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Felon Trump’s Really Dumb Defense Reveals Republican Hypocrisy

It’s getting hard to argue that Republicans stand for “law and order.”

Donald Trump holds up his fist
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt doesn’t seem to have a sense of irony when it comes to calling Republicans the party of “law and order” in defense of their presumptive nominee, who as of last week is an actual felon.

During an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, Representative Adam Schiff discussed Trump’s menacing warning about the public reaching a “breaking point” when he is sentenced for his various crimes. Schiff said the former president’s comment was “clearly Donald Trump once again inciting violence, potential violence, when he is sentenced.”

The next day, Leavitt hit back at Schiff during an interview on Newsmax, and conveniently ignored her client’s felony convictions to accuse the Democrats of being lawless and violent. 

“Adam Schiff is a vile and disgusting human being, and the Democrat Party is the party of violence; they are the party that have called to threaten the lives of Trump supporters,” she said.  

“It’s Maxine Waters who said, ‘Do whatever you have to do to go after them.’ It’s Adam Schiff who lied to the American public for years over a fake ‘Russia-Russia-Russia’ hoax that was paid for and concocted by the Democrat Party, just like this political persecution of Joe Biden’s opponent is today,” she said. 

“Republicans stand for law and order, Democrats stand for violence,” Leavitt continued. “The violence we see taking place in our inner cities, at our southern border, and all around this world is the result of Democrat policies.”

One might want to set aside Leavitt’s mischaracterizations of Waters’s comment—in which the California representative encouraged her supporters to hound Trump officials, not his MAGA followers—and of Schiff’s failed investigation into allegations that Trump had colluded with Russian officials, but really they shouldn’t. It’s all symptomatic of the Trump press secretary’s necessary break with reality, as she embraces her new job description: selling a criminal as the “Law & Order president.”

Watch: House Republicans Grilled on Running Alongside Convicted Felon

Here's what House Republicans in swing districts had to say about running after with Donald Trump at the top of the ticket.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images
Representative Nick LaLota of New York

How do Republicans in Congress feel about their presidential nominee being a convicted felon? Quite dismissive, according to interviews conducted by CNN’s Manu Raju.

On the network’s OutFront show Monday, Raju spoke to several House Republicans in districts that supported Joe Biden for president in 2020 about whether they had misgivings about Donald Trump’s conviction on 34 felony counts during his hush-money trial, and how that would affect their electoral chances.

“My district is full of very smart people with a firm grasp on reality. They can smell bullshit,” said Representative John Duarte of California.

Some shot down the question outright.

“I have no issues in supporting Donald Trump for president of the United States,” said Representative Anthony Esposito, despite the fact that the New York 4th congressional district that he represents was won by Joe Biden by 14 points in 2020.

Representative Mike Garcia from California also blew off any possibly negative effects on him from Trump’s conviction.

“I think the American people saw what happened in New York,” Garcia said. “They saw two, what were typically misdemeanors, being elevated to 34 felonies.”

New York’s Representative Nick LaLota said his constituents saw “a tainted process.”

“A lot of my constituents were focused on the trial not being fair, the process not being fair. And they’re upset, and they’re angry,” LaLota said.

The question was too controversial for at least two members of Congress, though. Representatives Mike Lawler of New York and Tom Kean Jr. of New Jersey refused to speak to Raju, either out of fear of alienating constituents or getting on Trump’s bad side.

These reactions are not surprising. The entire Republican Party has effectively been taken over by Trump and his acolytes, so we’re likely to continue to see prominent members of the party either offering full-throated defenses of the convicted felon and presidential nominee Trump or trying to avoid critical journalists altogether. This is despite the fact that having taken over the Republican National Committee, Trump is keeping party funds for himself and refusing to help their reelection campaigns, no matter how close their races may be.

Watch part of the segment here:

Matt Gaetz and Nancy Mace File Astonishing Amount of “Reimbursements”

The Republican representatives are reportedly taking full advantage of a new congressional program that doesn’t require receipts.

Matt Gaetz and Nancy Mace splitscreen
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Republican Representatives Matt Gaetz and Nancy Mace are living high on the hog thanks to a shadowy reimbursement program for House lawmakers passed last year, according to records released by the House and reviewed by The Washington Post.

Mace submitted $19,395 in reimbursement claims from the program last year—and according to two former staffers who spoke with the Post, Mace directed her staff to find the maximum reimbursement she could get, regardless of her actual expenses. Her staff told her she couldn’t conceivably net more than $1,726 in monthly reimbursements, but Mace requested reimbursements at an average of over $2,000 a month anyway.

Meanwhile, one of the program’s top spenders, Representative Matt Gaetz reimbursed himself more than $10,000 for food last year—double the household average—and nearly $30,000 for lodging.* According to The Washington Post, Gaetz got reimbursed for more than $4,000 for lodging for two months in 2023—twice the average cost of rent in Washington, D.C.—and more than $3,000 for five months.

The reimbursement program, launched in 2023, issued $5.2 million in total reimbursements to more than 300 of the House’s 435 members last year. Intended to reflect private-sector reimbursement for business-related expenses, the program is a stopgap in lieu of the deeply unpopular move of Congress voting to give themselves raises. It provides a per-diem maximum spending on lodging and food as laid out by the General Services Administration, which oversees per diems for federal employees.

According to the GSA’s rate chart, a House lawmaker who spends 100 percent of the year working in Washington, D.C.—with no breaks for holidays, the end of legislative session, or weekends—could conceivably collect a maximum reimbursement of $80,377 for the 2023–2024 fiscal year in just lodging. For that same period and parameters, they could conceivably collect $28,835 in food reimbursements. To be crystal clear: These numbers are unachievable for lawmakers, who take weekends and holidays, who travel to their home states, and take legislative breaks. Gaetz somehow managed to achieve half that impossible expense.

Craig Holman of Public Citizen, a nonprofit government watchdog and public interest lobbying group, harshly criticized the reimbursement plan, pointing out its lack of requiremenet of receipts as a “ridiculous loophole” that opens opportunities for abuse.

“Clearly it becomes very difficult to tell whether or not it’s a legitimate payment and whether it’s proper,” Holman told The Washington Post.

A spokesperson for Gaetz defended his splurges, claiming the lawmaker raked up more costs because he’s just a really hard worker and spent more days than most in Washington working. “In 2023, Rep. Gaetz dedicated significant time to his work on the Weaponization Subcommittee, requiring his presence to be in Washington, D.C., on days often when there were no votes, which incurred additional reimbursement expenses to conduct depositions,” the spokesperson told The Washington Post.

While lawmakers aren’t required to provide receipts, running afoul of the rules to fleece the system could result in corruption charges. For lawmakers endorsing a felon for president, that’s practically a badge of honor.

* An earlier version of this article said that Representative Matt Gaetz was the reimbursement program’s top spender for 2023. That was based on outdated data reviewed by the Post, which has since updated its article. The program’s top spender was Representative Jack Bergman, another Republican.

Felon Trump Just Escalated His Most Insane Lie About Biden

Donald Trump is doubling down on his claim that he was the target of an assassination attempt.

Donald Trump speaks into a microphone
Yuki Iwamura/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Donald Trump is now looping his baseless conspiracies into his fundraising emails.

On Monday, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee escalated his claims that President Joe Biden authorized the FBI to shoot and kill him during its 2022 raid on Mar-a-Lago, this time promising to punish his two-time opponent for the alleged assassination attempt.

“Biden’s day of reckoning is coming,” the Trump campaign wrote in a fundraising email distributed Monday. “He tried to publicly torture and humiliate me … but he failed. He tried to raid my home and take me out with deadly force … but he failed.”

Trump’s blow-up accusation that the Biden administration had authorized the FBI to shoot him during its search and seizure of Mar-a-Lago is, in actuality, a wild misread of a standard policy statement regarding the agency’s use of deadly force during investigations.

But the ominous threat of revenge is a particularly odd attack from a man whose legal team argued that presidential immunity could cover political assassinations. In January, Trump’s legal team suggested that even a direct order for SEAL Team Six to kill a political opponent could avoid prosecution under a former president’s broad immunity.

The former president faces 42 felony charges in the case related to willful retention of national security information, corruptly concealing documents, and conspiracy to obstruct justice. But the judge actually overseeing the former president’s classified documents case seems to have no motivation to move forward with the trial.

In May, Judge Aileen Cannon ordered a stay on Trump’s legal requirement to give the government advance notice of which classified materials will be discussed in his classified documents case—but offered no expiration date for the theoretically temporary reprieve.

Convicted Felon Trump Scores a Big Win in Georgia Case

Donald Trump has landed another win as the Georgia appeals court set a date for arguments in the Fani Willis case.

Fani Willis sits in court and furrows her brows, looking confused or mad
Alex Slitz/Pool/Getty Images

The Georgia Court of Appeals has set a date to hear the Trump legal team’s appeal to remove Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from the Georgia election interference case. Oral arguments are set to begin in October—all but guaranteeing to delay the election racketeering trial until past the election and well into 2025.

Tweet Screenshot: Anna Bower

In mid-March, Judge Scott McAfee ruled that Willis could continue to prosecute the case, so long as she cut ties with her special prosecutor, Nathan Wade, with whom she was accused of having an improper relationship. Two weeks later, Trump and eight of his 18 co-defendants in the case filed an application with the Georgia Court of Appeals asking it to reconsider McAfee’s decision, and last month, the court agreed to hear the case.

With Willis’s status on the fraud case pushed late in the year, the odds of the trial even beginning before the election in November have shrunk to zero. It’s a success for the convicted felon and Republican presidential candidate, whose legal strategy in the many cases against him has been to delay them so they can’t affect his chances of winning back the presidency.

Between this delay, Judge Aileen Cannon stalling Trump’s classified documents trial, and the Supreme Court’s examination of presidential immunity, Trump’s conviction on 34 felony charges in his hush-money trial may be the only legal consequences he faces for a long time. Even though sentencing is set to be decided in July in that case, Trump still can appeal the conviction and push his sentence further down the road.

If he’s elected president, the convicted felon plans to recruit his Republican allies to make it illegal to prosecute him for the crimes he commits, forever. He also wants to go after everyone who has tried to hold him accountable before the law.

It seems that, except for his hush-money trial conviction, what started out as a perilous year for Trump is looking better and better as his other legal cases get delayed and he evades further consequences. The only avenue for accountability may be for Trump to be soundly defeated In five months.

V.P. Wannabe Tom Cotton Ducks Key Question on Trump Trial

Cotton is rushing to Donald Trump’s defense after his guilty verdict.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Appearing on Meet the Press on Sunday, Republican Senator and Trump V.P.-hopeful Tom Cotton intently avoided answering whether he’d support the verdict if Trump loses the appeal in his hush-money trial—and weaseled away from his stance on other topics that went against Trump’s position too.

“Republicans are attacking the judge, the jury, the legal system here instead of letting the process play out,” Meet the Press anchor Peter Alexander asked. “If Donald Trump wins on appeal, is that valid?”

Cotton quickly answered the softball question, responding, “I think there’s no question Donald Trump should win on appeal.” On follow-up, Cotton was asked if he would find the verdict valid if Trump loses on appeal. Cotton blew off the question entirely, instead opting to speak straight through it to falsely assert, “He’s an innocent man who did nothing wrong.”

“This judge, again, violated New York rules by giving money to Joe Biden in 2020, specifically to stop Donald Trump,” Cotton continued. “I hope that the Court of Appeals in New York actually applies the law in an even-handed way as opposed to do what this judge did, what Joe Biden’s Department of Justice has done, which is bending the rules in return solely to stop Donald Trump. The only thing Donald Trump is guilty of is being a threat to Joe Biden’s reelection.”

Alexander noted to Cotton that “Joe Biden’s Department of Justice” is in the midst of prosecuting Robert Menendez, Henry Cuellar, and Hunter Biden. Alexander also noted to Cotton that the case against Trump began in 2018—well before Biden was the presidential nominee, and before he’d ever announced he was running for president.

In the same interview, Cotton revealed he would do Trump’s bidding elsewhere, adding a condition to whether he would accept the 2024 election results. Cotton was further grilled on his previous statements about the January 6 Capitol riot and efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Notably, Trump has promised to pardon everyone convicted for the Capitol riot—including those who assaulted police—while Cotton has only gone so far as to call for pardoning people who did not assault anyone or vandalize anything. Cotton was also asked if he’d condemn extreme threats made against jurors, the judge, and prosecution in Trump’s hush-money trial that MSNBC pulled from Trump’s social media platform, Truth Social. Cotton initially dodged by deriding the comments as coming from an “obscure platform” and insinuating they must have come from “some obscure account” before admitting “I will always say that violence has no place in our politics.”

Republican Chairman Reprimands MTG Over Bonkers Fight With Dr. Fauci

The Republican chairman of the subcommittee criticized MTG and ordered her to cut it out.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene holds up a photograph of Dr. Anthony Fauci while questioning him during a hearing of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

On Monday, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene screamed at and berated Dr. Anthony Fauci in a petty fight that earned her a reprimand from the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Greene called Fauci’s medical credentials into question during a hearing on the U.S. response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“That is completely unacceptable to deny Dr. Fauci, who is here as a respected member of the medical community, his title, and that’s actually a personal attack on his character,” Representative Robert Garcia, a Democrat, said.

“He’s not respected,” Greene shot back. Others on the committee quickly moved to correct Greene and have her words stricken from the record when she refused to comply.

Representative Brad Wenstrup, the Republican chair of the subcommittee, eventually reprimanded Greene and ordered, “The gentlelady will suspend.”

Garcia later tore into Greene and other Republicans for their conduct in the hearing.

“I am so sorry that you are subjected to those level of attacks and insanity,” Garcia said, addressing Fauci. “Your quote-unquote ‘so-called science’ that the gentlewoman is referring to has saved millions of lives in this country and around the world.”

Garcia went on to praise Fauci and other medical officials for saving lives during and outside of the pandemic, pointing out that Greene introduced the Fire Fauci Act and that she accused the infectious diseases specialist of creating the Covid-19 virus. Garcia noted that he lost both of his parents to Covid-19.

It’s pretty clear that Greene’s attack is part of her and other far-right Republicans’ culture-war posturing on vaccination and the Covid-19 pandemic. Rather than achieve anything, their attacks on Fauci and other medical professionals, both on Monday and throughout the pandemic, only achieve attention for themselves and dangerous health outcomes for their supporters.

Greene hasn’t had a good spring. Last month, her attempt to insult Democratic Representative Jasmine Crockett backfired and turned her into a bankable meme for Crockett, and she’s lost a lot of goodwill from her fellow Republicans over her failed effort to oust Speaker Mike Johnson.

MTG’s Unhinged Plan to Help Trump Get Revenge for Conviction

Marjorie Taylor Greene wants to defund an entire state.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene is setting out on a new MAGA crusade: defunding the state of New York to avenge Donald Trump.

Greene* has proposed cutting the Empire State off from federal funding in a bid to punish residents after 12 jurors convicted Trump on Thursday. The extremely unlikely initiative would cut off access to federal resources for education, housing, law enforcement, veterans’ benefits, and other social needs.

But that’s not Greene’s only Trump-saving effort. The Georgia Republican also wants Congress to step in to prevent special counsel Jack Smith from prosecuting Trump in the federal election interference case and the classified documents trial.

The first step: pressure House Speaker Mike Johnson—whom Greene tried and failed to force out of Congress just last month—to lead the charge.

“The speaker of the House is one of the most powerful people in the country,” Greene said last week. “We control the budget, we control the power of the purse. If Speaker Johnson supports Trump like he claims, he should stop the special counsel, Jack Smith, and he should be using the power of the purse to hold New York accountable for the sham convictions against President Trump. The entire thing is political, it’s outrageous, and our country has completely turned a corner.”

While Johnson is unlikely to be on board with defunding an entire state, he has made clear he disagrees with the ruling. Johnson called on the Supreme Court to intervene, indicating that he thought some of the justices were “deeply concerned” about the trial outcome.

“I think that the justices on the court—I know many of them personally—I think they are deeply concerned about that, as we are,” Johnson told Fox & Friends on Friday. “So I think they’ll set this straight.”

Trump has 30 days to appeal the conviction, according to New York penal law. Appealing the case would most likely turn into a referendum on the judge that oversaw it, Judge Juan Merchan, who endured Trump’s mud-slinging throughout the seven-week trial primarily over a gag order, which prevented Trump from attacking witnesses, jurors, and courtroom staff’s family—but did not prevent him from hurling vitriol at Merchan.

Trump could potentially push the state case to federal courts if he were reelected as president, but doing so would be incredibly unlikely unless he had already exhausted all other avenues via the appeals process, which could take years.

*This article originally misstated that Representative Mike Lawler supported Greene’s plan.

What Republicans are doing after Trump's conviction:

MAGA Representative’s Kid Trolls His Entire Speech Whining About Trump

Republican Representative John Rose’s child perfectly captured how we all feel about MAGAs.

John Rose speaks at a lecturn. His child behind him sticks out his tongue and crosses his tongue. CSPAN chyron reads: "General Speeches - Five Minutes, Rep. John Rose @RepJohnRose."

If you want an honest opinion, ask a kid. That lesson was on wide display Monday as the young son of Republican Representative John Rose stole the spotlight from his MAGA dad and made a bunch of silly faces to CSPAN’s camera—which even the normally buttoned-up CSPAN couldn’t resist highlighting.

Rose spoke from prepared remarks to the House decrying the conviction of Donald Trump, calling it a “terrible precedent set by our country” and a “politically driven prosecution” before becoming background noise for his 6-year-old son’s devious performance.

“The charges brought against Donald Trump should gravely concern every member of this body as well as every American across our country,” said Rose as his 6-year-old son’s body became gravely concerned with the need to make silly faces.

The goof heard ’round the world quickly gained popularity, with gifs and jokes about getting lost rewatching the clip, feeling kinship to the youngster’s informality amid continued conservative outrage at Trump’s felony conviction, and cheeky jokes that the rambunctious sprog was flagging the Illuminati.

Tweet screenshot
Tweet screenshot, image shows child making a triangle symbol as his dad John Rose speaks

Guy’s performance even earned him a job offer from The Onion CEO Ben Collins.

Tweet screenshot: Ben Collins

“This is what I get for telling my son Guy to smile at the camera for his little brother,” said Rose with a shrug emoji on X (formerly Twitter), apparently also forgetting why he spoke on the House floor and reminding us all that no amount of performative outrage can outmatch a kid goofing off.

House Republicans’ Attempts to Attack Fauci Go Wildly Off Rails

The House GOP struggled to find things to blame on Anthony Fauci.

Anthony Fauci speaks into a microphone
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci visited Capitol Hill on Monday to testify on the origins of Covid-19, but some Republican members on the House Oversight Committee had no intention of asking anything even remotely relevant to scientific inquiry.

The former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was repeatedly grilled by GOP lawmakers who clearly had not done their homework before they tried to pin baseless allegations against him, in an apparent attempt to undermine his credibility as the medical leader of America’s pandemic response.

The hearing opened with committee Chair James Comer refusing to let Fauci actually answer any of his questions. The Kentucky Republican said it was because he had so many questions to get through.

In another embarrassing instance, New York Representative Nicole Malliotakis tried—and failed—to implicate the infectious diseases expert in a popular conspiracy theory, including that he had received royalties from pharmaceutical companies for coronavirus-related medications and vaccines.

“How much have you earned in royalties from pharmaceutical companies since the pandemic began in 2021?” asked Malliotakis.

“Zero,” replied Fauci.

The New York Republican then proceeded to read a headline in front of her, citing that an “NIH scientist had made $710 million from drugmakers.” “You’re saying that you did not receive any of the $710 million?” she pressed.

Fauci knew exactly how much he had made: just $122 for a somewhat unrelated monoclonal antibody that he had patented decades prior. But Malliotakis wasn’t satisfied with that. Instead, she attempted to corner Fauci on any royalties—not necessarily related to Covid—that he had received over the course of the pandemic, and whether any of the $710 million had gone to him.

“I think none,” Fauci said before fending off bubbling interruptions from the Trump ally. “No—I’m on the record, and I want to make sure that this is clear: that I developed a monoclonal antibody about 25 years ago that’s used as a diagnostic that has nothing to do with Covid, and I receive about $120 a year from that patent.”

Later, Arizona Representative Debbie Lesko attempted to frame Fauci for allegedly participating in a series of emails that discussed suppressing the “lab leak theory” for Covid without realizing that the emails don’t actually exist.

“You said about four or five things, Congressman, that were just not true,” Fauci responded after Lesko laid out her theory.

“Well, we have emails to prove it,” Lesko said.

“But you don’t,” he said, before Maryland Representative Kweisi Mfume interjected to correct Lesko that “no, we don’t have it.”

“I get tired of hearing ‘We got it,’ and then when we ask for it, it’s not there. We do not have it,” Mfume said. “That’s just incorrect.”

And another mind-boggling line of questioning by Ohio Representative Jim Jordan prompted the medical expert to ask, “What does that have to do with me?”