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J.D. Vance Reaches Pathetic New Low in Audition for Trump’s V.P.

The Ohio senator will do whatever he can to get the gig—even if it means desperate flattery.

Senator J.D. Vance
Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Hoping to be Donald Trump’s running mate, Senator J.D. Vance is trying to butter up his son Donald Trump Jr.

On X (formerly Twitter) Wednesday morning, the Ohio politician shared an Axios post calling the younger Trump “MAGA’s new kingmaker,” and called him “one of the best people I’ve met in politics.”

Twitter Screenshot J.D. Vance: Don is one of the best people I’ve met in politics. He genuinely believes in America First and works his ass off to make it a reality.

The post was immediately mocked online, as users pointed out the pathetic suck-up attempt.

Twitter Screenshot: Well, every king needs a court jester and every village needs an idiot so here you are.
Twitter screenshot: J.D. Vance isi sucking up so hard, I'm wondering how depressed he will be if he's not Trump's choice for V.P.

It’s only the latest move from Vance to curry favor with the former president and convicted felon. Vance has introduced a performative bill to ban diversity, equity, and inclusion principles from the federal government, and implied that he would have carried out a coup in favor of Trump if he were vice president on January 6, 2021. He said he would accept the 2024 election results—if Trump is the victor. He also criticized the daughter of Judge Juan Merchan, who presided over Trump’s hush-money trial, on Trump’s behalf since the Republican presidential nominee was bound by a gag order.

When Trump will pick a vice president is anyone’s guess, but Vance is supposedly among his top four, along with Senators Marco Rubio and Tim Scott and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum. With Vance’s claim to fame being the narrative of climbing out of rural poverty to wealth and education (before embracing MAGA and attacking the elite institutions he benefited from), he may have an advantage over the other candidates. Trump also supposedly “likes people who are rich and have hot wives,” according to one source.

According to Vance, the Trump campaign has ironically asked prospective vice presidential candidates whether they have been convicted of a crime.

More on election hell:

Supreme Court Shocks Everyone by Saving Abortion Pill—for Now

The conservative-majority court ruled against a challenge to mifepristone, one of the medications used to induce an abortion.

People hold up pro-abortion protest signs outside the Supreme Court
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The Supreme Court decided Thursday that an anti-abortion group does not have legal standing to sue the Food and Drug Administration over mifepristone, guaranteeing national access to abortion medication under U.S. law.

A coalition of anti-abortion doctors and activists challenged access to mifepristone in November 2022, alleging that the FDA had overstepped its role by taking several steps that expanded access to the drug in 2016. The plaintiffs, represented by the right-wing Christian organization Alliance Defending Freedom, sought to overturn the FDA’s approval and have mifepristone pulled from the market.

In a unanimous opinion, the court ruled that the group had no standing to sue the federal agency and that it had failed to demonstrate how it was personally harmed by the drug’s existence on the market.

“Under Article III of the Constitution, a plaintiff’s desire to make a drug less available for others does not establish standing to sue. Nor do the plaintiffs’ other standing theories suffice. Therefore, the plaintiffs lack standing to challenge FDA’s actions,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote, later specifying that “citizens and doctors do not have standing to sue simply because others are allowed to engage in certain activities—at least without the plaintiffs demonstrating how they would be injured by the government’s alleged under-regulation of others.”

Mifepristone and misoprostol comprise the two-step prescription referred to as “the abortion pill.” Together, they account for more than half of all the abortions in the United States, according to a 2022 report by the Guttmacher Institute.

The case, FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, was the biggest challenge to national reproductive access since the court’s conservative supermajority overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022. The battle truly kicked off in April the following year, when a Trump-appointed judge in Texas halted access to the drug.

Four months later, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the plaintiffs, ruling that while the pill was safe for market, the FDA had improperly approved expanded access. Those steps included allowing women to access mifepristone 10 weeks into pregnancy instead of seven, lowering the standard dosage, and allowing the prescription to be accessed via telemedicine.

To be clear, the Supreme Court’s decision hinges on the legality of the case, not on whether people have a right to bodily autonomy. The high court ruled that the Fifth Circuit’s decision failed to find a basis in the U.S. Constitution.

“The plaintiffs have sincere legal, moral, ideological, and policy objections to elective abortion and to FDA’s relaxed regulation of mifepristone,” Kavanaugh wrote. “But under Article III of the Constitution, those kinds of objections alone do not establish a justiciable case or controversy in federal court. Here, the plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that FDA’s relaxed regulatory requirements likely would cause them to suffer an injury in fact. For that reason, the federal courts are the wrong forum for addressing the plaintiffs’ concerns about FDA’s actions.”

Instead, Kavanaugh suggested that the plaintiffs take their issues to the president, setting up another fight to maintain abortion access should Donald Trump win in November.

By and large, most Americans support abortion access. In a 2023 Gallup poll, just 13 percent of surveyed Americans said that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. Meanwhile, 34 percent said it should be legal under any circumstances, and an additional 13 percent said it should be legal in most circumstances.

This story has been updated.

Watch: Witness Brilliantly Shuts Down GOP Senator’s Abortion Question

Jocelyn Frye of the National Partnership for Women & Families did not have time for Senator John Kennedy’s deceptive line of questioning.

Senator John Neely Kennedy speaking
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images

“Well, Senator, first of all, don’t ask a question if you don’t want to know the answer.” Wise words were offered on Wednesday by Joceyln Frye, president of National Partnership for Women & Families, during testimony to a congressional subcommittee on the freedom to travel for abortion care.

The comments came as Frye was asked by Republican Senator John Neely Kennedy about a woman who allegedly asked for an abortion at 34 weeks.

“Should the mother at that juncture have the right—clearly a viable child—to abort the child?” Kennedy asked Frye, who quickly shut down the entire premise.

“One percent of abortions happen at 21 weeks or later,” says Frye. “So I think the premise of your question sets up a conversation about abortion that is unfair. It is rarely—is that ever the instance. Most, the vast majority of pregnancies and abortions that are considered late in a pregnancy have to do with severe, devastating medical circumstances.”

“And I understand your point. Senator, I understand your point. But with all due respect, I also think the chances of people sort of getting all the way through a pregnancy, and just sort of saying, ‘I don’t want it,’ it’s disrespectful to women.”

Kennedy is an anti-abortion conservative who proudly touts an “A” rating from the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List. Kennedy has often gotten shut down for asking questions detached from reality and espousing anti-abortion disinformation.

Last week, all but two Senate Republicans voted against protecting the right to contraception, as conservative lawmakers steadily chop away at access to abortion care and Trump continues to platform extreme anti-abortion stances.

More on the war on women and gender minorities:

Trump’s F-Bomb Rant to Mike Johnson Sparks Desperate GOP Moves

Trump begged the House speaker to save him after his hush-money conviction.

Mike Johnson stands behind Donald Trump as he speaks at a podium
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

After a jury found him guilty on 34 felony counts, Donald Trump knew exactly who to call for a solution: House Speaker Mike Johnson.

In a conversation reportedly laced with F-bombs, Trump urged the Louisiana Republican to find  a political solution for his legal comeuppance, Politico reported Thursday.

“We have to overturn this,” Trump told a sympathetic Johnson, according to Politico

Johnson already believed that the House had a role to play in overturning Trump’s conviction, but since that call, he’s practically done backflips to make it happen. During an interview on Fox and Friends last month, Johnson urged the Supreme Court to “step in” and overturn the jury’s verdict.

“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. So I think they’ll set this straight,” Johnson said, before effectively promising to viewers that the nation’s highest court would step in to make the ruling go away. “This will be overturned, guys, there’s no question about it; it’s just going to take some time to do it.”

The House Speaker is looking to unravel Trump’s other criminal charges, as well. Johnson is reportedly examining using the appropriations process to target special counsel Jack Smith’s probe, and is already in talks with Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan to do so. It’s a near reversal of a position he took early last month, when Johnson told Politico that a similar idea proposed by Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene would be “unworkable.”

“That country certainly sees what’s going on, and they don’t want Fani Willis and Alvin Bragg and these kinds of folks to be able to continue to use grant dollars for targeting people in a political lawfare type of way,” Jordan told the publication.

But other Republicans aren’t exactly on board with the idea of defunding the special counsel—even if they disagree with the case against Trump.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea unless you can show that [the prosecutors] acted in bad faith or fraud or something like that,” Idaho Representative Mike Simpson told Politico. “They’re just doing their job—even though I disagree with what they did.”

Another, unnamed Republican went even further in torching the effort, claiming that attacking Smith’s case would completely undermine their calls against Democrats for “weaponizing” the justice system to their political benefit.

Southern Baptists’ Vote on IVF Is Terrifying Sign of What’s to Come

The anti-IVF movement is not a fringe idea on the right anymore.

An embryologist at her IVF station
David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

The Southern Baptist Convention voted Wednesday to oppose in vitro fertilization, signaling a dangerous shift in conservative stances on the procedure.

The move by the country’s largest and most powerful Protestant denomination, passed by 11,000 “messengers” at its annual convention, declared that IVF “most often participates in the destruction of embryonic human life” and calls on the denomination to “only utilize reproductive technologies” taking into account “the unconditional value and right to life of every human being.”

The resolution also included a clause decrying the creation of surplus embryos and their destruction in the course of treatment. Instead, it called for the adoption of “frozen embryos in order to rescue those who are eventually to be destroyed.”

The vote is an indication of how accepted it has become on the right to pursue restrictions and outright bans on IVF. Millions of Americans who have trouble conceiving children rely on the procedure each year, including many conservatives, and polls show it to be supported by most Americans overall. But most evangelicals and anti-abortion activists, if not all, believe that life begins at conception, and IVF often results in fertilized eggs being discarded.

In February, the Alabama Supreme Court issued a shocking decision that ruled frozen embryos were people under state law, effectively making IVF procedures tantamount to murder in the state. Alabama Republicans as well as Republicans across the country then scrambled to reassure the public that the procedure would not be banned or restricted. Ever since then, Democrats have sought to legally protect IVF, while Republicans have waffled, including Donald Trump.

As it happens, Democrats in Congress are seeking to hold a vote on such legislation, hoping to deal a political blow to the GOP and divide the party even further as some Republicans pursue piecemeal efforts of their own. It seems the issue of IVF may soon join the polarized issue of abortion rights, with Democrats and Republicans taking a side and fighting it out over elections and in the courts.

Only One Republican Voted Against Holding Merrick Garland in Contempt

Here’s the only Republican brave enough to call out the rest of this party on the political ploy.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland speaking
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House voted on Wednesday to hold U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress in a 216-207 vote on party lines. Only one Republican was brave enough to vote against the conservative-fueled order of contempt: Representative Dave Joyce.

“As a former prosecutor, I cannot in good conscience support a resolution that would further politicize our judicial system to score political points,” a statement from the Ohio representative reads. “The American people expect Congress to work for them, solve policy problems, and prioritize good governance. Enough is enough.”

The contempt vote was held after Garland refused to hand over audio of a privileged interview between Biden and special counsel Robert Hur regarding a classified documents case against Biden. Republicans have pursued audio of the interview unsuccessfully as part of their ongoing efforts to catch Biden in a snare.

Biden asserted executive privilege over the recordings, a move which reportedly came at the request of Garland himself. The Justice Department had earlier expressed concerns that releasing the audio would provoke a “frenzy” of deepfakes, or audio recordings falsely attributed to Biden’s interview with Hur used to disseminate false information.

Congress already has transcripts of the audio in question—making this just the latest example of Republicans’ attempt to drum up attacks on Garland and the Biden administration more broadly. Only one GOP representative spotted the obvious political ploy.

Oklahoma Court Shuts Down Tulsa Race Massacre Lawsuit on Reparations

Oklahoma Supreme Court has ruled that the deadly white supremacist riot was not a “public muisance.”

Tulsa race massacre survivors Viola Fletcher and Hughes Van Ellis sit in a crowd with other Black people
Tulsa race massacre survivors Viola Fletcher and Hughes Van Ellis, June 2021

The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a case seeking reparations for the Tulsa Race Massacre, the last remaining option for survivors and their family to secure recompense for the deadly attack that continues to haunt the Greenwood community of Tulsa. The court ruled that the last two survivors of the deadly massacre failed to prove that the city of Tulsa—both during and after the white supremacist riot in 1921 in which a racist mob destroyed their neighborhood and murdered more than 100 Black people—violated Oklahoma’s “public nuisance” laws.

In their original filing, survivors Hughes Van Ellis, Viola Fletcher, and Lessie Benningfield claimed the city of Tulsa’s response to the Tulsa Race Massacre caused them to “continue to face racially disparate treatment and City-created barriers to basic human needs, including jobs, financial security, education, housing, justice, and health.” The survivors’ complaint also condemned the city for using the Tulsa Race Massacre, specifically the phrase “Black Wall Street,” to entice tourism to the area. Profits from massacre-related tourism, survivors allege, was not passed on to the community of Greenwood, instead using branding and recognition of the Tulsa Race Massacre to fill the city of Tulsa’s coffers. (Since the original filing, Ellis died at the age of 102.)

Oklahoma law defines a nuisance as “unlawfully doing an act, or omitting to perform a duty, which…annoys, injures, or endangers the comfort, repose, health, or safety of others.” The law also defines a nuisance as an act that “offends decency” or “renders other persons insecure in life or in the use of their property.” According to Oklahoma law, a public nuisance is all of that, but simultaneously impacts an entire community or “any considerable number of persons.”

According to the dismissal issued by Oklahoma Supreme Court judge Caroline Wall, the survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre failed to “state a justiciable public nuisance claim under Oklahoma law.” The court also argued that the survivors didn’t have standing for their complaint because the people in charge of Tulsa during the massacre had all “long since passed away,” claiming it was an overreach to extend liability to city officials today for the actions of their predecessors.

“Expanding public nuisance liability to include lingering social inequities from historical tragedies and injustices runs the risk of creating a new ‘unlimited and unprincipled’ form of liability wherein both State and non-State actors could be held liable for their predecessors’ wrongdoing,” the ruling reads.

In a statement to News 9, the City of Tulsa touted policies and development projects undertaken in Greenwood, the site of the Tulsa Race Massacre:

The City of Tulsa respects the court’s decision and affirms the significance of the work the City continues to do in the North Tulsa and Greenwood communities. Through economic development and policy projects, the 1921 Graves Investigation, and a renewed community vision for the Kirkpatrick Heights & Greenwood Master Plan, the City remains committed to working with residents and providing resources to support the North Tulsa and Greenwood communities.

Prior to Wednesday’s dismissal, legal representation for survivors told CNN in April that this appeal was their last shot at possible recompense for surviving the atrocities of the Tulsa Race Massacre. “There is no going to the United States Supreme Court. There is no going to the federal court system,” said Attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons. “This is it.”

Mitch McConnell Doesn’t Care Too Much if Trump Leads Another January 6

The Senate minority leader is reminding everyone that he’s a coward when it comes to Donald Trump.

Senator Mitch McConnell makes a weird frowning face
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Senator Mitch McConnell still doesn’t have the courage to confront Donald Trump for his actions on January 6, 2021.

In the Capitol Wednesday, CNN’s Manu Raju asked the Senate minority leader if he planned to confront the convicted felon and presumptive Republican presidential nominee regarding issues between the two over the Capitol insurrection, in a planned meeting with congressional Republicans Thursday. McConnell made it clear that he would not.

“I said three years ago, right after the Capitol was attacked, that I would support our nominee, regardless of who it was, including him,” McConnell said. “I said earlier this year I support him. He’s earned the nomination by the voters all across the country. And of course I’ll be at the meeting tomorrow.”

It’s quite telling that McConnell didn’t mention Trump’s name in his answer. In March, McConnell broke his silence and finally endorsed Trump for president—but only after his last opponent, Nikki Haley, dropped out of the race. Less than two weeks after the Capitol insurrection, McConnell criticized Trump on the Senate floor and accused him of instigating the riot.

“The mob was fed lies,” McConnell said. “They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government, which they did not like.”

But McConnell still didn’t vote to impeach Donald Trump in February 2021, saying that a former president could not face trial in the Senate. In a speech after the vote, he called Trump “morally responsible” for the January 6 riot, called Trump’s actions “a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty,” and noted that Trump was still subject to the country’s laws while out of office.

All of this adds up to a pattern of inaction from McConnell regarding January 6 as well as Trump. McConnell, who plans to step down as minority leader in November, has joined the rest of the GOP in dismissing and ignoring the Capitol riot. McConnell has many personal reasons to turn against Trump, from the former president calling him a “dumb son of a b----” to Trump making racist attacks against his Asian American wife, Elaine Chao, despite Chao serving as Trump’s secretary of transportation. But that would mean McConnell would have to make a moral stand and put politics aside, which is not in his character.

Ron DeSantis’s Latest Pathetic Attempt to Mimic Trump Fails Miserably

A Florida appeals court slapped down DeSantis’s effort to invoke executive privilege.

Ron DeSantis gestures as he stands at a podium
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

As much as Governor Ron DeSantis would like to be the unquestioned ruler of the Sunshine State, he just doesn’t have that privilege. Executive privilege, that is.

A panel of judges from Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that DeSantis cannot invoke executive privilege to avoid releasing records on his judge selectionsnot unlike his idol, former President Donald Trump, who has been banking on executive privilege and presidential immunity to shield him from an array of lawsuits

DeSantis had mentioned in August 2022 that a group of “six or seven pretty big legal conservative heavyweights” had helped him select state Supreme Court justices. When DeSantis refused to name names, someone filed a records request with his office. His office denied the request, citing executive privilege, so the person anonymously filed a lawsuit to have the records released. 

There is no law establishing executive privilege in Florida, but Leon County Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey still ruled in DeSantis’s favor in February 2023. The plaintiff appealed the court’s decision, and a panel of three appellate judges heard the case last month. Lawyers for the Florida governor again argued that the information was protected under executive privilege, as it related to his constitutional duty to appoint judges, a line of argumentation that could have had major repercussions on the efficacy of public records requests.  

But the panel of judges found that the governor was majorly overplaying his hand. 

“After denying the petition for procedural reasons, the (lower) court unnecessarily considered the merits of the petition and ruled the identities of the legal conservative heavyweights are protected by executive privilege,” wrote Judge Clay Roberts in Wednesday’s ruling. “We expressly decline to rule on the propriety of this ruling as it was irrelevant and unnecessary.” 

Judges Stephanie Ray and Susan Kelsey joined Roberts in his opinion. 

This doesn’t mean, however, that DeSantis will have to comply with the records request. The judges found that the plaintiff’s reason for remaining anonymous was too “vague” and their records request was not specific enough. 

“Appellant broadly requested records between many people during an unspecified period of time. While the records custodian could possibly intuit some contextual parameters, the core information Appellant sought was a list of names Governor DeSantis referenced in a particular interview,” the ruling said. 

The silver lining remains that someone has finally put a check on DeSantis’s power, while he continues to manufacture his voter suppression machine and transform Florida state law into a banner for his culture war

MTG Doubles Down on Unhinged Electric Vehicle Stance

Looks like Marjorie Taylor Greene is trying to make her latest conspiracy theory come true.

Marjorie Taylor Greene gestures as she speaks into microphones
Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene still doesn’t seem to understand how electric vehicles work.

The Georgia Republican introduced a confusing amendment to the 2025 defense budget Wednesday, withholding funding from the electric car industry. But Greene couldn’t seem to specify why that was important.

“My amendment would basically say that no funds should be authorized to or to be appropriated in this act or otherwise made available for the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2025, may be used for electric vehicles or electric vehicle charging infrastructure,” Greene said. “My amendment would ensure that no funds are authorized in this year’s NDAA on electric vehicles or electric vehicle charging infrastructure.”

The word salad follows a similar electric vehicle–related gaffe that Greene made during Donald Trump’s Las Vegas rally on Sunday, when she tried—but failed—to make electric cars sound like a problem that’s hurting people’s wallets.

“If you think gas prices are high now, just wait until you’re forced to drive an electric vehicle,” she shouted.

That quip defied explanation, especially considering that not only are gas prices actually down this month, but by design, electric vehicles don’t actually rely on fossil fuels to run and therefore cost less to juice up.

Read about Green’s original comments: