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Bill Barr Is Back to Shilling for Donald Trump

Barr used to be a frequent Trump critic. Apparently that’s changed, after his former boss became a convicted felon.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Bill Barr is back to defending Donald Trump, this time claiming that the Republican presidential nominee is going to have his felony hush-money conviction overturned.

“When people were talking about it, I said that the case was an abomination, and I didn’t think it was going to be brought at the end of the day because it was so vaporous,” the former U.S. attorney general under Trump told Jimmy Failla of Fox News Radio Wednesday.

“But you think about, how are the American people going to react, in a very close election, if Trump loses and this case is overturned—which it will be,” Barr added. “This case will be overturned.”

Trump was convicted last week on 34 felony counts for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime in the first degree, in paying off adult film actress Stormy Daniels to cover up their affair before the 2016 election. Since the news, several Republicans have rushed to attack the trial and to make absurd defenses of the president.

Barr has already endorsed Trump in the 2024 presidential election, but it hasn’t done him many favors in the convicted felon’s eyes: Trump still insulted Barr on Truth Social upon hearing about the endorsement, calling him “gutless.”  

That’s because in the past Barr was a frequent Trump critic. Barr revealed that Trump would often remark about executing people during his time in the White House. He called the former president a “consummate narcissist” whose second term would be “chaos” and a “horror show.” One year ago, he said, “Should we be putting someone like this forward as the leader of the country, leader of the free world?”

But Barr’s political views, specifically his belief in Christian hegemony being essential to American democracy, inform his support of conservatism, of which Trump is the standard-bearer in today’s Republican Party. As Michael Tomasky wrote for The New Republic, “Barr hates disorder and all the rest of it. But he hates something else more: liberalism.”

Steve Bannon Prison Sentence Sparks MAGA Meltdown

Republicans are straight up losing their minds over the Steve Bannon prison news.

Majrorie Taylor Greene speaks with her mouth wide open, surrounded by other people
Allison Robbert/Bloomberg/Getty

Conservatives launched into melodramatic meltdown mode after a judge sentenced Steve Bannon to four months in prison for defying a congressional subpoena from the January 6 committee.

Representative Matt Gaetz wrote, presumably as he collapsed in slow motion onto a fainting couch, “It is with great sadness and anger that we observe the death of the judicial system in America.”

“And they’re sending him to prison—not just to torture him but to torture us,” Gaetz added, presumably under the impression the American public will be in shambles without Bannon spewing white nationalist hate while wearing 17 layers of shirts.

Twitter Screenshot: Matt Gaetz

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene was similarly superficially apoplectic, decrying the January 6 committee as “FAKE” and announcing, “The DOJ is completely corrupt!!”

Droning British giant—and former deputy assistant to Trump—Seb Gorka groaned to a camera while on a leisurely drive that Bannon was sentenced to prison as part of a “conspiracy to disrupt Trump’s campaign.”

“The deep state is not the deep state anymore,” Gorka announced at the news of Bannon facing the normal consequences of defying a congressional subpoena. “It’s the in-your-face, we don’t care, we run America, and who you choose for president is utterly irrelevant,” he added before pivoting to boilerplate conservative sound bites and pitching his web streaming show.

Bannon was found guilty on two counts of contempt of Congress in 2022 but delayed sentencing by appealing the decision. That appeal was rejected, and he was sentenced Thursday to report to prison on July 1. Bannon can still appeal the ruling to report to prison.

The judicial system, which Gaetz declared is dead, typically sentences people held in contempt of court to prison time: Per the U.S. Penal Code, penalties for contempt of Congress include a jail term of a minimum of one month and a maximum 12 months per violation. Whistleblower Chelsea Manning served a two-month sentence for refusing to testify in a federal case investigating military secrets she handed to WikiLeaks in 2010. The judicial system, it seems, has continued operating as it always has when people refuse to testify. But if the meltdown helps the grift, might as well treat the codified consequences of refusing to testify as a sign of democracy collapsing.

Nancy Mace Played Stupid Games. Now She’s Winning Stupid Prizes.

The Republican representative has been hit with an ethics complaint.

Nancy Mace smiles
Jemal Countess/Getty Images/Congressional Integrity Project

Representative Nancy Mace’s congressional spending is still the talk of the town. On this week’s agenda: her $1.6 million D.C. townhouse.

The South Carolina Republican was accused of “secretly fleecing taxpayers,” in an ethics complaint filed earlier this week alleging she sought higher monthly lodging reimbursements than what was actually warranted by her expenses.

“Representative Mace has violated House Ethics Rules by repeatedly seeking reimbursement for lodging in excess of the actual monthly expense of maintaining her co-owned townhouse in  Washington, D.C., resulting in a misuse of taxpayer funds for purposes unrelated to her official duties,” read a copy of the complaint obtained by Punchbowl News.

Mace’s requests violate two key rules of a congressional reimbursement program, according to the complaint: Lawmakers cannot be repaid for interest or principal on their mortgage payments, and they cannot ask to be repaid for more than their actual expenses.

The complaint came on the heels of a lengthy investigation by The Washington Post into Mace’s spending habits. Two former staffers told the Post that Mace repeatedly directed her team to file for reimbursements to the tune of $2,000 a month, despite being informed by people involved in her office finances that she could not justify claiming more than $1,726 a month. During some months of the year, she filed to be reimbursed upward of $3,000—nearly double what her team had calculated.

“This allegation alone deserves further investigation as well as interviews of former staff,” the complaint said. “If true, then this is a flagrant abuse of House Rules and a clear example of a Member secretly fleecing taxpayers.”

“Money is fungible, so the thousands of excess dollars received by [Representative] Mace could conceivably have been put towards any use,” the complaint alleged, noting that if the anecdotes offered by her former staffers were true, she would have twice violated the program’s statutes.

Clarence Thomas Is Hiding Even More Money Than We Knew

The justice has received millions of dollars’ worth of gifts, far more than his colleagues, but only reported a fraction of it.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Crime doesn’t pay, but it seems that Justice can get you millions.

A new report from Fix the Court, a judicial watchdog and advocacy group, found that justices on the U.S. Supreme Court received close to a total of $3 million in gifts, at least, over the last 20 years—with more than $2.4 million of those gifts being directed solely to Justice Clarence Thomas.

Thomas has repeatedly been the focus of ethical scrutiny over reports that he received exorbitant gifts and vacations from Republican billionaires, never paid back a loan for his beloved R.V., and cavorted with the Koch brothers, while failing to adequately disclose many of the perks he’s received. All of this has been reported on extensively by publications such as ProPublica. Now, Fix the Court has worked to add it all up.

Fix the Court was able to identify 103 gifts that Thomas received between 2004 and 2024, totaling a value of $2,402,310. Overall, it found 193 when counting some gifts that were received before that period. These gifts could be a number of things: often meals or lodging, with a free flight counting as one gift and a round-trip journey counting as two.

The court’s gift-reporting threshold has slowly risen over the course of 20 years. In 2004, it was $285, and in 2023, it was $480. Of those 193 gifts, Thomas only disclosed receiving 27.

Fix the Court was also able to identify 101 “likely gifts”—mostly trips to exclusive clubs Bohemian Grove and Topridge—Thomas received during those 20 years, which added an additional value of $1,787,684. Including those “likely gifts,” Thomas has reportedly received $4,189,994 worth of perks.

For context, in January 2001, an associate Supreme Court justice like Thomas would’ve made $194,300, a sum that has since risen to $285,400, according to the National Taxpayers Union Foundation. Through gifts, Thomas has roughly doubled his official published income from the last 20 years, which would sit at approximately $4,747,700. To Thomas, being bought and paid for appears to be a second job altogether. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

When counting “likely gifts” furnished to Thomas, justices seated on the U.S. Supreme Court received an astounding 445 gifts valued at $4,780,720. Without those “likely gifts,” the justices’ tallies still hit 344, worth $2,993,036.

As School Shootings Abound, Vermont Police Terrify Kids with Fake One

One parent wondered why the police carried out the exercise at all.

A police officer stands next to a car
Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images
A police officer in Burlington, Vermont

Police officers in Burlington, Vermont, opted for an unusual teaching method for an active shooting simulation: inflicting pure terror.

Roughly 20 Burlington High School students were touring the Burlington Police Station Wednesday as part of a year-end forensics program when the authorities decided to stage a surprise active shooter demonstration, with one officer bursting into the room dressed as a masked gunman, firing blanks and sending students ducking for cover, reported Vermont’s weekly paper Seven Days.

Parents of the affected students were outraged, telling the paper that they felt the officers were playing on the fears of teenagers who grew up enveloped in fears of mass gun violence.

“I’m baffled,” one unidentified mother told Seven Days. “It is a very real threat to kids these days to have a school shooting. It’s something they worry about.”

One student, speaking anonymously, told the paper that the incident left her “shaking and crying,” fearing that she was going to get shot. Another said that they scraped their knee while attempting to find shelter, while a third immediately rushed to contact their mother.

“It felt so real,” a student told Seven Days.

Burlington police confirmed to the paper that the incident occurred, noting that they had informed teachers ahead of time that there would be a “gunshot-related crime” depicted during the tour—but not that it would take place without warning.

In a separate email to parents, schoolteachers alleged that the police department had wanted the demonstration to be “as realistic as possible” and that the department had previously performed the live demonstrations for college students and adults.

“The detectives did apologize after they realized that the reenactment did not translate well to high school students,” the teachers wrote, according to an email obtained by Seven Days.

The school district has since issued an apology for the incident and has offered counseling services to the students involved.

Steve Bannon’s Lawyer Goes Ballistic Over Prison Sentence

The judge had to tell David Schoen to calm down.

David Schoen speaks into microphones as he stands next to Steve Bannon
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The trial may be over for Steve Bannon, but that doesn’t mean his attorneys are done with the drama.

The January 6 conspirator’s legal representation blew up Thursday after his client was ordered to report to prison on July 1 to serve a four-month sentence, resulting in a swift dressing down by Judge Carl J. Nichols.

Bannon attorney David Schoen reportedly “sprung into action” after Nichols announced his decision, becoming much more lively than he had been throughout the rest of the hearing, per NBC News.

“One thing you have to learn as a lawyer is that when the judge has made his decision, you don’t stand up and start yelling,” Nichols responded.

But when Schoen refused to quit, the judge added that he’d “had enough.”

“I’m not yelling,” Schoen threw back, explaining that he was “passionate.”

“You’re sending a man to prison who thought he was complying with the law, we don’t do that in my system,” he continued, deriding the decision as “contrary to our system of justice.”

That appeared to be the final straw for the judge, who ordered Schoen to “sit down.”

Despite facing a near future in prison, Bannon appeared in decent spirits on Thursday, telling reporters that he had “great lawyers” with the intention of going “all the way to the Supreme Court if we have to.”

“There’s nothing that can shut me up and nothing that will shut me up,” Bannon said. “There’s not a prison built or a jail built that will ever shut me up.”

That already seems to be the case: Bannon was sentenced to prison more than a year and a half ago, but he has remained free this whole time to spew disinformation and hatred online.

Bannon isn’t the only eyebrow-raising client on Schoen’s roster. Prior to representing the far-right conspiracy theorist, he defended the Russian mafia, capital murderers, and international drug dealers. Schoen has been an adviser to House Speaker Mike Johnson, was the last person to see his client Jeffrey Epstein alive, and also represented Donald Trump during his second impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate.

Trump’s Obsession with Hot Wives Narrows Down V.P. Picks

New reports reveal the nightmare short list for Donald Trump’s vice president—as well as just how disgusting Donald Trump really is.

Charly Triballeau/Pool/Getty Images

Trump’s search for a vice president pick is heating up as the Republican National Convention draws near with contenders recently receiving vetting materials, according to multiple outlets that have shared the new nightmare short list.

Team Trump has officially requested materials from North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and Senators J.D. Vance and Marco Rubio, according to ABC, with inquiries sent to Senators Tim Scott and Tom Cotton, Representatives Elise Stefanik and Byron Donalds, and former Trump HUD Secretary Ben Carson. Cue the tea leaves:

“Trump likes people who are rich and have hot wives,” a source unaffiliated with Trump’s campaign but reportedly closely following the veep search told Politico’s Playbook on Thursday. If wife hotness is a major factor in Trump’s search, Stefanik may still be in the running on the technicality that she’s the wife—although lacking in the platinum-blonde, spray-tanned aesthetic common among women in Trump’s orbit.

Trump plans to announce his choice for vice president at the RNC in July. And while Trump is reportedly still working from a “fluid” list of prospective candidates that changes day to day and the Trump campaign hasn’t offered any insights, a request for vetting materials is as strong an indicator as it gets—stronger, at least, than guessing whose wife Trump thinks is hotter. Regardless of who he picks, Trump’s short list is a mishmash of far-right figures hiring white supremacists, pushing bigoted policies, and floating racist conspiracy theories that are a threat to democracy.

Steve Bannon Finally Ordered to Surrender to Prison

Coup-plotter Steve Bannon has a matter of days before he will be behind bars.

Steve Bannon sits in the courtroom with his hands clasped. Two officers stand behind him.
Steven Hirsch/Pool/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

It looks like Steve Bannon is going to prison.

U.S. District Judge Judge Carl J. Nichols on Thursday ordered the former Trump adviser and threat to democracy to report to prison by July 1 to serve his sentence for defying a congressional subpoena.

Bannon was held in contempt of Congress in October 2021 after he refused to respond to a subpoena from the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021 Capitol riots. In July 2023, he was convicted on two contempt charges, and three months later was sentenced to four months in prison and a $6,500 fine.

Bannon appealed the sentence, but a three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld his conviction last month, putting to end Bannon’s many attempts to flout and stall a ruling against him, including an attempt to turn the trial into a circus and stir up the MAGA faithful.

Speaking to reporters outside of the court on Thursday, Bannon said “all this is about one thing.”

“This is about shutting down the MAGA movement, shutting down grassroots conservatives, shutting down President Trump,” Bannon said. “Not only are we winning, we are going to prevail, and every number, every poll shows that. There’s nothing that can shut me up and nothing that will shut me up.”

Bannon was then interrupted by a heckler who yelled, “Fail! You’re going to jail.” The heckler also called Bannon a “coup plotter.”

Thursday’s news means that another one of MAGA’s most prominent voices will soon be behind bars.

Since Trump’s term ended, Bannon has attempted to interfere in Brazil’s politics as well as the upcoming election in the United States, and his radio show is a haven for far-right Republicans to rant about whatever they want. Now, after escaping prison once thanks to a Trump pardon over a border wall fraud scheme, he will soon be behind bars.

This story has been updated.

Watch: Byron Donalds Doubles Down on Twisted Jim Crow Comment

The Trump V.P. contender is doing anything he can to suck up to Donald Trump.

Byron Donalds speaking (closeup photo)
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Representative Byron Donalds isn’t backing down from his claim that Black Americans were better off under Jim Crow segregation.

Speaking to CNN’s Abby Phillip Wednesday night, Donalds repeated his claim, made Tuesday at a Republican outreach event in Philadelphia, that welfare and President Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” programs had hurt Black families to the point that they were worse off than in the days of Jim Crow.

“Before the Great Society, before Lyndon Johnson’s policies, there was more Black families united,” Donalds said Wednesday. “The marriage rate in Black America was significantly higher before the Great Society. The period of time that coincides with that obviously is Jim Crow era.”

Phillip asked what the point was in tying together the Black family and Jim Crow specifically.

Donalds said he was only referring to the specific time period, repeating his contention that Black families were hurt by Johnson’s policies, stating that the Black family is being rejuvenated now, but he didn’t mention that those policies were later rolled back by other Democrats, like Bill Clinton.

As Phillip stressed that the Jim Crow era was a “period [of] racial segregation [and] racial terror,” Donalds responded by trying to claim that his words were being twisted.

“What you are dealing with right now is a political environment where now anything I might say or any major surrogate might say is going to be twisted into the lens of race,” Donalds said. “That was never the point.”

Phillip went on to ask Donalds three times if he regretted using Jim Crow as a historical comparison, as the Florida representative refused to answer.

Donalds’s comments Tuesday drew pushback from Democratic House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, who called them an “ignorant observation.” The Congressional Black Caucus called on Donalds to apologize for his remarks in a statement.

“This is a pattern of embracing racist ideologies that we see time and again within the MAGA Republican Party,” the CBC said. “Rep. Donalds is playing his role as the mouthpiece who will say the quiet parts out loud that many will not say themselves.”

Donalds is said to be in contention to be Donald Trump’s vice presidential running mate, but the convicted felon has not responded to the congressman’s comments. It’s anyone’s guess whether Trump’s own documented racism would lead him to appreciate or disapprove of Donalds’s contention.

Pathetic Republican Rep. Mocked for Wearing Undeserved Military Pin

Troy Nehls was never supposed to receive a Combat Infantryman Badge in the first place.

Troy Nehls holds up his fist
Anna Rose Layden/Getty Images

House Republicans are taking their colleague Troy Nehls to task for a “stolen” military award, which he proudly sports on his suit jacket, NOTUS reported Thursday.

A CBS News investigation from May, which found that the Combat Infantryman Badge that Nehsl wears was actually revoked in March 2023. The honor, which is only for infantrymen or Special Forces members who fought in active combat, was mistakenly awarded to Nehls, who served as a civil affairs officer in Afghanistan. Nehls did not engage in combat, but he has continued to wear the badge regardless.

Nehls’s fellow Republican House members revealed to NOTUS that the Texas Republican’s decision to keep his faulty laurels does not sit well with them.

“That’s ridiculous. That’s stolen valor,” said Texas Representative Wesley Hunt, who wears a Combat Action Badge, awarded to anyone who “engages with the enemy.”

Representative Ryan Zinke of Montana also slammed his colleague for his unearned accolade: “As a former commander, it matters what you wear on your uniform. And if you didn’t earn it, you shouldn’t wear it,” he told NOTUS. Zinke is a former U.S. Navy Seal.

Other House Republicans expressed their strong disapproval of Nehls’s decision to keep wearing the pin.

“We hold ourselves to a higher standard as veterans,” said one GOP lawmaker, speaking anonymously to NOTUS. “He needs to stop wearing it.”

Another anonymous representative said the “shameful” accessory spoke to “deep insecurities,” and a third knocked it as an “abuse of power.”

Other lawmakers told the outlet that they intend to try to verify the report that Nehls’s award had been revoked. Representative Jack Bergman, a retired two-star general, said he would “trust but verify” the information using his military back channels.

The CBS Investigation and a Pentagon and U.S. Army Service review also found that Nehls had only been recorded as having one bronze star, as opposed to the two he claimed to have earned. Nehls has hit back at these reports, posting what appears to be evidence of his two stars to X (formerly Twitter), but CBS News was reportedly not able to verify the validity of the posted documents.

Besides his apparent “stolen valor,” Nehls is also known for loudly refusing to back President Joe Biden’s border bill earlier this year because it would “help” the president’s record on immigration, and complaining about Reprepresentative Cori Bush using some overtly racist tropes.