em very legally,” Trump said. “And I wasn’t hiding them.”