Skip Navigation
Breaking News
Breaking News
from Washington and beyond

Key Hush-Money Witness Blows a Huge Hole in Trump’s Major Defense

Keith Davidson said he always knew Donald Trump was behind the hush-money payments.

Donald Trump looks forward
Mark Peterson/Pool/Getty Images

Former Stormy Daniels attorney Keith Davidson retook the stand in Donald Trump’s hush-money trial Thursday, offering up fresh revelations about the original source of the payments.

Reading aloud a statement he drafted to former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo on February 13, 2018, Davidson revealed just how carefully he had chosen his language in order to take some pressure off Michael Cohen and to cloud the fact that he knew the money was coming at Trump’s behest.

“I read today that Michael Cohen reports that the source of the $130,000 paid to Ms. Clifford was from his own personal funds,” Davidson read in part to the court. “That assertion is in complete harmony with what he informed me of at the time of the transaction.”

But that statement was only literally true, according to Davidson, who claimed he knew the money would be coming from Cohen but that Trump was the ultimate source of the funds.

Four days after the letter was drafted, Cohen and Trump would meet in person to solidify the $130,000 repayment scheme.

The whole narrative is counter to what Trump’s attorneys have attempted to argue, which is that the funds strictly came from Cohen and that Davidson hadn’t directly interacted with the former reality TV star.

Trump is accused of using Cohen to sweep an affair with Daniels under the rug ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The Republican presidential nominee 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 Explains Exactly What He’d Do if He Loses the Next Election

Donald Trump is revealing the truth about who he is.

Jeenah Moon/Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump still can’t give a straight answer on whether he’d accept the results if he loses the election.

In an interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Wednesday, the former president said he’d only accept a loss in November’s presidential election “if everything’s honest.”

“If everything’s honest, I’d gladly accept the results,” Trump said. “If it’s not, you have to fight for the right of the country. But if everything’s honest, which we anticipate it will be—a lot of changes have been made over the last few years—but if everything’s honest, I will absolutely accept the results.”

That’s a big caveat, leaving him plenty of wiggle room to claim “dishonesty!” if Joe Biden gets more votes. Trump has never said that he’d accept election results where he didn’t win. In 2016, he complained of a “rigged election” in August, which he would repeat often on the campaign trail, and then just weeks before November’s election, he again claimed he’d accept the results “if I win.”

In 2020, Trump didn’t concede in his loss to Biden and fought the results every step of the way, from his lawyers attempting fake elector schemes to arguably inciting an insurrection at the Capitol building on the day the country’s election results were certified. Trump’s refusal to acknowledge his election loss spawned what is known as the Big Lie: that he was the legitimate winner in 2020 and the election was stolen from him. Many of his faithful supporters still believe it in earnest.

Trump’s historical and recent comments do not bode well for November. He has hinted at another insurrection attempt if he loses, and he still hasn’t faced consequences for his last attempt, thanks to the Supreme Court. The far right has signaled its willingness to react with violence, including even some politicians. Whether Trump wins or loses, the scenarios don’t look good.

Trump May Not Be Only One Who Needs a Gag Order in Hush-Money Trial

Michael Cohen’s comments could land him in hot water soon.

Michael Cohen walks
Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s big mouth in his New York hush-money trial has so far cost him $9,000 and earned him a formal warning about the possibility of jail time if he continues to violate the partial gag order. But he may not be the only main character in the criminal case who needs a court order to shut his gob.

According to former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance, Trump’s former fixer turned star witness Michael Cohen may need the same kind of restrictions in order to keep his gossip and jabs at Trump off the internet.

“Witnesses need to keep their mouths shut until they are in the courtroom,” Vance said on The Insider Podcast Tuesday, adding that Cohen’s comments online could very well become “fodder” for Trump’s attorneys.

And there seems to be plenty of material for Trump attorney Todd Blanche to choose from. On Thursday, Blanche began rolling through some of the evidence, airing a mess of inflammatory social media posts made by Cohen about his former boss throughout the month of April. That included posts that referred to Trump by Cohen’s nickname for him—“Von ShitzInPantz”—and a retweet of another that lambasted him as a “racist jackass who referred to African nations as ‘shithole countries,’” in light of Trump’s attempt to liken himself to Nelson Mandela.

Trump is accused of using Cohen to sweep an affair with porn actress Stormy Daniels under the rug ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The Republican presidential nominee 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.

Lauren Boebert Gets Humiliating Beetlejuice Treatment at Campus Visit

The far-right representative made an appearance at the pro-Palestine protest at George Washington University, and it did not turn out well for her.

Lauren Boebert in a crowd. Signs behind her read "Beetlejuice," "Lauren Boebert can't handle her drinks," a watermelon that says "Free Palestine," and a Palestinian Flag that reads "200+ Days."
ALLISON BAILEY/Middle East Images/AFP/Getty Images

Representative Lauren Boebert paid a visit to the Gaza protest encampment in Washington, D.C., at George Washington University—and was quickly met with heckles of “Beetlejuice.

Boebert arrived at the encampment on Wednesday with several other Republicans from Congress, as students sang “The Imperial March” from Star Wars. Then their attempt to grandstand at the encampment was overshadowed by student protesters yelling “Beetlejuice,” referencing the time Boebert and her date were kicked out of a Denver theater’s performance of the play for disruptive and lewd behavior. 

She toured the encampment and tried to pull a Palestinian flag off a statue of George Washington, coming into contact with protesters. She failed to remove the flag, and her security staff led her away.

It’s not the first time Republicans visited one of the protest encampments set up by college students across the country to protest their institutions’ involvement with Israel and its brutal war in Gaza. Last week, Mike Johnson visited Columbia University’s protest encampment to grandstand himself, attacking protesters and calling for the National Guard to clear the encampment.

Police would clear Columbia’s encampment days later, pushing students out of an occupied building in an overwhelmingly excessive response. A similar takedown took place Thursday morning at UCLA. At all of the protests across the country, the students’ demands are being ignored in favor of overblown allegations from critics. Currently, it seems protests will continue until something substantive happens, like an end to weapons shipments to Israel or a cease-fire.

J.D. Vance Gets Hilariously Exposed for Hypocrisy After Protest Rant

The Ohio senator was singing a very different tune when it came to January 6 rioters.

J.D. Vance gestures as he speaks
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Ohio Senator J.D. Vance believes that people should follow the law—except when it’s convenient to his personal political cause.

In a testy exchange with CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins Wednesday night, Vance got caught up in his own loose definitions, revealing a double standard conservatives hold when it comes to the Gaza solidarity protests happening on college campuses across the nation.

“You can’t police people for being anti-Israel or pro-Israel; you can police people for violating the law,” Vance said.

“OK, so you agree that people who break in and vandalize a building should be prosecuted?” Collins said, to which Vance replied with a quick “Yes.”

“OK, I’m just checking, because you helped raise money for people who did so on January 6,” Collins continued. “Which was, you know, impeding an official proceeding, breaking into a building that they weren’t allowed to be in, and vandalizing the Capitol.”

But Vance was surprisingly prepared to dodge the question.

“Well, Kaitlan, I know this is the obsession of the national media to talk about what happened two years ago—three years ago, on January 6—” Vance said, before Collins interjected to specify that it’s “not an obsession” but rather a possible “double standard.”

“Here’s been my basic argument about January 6: If you beat up a cop, of course you deserve to go to prison,” Vance continued. “If you violated the law you should suffer the consequences. But there are people who protested on January 6 who’ve had the complete weight of the Justice Department thrown at them when at worst they’re accused of misdemeanors.”

But then Vance chose to harp on something that happened four years ago, once again punching down on a predominantly peaceful protest.

“Now, again, there are people who are accused of worse offenses, and that’s a problem, but you can’t have Black Lives Matters protesters who rioted and go free, when you had people who were actually peacefully protesting on January 6 who had the book thrown at them—that’s the double standard that I’m most worried about.”

Nearly 2,000 January 6 rioters were charged with crimes related to assaulting officers, destruction of government property, entering a restricted federal building, conspiring to obstruct a congressional proceeding, or for impeding one. Approximately 467 of them have been sentenced to periods of incarceration, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Matt Gaetz Had Weirdest Reason Ever to Vote Against Antisemitism Bill

Gaetz and at least one other colleague suggested the bill was too mean to Christians.

Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz talk
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

At least two House Republicans voted against the Antisemitism Awareness Act on Wednesday … because they think the bill criminalizes Christian beliefs.

The bill passed the House by a vote of 320–91. Twenty-one Republicans voted against it. Among them were Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene, who explained the bizarre logic behind their opposition on social media.

Gaetz and Greene each posted on X (formerly Twitter) that a portion of the bill, specifically the use of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s, or IHRA, definition of antisemitism, could be used against Christians “for believing the Gospel that says Jesus was handed over to Herod to be crucified by the Jews.”

Gaetz claimed the bill had been written “without regard for the Constitution, common sense, or even the common understanding of the meaning of words.”

Screenshot of a tweet

Greene, meanwhile, warned the bill could be used to “convict Christians of antisemitism.”

Screenshot of a tweet

There are a lot of legitimate reasons to oppose the IHRA’s definition of antisemitism, among them being that it’s used both to silence criticism of the state of Israel and to conflate support for Palestinians with prejudice. But believing that the Jewish people killed Jesus is an old and antisemitic trope. The fact that Gaetz and Greene, who both call themselves staunch supporters of Israel, each seem to think that Christianity justifies this line of thought calls into question how they really feel about the Jewish people.

At a time when students are facing brutal crackdowns for protesting on college campuses to call for their institutions to divest from companies affiliated with Israel and its harsh war in Gaza, the bill’s timing suggests that it is being used as a litmus test for legislators insufficiently supportive of Israel. That’s a real reason to oppose the bill, one that critics have pointed out. But good luck getting the far right to realize that.

Arizona Can Repeal Abortion Ban After Shocking Defection

Two Republican state senators broke ranks to overturn the 160-year-old law.

Rebecca Noble/Getty Images

The Arizona legislature secured just enough votes on Wednesday to repeal a 160-year-old abortion ban that was revived by the state’s Supreme Court in April.

The decision to nix the archaic law appears on track to pass thanks to the votes of every Democratic lawmaker, as well as two state Senate Republicans, T.J. Shope and Shawnna Bolick. If the bill passes, it will go to Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs, who is expected to sign it. That will return the state to its previous abortion status, which banned the medical procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

But some legislators fear that even if the vote does pass, there might still be a waiting period before the 15-week ban is officially enacted—and during that time, all abortions will still be outlawed. That period would last approximately 90 days after the end of the session, ending in June or July, unless the repeal comes with an emergency provision.

“Rest assured, my office is exploring every option available to prevent this outrageous 160-year-old law from ever taking effect,” Arizona state Attorney General Kris Mayes told the Associated Press.

Shortly after the new ban took effect, the Arizona legislature devolved into a state of chaos, with Republicans blocking discussions to repeal the ban. In a dramatic show, Democrats responded by chanting “shame” at their colleagues across the aisle.

The near-total abortion ban from 1864—before Arizona was even a state—offers no exceptions for instances of rape or incest. But some Republicans in the state, especially the ones currently on the campaign trail, immediately came out against it. That includes Senate candidate Kari Lake, who claimed the draconian ban was “out of line with where the people of this state are,” despite having aggressively fought for it in multiple political campaigns and calling the 1864 legislation a “great law.”

Other Arizona Republicans who conveniently came out against it include Representative David Schweikert, Representative Juan Ciscomani, and former Republican Governor Doug Ducey, even though he was responsible for appointing four of the justices who brought the ban back to life.

Meanwhile, Republicans are still working on their own plans to permanently rid the state of abortion access, including one plot to introduce an abortion-restricting measure on November’s ballot with the hopes of confusing voters.

The only solution, according to local Democratic leaders, is to vote. Democrats need to flip just two seats in each state chamber in order to obtain a majority.

“As Republicans regroup to defend their 15-week ban and work to undermine the upcoming abortion ballot measure in Arizona, we are focused on flipping the two seats in each chamber that will deliver Democratic majorities in Arizona’s legislature,” said Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee President Heather Williams in a statement. “Voters have an opportunity this year to deliver Democratic majorities by flipping just two seats in each chamber.”

This story has been updated.

House Republicans Suffer Major Loss as They Hurtle Toward More Chaos

A special election in New York has narrowed the party’s already thin House majority.

Tim Kennedy speaks
Al Drago/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

The Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives has cruised to victory in a New York special election, dealing a further blow to Republicans’ slim majority in the chamber. 

State Senator Tim Kennedy defeated Republican Gary Dickson on Tuesday night in the solidly blue 26th district, which comprises the city of Buffalo and the surrounding suburbs. The special election was announced shortly after Representative Brian Higgins, a Democrat, resigned in February to take over a performing arts center in the district. President Joe Biden won the same district by 23 points in the 2020 elections. 

Now the makeup of the House is 217 Republicans to 213 Democrats, with five vacant seats. With their narrow majority and constant infighting, Republicans have rarely passed any significant legislation, with the exception of aid to Ukraine and Israel over the opposition of far-right representatives such as Marjorie Taylor Greene. This loss will only hurt future efforts.  

Greene has said she will push to oust Speaker Mike Johnson, but she has only rallied two other Republicans to her cause. Johnson himself only assumed the speakership in October thanks to a successful effort to push out the previous speaker, Kevin McCarthy, when he passed a legislative budget over the objections of his caucus’s far-right members. 

Johnson has more support from his party but less of a majority to work with than McCarthy, so a vote to remove him would depend a lot on the support of Democrats. Although they didn’t save the previous speaker, House Democrats have indicated they intend to back Johnson, in an effort to stave off pure mayhem. 

UAW President Expertly Skewers Response to University Protests

Shawn Fain made his stance on the war in Gaza clear.

Shawn Fain looks up
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The president of the United Auto Workers union, Shawn Fain, on Wednesday condemned the brutal and excessive response to university student protest encampments across the country over the war in Gaza.

In a thread of posts to X (formerly Twitter), Fain criticized law enforcement actions against protesters and expressed support on behalf of the UAW for demonstrators.

“The UAW will never support the mass arrest or intimidation of those exercising their right to protest, strike, or speak out against injustice,” Fain said. “Our union has been calling for a ceasefire for six months. This war is wrong, and this response against students and academic workers, many of them UAW members, is wrong.”

“If you can’t take the outcry, stop supporting this war,” he added, in a stinging rebuke to politicians.

The UAW also represents student workers under its local 4811, which encompasses 48,000 academic student employees, graduate student researchers, academic researchers, and postdocs in the University of California system. The Gaza solidarity encampment on the University of California, Los Angeles campus was attacked by counterprotesters while police stood by.

Fain has not shied away from taking bold action since his election to head the UAW in March 2023. He led the union through a strike against the three largest American car companies last year and successfully negotiated a good deal for autoworkers, even ensuring electric vehicle battery workers would have union protection. He was not afraid to criticize Donald Trump and endorse Joe Biden in January, a key boost for Biden that earned Fain the ire of the belligerent former president. Most recently, the union won an unprecedented victory in Tennessee, successfully unionizing a Volkswagen plant.

Fain’s successful record means that the UAW’s support for a cease-fire in Gaza and those protesting for it cannot be discounted. The UAW under his leadership wields a lot of influence and has shown that its members know how to use it. Other politicians seeking the support of working people and younger voters, like those that the UAW represents, in the coming election would do well to follow their example.

NYPD Pushes Ridiculous Conspiracy About Columbia University Protests

New York police officers’ wild claims about student protesters that could put them at risk

Police march on Columbia University's campus
Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images
Police in riot gear march onto Columbia University’s campus the night of April 30.

After arresting 119 people participating in a Gaza solidarity protest at Columbia University on Tuesday, the New York City Police Department is suddenly aggressively pushing the narrative that participants weren’t actually students—but their evidence doesn’t hold up to even basic scrutiny.

Speaking on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Wednesday, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Tarik Sheppard showcased “heavy industrial chains” and bike locks that he claimed officers encountered “on every door” of the university administrative building Hamilton Hall, where students locked themselves in after the university announced it had reached an “impasse” with protest negotiators. Sheppard, however, claimed that the materials must have arrived from someone off campus, purporting that “this is not what students bring to school.”

And yet, the materials were common city bicycle locks, advertised and sold by campus security.

In the frenzy to beat an already saturated news environment to the punch, mainstream media outlets jumped on the misinformation bandwagon, doing their part to spread details before bothering to verify them. CNN reiterated the “outside agitator” line well into Tuesday night, even after award-winning Columbia-based news sources such as the WKCR radio station fact-checked them with on-the-ground reporting.

In another neglectful instance, CBS New York’s Ali Bauman claimed that New York City Hall sources had told her that the “wife of a known terrorist is with protestors” at the university. She later deleted the post, but not before it reached nearly 250,000 people.

Meanwhile, the international criminal court at The Hague is weighing whether or not to charge Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with war crimes as the country’s war on Gaza claims so many lives that local authorities say they can no longer keep count. More than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed and more than 77,000 Palestinians have been injured in the conflict, according to data from the Gaza Health Ministry. Most of the victims have been women and children.

Israel has advanced its attacks on the beleaguered nation by blocking humanitarian aid from reaching those who need it. Israel has also utilized mass starvation, as well as blocking or destroying access to critical resources such as water, food, fuel, electricity, and medical aid.