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AOC and Raskin Move to Finally Rein in Alito and Thomas

Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas have a history of accepting lavish gifts from Republican billionaires.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamie Raskin speak to each other
Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Democratic Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamie Raskin are introducing a new piece of legislation aimed at putting a cap on the number and value of gifts U.S. Supreme Court justices can receive.

The High Court Gift Ban Act, unveiled Tuesday, would prohibit justices from receiving gifts valued at more than $50 at a time, or more than $100 total per year. The bill would also put an $18,000 cap on gifts of personal hospitality, which are currently unregulated.

Justice Clarence Thomas has been under intense scrutiny after an investigation by the Senate Judiciary Committee found that he failed to include luxury vacations paid for by Republican megadonor Harlan Crow on his financial disclosure forms. Thomas has been subject to several other complaints, including that he never paid back a loan on his R.V. and that he cavorted with the Koch brothers while ruling on cases they’d brought to the Supreme Court.

Earlier this month, a report from a judicial watchdog found that Supreme Court justices had received close to a total of $3 million in gifts over the last 20 years—with more than $2.4 million of those gifts being directed solely to Thomas. Through gifts, Thomas has roughly doubled his official published income from the last 20 years.

Justice Samuel Alito has similarly come under fire for accepting lavish gifts from Republican billionaires, including over-the-top, all-expenses-paid vacations.

It seems, however, that little can be done to rein in the court’s high-ranking members over mounting concerns about their ethics. Raskin and Ocasio-Cortez wrote to Chief Justice John Roberts late last week, seeking answers on what he planned to do about Thomas, as well as Alito, whose recent flag scandal has also called into question whether he has conflicts of interest in cases before the court. Roberts has not yet responded.

“The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land but has the lowest ethical standards, which means pay-to-play billionaires, right-wing dark money groups and carbon-emitting special interests have freedom to purchase the best justice money can buy,” said Raskin in a statement Tuesday.

Ocasio-Cortez called their bill “a commonsense solution to address the deeply troubling and unethical influence dark money is having on our nation’s highest judicial body.”

“This is not about politics—it’s about safeguarding the strength and integrity of our democracy,” she said. It’s unlikely, though, that such a bill would pass in a brutally indifferent Republican-led House.

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MAGA’s New Conspiracy to Defend Trump From Biden Debate Is Wildest Yet

MAGA Republicans’ new conspiracy on the Trump-Biden debate involves ... Mountain Dew?

Trump wearking a Make America Great Again cap speaks into a mic outdoors
Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Republican talking point that Joe Biden will be on performance-enhancing drugs during the first presidential debate on Thursday has broken containment and, as a result, is becoming much dumber. The latest: open speculation on Fox News that Biden is hunkered down in Camp David not to prepare for the debate but to trial different cocktails of supplements for it.

Maria Bartiromo on Tuesday shared the conspiracy, first theorized by Representative Ronny Jackson, a former White House physician who has faced newly resurfaced allegations that he orchestrated a pill mill for the Trump White House, in an interview with Missouri Representative Eric Burlison.

“Biden will have been at Camp David for a full week before the debate, and … they’re probably experimenting with getting doses right, getting him medicine before the debate,” she said.

Burlison, for his part, cautioned Trump against ramping up attacks on Biden’s age and mental capacity before Thursday, a mistake that the GOP has made repeatedly, handing Biden easy victories after competent performances in the 2020 debates and, more recently, his 2024 State of the Union address. But Burlison couldn’t help couch his warning between a bizarre pot shot at Biden and his team.

“Any patient or elderly individual or someone that has dementia, they can find some moments of clarity, right? They can find moments throughout the day that they have energy. I think Trump’s team should not underestimate Joe Biden and his team’s ability to, you know, whether they’re gonna jack him up on Mountain Dew or whatever it is,” he said.

Is Biden’s surprising coherence the result of dementia-induced energy spikes? Speed? Caffeinated soda? Republicans can’t seem to pick their favorite talking point to defend Trump ahead of a debate that hasn’t happened yet. But whatever the case, Republicans ought to heed Burlison’s advice, cynical and confused as it might be. If not, they may be in store for another debate disappointment.

Judge Cannon Reveals She’s Been Wasting All Our Time

The judge did not seem inclined to rule in Donald Trump’s favor on one of his challenges to the FBI warrant.

Donald Trump stands at a microphone
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Judge Aileen Cannon may actually reject an argument from Donald Trump’s defense team in his classified documents trial: on whether the FBI’s 2022 search of his Mar-a-Lago estate was constitutional.

Cannon heard arguments from Trump’s defense team on the matter Tuesday, and she appeared to be skeptical of the attorneys’ challenge to the search warrant for Trump’s Florida home.

During the hearing, Cannon appeared frustrated with one of Trump’s lawyers, Emil Bove, who seemed to be off-topic. She reminded him that the issue at hand was whether the FBI’s warrant had been specific enough.

“It seems like it is,” Cannon said.

Bove tried to call attention to Trump’s other pending motions in the case, to which David Harbach from the special counsel’s office objected, accusing Bove of “hijacking the hearing.”

“It’s not fair,” Harbach told Cannon.

It’s unclear why Cannon entertained a motion from the Trump team contesting the search warrant, if she already seems inclined to believe the warrant was valid. Whether her actions are due to bias toward Trump or ineptitude is unknown. However, Cannon has agreed to hear many of Trump’s pretrial motions that have slowed down proceedings, including one questioning if special counsel Jack Smith’s appointment is constitutional. These delays give evidence to the theory that Cannon is serving Trump’s interests, as she has managed to postpone the trial indefinitely.

Even before the classified documents case was assigned to her, Cannon was involved in it.

Two years ago, she heard Trump’s lawsuit challenging the search of his property and mandated the use of a special master to review the classified documents seized by the Justice Department. Her decision was later struck down by a federal appeals court.

Cannon’s later actions presiding over the case itself have given weight to the accusation that she is prone to exploitation. When she was initially assigned the case, more senior federal judges in her circuit recommended that she turn over the case to a judge with more trial experience, but she refused. She’s ruled that parts of the case should be thrown out, and experts ranging from former Trump lawyer Ty Cobb to ex-federal prosecutor Andrew Weissman have called her judgment into question. Fox News, though, still has her back, despite their history of attacking the judges presiding over Trump’s many court cases.

Judge Cannon’s New Allies Expose Trump’s Blatant Hypocrisy

Former Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany rushed to Aileen Cannon’s defense.

Kayleigh McEnany is seen in profile
John Lamparski/Getty Images

After months of relentlessly attacking the judge in Donald Trump’s hush-money case, Fox News hosts are now donning the white hat to chastise those taking shots at the judge in his classified documents case.

On Tuesday’s episode of Outnumbered, hosts Kayleigh McEnany, Emily Compagno, and Harris Faulkner were up in arms, defending Judge Aileen Cannon, whom many have criticized as helping the former president worm his way out of allegations that he kept classified documents at Mar-a-Lago and obstructed efforts to retrieve them.

The accusations must’ve left a bitter taste in the hosts’ mouths, as they argued that those on the left were doing exactly what they’d done for weeks: attacking a sitting judge.

“This is a credible person with a great life story that is doing her job,” said McEnany, who served as Trump’s White House press secretary. “And yet she’s called ‘partisan petty primadonna,’ ‘whacko,’ ‘crazy,’ ‘right-wing,’ ‘outlandish,’ ‘ridiculous,’ ‘nutty,’ ‘loony.’”

“No, she’s a credible woman and she deserves to be respected—and I thought we didn’t attack judges? Bring in Judge Merchan, oh wait, but we do if it’s going against us,” McEnany added.

From the time jury selection began on April 15 to the court’s adjournment on May 21, Fox News made more than 220 claims about Judge Juan Merchan’s so-called anti-Trump bias, according to Media Matters. When Merchan placed a gag order on Trump to prevent him from making rampant, baseless accusations against the judge, courtroom staff, and family members, Fox took up Trump’s crusade against those holding him to account, constantly pushing the story that Merchan was biased when the former president couldn’t. Now they’re accusing the other guys of doing exactly the same thing.

“It’s really disheartening to watch, and also, again underscores the hypocrisy of the left,” Compagno said, underscoring her own disheartening hypocrisy. She herself was a sharp critic of Merchan, who she argued sided too readily with prosecutors.

“Because apparently, if you’re Judge Alito you can be attacked, if you’re Judge Clarence Thomas you can be attacked, if you’re Judge Cannon—but somehow they’re missing the whole substance, which I guess they don’t like her ruling on both sides, they’re not seeing the facts here,” Compagno continued, completely unaware that criticizing judges for their political bias is normal—if there’s actual evidence that they’re biased and if the criticisms don’t involve presidential candidates directing their mobs against the judge’s family members.

Importantly, Cannon has not ruled “on both sides.” Cannon processed pretrial motions at a glacial pace, threw out portions of the case, showed an unfaltering compliance to all of Trump’s time-wasting requests, and even indefinitely postponed the actual trial. Last week, it was reported that Cannon refused calls from senior federal judges to hand off the classified documents case, signaling her insistence on keeping the high-profile case on her desk. This week, she has brought the trial to a complete standstill so Trump’s lawyers can play out a hearing over the validity of special counsel Jack Smith’s appointment.

Faulkner also weighed in on criticism of Cannon. “Well, they don’t want a judge who’s actually going to look at this from a fresh perspective, and follow the justice and the legal system’s rules on this,” she said, arguing that attacks on the Trump-appointed judge went “all the way to the White House and the president’s campaign team.”

“From a group of people, liberal media, who said, you know, you can’t pick on women, they fall to the woman card, the race card, yet they pick on who they need to pick on,” she said. When Cannon had announced the hearing into Smith’s appointment, “the left lost its mind, and this is proof of that. I wish they were classier at it, but they’re not.”

Faulkner too readily forgets that she herself was part of Fox’s smear campaign against a judge and his family: She once said that Merchan’s decision to preside over the case was a form of “legal terrorism.” If hypocrisy is tasteless, Faulkner’s not so classy now.

MAGA Republicans Fed Up With House Rep. Trying to Claim Election Fraud

“F**k Bob Good,” said one of his colleagues.

Bob Good looks down while he walks
Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

Representative Bob Good’s primary race for his congressional seat is still too close to call, and his complaints about the election are drawing insults and mockery from his fellow House Republicans.

Good is currently trailing state Senator John McGuire III, who was endorsed by Donald Trump, by 373 votes and has called for a “do-over” in the city of Lynchburg. Good also claimed that three precincts in his district had fires on Election Day last week, despite state election officials saying that there were no fires, only fire alarms. On Thursday, Good even said on Steve Bannon’s show War Room that he has “lawyers at the ready.”

“We’re going to have a full recount. We’re going to have a full investigation,” Good told Bannon. “It’s going to stretch out for a couple of weeks.”

“It’s the swamp versus the Freedom Caucus. Are we going to allow the seat to be bought by the McCarthy revenge tour?” Good added, referring to ousted House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s efforts to target the representatives who vacated his speakership.

But Good’s Republican colleagues scoffed at his allegations of election misconduct.

“No one is buying it, but all understand this is one of the several stages of electoral grief,” one House Republican told Axios anonymously, adding that Good’s attacks on the electoral process are “the reflexive thing people who can’t accept loss say these days.”

“F**k Bob Good. Bob Good is a sore loser. His defeat strengthens our majority,” another House Republican said, while a different anonymous GOP representative said, “I assume Bob Good is full of s**t.”

Other House Republicans called out Good openly.

“[Of] course Bob is claiming election fraud. He is grasping at straws to help save his political career,” said Representative Derrick Van Orden, who endorsed McGuire.

Representative Mike Lawler noted that Good mentioned Lynchburg despite winning the majority of votes there. “What a loser,” Lawler said.

The whole reason that Good, who heads the far-right House Freedom Caucus, even had a tough primary battle in the first place was because he endorsed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in the Republican presidential primary, earning him Trump’s ire. After DeSantis withdrew from the race, Good tried to get into Trump’s good graces, even traveling to Trump’s hush-money trial in Manhattan to help Trump skirt his gag order in the case.

That was all for naught, as Trump would endorse McGuire and call out Good as “BAD FOR VIRGINIA, AND BAD FOR THE USA.”

New Photos Expose Truly Chaotic Way Trump Stored Classified Documents

Donald Trump was storing national security secrets in Mar-a-Lago amid all his personal clutter, according to new court filings.

Spilled boxes of papers at Mar-a-Lago
U.S. District Court in Southern Florida
Spilled boxes of papers at Mar-a-Lago

In a court filing Monday night, prosecutors revealed new photos of Donald Trump’s storage strategy for the classified documents he kept from the federal government, exposing just how haphazardly the papers—some of which contained national security secrets—were maintained.

The photos depict boxes stored upside-down and without lids, their contents spilling out on the ground and onto other storage containers. Other bins include Trump’s golf shirts sandwiched beside papers labeled “Secret” or “Classified,” while others are haphazardly strewn about between newspaper clippings, Christmas ornaments, presidential souvenirs, and cases of diet Coke.

Spilled papers at Mar-a-Lago
Spilled papers at Mar-a-Lago
A box with golf shirts and a piece of paper that reads "CONFIDENTIAL"
A box at Mar-a-Lago storing Trump’s golf shirts and classified documents
U.S. District Court in Southern Florida

The court filing from special counsel Jack Smith is a clear counterargument to Trump’s legal team, which claimed that the government’s failure to log the precise order of the boxes’ contents should be grounds to throw out the classified documents case completely.

Trump faces 42 felony charges in the case related to willful retention of national security information, corruptly concealing documents, and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Meanwhile, the Trump-appointed judge overseeing the case has slow-walked the trial so aggressively that she has been accused by legal experts of attempting to postpone it indefinitely. Last week, Judge Aileen Cannon began hearing arguments not related to Trump’s actions—but instead on whether Smith’s appointment to the case, and his subsequent prosecution, was constitutional.

If Trump wins the election in November, he could potentially pardon himself, considering all of the alleged crimes are federal charges.

Boxes at Mar-a-Lago
U.S. District Court in Southern Florida

Nobel Economists Warn Reelecting Trump Will Cost the U.S.—Literally

Sixteen economists predict that a second Trump term would cause inflation to skyrocket.

Donald Trump smiles
Andrew Leyden/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s reelection would “reignite” inflation, according to 16 Nobel Prize–winning economists who wrote an open letter warning of his dangers to the economy.

“While each of us has different views on the particulars of various economic policies, we all agree that Joe Biden’s economic agenda is vastly superior to Donald Trump,” the economists wrote. Their letter backs up something that Biden has been touting throughout the campaign: He’s better for the economy than the convicted felon and former president.

“We believe that a second Trump term would have a negative impact on the U.S.’s economic standing in the world, and a destabilizing effect on the U.S.’s domestic economy,” the economists’ letter states.

“Many Americans are concerned about inflation, which has come down remarkably fast. There is rightly a worry that Donald Trump will reignite this inflation, with his fiscally irresponsible budgets,” they added.

The data supports the economists, as well as Biden. An analysis Monday found that Trump increased the national debt twice as much as Biden during his time as president, even after taking Covid-19 relief into account. Trump has also been criticized for proposing a revival of tariffs, which effectively would put a greater burden on the lower 10 percent of earners in the United States. The Republican Party continues to tout its age-old support of “trickle-down economics,” which only benefits the wealthy. Meanwhile, Biden’s economic successes haven’t gotten much media attention, with Trump even taking credit for them.

Even Trump’s popular proposals, like eliminating the tax on tipped wages, don’t hold up to scrutiny. As The New Republic’s Timothy Noah points out, such a move wouldn’t even be a drop in the bucket for most workers. The moves that would actually help working people, like taxing the rich or raising the minimum wage, aren’t a consideration for Trump and the GOP. Will voters see things that way in November?

MAGA Official Floats Gruesome Threat Against Election Officer

An Arizona Republican leader threatened to “lynch” a county official who said the 2020 election wasn’t stolen.

Signs for ballot drop boxes in Maricopa County, Arizona
Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

An Arizona MAGA official made a bloodthirsty threat during a meeting with Republican party members against an election officer who supported certifying the state election results in the 2022 midterms.

County recorder Stephen Richer, a Republican, has come under fire from his fellow party members since he said the 2020 and 2022 elections had not been rigged. He posted a video Monday of Maricopa County GOP official Shelby Busch’s grisly comment on X, formerly Twitter. Busch is the first vice chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Committee and, according to Richer, an adviser to far-right Senate candidate Kari Lake.

The video shows Busch speaking at an event about her narrow interpretation of the concept of “unity.”

“But let’s pretend that this gentleman over here was running for county recorder, and he’s a good Christian man who believes what we believe. Now, we can work with that, right? That, that’s unity,” she said.

Clearly to Busch, unity is just uniformity—more specifically, compliance and support for Christian nationalism, a far-right Christian movement that seeks to place all aspects of U.S. society into the hands of Christians, including the responsibility of filing public documents on a local level, as it turns out.

“We’re gonna agree that we’re going to run a good Christian foundation campaign, and we’re gonna treat each other well, and we’re going to get through this together. That’s unity,” Busch continued. “But, if Stephen Richer were in this room, I would lynch him.”

The room burst into sharp, nervous laughter that quickly dimmed. “I don’t unify with people who don’t believe in the principles we believe in and the American cause that founded this country,” Busch said.

Busch’s unhinged resentment comes from the Republican frenzy that followed the 2020 presidential election and the 2022 midterm elections, during which her buddy Lake lost her gubernatorial run.

After the 2022 midterms, Lake and her allies baselessly insisted that Richer had been responsible for her loss, after Maricopa County had some issues with the tabulator machines, although similar issues were reported in the county where Lake actually won. In 2023, Richer filed a defamation lawsuit against Lake, who admitted that all of Richer’s claims were true.

In May, the Maricopa County GOP formally censured Richer, as well as all seven of Arizona’s State Supreme Court justices, for rejecting bids to overturn the 2022 election results from Lake and Abe Hamadeh, a Republican candidate who ran unsuccessfully for Arizona’s 8th congressional district.

Busch is the founder of We the People AZ Alliance, a group that purports to be an election integrity watchdog but is funded by election deniers, including Mike Lindell, Patrick Byrne, and Michael Flynn. Her comments show just how far the Republican Party has fallen.

Team Trump Has a Ukraine Plan—and It’s a Total Nightmare

Donald Trump’s advisers have a new plan on Ukraine, and it gives Russian President Vladimir Putin exactly what he wants.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, both seated, reach over and shake hands, looking into each other's eyes.

Donald Trump’s advisers have revealed their new plan for resolving the war between Russia and Ukraine—and it involves Ukraine’s immediate submission.

The plan effectively promises an increase in U.S. weapons aid to Ukraine so long as it shows up for peace talks with Russia, reported Reuters. And while that deal may not sound so bad, the writing between the lines isn’t so simple. Trump’s advisers envision that the peace talks—which Trump would facilitate should he win the November election—would also quietly include Ukraine ceding part of its territory that is currently occupied by Russian forces.

The concept was drawn up by retired Lieutenant General Keith Kellogg and Fred Fleitz, both former chiefs of staff on Trump’s National Security Council. Trump did not immediately sign on to “every word” of the plan, but Fleitz told Reuters that they were “pleased to get the feedback we did.”

The Kremlin told Reuters that Russian President Vladimir Putin is open to peace talks, but that any proposal by a possible future Trump administration would have to reflect the “reality on the ground.”

When pressed on the details of the plan, Fleitz explained that Ukraine would not formally need to relinquish its land to Russian forces. He did concede, however, that Ukraine was unlikely to regain control of all of its territory in the near future.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said that ending the war on the borders of its current front lines—where Russia has gained a foothold in the southeast portion of Ukraine—would be “strange,” pointing to the fact that Russia had violated international law by invading it in the first place.

“Ukraine has an absolutely clear understanding and it is spelled out in the peace formula proposed by President [Volodymyr] Zelenskiy, it is clearly stated there—peace can only be fair and peace can only be based on international law,” Podolyak told Reuters.

The plan’s promise to send more military aid to Ukraine only if it admits defeat and ends the war seems a bit counterintuitive—and disingenuous, considering that Trump and his advisers have done practically everything within their power to undermine sending more military aid to the embattled nation since the beginning of the year. And the plan’s obvious benefit to Russia also raises further concerns over Trump’s notoriously cushy—and sometimes subservient—relationship with Putin.

Trump Is Definitely “Concerned” About Debate, Ex-RNC Spokesman Says

Former RNC spokesperson Tim Miller revealed the obvious sign Trump is worried about the debate with Biden.

Donald Trump stands in front of a background that reads "FAITH." He looks grim.
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Beneath his usual bluster, Donald Trump is “concerned” about his debate with President Joe Biden on Thursday, according to former RNC spokesperson Tim Miller.

Miller pointed to Trump’s suggestion that Biden has been using performance-enhancing drugs to get “jacked up” before campaign events and his insistence that Biden take a drug test before Thursday as proof that the former president is worried about Biden’s attacks on him at the debate.

“I do think that what we can see publicly is that Donald Trump is concerned about how this debate is being framed up as you lead into the debate. That is why he’s doing all the weird stuff about Joe Biden being on drugs. It’s worth reminding everybody that he tried this exact same playbook in 2020.… But he already tried this ‘Joe Biden is on drugs’ thing. It didn’t work then,” Miller said on MSNBC.

Indeed, analysts agreed that Trump handed Biden an easy win in the first debate in 2020 by lowering expectations, attacking Biden as a feeble basement dweller, only to appear unhinged beside Biden’s relative composure. This year, not only Trump but the entire Republican apparatus may be setting itself up for a similar blunder. The RNC has made Biden’s age, depicted in selectively edited videos of gaffes by Biden on the campaign trail, a centerpiece of its campaign strategy.

Trump isn’t alone in calling for Biden to take a drug test; Texas GOP Representative Ronny Jackson, the former White House physician freshly accused of ethics violations, also accused Biden of taking performance enhancers and demanded that he submit to a pre-debate test. If Miller is right, a strong showing by Biden at the debate could be disastrous for Trump and a Republican messaging machine that seems pot committed to depicting Biden as senile.