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Virginia Schools Stop Virtue Signaling, Bring Back Confederate Names

The Shenandoah County school board voted to reinstate the Confederate names of its schools.

A statue of Stonewall Jackson in Charlottesville, Virginia
Ryan M. Kelly/AFP/Getty Images
A statue of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson, whose name will be reinstated on a high school in Quicksburg, Virginia

After removing Confederate names from two of its public schools during the summer of 2020, a rural Virginia county has become the first school district in the country to reverse such a change.

Shenandoah County’s school board voted early Friday morning to reinstate the names of three Confederate officers on two schools, after a meeting that lasted for hours prompted by years of pushback, The New York Times reported. According to the Times, school board meetings were filled with local residents who said the name changes were secretive and rushed through and said they resented cultural shifts being forced upon them.

Four years ago, during protests against racial injustice across the country, the board voted 5–1 in a virtual meeting to change the names of Ashby-Lee Elementary and Stonewall Jackson High. The schools were renamed the next year as Honey Run and Mountain View. But backlash in the county, which is 90 percent white, led to a revote in 2022 that resulted in a tie.

“When you read about [Stonewall Jackson]—who he was, what he stood for, his character, his loyalty, his leadership, how Godly a man he was—those standards that he had were much higher than any leadership of the school system in 2020,” Tom Streett, one of the board members, said Friday before he and the rest of the board voted 5–1 to restore the names.

The protests across the United States during the summer of 2020 against racial injustice resulted in changes ranging from new school curricula about the country’s racial history to name changes such as those in Shenandoah County. In the years since, though, the right wing has pushed back on any changes to the pre-2020 status quo, from denying that systematic racism exists to inventing the specter of “critical race theory” to prevent any mention of racism in schools or school policy, even winning school board elections on the premise. The result has been a decimation of public education in America.

New Hush-Money Evidence Shows Trump Basically Admitting to Crimes

Trump’s lawyers had tried to prevent this tweet from being entered into evidence.

Donald Trump gestures as he speaks
Victor J. Blue/Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump is suddenly in the odd situation of having to defend against his own words.

An old tweet of his was admitted into evidence in his hush-money trial Friday, and the post appears to challenge what Trump’s legal defense has tried to claim since opening statements.

In May 2018, Trump admitted on Twitter (now called X) that his former fixer Michael Cohen actually did receive a “monthly retainer”—even though Trump’s attorneys have attempted to argue that Cohen was not paid back for the $130,000 hush-money payments made to porn actress Stormy Daniels. Instead, Trump’s lawyers claim Cohen was paid as an employee.

“Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between these two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement or NDA,” Trump wrote at the time.

Prosecutors have argued that the retainer fee was simply a guise to pay Cohen back.

The timestamp on the tweet also provides further evidence that Trump was aware of multiple $35,000 checks to Cohen inked by his two sons, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., as well as Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, made via a revocable trust.

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.

Cassidy Hutchinson Could Be Latest Major Republican Defection

The former Trump White House staffer said she’s voting for “character” in the fall.

Cassidy Hutchinson speaks into a microphone
Dominik Bindl/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson could leave the Republican Party behind and vote for Joe Biden in November.

Hutchinson made the comment during an event at Colorado Mesa University on Tuesday. Video posted to X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday shows Hutchinson addressing the crowd.

“I’ve never voted for a Democrat in my life, but I would absolutely consider voting for Joe Biden this upcoming November because he will not seek to destroy our nation. He will not seek to destroy our Constitution,” she said.

Hutchinson’s statement does not come lightly. She had a harrowing time while working in Trump’s White House, describing a hostile environment where Trump threw dishes, wanted to allow armed supporters at his January 6 rally, and tried to strangle a Secret Service agent. In her book, Enough, Hutchinson accused former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani of groping her just before Trump’s speech on January 6. She also had to put up with aggressive advances from Representative Matt Gaetz, a Trump acolyte who even falsely claimed that two dated, she said. She would become a star witness for the House January 6 investigative committee.

During House Republicans’ failed attempt to impeach Biden, one of their witnesses, Tony Bobulinski, tried to paint Hutchinson as an “absolute liar and a fraud” because she described an “out of sight” meeting between him and Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, at a 2020 campaign rally in Rome, Georgia. Hutchinson shut him down with photographic evidence of the meeting.

Hutchinson is not the first Trump White House aide to signal support for Biden. Former White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews told MSNBC late last month that she’d be voting for the president’s reelection, stating that “when we have a candidate on the ballot who will not uphold the Constitution, then I feel like I have to put policy aside, and I want to support the person who is best suited to defeat Donald Trump.”

Georgia’s former Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan has also endorsed Biden, saying he plans on “voting for a decent person I disagree with on policy over a criminal defendant without a moral compass.”

Read about Hutchinson's fellow defectors:

Threat to Democracy Steve Bannon Will Be in Jail Through Election

A court has unanimously rejected Bannon’s appeal of his contempt of Congress convictions.

Steve Bannon gestures as he speaks into a microphone
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A three-judge panel on the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia rejected Steve Bannon’s appeal case Friday, upholding a criminal court’s ruling that the former adviser to Donald Trump must serve jail time.

Bannon was convicted by a jury in 2022 on two counts of contempt of Congress for refusing to respond or comply with a subpoena request issued by the January 6 House Select Committee. He was sentenced that year to four months in jail but has remained free while he appealed the decision. If he begins the sentence soon, he could be in prison during the election in November.

“Because we have no basis to depart from that binding precedent, and because none of Bannon’s other challenges to his convictions have merit, we affirm [the conviction],” the panel wrote in a 20-page opinion, noting that a contrary ruling on Bannon’s crime would “hamstring Congress’s investigatory authority.”

Bannon claimed he could not comply with the Congressional subpoena on the basis of assumed executive privilege, arguing that—although he was a private citizen at the time—his discussions with Trump were confidential.

Bannon will likely attempt to appeal the case again, either to the 11-member bench of the appeals court or to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, he is likely headed to prison.

Another of Trump’s former advisers—Peter Navarro—faced a similar fate in January, when he was sentenced to four months in prison after spending years dodging a congressional subpoena. All of his attempts to overturn his sentence have failed.

This story has been updated.

Stormy Daniels Just Hilariously Called Out Trump’s Biggest Insecurity

The adult film actress quipped that “real men” testify.

Stormy Daniels smiles
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Porn star Stormy Daniels is goading Doanld Trump to take the stand following her testimony—though actually doing so may not turn out so well for the presumed GOP presidential nominee.

“Real men respond to testimony by being sworn in and taking the stand in court. Oh … wait. Nevermind,” Daniels wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Thursday. She had completed her explosive testimony earlier that day.

Screenshot of a tweet

Trump had already had a difficult time keeping his mouth shut about Daniels’s testimony early Tuesday, flaming the adult film star in a Truth Social post that was quickly removed, likely for fear of violating the gag order. So instead of attacking Daniels directly, Trump wrote up another post condemning the trial in its entirety.


Trump is on thin ice after having violated his gag order 10 times. Under its restrictions, Trump can’t speak publicly about courtroom staff, prosecutors, jurors, witnesses, or any of their family members. That includes attacking them on social media. Future violations could earn him more financial penalties and the possibility of jail time.

But legal experts predict that Trump’s bombastic behavior—and his penchant for outright denying any accusations against him—would only land him in more hot water if he decided to take the stand.

“I wouldn’t hold my breath on Trump ever testifying in this trial. It would be enormously self-destructive,” tweeted Ryan Goodman, a former special counsel for the Department of Justice, on Wednesday. “It may require unusual self-control on Trump’s part.”

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.

Fox News Freaks Out Over How Much Trump Is Getting Bashed in Trial

Laura Ingraham took particular issue with the repeated mentions of the phrase “orange turd.”

Laura Ingraham gestures as she speaks
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Fox News host Laura Ingraham is upset that an insult against Donald Trump, “orange turd,” has been repeatedly mentioned in trial coverage, despite the fact that Trump’s own legal team entered the phrase into evidence during his hush-money trial.

“You notice that Anderson Cooper really seemed to relish saying orange turd?” Ingraham said Thursday night, referring to the CNN anchor. “How many times did he say it? Well, we didn’t have the drinking game going but we might as well have. Again, humiliation of Trump, the only goal here.”

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels used the term in a tweet from 2022, which Trump lawyer Susan Necheles entered into evidence Tuesday as an attempt to weaken Daniels’s credibility. Trump is accused of paying off Daniels through his former fixer and attorney Michael Cohen to cover up their affair before the 2016 election.

“Orange turd” came up in court again Thursday, when Necheles brought up another Daniels tweet, this time from late March, where Daniels posted that she was “the best person to flush the orange turd down.”

With repeated mentions of the insult in court, it can hardly be a surprise to Ingraham and the rest of Fox News that media outlets such as CNN would report on it. It’s a newsworthy item, and wouldn’t even be part of the trial if Trump’s own legal team didn’t introduce it in court, as MeidasTouch editor-in-chief Ron Filipkowski noted on X (formerly Twitter).

If Fox News hosts are upset now, they better hope that Trump’s legal team doesn’t introduce Cohen’s old tweets into evidence when he is called to the witness stand, as he has referred to the former president as “Von ShitzInPantz” and a “racist jackass who referred to African nations as ‘shithole countries.’”

Trump is facing 34 felony charges for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime in the hush-money trial. He has pleaded not guilty.

Alina Habba Invents a New Constitutional Right at Hush-Money Trial

The Trump lawyer seems to think witness intimidation is in the Constitution.

Alina Habba gestures as she speaks
Brendan McDermid/Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s attorney Alina Habba thinks it’s a violation of the First Amendment to be prohibited from attacking witnesses.

Fox News presenter John Roberts asked Habba Thursday afternoon, seemingly referring to Trump’s former fixer and attorney Michael Cohen, about why “the prosecution’s star witness can say anything that he wants and then the former president is not allowed to respond?”

“We have a dual system of justice and a very unconstitutional gag order,” Habba said, standing outside of the courthouse in Manhattan while Trump’s hush-money trial was on break. “As his legal spokeswoman, I am nervous about what I can’t say, and that is also unconstitutional.”

Under the gag order, Trump is barred from speaking publicly about courtroom staff, prosecutors, jurors, witnesses, or their family members. He has already been fined $10,000 for 10 violations, with Judge Juan Merchan threatening jail time if the former president violates the order again. Trump may have come close Wednesday when he vented on Truth Social about how “sleazebags, lowlifes, and grifters that you oppose are allowed to say absolutely anything that they want.”

On Thursday, Trump’s legal team asked Merchan to modify the gag order, saying that Trump should be allowed to reply to adult film actress Stormy Daniels’s testimony against him. The prosecution responded that Trump’s attacks put witnesses and court staff in danger, noting the increase in threats against the Manhattan district attorney’s office and their family members.

Merchan ultimately sided with the prosecution, noting that Trump does not have a good track record of measured responses, and denied the motion to modify the gag order. And with good reason: Trump has a history of attacking witnesses in his court cases. He couldn’t refrain from violating a gag order in his bank fraud trial, attacking Judge Arthur Engoron’s principal law clerk, Allison Greenfield. Even earlier than that, he had a gag order imposed in his Washington, D.C., trial related to his efforts to subvert the 2020 election.

Regardless, it’s ridiculous to suggest that intimidating witnesses to an alleged crime is protected speech under the Constitution. But it’s no surprise that Habba is making this argument, considering her own record of legal missteps and unhinged assertions. She made the boneheaded move of stating that she didn’t have high hopes for Trump’s acquittal in the hush-money case late last month, and also seemed to admit his guilt in attempting to state that he did nothing wrong.

She claimed that the New York state law requiring Trump to attend all of his criminal trial proceedings violated his right to due process because he couldn’t attend his trials in other locations. And none of this includes her missteps in his defamation trial earlier this year, where she was reprimanded a whopping 12 times in one day.

Trump is facing 34 felony charges for allegedly paying off Daniels through Cohen before the 2016 election to try and cover up an affair with her. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Trump Demands Mistrial After Stormy Daniels Said He’s Bad at Sex

Trump’s lawyers moved to declare a mistrial over some of the details in Daniels’s testimony.

Donald Trump speaks
Victor J. Blue/Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s attorneys attempted Thursday to throw out his hush-money case on the basis that the trial had unnecessarily turned into an evolving tale about Trump’s less than stellar sexual trysts.

During testimony delivered over the course of two days, porn star Stormy Daniels recounted in great detail the shady circumstances under which Trump originally got her into his hotel suite, including false promises for a spot on his reality TV show, The Apprentice. Daniels revealed that she didn’t necessarily consent to the sexual encounter and “blacked out” while the two were intimate, that she spanked Trump with a rolled up magazine featuring his profile, and that she felt there was a vast discrepancy in their power dynamic.

But none of that should matter, according to Trump’s attorneys, who attempted to argue that the trial—which hinges on whether Trump was the source of a $130,000 payment to Daniels for her silence about the affair ahead of the 2016 presidential election—isn’t about sex.

“This is not a case about sex,” Todd Blanche told the judge before clarifying that it wasn’t about whether the sex took place or did not take place.

“You have jurors who are now hearing about an imbalance of power between a man and a woman,” he continued indignantly, arguing that the details about the encounter—which some legal experts have claimed adds to Daniels’s credibility about having experienced the events—are not relevant to the case.

That argument didn’t pass muster with Judge Juan Merchan, however. After returning to his chamber and reexamining transcripts from Daniels’s testimony, Merchan ruled that no one had violated his rules during the descriptive testimony.

Trump is accused of using Michael 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.

Read about Trump's other attempt to throw out the case:

Columbia Could Take Major Financial Hit Over Response to Gaza Protests

More than 1,000 alums have pledged to withhold support from the school.

New York police arrest a student protester at Columbia University
Selcuk Acar/Anadolu/Getty Images

Columbia University alumni are firing back at the university over its crackdown on student protests demanding the school divest from Israel-aligned companies and weapons manufacturers. 

As of Thursday afternoon, more than 1,600 alumni from the university’s 20 schools have signed an online statement pledging to “withhold all financial, programmatic, and academic support of Columbia University” until certain demands are met, including, but not limited to: 

Divest from all companies and institutions that fund or profit from Israeli apartheid, genocide, and occupation in Palestine.

Ensure accountability by increasing transparency around financial investments.

Drop charges against student activists and reverse expulsions, suspensions and disciplinary action. 

End the policing and militarization of Columbia’s campus by removing and banning the NYPD. Continuous NYPD presence on campus until May 17th is unconscionable.

Hold accountable faculty members, administrators, and any other University affiliates who have harassed and assaulted student human rights defenders.

Sever all academic ties with Israel, including Columbia’s Global Center in Tel Aviv and the GS Dual Degree program with Tel Aviv University.

Remove Minouche Shafik from her position as University President.

More than $67 million of financial contributions to the school are at stake if demands are not met, according to the statement. 

The statement cites the university’s lack of a good-faith response to a Columbia College student body vote on a divestment referendum in late April that passed with 76.55 percent of voters calling to cancel the university’s Tel Aviv Global Center and end the dual degree program between the School of General Studies and Tel Aviv University. The statement also noted that Barnard College passed the same referendum with a 90.99 percent majority. 

As the statement points out, Columbia has a history of protests similar to the recent student protests over Israel’s war in Gaza, citing a three-week blockade of Hamilton Hall in 1983 over the university’s investments in apartheid South Africa. Protesters at the time renamed the building Mandela Hall in honor of anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela. That effort led to the university becoming the first Ivy League institution to divest from South Africa.  

On April 30, pro-Palestine protesters took over Hamilton Hall and renamed it Hind’s Hall to honor 6-year-old Hind Rajab, a Gazan who was killed alongside her family by Israeli forces during the current war.

While wealthier donors, such as billionaires Robert Kraft and Leon Cooperman, have threatened to or have withheld their financial support to Columbia University for not taking a harder line against pro-Palestine protesters, Thursday’s alumni statement is the first such effort in support of the students, albeit from individuals with seemingly less wealth. 

Columbia’s protests have inspired similar activism from institutions across the country, which have been met with violence but also some successes and even acceptance from campus officials

Read more about the protests:

Marjorie Taylor Greene May Finally See Consequences for Shenanigans

Trying to oust House Speaker Mike Johnson might have been a red line for many of her colleagues.

Marjorie Taylor Greene frowns
Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

Representative Marjorie Taylor Grenee’s spectacularly failed effort to strip Speaker Mike Johnson of the gavel has earned her a whole slew of new enemies.

The motion to vacate fell apart Wednesday after an overwhelming majority of the House voted 359–43 to keep Johnson in leadership. But the time-consuming and chaotic effort came at the cost of Greene’s already minimal popularity in the lower chamber, with Republicans insisting that the Georgia Republican see some level of consequence for leading another attempt to divide an already thin and historically unproductive majority.

“I would suggest a 80 percent rule. Oddly enough, what the Freedom Caucus has,” Representative Ryan Zinke told Politico. “If someone routinely violates the rules … then it should be the conference’s decision of whether he should be removed or suspended from committees.”

Other conservative lawmakers insinuated that Greene could lose her committee assignments for causing more intraparty bedlam. Greene currently sits on the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, the House Committee on Homeland Security, and the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, as well as several related subcommittees.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some changes on a couple of committees after watching that motion to table vote,” Representative Steve Womack told the outlet.

Representative Dusty Johnson, meanwhile, claimed that there was an “extremely high level of interest” by a “high number of members” to completely change the rules around how the House functions.

“I am interested in anything that would make the House run better,” Johnson told Politico.

But Greene was already prepared for the backlash, flagrantly brushing off the ramifications of her own behavior.

“They probably want to kick me off committees. They probably want a primary. I say, go ahead.… That is absolutely their problem,” Greene told the publication after Wednesday’s vote.