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Money-Grubbing Felon’s Wild Warning to MAGA: Back Off

Looks like someone wants to keep all the “political prisoner” cash to himself.

Justin Lane/Pool/Getty Images

It’s every man for themselves in the Wild West of the Republican Party, with convicted felon Donald Trump warning other party members to stay far away from his fundraising efforts.

The presumptive GOP presidential candidate’s campaign wasted no time Thursday leveraging his hush-money conviction for its fundraising efforts, raising $34.8 million in a small-dollar haul in the hours after Trump became the first former president turned convicted felon in U.S. history. In emails to his supporters, a free-walking Trump described himself as a “political prisoner” and questioned if the verdict would be the “end of America.”

But Trump has made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t want any down-ballot Republicans to join his crusade—for fear that they could line their own pockets with donations that might instead have gone to him.

“Any Republican elected official, candidate or party committee siphoning money from President Trump’s donors are no better than Judge Merchan’s daughter,” Trump co–campaign manager Chris LaCivita told Politico. “We’re keeping a list, we’ll be checking it twice, and we aren’t in the spirit of Christmas.”

The Trump campaign had already delivered an unusual notice to GOP vendors in April requesting that other campaigning Republicans “who choose to use President Trump’s name, image, and likeness” share a minimum of 5 percent of their fundraising solicitations with the former president.

“This includes but is not limited to sending to the house file, prospecting vendors, and advertising,” LaCivita and his campaign co-manager Susie Wiles wrote in the letter.

But the ongoing money-grubbing is a stark sign for the health of the Trump campaign. Trump’s previous grifts included launching a remarkably ugly sneaker and selling NFT trading cards of himself dressed in superhero costumes and astronaut suits. And, on top of maintaining some GOP megadonors post-conviction, Trump is well on his way to morphing the RNC into his personal piggy bank.

In March, he installed his daughter-in-law Lara Trump to co-run the organization alongside North Carolina GOP Chairman Michael Whatley. In an interview with Real America’s Voice, Lara Trump vaguely promised that “every single penny of every dollar donated” will go to causes that “people care about.”

But Republicans saw through that.

“There will be zero money available for any candidates down ballot. Zero,” Liz Mair, a Republican strategist, told USA Today at the time. “All of it will be funneled into the presidential, and despite what Chris LaCivita says, I’m pretty sure as much of it as can be will actually be funneled into covering Trump lawsuit costs.”

Top Five Absurd Republican Reactions to Trump’s Guilty Verdict

Republicans are absolutely losing it after their dear leader became a convicted felon.

Donald Trump yelling
Justin Lane/Pool/Getty Images

After Donald Trump was found guilty of 34 felony counts in his hush-money trial Thursday, Republicans threw a fit. Old criticisms of Trump were immediately forgotten, and full-throated defenses of the first president to be convicted of a crime began.

Former Representative Justin Amash, one of the few conservatives who supported Trump’s impeachment over the Ukraine scandal during his presidency, surprisingly came out swinging, calling the verdict “an affront to the rule of law.” Amash probably seeks to get more Republican support for his run for the Senate in Michigan.

Tweet Screenshot Justin Amash

Senator Marco Rubio, who Trump derisively called “little Marco” during the 2016 presidential elections, said that “Biden leftists in New York made a mockery of our criminal justice system,” and predicted Trump would win anyway.

Tweet Screenshot Marco Rubio

Senator J.D. Vance, a Trump V.P. contender and one of the first Republican politicians to react to the news, called the verdict “election interference.”

Tweet Screenshot J.D. Vance

Hours after the verdict was delivered, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saw fit to chime in.

Tweet Screenshot Mitch McConnell

And, in a case of poor timing, Senator Chuck Grassley tweeted out a picture of himself enjoying ice cream not long after the verdict.

Tweet screenshot Chuck Grassley eating ice cream

(More than an hour later, he condemned the verdict and said he expected it to be overturned.)

Ivanka Trump Finally Breaks Silence After Dad Becomes Convicted Felon

Ivanka Trump has four measly words of support for her father after that guilty verdict.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Ivanka Trump offered just four words in support of her freshly convicted felon father on Thursday, publishing to her Instagram stories a photo of herself as a child sitting on her future-convict father’s lap with the text “I love you dad” with a heart emoji. The post was kept to Ivanka’s stories, where it will disappear in a matter of hours—evidently not worth sharing as a post and soiling her highly curated influencer-style grid.

Instagram Screenshot: Donald Trump holding a toddler Ivanka Trump who seems to be wearing a birthday hat. The caption says "I love you dad" with a heart emoji.
Instagram Screenshot/Ivanka Trump

It’s the kind of thing you’d expect to see from someone who forgot it was Father’s Day and who doesn’t really keep in contact with their dad, not from the daughter of a former president turned convict in one of the most highly publicized trials of the century.

Despite profiting tremendously from Trump’s political career, Ivanka has remained completely silent through his criminal one. And while her brothers, Don Jr. and Eric, have made appearances at the Manhattan courthouse—including Don Jr. stuffing his face with junk food while awaiting the verdict with his dad and Eric reportedly staring a hole in the back of a court officer in the courtroom as the guilty verdicts came down—Ivanka didn’t show up at all.

Trump was found guilty by a jury of New Yorkers of 34 felonies on Thursday, over payments he sent to Stormy Daniels to keep silent about their queasy tryst. He’s due back in court for sentencing in July.

Convicted Felon Trump’s Idiot Lawyer Doubles Down on Absurd Defense

Todd Blanche claimed he wouldn’t change anything about their legal defense strategy.

Donald Trump speaks as Todd Blanche stands next to him
Mark Peterson/Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s attorney Todd Blanche still believes in his failed legal strategy to defend the former president—even though he’ll readily admit that the plan did not cover all the bases.

Hours after the courtroom adjourned Thursday, Blanche ran a media circuit, standing firm that the defense had done “the best we could” while still insisting that the defense strategy had been airtight.

“We never saw… some key figures who got brought up a lot. Why didn’t the defense call any of these witnesses?” asked CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.

“Well, because we happen to live in America,” Blanche chortled. “We don’t have the burden of proof. So, that’s not the point.”

“The question that we asked the jury… is why the prosecution didn’t call those witnesses,” he continued. “As a defense attorney, you don’t go into a case saying, ‘I’m going to fill the holes of the prosecution.’”

It’s wild to claim it simply wasn’t his responsibility to call supposedly crucial witnesses who could have exonerated his client, and Trump himself wasn’t happy with the lapse. In the days leading up to the jury’s decision, Trump torched his attorneys online, claiming that his team had not pursued the legal strategy he wanted and that crucial witnesses had been left on the table.

But Blanche couldn’t defend that narrative either, instead telling Fox News’s Jesse Watters that Trump was “very involved” in his own defense.

“He’s a smart guy, he knows what he’s doing. He jokingly said to us a lot that sometimes he wanted to be the litigator, he wanted to be arguing, because he knows what he’s doing,” Blanche said. “We made every decision together.”

And mind-bogglingly, when Watters asked if he would have done anything differently, Blanche said he “wouldn’t change anything that we did”—apparently including ending with a conviction.

The month-long trial ended in a guilty verdict for Trump, the first criminal conviction of a former president in U.S. history. Trump’s sentencing is scheduled for July 11, just three days before the Republican National Convention.

Convicted Felon Trump Forced to Beg Most Embarrassing Ally for Help

The former president will have to ask Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for the right to vote.

Donald Trump looks at Ron DeSantis
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Convicted felon Donald Trump might need to turn to some of his ex-allies in order to help him out with his newfound legal guilt—namely, “Tiny D” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Trump’s ability to vote for himself in November will depend on the details of his sentence, which is expected July 11. His vote is further complicated by his choice of permanent residence—Florida—which bars felons from participating in elections. And Florida’s regulations on the issue are particularly restrictive: even if a person is convicted of a felony in another state, as long as the state recognizes the crime, they still won’t be allowed to cast their ballots until they complete their sentence.

Trump has another option, though: DeSantis, whom Trump has also dubbed “Meatball Ron” and “Pudding Fingers,” could make a special exception for his former primary competitor.

New York Justice Juan Merchan could sentence Trump to up to four years in prison. He could also impose probation, supervised release, or order Trump to do community service or pay fines. Trump would need to complete all portions of his sentence before he’d be allowed to vote again in Florida, Alex Saiz, legal director of the Florida Justice Center, explained to Politico.

“Let’s say for whatever reason, Donald Trump gets just a fine and no [prison] sentence. If he doesn’t pay that fine, then he can’t vote until that fine is paid,” Saiz told the publication. “But if he gets given time served and a $500 fine, once he has paid that $500 fine and owes no more money and has no more supervision, then he is eligible to vote in the state of Florida.”

If Trump completes his sentence, he may still be loath to ask DeSantis for help. But considering the fact that DeSantis seems perfectly happy fundraising for the man who once called him a groomer, he may be willing to intervene.

Trump’s Wild Rant After Guilty Verdict Could Haunt Him in Sentencing

Someone remind him the trial isn’t completely over.

Steven Hirsch-Pool/Getty Images

After a Manhattan jury found him guilty on all 34 felony charges in his hush-money trial in New York Thursday, Donald Trump said that the whole thing was rigged against him.

“This was a disgrace, this was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt. It’s a rigged trial, a disgrace,” Trump said to reporters as he left the Manhattan courtroom.

“They wouldn’t give us a venue change, we were at 5 percent or 6 percent in this district, in this area. This was a rigged, disgraceful trial. The real verdict is going to be November 5 by the people, and they know what happened here and everybody knows what happened here,” Trump added.

Trump went on to blame District Attorney Alvin Bragg, calling him Soros-backed, and accused the Biden administration of trying to weaken him to win the election.

The former president’s sentencing is scheduled to take place by Judge Juan Merchan on July 11 at 10 a.m., just four days before the Republican National Convention begins in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His post-trial remarks could affect his sentencing, as a lack of remorse is often considered by judges in criminal cases.

Immediately after the trial, Trump also sent a fundraising email to his followers where he declared himself a political prisoner.

Trump fundraising email tweet screenshot

In the event Trump is sentenced to prison time, it’s uncertain how the presumptive Republican presidential nominee will attempt to continue his campaign from behind bars—which some of his followers falsely claim has already been explored by the Secret Service. Trump does have the option to appeal the guilty verdict, which could mean that he wouldn’t have to start serving any sentence until an appeals court makes a decision. An appeal could push the possibility of jail time until after the election.

Read Trump’s full remarks on his guilty verdict below:

This was a disgrace, this was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt. It’s a rigged trial, a disgrace. They wouldn’t give us a venue change, we were at 5 percent or 6 percent in this district, in this area. This was a rigged, disgraceful trial. The real verdict is going to be November 5 by the people, and they know what happened here and everybody knows what happened here. You have a Soros-backed DA, and the whole thing, we didn’t do a thing wrong.

I’m a very innocent man, and it’s OK, I’m fighting for our country, I’m fighting for our Constitution, our whole country is being rigged right now. This was being done by the Biden administration in order to wound or hurt an opponent, a political opponent, and I think it’s just a disgrace and we’ll keep fighting, we’ll fight till the end and we’ll win because our country’s gone to hell.

We don’t have the same country anymore. We have a divided mess, we’re a nation in decline, serious decline, millions and millions of people pouring into our country right now. From prisons and from mental institutions, terrorists and they’re taking over our country. We have a country that’s in big trouble, but this was a rigged decision right from day one with a conflicted judge who should have never been allowed to try this case. Never. And we fight for our Constitution. This is long from over. Thank you very much.

It’s Official: Donald Trump Is a Convicted Felon

And so concludes the former president’s first criminal trial.

Donald Trump speaks as he sits with his hands folded
Steven Hirsch/Pool/Getty Images

A jury found Donald Trump guilty on all 34 counts on Thursday, marking the first time in U.S. history that a former president has been convicted of a felony.

The jury reached its decision after deliberating for less than 10 hours. Judge Juan Merchan announced that Trump will be sentenced on July 11 at 10 a.m., mere days before the Republican National Convention will take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Trump was accused of using his former fixer Michael Cohen to sweep an affair with porn star Stormy Daniels under the rug ahead of the 2016 presidential election. He faced 34 felony charges in the case for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime in the first degree.

In order to find Trump guilty of felony-level falsification of business documents, the jurors had to unanimously agree that he did so in order to further an underlying or separate crime. But before entering the jury chamber—and against the best efforts of Trump’s legal team—Merchan ruled that the jury did not need to agree on what the separate or underlying crimes were.

Trump listened to the verdict wearing a deep frown, while his attorneys looked away from their client.

Just before the jury began deliberating Trump’s fate, the former president slammed his own legal defense, seemingly disapproving of the strategy they had chosen. In frantic, back-to-back posts on Truth Social Wednesday morning, Trump suggested that he had wanted an advice of counsel defense, a strategy that negates the element of criminal fraud when the advice stems from “reasonable reliance” on the advice of a person’s legal counsel.

His attorneys had indicated in March that they had no intention of employing that strategy. Instead, they wanted to include evidence that centered around the lawyers in Trump’s decision to dole out hush-money payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels—a strategy that Merchan described as a “presence of counsel” defense and that he ultimately deemed would be too confusing for the jury to navigate.

The outcome will have historic ramifications not just for Trump but for the entire country. If Trump does end up being sentenced to prison, it remains to be seen how the presumptive GOP presidential nominee will attempt to continue his bid for reelection from a jailhouse—a possibility that many of his followers are falsely claiming the Secret Service has already explored.

Regardless, several prominent far-right politicians have already indicated that they will continue to support Trump even if he’s convicted of a felony. In an embarrassing show during an August GOP primary debate, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, biotech investor Vivek Ramaswamy, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and former Vice President Mike Pence all indicated that they would continue to support Trump as the Republican nominee even if he’s found guilty in his criminal trials. Others have gone even further: In November, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene told Piers Morgan that she would “absolutely” continue to support Trump’s presidency, even “from a prison cell.”

And Americans are right behind them. An April NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that nearly two-thirds of Republicans would still vote for Trump even if he was found guilty. Only November will show if they make good on that promise.

This story has been updated.

Pentagon Admits Biden’s Pathetic Gaza Pier Is Dead

The Biden administration thought the floating pier would fix things as Israel continues to block aid into Gaza. Less than two weeks later, it’s gone.

Celal Gunes/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Less than two weeks after its installation, the pier constructed by the United States to facilitate aid into Gaza has been completely removed after it broke apart in the water.

The Pentagon admitted Thursday that the remaining parts of the $320 million boondoggle were dismantled after the pier was damaged in rough waters off the coast of Gaza on May 28, rendering it unusable. Israel has closed several land crossings, preventing aid from getting into the Gaza Strip, and the Israel Defense Forces have fired on food convoys and looked the other way as settlers have blocked aid from entering the remaining open land crossings. The U.S. has thus far resorted to aerial aid drops and, more recently, the manmade pier to facilitate aid, rather than demand Israel open up crossings and crack down on settler obstruction of aid delivery.

Now, according to Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh, the pier is going offline for at least the next week as it is repaired and rebuilt in Ashkelon. Since its construction, the pier had allowed for only 1,000 tons of humanitarian aid to be delivered to Gaza. According to United Nations World Food Programme chief economist Arif Husain, northern Gaza alone requires 4,500 tons of food a month.

At the beginning of May, prior to Israel’s Rafah offensive, the U.N. declared that northern Gaza had entered “full-blown famine.” The situation has worsened since then. It’s clear that, even when operational, the pier had hardly made a dent in the dire situation. Now, battered, broken, and eventually towed ashore, it stands as a symbol of American fecklessness in the face of Israel’s assault on Gaza.

Asked on Tuesday about the damage sustained by the costly pier, Singh said, “If you want to characterize it as a failure, I leave it to you.”

Letitia James Sets Sights on Greg Abbott

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is in for a rude awakening over that Daniel Perry pardon.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s recent pardon of Daniel Perry, who shot and killed a Black Lives Matter protester in 2020, is receiving backlash from state attorneys general around the country.

A group of 14 state attorneys general, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, sent a letter on Wednesday to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s office urging the Department of Justice to look into whether Perry violated any federal civil rights laws. In addition to James, the letter was signed by the Democratic attorneys general of Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, and the District of Columbia.

“We urge the Department to open an investigation into whether Mr. Perry violated federal criminal law, including specifically several federal criminal civil rights laws,” the letter states. “We note that whether or not Texas law gives Mr. Perry a defense to state prosecution for his actions here, Texas law does not prevent a federal prosecution for Mr. Perry’s act of killing someone for racial reasons in order to prevent him from exercising constitutional rights.”

Two weeks ago, Abbott pardoned Perry, an Uber driver who was convicted in 2023 of murdering anti–police brutality protester Garrett Foster at an Austin Black Lives Matter rally in 2020 and sentenced to 25 years in prison. After Perry’s conviction, his messages and social media posts were released to the public, where he self-identified as “a racist” and wrote of wanting to “go to Dallas to shoot looters.” With his pardon, Abbott even restored Perry’s firearm rights, claiming that “Texas has one of the strongest ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws of self-defense that cannot be nullified by a jury or a progressive District Attorney.”

The attorneys general pointed to those particular laws as being a major reason for their letter.

Mr. Foster was openly carrying a firearm at the protest—an act that is legal in Texas—and Mr. Perry claimed that he had acted in self-defense, relying on Texas’ so-called “stand your ground” law. In pardoning Mr. Perry, Governor Abbott also cited to Texas’ “stand your ground” law. The undersigned Attorneys General are concerned that these “stand your ground” laws encourage vigilantes to attend protests armed and ready to shoot and kill those who exercise their First Amendment rights.

Abbott has openly feuded with the federal government about migrants and LGBTQ+ rights, and sent state troopers in full riot gear to violently clear college Gaza solidarity encampments. In spite of, or more likely because of his actions, Donald Trump has Abbott on his short list as a possible vice president.

Chief Justice Roberts Kicks Democrats in Teeth Over Alito

Roberts is refusing to engage over Alito’s flags scandal.

Chief Justice John Roberts looks up
Leah Millis/Pool/Getty Images

Chief Justice John Roberts on Thursday rejected a request by Democratic senators to discuss Samuel Alito’s impartiality following concerns about a pair of January 6–aligned flags that had been spotted flying at two of the justice’s residences.

In a letter addressed to Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Roberts claimed that “the format proposed—a meeting with leaders only of one party who have expressed an interest in matters currently pending before the court—simply underscores that participating in such a meeting would be inadvisable.”

The rejection follows a similar shutdown by Alito himself, who issued a letter to the pair on Wednesday stating that he would not recuse himself from lawsuits relating to the 2020 presidential election—specifically, Trump v. United States—and claiming that his impartiality had not “reasonably” come into question.

Alito was accused of compromising the court’s impartiality after a “Stop the Steal” upside-down U.S. flag was spotted at his house in Arlington, Virginia, and an “Appeal to Heaven” flag—a Revolutionary War symbol adopted by Christian nationalists—was seen flying at the justice’s New Jersey vacation home.

Alito has attempted to wipe his hands of both incidents, blaming the controversial messaging on his wife, whom he described as “fond of flying flags.” Her “reasons for flying the flag are not relevant” to his ability to weigh in on the immunity case, he said in his letter to Durbin and Whitehouse.

But Democrats aren’t letting up on the issue, digging up alternative pathways to hold Alito to account that don’t rely on his having the final say. In a New York Times op-ed published Wednesday, Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin argued that the executive branch could still step in to challenge the judiciary’s ethics.

“The U.S. Department of Justice … can petition the other seven justices to require Justices Alito and [Clarence] Thomas to recuse themselves not as a matter of grace but as a matter of law,” Raskin posited.

“This recusal statute, if triggered, is not a friendly suggestion,” Raskin continued. “It is Congress’s command, binding on the justices, just as the due process clause is. The Supreme Court cannot disregard this law just because it directly affects one or two of its justices. Ignoring it would trespass on the constitutional separation of powers because the justices would essentially be saying that they have the power to override a congressional command.”