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Is Donald Trump Afraid to Testify?

He won’t say.

Donald Trump arrives at a Manhattan courthouse, flanked by attorneys.
Mark Peterson/Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s ceremonious pretrial speech on Monday was speckled with variations of one question for the waning case: Will he testify?

“Mr. Trump, are you surprised your lawyers advised you not to testify?” one reporter asked Trump outside of the courtroom hosting the former president’s New York hush-money trial.

The criminally charged presidential nominee refused to answer the question, pivoting instead to issues surrounding his campaign while continuing to complain that the trial and the judge overseeing it are “totally corrupt” and “interfering with an election.”

“Thank you very much. I’m here instead of campaigning. As you know, I was supposed to be in a very different state this morning, and the judge actually decided to call this early,” Trump said. “I was supposed to be making a speech for political purposes. I’m not allowed to have anything to do with politics, because I’m sitting in a very freezing cold courtroom for the last four weeks. It’s very unfair.” Trump has repeatedly violated a gag order that prohibits him from attacking, among others, family members and staff members of Judge Juan Merchan, who is overseeing the trial—though he is not prohibited from assailing the character of the judge himself.

“This is the most conflicted judge, probably in the history of the court system,” Trump continued. “And everyone knows what I’m talking about! Thank you very much.”

But the same, unanswered question echoed down the hallway as Trump turned to exit—“Will you testify, Mr. Trump?”

Trump had previously indicated that he intended to testify. “All I can do is tell the truth,” Trump said shortly before the trial began. That would be a terrible idea—but it’s not out of the question that Trump would do it anyway. Legal experts have predicted that Trump is unlikely to take the stand, arguing that his bombastic nature would risk perjury or perhaps even open him up to further prosecution.

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

Trump is accused of using his former fixer Michael 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.

Republicans Are Losing It After ICC Netanyahu Arrest Warrant News

The International Criminal Court says it is seeking an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Cue the Republican outrage machine.

Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

After the International Criminal Court announced Monday morning that it is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, and other senior Israeli and Hamas leaders, Republicans immediately began attacking the court and pledging swift action against it.

“This outrageous decision is truly a slap in the face to the independent judiciary of Israel, which is renowned for their independence,” said Senator Lindsey Graham in a statement. “We must not forget as a nation the International Criminal Court threatened to bring action against American forces in Afghanistan—and we are a non-member.”

“I will feverishly work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle in both chambers to levy damning sanctions against the ICC,” he added.

Representative Brian Mast, a fervent pro-Israel hawk who has said Palestinian babies aren’t innocent and compared all Palestinians to Nazis, said in a statement that he, along with Representative Chip Roy and Senator Tom Cotton, will pursue sanctions against the ICC and its justices, preventing them from traveling to the United States.

Cotton echoed that call, saying the news of a possible warrant “shows what a farce the International Criminal Court is.”

Senator Rick Scott similarly declared, “The ICC has embarrassed itself with these sham charges against Israel’s leadership. America stands with Israel. 🇺🇸 🇮🇱”

Even conservatives who are not on good terms with the wider Republican Party voiced their support for Israel and opposition to the ICC. John Bolton, a former Trump and Bush administration official, said on X that the court had “proven its fundamental illegitimacy by seeking arrest warrants against Israeli officials in the middle of a war.”

“To aid our ally Israel, the U.S. should take steps both in Congress and in the White House to condemn the ICC and impose sanctions, as I have previously suggested,” Bolton posted.

For some Republicans, the attacks on the ICC are a sharp reversal from their previous stances when the court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2023. Back then, Graham said, “Here’s an offer to my Russian ‘friends’ who want to arrest and try me for calling out the Putin regime as being war criminals: I will submit to jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court if you do.”

Earlier this month, 12 Republican senators, including Cotton and Scott, warned the ICC against issuing warrants for any Israel officials, saying that they “will interpret this not only as a threat to Israel’s sovereignty but to the sovereignty of the United States.” On Monday morning, they appear to follow up on that threat.

Eric Adams Grossly Defends NYPD Violence on Pro-Palestine Protests

The New York City mayor is massively downplaying police violence at a pro-Palestine protest in Brooklyn.

Eric Adams closeup
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York City’s former cop mayor, Eric Adams, spent Monday morning doing media spots defending the brutality unleashed by the NYPD on an annual Nakba Day march held in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, on Saturday.

Speaking on 1010Wins, Adams falsely claimed one clip of police repeatedly punching an arrested protester was an “isolated incident” that he “will review.”

“But those police officers did a commendable job under very difficult circumstances,” he added, all but greenlighting police brutality at future protests.

Adams’s statement comes amid fresh scrutiny by local officials of NYPD’s conduct toward pro-Palestine demonstrations in New York City.

In response to the NYPD’s actions on Saturday, New York City Councilmember Justin Brannan posted to X (formerly Twitter), “I saw no evidence of actions by protestors today that warranted such an aggressive response from NYPD.”

“Videos + reports of the NYPD response to yesterday’s Nakba Day protest in Bay Ridge are incredibly concerning,” state senator Andrew Gounardes posted on X. “Everyone has a right to peaceful protest.”

NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams went a step further and linked the NYPD’s conduct against pro-Palestine demonstrations directly to the mayor, writing on X, “Yes, NYPD and individual officers should be held accountable, however the truth is this Mayor holds the ultimate responsibility for not just allowing but encouraging; almost insisting that the response for anything Palestinian be escalation and disproportionate force.”

In response to the blowback, the NYPD released a highly edited video of the protest to justify its heavy-handed response. “This was not a peaceful protest by some,” they claimed, attempting to defend their own violently disruptive actions.

Nakba Day, also known as The Catastrophe, is an annual commemoration by Palestinians around the world of the start of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that marks the beginning of permanent displacement from Palestine. In New York City, Nakba Day is traditionally commemorated in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn—also known as “Little Palestine” for its dense Palestinian-American population.  The Bay Ridge Nakba Day demonstration historically features thousands of attendees who march and rally, many of whom are residents of Bay Ridge, led by Palestinian liberation organization Within Our Lifetime.

This reporter documented the police response to Saturday’s protest, which featured numerous instances of NYPD spontaneously arresting protesters, punching arrested protesters, violently arresting credentialed press, macing people on the sidewalk, and incoherently corralling the march. Adams, in his media rounds, focused only on one of the most viral moments, and skirted away from even a whiff of condemnation.

Adams has long defended the NYPD and peddled outside agitator myths to justify NYPD’s response to protests he personally opposes—which include pro-Palestine demonstrations—as if cops magically know the people they’re mass arresting carry out-of-state IDs. For months, the NYPD has violently cracked down on pro-Palestine demonstrations, arresting people for nonviolent activity such as attempting to march in the street or using megaphones—both staples of protest which the NYPD argues are unlawful without a permit. Organizers argue requiring permits for protest negates the point of protest.

“A protest with a permit is a parade,” says Fatima Mohammed, an organizer with Within Our Lifetime. Nerdeen Kiswani, another organizer with Within Our Lifetime, has noted New York City’s permit procedures don’t include a “protest” option, requires parades to register months in advance, and that sound permits have to be acquired through an NYPD precinct—a tall ask for organizers prone to being arrested by the police.

A 2023 lawsuit settlement brought by the New York Attorney General regarding police brutality on protests prohibits excessive use of force, kettling, unjustified arrests, and arresting press.

Elise Stefanik Blows a Fuse After Being Reminded of Sudden Trump Pivot

The Republican representative did not want to be reminded of her own previous statements about Donald Trump.

Elise Stefanik closeup
Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

Elise Stefanik doesn’t want anyone to remember her time criticizing Donald Trump back. In fact, she’ll lose her mind if you try to bring it up.

The Republican representative lashed out at Fox News’s Shannon Bream on Sunday, when the TV host brought up a New York Times article from 2022 noting that the Republican representative once called Trump “a whack job.” The article also noted that Stefanik told a New York radio station in 2015 that Trump was “insulting to women” and that his presidential candidacy would hurt the GOP’s efforts to attract female voters.

“Well Shannon, it’s a disgrace that you would quote The New York Times with nameless, faceless—” Stefanik fired back, before Bream interjected.

“But they’re quoting your friends, so I’m giving you a chance to respond to that,” Bream said.

“No, Shannon, they’re not quoting my friends. Those names are not included because they are false smears,” said Stefanik.

“Just to be fair, there are a number of names of people who are quoted in the article,” Bream replied, as Stefanik tried to speak over her. “People can read for themselves.”

Stefanik ignored Bream’s reminders about her early stance on Trump and tried to reframe the interview into how much she supports Trump, claiming that she was the only Republican from the Northeast who voted for Trump in 2016. But, as Bream noted, the article is online for everyone to see, and it clearly shows a Republican who transformed herself from a moderate into one of Trump’s most fervent defenders.

Stefanik has called the January 6 rioters “hostages,” alluded to saying she would enact a coup for Trump, defended Trump’s sexual assault of E. Jean Carroll, and even claimed that Americans were better off in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic than they are now. More recently, she’s filed an ethics complaint against special counsel Jack Smith for “illegal election interference” despite the fact Smith is investigating Trump for interference in the 2020 election.

Like many Republicans, Stefanik went from trying to distance herself from Trump in 2015 to fervently defending him after he won the 2016 election. Just like those other Republicans, she refuses to acknowledge that sudden pivot. The question is whether that loyalty to Trump will pay off for her in her political career, as she’s on a short list to be his vice presidential running mate.

Samuel Alito Dumped Bud Light Stock at Quite a Suspicious Time

The Supreme Court justice sold his stock in Anheuser-Busch—and the timing raises serious ethical questions.

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Newly published financial disclosure reports revealed that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito dumped stock in Anheuser-Busch last summer during the height of a manufactured anti-trans hate campaign targeting the brewer.

The disclosure reports, as first reported by Chris Geidner at Law Dork, reveal Samuel Alito sold between $1,000 and $15,000 worth of stock in Anheuser-Busch in mid-August 2023. Per Geidner, this stock dump in the midst of the right-wing boycott against Bud Light suggests Alito may have sold his stock as a form of participation in the boycott. This reveal comes on the heels of reporting by The New York Times that Alito flew an inverted flag associated with anti-government extremism outside his home in January 2021, an exposé that Alito poorly handled by blaming his wife.

In April 2023, anti-trans and far-right influencers targeted Bud Light for its use of influencer Dylan Mulvaney for a sponsored Instagram post. Mulvaney is a trans woman who gained prominence documenting her transition journey in bubbly, joyful fashion. Bud Light has long partnered with influencers, including comedians Seth Rogan and Amy Schumer and musician Post Malone. The brand has historically crafted ads specifically geared toward the LGBTQ+ community. The hate campaign called for people to boycott Bud Light, resulting in the brewer’s stock plummeting.

At the same time Alito sold stock in Anheuser-Busch, he purchased stock in Coors, a rival brewer led by an ultraconservative family known to shower money on conservative politicians. It was recently revealed that the charity for the Coors brewing family reportedly donated $15,000 to Accuracy in Media, a right-wing group best known for sending doxxing trucks to harass students at college campuses across the country.

Far Right Loses Its Mind Over Sentencing of Paul Pelosi Attacker

Much like when the attack first happened, the far right thinks the whole thing is a giant conspiracy.

David DePape close-up
Michael Short/San Francisco Chronicle/Getty Images
David DePape

David DePape, who broke into Representative Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home and attacked her husband, Paul, with a hammer in 2022, was sentenced to 30 years in prison Friday. And the far right thinks it’s a travesty.

Several far-right influencers seem to think that the arrest is a conspiracy, much like they thought about the initial attack.

Chaya Raichik, who runs the anti-LGBTQ account Libs of TikTok, took a break from banning books and instigating threats against teachers and children’s hospitals to post about how many more dangerous people than DePape won’t see a jail cell.

Tweet Screenshot

Likewise, pundit and radio host Charlie Kirk thought that San Francisco cared more about the Pelosi case than other violent crimes in the city.

Tweet screenshot

Conservative influencer Johnny Maga also echoed the “violent crimes in San Francisco” trope, wondering why criminals can roam the streets in San Francisco, “left unprosecuted.”

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Conservatives largely laughed or promoted conspiracy theories when news of the attack on Paul Pelosi broke nearly two years ago. Even today, they either dismiss or even justify such political violence, either explicitly or through implication. Meanwhile, Paul Pelosi says he’s still suffering dizziness, headaches, balance problems, nerve pain, and walking challenges as a result of the attack.

Samuel Alito Can’t Even Lie Properly About That Upside-Down Flag

The Supreme Court justice tried to explain away reports of a “Stop the Steal” symbol outside his home. That only made things worse.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito purses his lips
Alex Wong/Getty Images

After a New York Times story revealed an inverted flag was flown outside the home of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito in January 2021—for which Alito blamed his wife, Martha-Ann—a Fox News host stepped up to help the Alitos further embarrass themselves.

“I spoke directly with Justice Alito about the flag story in the New York Times,” Shannon Bream posted on X (formerly Twitter) Friday morning. “He told me a neighbor on their street had a ‘F— Trump’ sign that was within 50 feet of where children await the school bus in January 21.”

Twitter user Aaron Fritschner—deploying basic fact-checking that would make a Fox News host’s head spin—looked into the claim and found it doubtful. Multiple news articles from 2021 show schools in Alexandria, Virginia, where the Alitos reside, were operating remotely from winter 2020 well into February 2021—a month after the Alito’s inverted flag was first documented. As the Alitos may recall, the Covid-19 pandemic shut down school bus operations.

Bream ran even more cover for the Alitos, claiming they told her a neighbor put up a sign “personally addressing Mrs. Alito and blaming her for the January 6th attacks,” a questionable claim that smacks more of a hilariously passive-aggressive troll than a serious accusation. Bream also claimed the Alitos told her of an incident where the conservative couple were walking through the neighborhood when Martha-Ann Alito engaged in a dispute with “a male at the home with the sign” who “engaged in vulgar language, ‘including the c-word.’” In response to that dispute, Bream says, Martha-Ann opted to raise a symbol popular with anti-government extremists, a reaction that makes little to no sense.

According to Bream, the Alitos claim the inverted flag was only up “for a short time.” According to messages sent from a neighbor at the time reviewed by The New York Times, the flag was up for “several days.”

The inverted American flag is a symbol popular with far-right and anti-government protests, and it was raised at the Alito household at some point between the January 6 Capitol riot and Biden’s 2021 inauguration. Regardless of why, its presence outside the home of a Supreme Court justice raises concerns of bias with judicial experts.

In May 2022, this reporter covered a pro-abortion demonstration outside the Alitos’ Alexandria home. At the time, their flagpole bore a correctly oriented American flag, and no neighbors reported any flag or sign-related conflicts. In lieu of any volatile outbursts or expletive-laden signs, their neighbors set up a charming fire pit and offered this reporter wine, cheese, and key lime pie.

Tim Scott Picks Worst Person You Know to Help Him Become Trump’s V.P.

The South Carolina senator is getting help from Kellyanne Conway.

Tim Scott waves as he stands next to Donald Trump
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

South Carolina Senator Tim Scott is well on his way to winning Donald Trump’s veepstakes, but the power behind that drive has come from an unexpected ally: Kellyanne Conway.

Scott has reportedly been tending to a budding friendship between himself and the former top Trump White House aide, several sources connected to Conway told The Daily Beast. The pair have been seen grabbing dinner together around Washington, D.C., and Conway is also scheduled to speak at a fundraiser in June led by the Southern lawmaker. Getting closer to Conway has also meant getting closer to Trump, who reportedly still values the former counselor’s opinion very highly.

“Tim and Kellyanne have gotten close because, as she puts it, she is de facto head of Trump world—like Trump’s security blanket,” a source close to Scott told the Beast. “People underestimate how much the president relies on her counsel and they doubt her influence at their own peril.”

Trump, meanwhile, made a mysterious allusion to his V.P. choice on Friday, posting that the first presidential debate of the election season would take place at an HBCU “on behalf of the future Vice President of the United States.” (In reality, the Commission on Presidential Debates had picked that location in November, despite Trump’s attempts to take credit for it.)

But although he’s one of the top contenders, Scott isn’t the only candidate Conway is considering for Trump’s number two spot. Also at the top of the list is Florida Senator Marco Rubio, according to sources that spoke with the Beast. The political consultant is even weighing other options on a separate level of viability. Those candidates include North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and Tennessee Senator Bill Hagerty.

While Conway’s lobbying for Scott is seen as authentic, and her influence with the presumptive GOP presidential nominee very legitimate, sources close to her told the Beast that she’s not impervious to making a bad bet.

“Here’s the thing about Kellyanne: People dismiss her for a variety of reasons—she’s not particularly smart and doesn’t really come up with a lot of good ideas; she’s always chasing money, and that’s what guides her decision-making,” one source said. “But she does have Trump figured out like no one else. If anyone can convince him to make a mistake—and later assign blame to someone else—it’s Kellyanne.”

Still, Conway’s team says the buck stops with Trump.

“President Trump seeks the counsel of many men and women on the V.P. pick, but he and he alone will decide,” Conway said in a statement.

Another Trump Stooge Admits Exactly Why He Was at Hush-Money Trial

Representative Bob Good revealed the truth about why Republicans are descending on the Trump trial en masse.

Andrew Harnik/Getty Images

Donald Trump has no shortage of Republican allies willing to help him get around the gag order in his hush-money trial. On Friday, Representative Bob Good, who traveled to New York to attend the trial, spilled the beans.

“That’s why we went up there, so that we could say the things that this corrupt judge is not allowing him to say,” Good said on Fox Business Friday morning. “This is a judge who seems to get all the high profile conservative trials up there, and his own daughter is raising tens of millions of dollars for the Democrat party off this very trial.”

Good’s comments, if he was told specifically by Trump to make them, would violate his gag order, which prohibits the former president from attacking Judge Juan Merchan, court staff, the prosecution, jurors, witnesses, or their families, as well as directing surrogates to do so on his behalf.

In the past week, Good and several other Republicans, including Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, have traveled to Manhattan to support the former president. While there, they took turns attacking Merchan and bullying his daughter. Good’s comments even echoed those of his colleague in Congress, Representative Matt Gaetz, outside of court on Thursday in New York.

“We are here of our own violation because there are things we can say that President Trump is unjustly not allowed to say,” Gaetz said, flanked by other Republican congresspeople. His words would be overshadowed by mockery from local New Yorkers.

Trump has claimed that the order prevents him from defending himself against damaging testimony from the case’s star witnesses, including adult film actress Stormy Daniels and his former fixer and attorney, Michael Cohen. He’s even tried to get the order tossed out, only to be rebuffed by a New York appeals court. Despite this, Trump still attacked the lead prosecutor of the case, Matthew Colangelo, outside of court on Thursday, opening himself up to possible jail time.

Trump is accused of paying off Daniels in order to keep their affair under wraps before the 2016 presidential election with the help of Cohen, and faces 34 felony counts for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

AOC Reveals Darker Intentions Behind MTG Hearing Chaos

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is exposing the truth of what Republicans were up to in that chaotic House Oversight hearing with Marjorie Taylor-Greene.

Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez revealed Friday that the GOP-led House Oversight Committee abdicated normal procedures after the panel devolved into mudslinging, sparked by a characteristically bizarre outburst by Marjorie Taylor Greene. In fact, AOC explained, the chaotic House hearing was part of a “structured GOP outcome.”

The committee was holding a markup meeting regarding Republican efforts to advance contempt proceedings against Attorney General Merrick Garland for refusing to produce confidential recordings between President Biden and special counsel Robert Hur.

During the Thursday night meeting, MTG spontaneously launched into a bizarre line of questioning at her Democratic colleagues, asking if any of them employ the daughter of Judge Juan Merchan, a favored attack from Trump that landed him a gag order that conservative politicians have been intentionally circumventing during his hush-money trial.

Democratic Representative Jasmine Crockett asked Greene, whose comments had derailed the hearing, “Do you know what we’re here for?” In response, Greene insulted Crockett’s appearance, saying “I don’t think you know what you’re here for. I think your fake eyelashes are messing up what you’re reading.”

Greene’s attack prompted a response from Ocasio-Cortez, who admonished the far-right loudmouth and unsuccessfully moved to have Greene’s comments struck, calling Greene’s rhetoric “absolutely unacceptable.”

The following day, Ocasio-Cortez took to X (formerly Twitter) to break down how Greene’s outburst overshadowed—and aided—what Ocasio-Cortez describes as a “microcosm of what authoritarians do on a larger scale.”

“AFTER the Republican Chair and GOP members broke official House protocol to allow MTG’s horrific opening silo of rhetoric, they THEN made another change to dispense with the legislative process,” Ocasio-Cortez said on X (formerly Twitter). “THAT part is not getting enough attention.”

In a move Ocasio-Cortez described as “highly unusual and still unclear to me how legitimate it was,” the GOP-led committee vacated both the typical amendment process and legislative debate that follows, moving directly to vote on their own text without allowing for amendments or objections to be heard.

“That’s why this stuff isn’t just all-sides chaos, or mere distraction, or a pox on everyone’s house,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “They WANT you to think this was some random devolution of conduct instead of a structured GOP outcome. We must understand who and what actions created the situation. It matters.”

Thanks to MTG’s meltdown, the vote to initiate contempt proceedings against Garland was successful.