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Donald J. Trump After the White House - Page 1
His ‘Sleepy Joe’ nickname for his rival seems to have come full circle, with social media users now calling Mr Trump ‘Sleepy Don’
Kelly Rissman

While the rest of the world can’t peel their eyes away as Donald Trump’s historic criminal trial gets under way in New York, the former president himself appears to be far less enthralled by the proceedings.

Jury selection got under way on Monday in the first-ever criminal trial of a sitting or former president, as he faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in a bid to cover up hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

But, according to some courtroom reporters, Mr Trump appeared to struggle to keep his eyes open – and at one point may have even fallen asleep.

“Trump appears to be sleeping. His head keeps dropping down and his mouth goes slack,” New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman reported.

The observation quickly inspired a new nickname for the 77-year-old former president: “Sleepy Don.”

Donald Trump will spend most of this spring in a drab county courtroom, and he’s not happy about it.
By Kyle Cheney

Donald Trump is learning a hard lesson: Criminal defendants don’t get to set their own schedules.

Three times on Monday the former president asked Justice Juan Merchan to cut him loose from his hush money trial to attend to other matters — some personal, some political and some legal. Three times the judge responded with, essentially, “eh, we’ll see.”

Could he attend his son Barron’s high school graduation on May 17? I’ll get back to you, Merchan said.

May he skip the trial on April 25 to attend Supreme Court arguments about whether he’s immune from special counsel Jack Smith’s charges for trying to subvert the 2020 election? Not likely, said Merchan.

MSNBC

NBC News Political Correspondent Vaughn Hillyard and New York Times Investigative Report Susanne Craig, and former Senator Claire McCaskill join Nicolle Wallace on Deadline White House with reaction to Donald Trump’s comments after concluding Day 1 of his trial in the hush money case.

Story by Molly Sprayregen

Columnist Nicole Russell held nothing back in a searing op-ed for USA Today condemning the GOP for its unconditional support of Donald Trump.

The former president is currently facing dozens of indictments, and right now, all eyes are on New York, where his criminal trial regarding alleged hush money he paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels begins today.

The case will determine whether Trump is guilty of providing said hush money to Daniels in an effort to hide disparaging information about him while he ran for president in 2016. Daniels claims she and Trump had an affair, and Trump denies it. Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, paid Daniels $130,000 a few days before the election, which prosecutors claim Trump then reimbursed through the Trump Organization with payments logged as legal services.

Russell wrote that “as a former Trump fan who has turned” she understands the temptation to “think that this case isn’t airtight or, on the scale of crimes, that it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal.”

Story by Ed Mazza

Donald Trump’s attempt to explain the Battle of Gettysburg took some strange verbal detours ― and his critics were quick to call him out over it.

“Gettysburg, what an unbelievable battle that was. The Battle of Gettysburg,” the former president said at a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday. “What an unbelievable, I mean it was so much, and so interesting, and so vicious and horrible, and so beautiful in so many different ways.”

Baila Eve Zisman

Ben Rhodes, the former Deputy National Security Adviser to President Barack Obama, has raised concerns about Jared Kushner’s alleged corruption in his $3 billion investment fund, predominantly financed by foreign sources.

Kushner’s firm received a $2 billion investment from a Saudi sovereign wealth fund shortly after he departed from the White House, serving as a senior adviser to his father-in-law, Donald Trump.

During an interview with MSNBC’s Alex Wagner, Rhodes expressed his unease, “This is just putting a price tag on American foreign policy… This is a level of corruption that we’ve just never seen, and it’s hiding in plain sight.”


Jury selection in former President Donald Trump's New York hush money trial begins on Monday, while today in Florida there are pre-trial hearings in Trump's classified documents case. Lisa Rubin, former Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Catherine Christian, and former U.S. Attorney Harry Litman join Peter Alexander to weigh with the latest in the trials of the former president.


Story by Zac Anderson, USA TODAY

Sarah Matthews was working in the White House on Jan. 6, 2021 when a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of President Joe Biden's victory. She saw how Trump’s staff tried to get him to condemn the violence for hours without success.

“In my eyes, it was a complete dereliction of duty that he did not uphold his oath of office," Matthews told USA TODAY. "I lost all faith in him that day,”

Matthews resigned from her job as deputy press secretary in the wake of Jan. 6. She views Trump as a threat to democracy who tried to steal the 2020 election and would do it again.

Matthews is part of a large group of former Trump administration officials who have been sharply disapproving of the former president as he seeks to return to the Oval Office. Many who are questioning his fitness for the presidency held high-level positions in the White House, including former Vice President Mike Pence and multiple cabinet members.

Story by Michelle L. Price

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper has called him a “threat to democracy.” Former national security adviser John Bolton has declared him “unfit to be president.” And former Vice President Mike Pence has declined to endorse him, citing “profound differences.”

As Donald Trump seeks the presidency for a third time, he is being vigorously opposed by a vocal contingent of former officials who are stridently warning against his return to power and offering dire predictions for the country and the rule of law if his campaign succeeds.

It’s a striking chorus of detractors, one without precedent in the modern era, coming from those who witnessed firsthand his conduct in office and the turmoil that followed.

Sarah Matthews, a former Trump aide who testified before the House Jan. 6 committee and is among those warning about the threat he poses, said it’s “mind-boggling” how many members of his senior staff have denounced him.

New information shows that the insurance company that swooped in and bailed out Trump with a $175 million bond isn’t on a list of vetted companies—and wrote a bizarre contract.
Jose Pagliery

The little-known insurance company that rescued Donald Trump by providing a last-minute $175 million bank fraud bond isn’t just unlicensed in New York; it hasn’t even been vetted by a voluntary state entity that would verify it meets minimum “eligibility standards” to prove financial stability.

Perhaps even more troubling, the legal document from Knight Specialty Insurance Company doesn’t actually promise it will pay the money if the former president loses his $464 million bank fraud case on appeal. Instead, it says Trump will pay, negating the whole point of an insurance company guarantee, according to three legal and bond experts who reviewed the contract for The Daily Beast.

“This is not common… the only reason this would be done is to limit the liability to the surety,” said N. Alex Hanley, an expert in how companies appeal enormous judgments.

Rachel Leingang

Excerpts from his speeches do not do justice to Trump’s smorgasbord of vendettas, non sequiturs and comparisons to famous people

Donald Trump’s speeches on the 2024 campaign trail so far have been focused on a laundry list of complaints, largely personal, and an increasingly menacing tone.

He’s on the campaign trail less these days than he was in previous cycles – and less than you’d expect from a guy with dedicated superfans who brags about the size of his crowds every chance he gets. But when he has held rallies, he speaks in dark, dehumanizing terms about migrants, promising to vanquish people crossing the border. He rails about the legal battles he faces and how they’re a sign he’s winning, actually. He tells lies and invents fictions. He calls his opponent a threat to democracy and claims this election could be the last one.

Story by Ed Mazza

President Joe Biden’s campaign team slammed Donald Trump for his open embrace of violence with a supercut video reminding voters of just how explicit the former president has been over the years.

The minute-long video from Biden’s campaign team shows Trump calling for violence against protesters at his rallies, calling white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia, “very fine people,” and telling the neo-fascist Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.”

The supercut also shows him urging supporters to “fight like hell” on Jan. 6, 2021, just before some of those in the crowd near the White House marched to the U.S. Capitol to attack Congress at it met to certify the electoral vote that gave the presidency to Joe Biden:

MSNBC

Republican strategist Karl Rove tore into former President Trump this week over Trump saying he would pardon January 6 rioters.

MSNBC

Donald Trump is leaning into the events of Jan. 6 as he campaigns for 2024. In this segment, see MSNBC’s Ari Melber’s interview with Bush vet Karl Rove, who condemns Jan. 6 felons.


Donald Trump's Truth Social has made its Wall Street debut. Now its valuation wildly fluctuates. In exclusive reporting today from The Guardian, we learned that the company was allegedly, "kept afloat in 2022 by emergency loans in part, from a Russian-American businessman under scrutiny in a federal insider-trading and money-laundering investigation."

Story by Amanda Marcotte

When I saw the news that the stock price of Truth Social went into freefall after the company initally went public for $8 billion, I immediately sent a joke to a friend text circle: "Whoever allowed the contract to keep Trump from dumping the stock until 6 months post-sale is gonna be covered in ketchup." Shortly after it was released, the company's stock soared to $70 a share, initially meaning Trump, on paper at least, had netted $3 billion in wealth. But Jay Ritter, a finance professor at the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business, told CNN he was "confident the stock price will eventually drop to $2 a share and could even go below that," because Truth Social's business model is not conducive to profit.

"The large mismatch between stock price and stock value will sorely tempt the cash-poor Trump to sell off a significant portion of his shares, in a potential maneuver that I believe I am the first to label 'Trump and dump,'" Timothy Noah of the New Republic joked. "Pump and dump is an unethical practice where influential figures talk up a stock they own a lot of shares in, artificially inflating the value, and then sell it off for a major profit before the rubes realize they bought a lemon. Because Trump is contractually obliged not to sell his shares yet, he's watching the value slide downhill before he can cash in, while other hustlers openly brag to Reuters they used the blind loyalty of Trump fans to pull off the pump-and-dump.

Opinion by Heather Digby Parton

Donald Trump, an alleged "master brander," has liberally stolen all of his most famous slogans from other politicians, starting with "Make America Great Again" which he took from Ronald Reagan. During the 2016 campaign, he made a big announcement that he was going to be the "Law and Order" candidate, which made many people chuckle since it evoked the famous TV show. But it was also one of Richard Nixon's winning slogans in 1968, used to appeal to the white conservatives who were freaking out over civil rights and anti-war protests.

I've never been sure if Trump is consciously aware of the political echoes of these thefts or if he really believes he came up with them himself. Either way, they resonated with Republicans who either nostalgically recalled their former leaders using those terms or think Trump is a very stable genius for creating such instantly memorable campaign slogans.

From the moment he came down the escalator in 2015, Trump's been demonizing undocumented immigrants as murderers and rapists and promising to eliminate the problem with draconian crackdowns. He loves to regale his crowds with lurid, detailed accounts of violent crimes allegedly committed by undocumented migrants and goes to great lengths to present such isolated incidents as evidence of an unprecedented crime spree. In Michigan on Tuesday, he proclaimed that they have "wrecked our country" and said that even though some people think it's wrong to call them "animals" he was going to continue to do it because "they're not humans."

By Graham Kates

A New York judge barred former President Donald Trump Monday from making public comments about the judge's family.

The order by Judge Juan Merchan came after prosecutors for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg asked Merchan to expand a previously issued gag order in the case, "making clear that the court's family is off-limits."

Merchan ultimately decided that the comments about his daughter would "undoubtedly interfere with the fair administration of justice and constitutes a direct attack on the Rule of Law itself."

"The average observer must now, after hearing Defendant's recent attacks, draw the conclusion that if they become involved in these proceedings, even tangentially, they should worry not only for themselves, but their loved ones," Merchan wrote. "Such concerns will undoubtedly interfere with the fair administration of justice and constitutes a direct attack on the Rule of Law itself."

by Bill Press, opinion contributor

Whoever said it first, the words of advice usually attributed to Dale Carnegie have been around since the 1940s: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” And nobody’s practicing that more today than Donald Trump.

He complains about being slammed with so many lawsuits and denounces them as part of a “witch hunt,” but Trump is actually taking full advantage of his trials. He is turning every court appearance into an opportunity to speak to the media — even though he seldom says anything new, and sometimes what he says makes no sense at all.

Outside a New York courtroom last week, for example, Trump somberly declared: “We can’t have an election in the middle of a political season. We just had Super Tuesday, and we had a Tuesday after Tuesday already.”   

After which gobbledygook, most reporters just shook their heads as if to say “There he goes again, talking pure gibberish. But that’s just Trump being Trump.”

Story by Natalie Venegas

An ex-associate of Rudy Giuliani, Lev Parnas, accused former President Donald Trump on Saturday of working with Russia, stating that "it's blatant."

Parnas, a Ukrainian-American businessman, worked with Giuliani when the former attorney for Trump attempted to find information on the Biden family. Parnas, meanwhile, was convicted in 2021 of fraud and campaign finance crimes and was sentenced to 20 months in prison.

As Trump continues his 2024 reelection campaign, his team is reportedly in discussions with Paul Manafort, his 2016 campaign chairman, to potentially help with the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee in July, according to CNN.

Manafort was found to have committed financial fraud in 2019 as those convictions were obtained by special counsel Robert Mueller as he investigated Manafort's alleged collusion with the Russian government in 2016.

If Biden did what Trump did republicans would be calling for Biden’s arrest.

By Kate Sullivan and Shania Shelton, CNN

CNN — Former President Donald Trump on Friday posted a video that featured an image of President Joe Biden tied up in the back of a pickup truck.

Trump indicated that the post was filmed on Long Island on Thursday, when he was attending the wake of NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller, who was killed during a traffic stop this week. The video shows two trucks with flags and decals expressing support for Trump; the image of Biden was on the back of the second truck.

Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement, “That picture was on the back of a pick up truck that was traveling down the highway. Democrats and crazed lunatics have not only called for despicable violence against President Trump and his family, they are actually weaponizing the justice system against him.”

Biden campaign spokesman Michael Tyler told CNN in a statement, “This image from Donald Trump is the type of crap you post when you’re calling for a ‘bloodbath’ or when you tell the proud boys to ‘stand back and stand by.’ Trump is regularly inciting political violence and it’s time people take him seriously — just ask the Capitol Police officers who were attacked protecting our democracy on January 6.”

Most presidents usually grasp for unity after tragedy. Trump stokes division.
By Paul Waldman, author and commentator

When Donald Trump announced that he would attend a wake for slain New York City Police Officer Jonathan Diller, the conservative New York Post wrote approvingly that the former president was “expected to cite the young cop’s shooting death as another example of runaway crime.” And so he did. At the ceremony for Diller, who was killed at a traffic stop Monday. Trump was uninterested in trying to bring the country together to make sense of the tragedy. In other words, he was himself.

“It’s happening all too often and we’re just not going to let it happen,” he said to the press outside the funeral home. “We have to get back to law and order,” he went on. “The only thing we can say is, maybe something is going to be learned. We’ve gotta toughen it up, we’ve gotta strengthen it up. This should never be allowed.”

Trump’s picture of a national hellscape in which law and order have disappeared is false. Crime is down dramatically over the last year, including in the very cities that Trump characterizes as thunderdomes of mayhem and murder. Boston, for instance — a city of 650,000 people — has had only two homicides so far in 2024. Perhaps the Massachusetts liberals have something to teach the rest of the country about preventing crime?

Story by Betsy Woodruff Swan

Arizona Republicans who falsely posed as electors for Donald Trump in 2020 have appeared before a grand jury in recent days and invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, as state prosecutors near a decision on potential criminal charges against those who helped Trump try to overturn his loss in the state.

The prosecutors' decision to require these people to appear in person is the latest escalation of the long-running probe by the state’s attorney general, Kris Mayes, into election interference by Trump allies. The tactic is also highly unusual and risks biasing the grand jury against key targets of the probe, according to independent legal experts who have worked as both prosecutors and defense lawyers.

If the grand jury charges them, it could even provide a longshot basis for the targets to challenge the indictment.

“My view is that the better practice is not to call people before the grand jury who you know are going to invoke the Fifth Amendment,” said Paul Charlton, a former Arizona assistant attorney general. “Why? Because all that does is unnecessarily prejudice the grand jury.”

Story by Gustaf Kilander

Donald Trump is facing criticism after attending the wake of slain NYPD officer Jonathan Diller even as he’s pushing for the pardoning of January 6 rioters who battled with US Capitol and Washington DC police officers just over three years ago.

Mr Diller was shot and killed as he was doing traffic stops this week. On Monday, he approached a car that was illegally parked with a fellow officer. The suspects in the car – Lindy Jones and Guy Rivera – refused to roll down the windows or to move their car. They also didn’t show their hands when asked to. Mr Rivera allegedly then shot Mr Diller, who died after being taken to hospital.

At the age of 42, Aquilino Gonell had to retire from his career as a police officer because of the injuries he sustained on January 6, 2021 during the insurrection.

In a statement to The Independent on Thursday, Mr Gonell said of Mr Trump: “As the opportunistic grifter that he is, he claims to support the police, law and order, the rule of law yet, he has not met with any officers from Capitol Police who were injured and assaulted or the ones that lost their lives because of his actions and inaction in his attempt to cling to power and the mob that he incited and wanted to lead.”

Story by Alex Kasprak

Claim:
The top donor to a major super PAC supporting Donald Trump for president in 2024 is also the top donor to the super PAC supporting Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for president.

Rating:
True (About this rating?)

On March 27, 2024, the claim that super PACs for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. share a top donor went viral, thanks in part to a February 2024 story by Newsweek and its March 2024 promotion by former CBS News anchor Dan Rather on Facebook:

Don the con aka Don Poorleone

Story by Katie Hawkinson

As Donald Trump approaches his $464m bond payment deadline on Monday, social media users have come together to coin yet another nickname for the former president: “Don Poorleone.”

The meme uses an image of the iconic Marlon Brando character, Vito Corleone, from “The Godfather“ and adapts his famous line.

While Vito Corleone vowed to “make him an offer he can’t refuse”, the Trump meme states: “I made an offer everyone refused.”

The hashtag also inspired posts about other members of the Trump family.

“#DonPoorleone and his #FamilyFullOfFredos,” one X user wrote, including a photo of Mr Trump and his two sons, Eric and Don Jr, and referring to wayward son Fredo Corleone from the Godfather movies.

Michael Luciano

Former President Donald Trump addressed Cuba’s food shortage, which prompted rare protests in the country this week.

In a video posted on Truth Social on Friday, the presumptive Republican nominee acknowledged the situation in the communist country and hinted that if elected again, he will attempt to initiate regime change in the island nation 90 miles off the southern tip of Florida.

“I want to express my admiration and support for all of the brave people of Cuba, who are standing up against the vile communist regime,” he began. “It’s not easy and we appreciate it. And it’s gonna be changed.”

As president, Trump reversed an Obama-era policy that had eased travel and commercial restrictions on Cuba.

The former president must post the bond for the full amount he owes on Monday or New York Attorney General Letitia James could try to seize his bank accounts or properties.
By Rebecca Shabad and Dareh Gregorian

Former President Donald Trump claimed early Friday morning that he has "almost" $500 million in cash, undercutting his lawyers' claims that he would not be able to comply with the $464 million judgment against him and his co-defendants in the civil fraud case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

"Through hard work, talent, and luck, I currently have almost five hundred million dollars in cash, a substantial amount of which I intended to use in my campaign for president," Trump wrote in a post on Truth Social in all caps. "The often overturned political hack judge on the rigged and corrupt A.G. case, where I have done nothing wrong, knew this, wanted to take it away from me, and that’s where and why he came up with the shocking number which, coupled with his crazy interest demand, is approximately $454,000,000."

Trump wrote that he did "nothing wrong except win an election in 2016 that I wasn’t expected to win, did even better in 2020, and now lead, by a lot, in 2024. This is communism in America!"

Opinion by Daniel Hodges, opinion contributor

When I received my acceptance letter almost a decade ago to the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, D.C., my imagination raced with the intense, life-or-death scenarios I would be confronted with on a regular basis in order to protect and serve the residents of our nation’s capital.

But even while contemplating such scenarios, I never imagined what I experienced on Jan. 6, 2021, or that I would be one of a few dozen officers standing in between former President Donald Trump’s authoritarian dreams and American democracy. The attack on the Capitol, perpetuated by a mob commanded by Trump, was and still is an existential threat to both my city and the country at large.

The world looked on in horror as thousands of Trump’s most loyal followers overran police barricades, stripped law enforcement officers of our equipment and savagely beat us. They looked us in the eyes and called us — the ones protecting the Capitol — traitors.

Story by Andrew Feinberg

A White House valet who was with former president Donald Trump on the day Congress certified his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden told the House January 6 select committee that Mr Trump threatened then-vice president Mike Pence’s future political viability in a phone call just before Mr Pence was to preside over a joint session of Congress to count electoral college ballots.

According to a transcript of the interview of the unnamed White House valet, the valet overheard Mr Trump telling Mr Pence: “Mike, this is a political career killer if you do this” as the two men spoke by phone while Mr Trump was in the Oval Office.

The valet also told investigators that he heard Mr Trump tell Mr Pence: “Do what’s right” and said Mr Trump’s voice at the time indicated that he was “disappointed and frustrated”.

The transcript, which was first reported on by The New York Times, also shows that the anonymous White House employee told the committee that he did not hear Mr Trump denigrate the then-vice president by calling him by a vulgar term used to refer to female reproductive anatomy, though several Trump administration officials did say under oath that Mr Trump suggested that Mr Pence would be a “p***y” were he to allow Congress to certify their loss to Mr Biden and Kamala Harris, then a California senator.

Story by ChaChingQueen

Donald Trump, a name synonymous with both business acumen and controversy, has navigated through numerous ventures over the decades.

As a child of the 1980s, I remember a few of my uncles on my mom's side sitting around and playing poker. Then, a few of my uncles on my dad's side would play some game where they flipped dimes to see who got closest to the wall.

But I was told not to gamble because the house always wins. I wasn't allowed to play these games. But then again I wasn't even ten yet.

At the same time there was this guy on the news all the time for bankrupting casinos. But he was also on TV constantly telling people how rich he was.

I remember asking my dad about this Donald Trump guy. I was very confused. How was he rich, yet bankrupting casinos? As a kid, I did not understand.

My dad (who now proudly wears Trump hats and socks), explained that Trump made his money from his dad and from telling people he was rich by writing The Art of The Deal.

Story by Lee Moran

Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman (R) on Sunday called “B.S.” on the spin that Donald Trump’s campaign has put on his “bloodbath” warning from the weekend.

Trump at a rally in Dayton, Ohio, said while talking about the auto industry that, “If I don’t get elected, it’s going to be a bloodbath for the whole … that’s going to be the least of it. It’s going to be a bloodbath for the country.”

Trump was slammed for using violent rhetoric but his campaign claimed his comment was taken out of context and he’d been talking about the economy.

MSNBC’s “The Sunday Show” host Jonathan Capehart told Whitman that he called “B.S. on that” excuse from the Trump campaign.

Story by Lee Moran

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough on Monday insisted Donald Trump meant his warning about a “bloodbath” in America if he’s not elected, despite the Trump campaign’s claims to the contrary he was only talking about the auto industry.

“It was a distinction without a difference,” said Scarborough.

What made it clear what GOP nominee Trump was intending to say, Scarborough continued, was when he added afterward that a “bloodbath” would “be the least of it.”

Scarborough explained, “If you think there’s going to be a bloodbath in the auto industry, even if you take that argument at face value, which, again, given the tone of the rest of the speech, ‘Bloodbath,’ I’m not sure he’s talking about the niceties of international trade. But let’s just take that argument as is. Then he goes on and he says, ‘That’s going to be the least of it,’ and repeats it. ‘It’s going to be the least of it.’”

“Obviously, he’s talking about a bloodbath for America,” he added.

Story by Miranda Nazzaro

Former President Trump on Sunday doubled down on his push for former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) to be prosecuted over allegations she and the other Jan. 6 committee members purposely withheld testimony and details from their investigation into the former president’s actions during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection.

Trump, on Truth Social on Sunday, posted a piece from former Trump administration aide Kash Patel published in The Federalist last week, in which Patel claimed Cheney and the House Jan. 6 committee “suppressed evidence” about the former president’s authorization of National Guard troops during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection.

“SHE SHOULD BE PROSECUTED FOR WHAT SHE HAS DONE TO OUR COUNTRY! SHE ILLEGALLY DESTROYED THE EVIDENCE. UNREAL!!!” Trump wrote on Truth Social while linking to Patel’s piece.

Cheney clapped back Sunday at Trump’s calls for her to be jailed on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, writing, “Hi Donald: you know these are lies. You have had all the grand jury & J6 transcripts for many months. You’re trying to halt your 1/6 trial because your VP, WH counsel, WH aides, campaign & DOJ officials etc. will testify against you. You’re afraid of the truth and you should be.”

Story by Joe DePaolo

Former Vice President Mike Pence seethed over former President Donald Trump calling imprisoned Jan. 6 rioters “hostages” at a rally on Saturday.

In an interview on Face the Nation Sunday, CBS’ Margaret Brennan played a clip of Trump lauding the rioters as “unbelievable patriots” and denouncing their imprisonment.

“You see this spirit from the hostages?” Trump said Saturday at a rally in Ohio. “And that’s what they are os hostages. They’ve been treated terribly and very unfairly, and you know that, and everybody knows that. And we’re going to be working on that soon. The first day we get into office, we’re going to save our country, and we’re going to work with the people to treat those unbelievable patriots. And they were unbelievable patriots.”

Pence — who, on Friday, announced he will not endorse Trump’s 2024 candidacy — sounded off on the president he served under for four years.

“I think it’s very unfortunate at a time that there are American hostages being held in Gaza,” Pence said. “That the president or any other leaders would refer to people that are moving through our justice system as hostages. And it’s just unacceptable!”

They talk about Biden's mental state what about Trump’s mental state?

Story by Zeleb.es

Former President Donald Trump forgot the name of his wife and possibly confused her with one of his former staffers during a recent speech according to some media reports. What happened and what it means may surprise you.

The Conservative Political Action Conference
While speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference on February 24th, the former president appeared to forget the name of his wife Melania while introducing her and then moments later called her Mercedes.

The comments everyone is arguing over
"Well look, my wife, our great first lady, she was great... people love her," Trump told the crowd before later going on to say: "Oh look at that, wow. Mercedes, that's pretty good!" It was a gaffe that quickly went viral online.

Is Trump suffering cognitive decline?
Newsweek noted that people clipped the speech and published a version of the gaffe on Twitter. Political analysts like Luke Beasley used Trump’s comment to accuse the former president of suffering from cognitive decline.

“Why won't the media cover it?"
“Donald Trump called his wife, Melania, 'Mercedes' in a speech and I haven't seen a word from the media,” Beasley explained before adding: "Donald Trump is in cognitive decline—why won't the media cover it?"

Opinion by Charlie Sykes

On Jan. 6, 2021, Julian Khater used a can of bear spray to attack Capitol Police officers who were trying to hold the line against attackers. One of the officers Khater sprayed was Brian Sicknick, who died the next day after suffering a stroke.

Last year, Khater pleaded guilty to two counts of assaulting, resisting or impeding officers with a dangerous weapon, and earlier this year he was sentenced to more than six years in prison.

Presumably, he is one of the “Jan. 6 hostages” that Donald Trump says he will set free on his first day back in office, should he be elected in November, per a social media post that reads, "My first acts as your next President will be to Close the Border, DRILL, BABY, DRILL, and Free the January 6 Hostages being wrongfully imprisoned!"

Curious minds (or at least the media) ought to ask whether Trump’s alleged get-out-of-jail card would also include Brian Christopher Mock, who bragged that he “beat the s--- out of a police officer,” according to someone who spoke with the FBI. Mock, who was wielding a baton as a weapon, was sentenced to 33 months in prison and another two years of supervised release for a total of six felonies, including obstructing police officers during a civil disorder, and four counts of assaulting, resisting or impeding officers.

Story by David McAfee

Donald Trump on Saturday came under fire for how he glorifies people convicted of crimes amid the insurrection following his speech on Jan. 6, 2021.

Trump over the weekend spoke at a Buckeye Values PAC Rally in Dayton, Ohio, where he flubbed his words several times and was accused of "glitching" on stage. In that same speech, he also warned of an impending "bloodbath" if he loses the election.

But before the former president's talk even began, the announcer was already referring to convicts from Jan. 6 as "hostages." The J6 Prison Choir also sang the opening song before Trump spoke.

"Well thank you very much, and you see the spirit from the hostages, and that's what they are. Hostages. We’re going to work with the people to treat those unbelievable patriots, and they were unbelievable patriots," Trump said at the rally on Saturday.

Story by Carl Gibson

Former President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner (who was also a senior adviser in his White House) has been ramping up his overseas business dealings undeterred by the optics of doing so in the midst of his father-in-law's presidential campaign.

A Friday report in the New York Times scrutinized Kushner's real estate deals in Balkan countries of Albania and Serbia, in which he stands to reap significant financial benefits once they're completed. The Times reported that Kushner has been working with Richard Grenell, who was Trump's former acting Director of National Intelligence who also served as German ambassador and a special envoy to the Balkans.

Notably, two of the three projects Kushner is aiming to finalize this year involve the transfer of land currently owned by Albania and Serbia, meaning a member of the president's immediate family (Kushner is married to Trump's daughter, Ivanka) stands to receive money directly from foreign governments. According to the Times, the first project involves redeveloping an island off the Albanian coast into a high-end luxury resort, and the second would be a 1,500-unit apartment building, museum and luxury hotel in the Serbian capital city of Belgrade. The third — which doesn't involve a direct land acquisition from a foreign government — is a planned resort development in coastal southern Albania.

Matthew Chapman

Donald Trump's installation of loyalists at the Republican National Committee and the subsequent staffer purge served as a trial run for what the former president plans to do next, says GOP strategist and Republican Accountability Project leader Sarah Longwell.

Longwell appeared on MSNBC Tuesday night to discuss with host Chris Hayes Trump's plans for the civil service if reelected to the White House in 2025 one day after a reported RNC "bloodbath" saw 60 officials get the ax.

"I always feel like we've taken the final step in Trump's complete takeover of the Republican Party, but there is always another step," said Longwell. "Because he is formally taking over the Republican Party apparatus here. You know, so it started with the resignation of Jeff Flake and it ends with Lara Trump controlling the RNC."

OK! Magazine

At one point, he said, Trump told the audience how he moved the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018, which saw the U.S. officially recognizing the city as Israel's capital. Elsewhere in the speech, Trump falsely accused Biden's administration of persecuting Roman Catholics. "And let me tell you, they always show you the first one - like a giraffe, a tiger, a whale," Trump said as the crowd burst into laughter.

Story by Kathleen Culliton

Former President Donald Trump has made a disturbing shift in his 2024 presidential campaign stump speeches, according to a rhetorician raising the alarm about authoritarianism.

“He's running as a dictator," Professor Jennifer Mercieca told progressive commentator Aaron Rupar, "He's determined to destroy the Constitution.”

Rupar published Thursday his takeaways from a conversation with Mercieca after a primary night Tuesday that confirmed Trump and President Joe Biden will once again face off in a race to claim the White House in 2025.

Story by Kelly Rissman

An American company that allegedly paid an indicted FBI informant accused of lying about Joe Biden and his son’s business dealings has ties to former President Donald Trump, according to a report.

Economic Transformation Technologies (ETT), the company, paid Alexander Smirnov, the once-FBI informant, $600,000 in September 2020, a February court filing states, reported The Guardian.

This hefty payment was made “in exchange for a stake in an Israel-based crypto trading platform” that Mr Smirnov was trying to launch, the Wall Street Journal reported in February.

The document also notes that months prior, in June, Mr Smirnov first began telling “fabrications” to the agency. Mr Smirnov has since been charged for these lies.

ETT’s CEO is Christopher Condon, a shareholder in the London-based ETT Investment Holding Limited, which has since been dissolved, The Guardian reported,

The other two shareholders, Shahal Khan and Farooq Arjomand are connected to Mr Trump through the former president’s associates, according to the outlet.

Mr Arjomand is the former chair and current board member of Damac Properties in Dubai, to which Mr Trump has previously been tied.

The founder of Damac Properties, Hussain Sajwani, previously told Forbes in 2016: “We made a deal with Trump as an organization; they know how to run golf courses…We stay away from politics.” Mr Trump has in turn called Mr Sajwani a “very amazing man.”

Story by Jordan Andrews

The Detroit News published a recording of a November 2020 phone call where Trump pressured Michigan Republican officials not to certify their county's election results.

Ronna McDaniel
RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel was also on the call, pushing the officials to reject certification.

Do not sign it
“If you can go home tonight, do not sign it... We will get you attorneys,” Ronna McDaniel said.

The call raises questions
The call raises questions about potential legal ramifications for both Trump and McDaniel.

Opinion by Tim Dickinson

Former President Donald Trump's campaign is running online advertising to raise cash for 2024 - and a portion of that ad spending is monetizing pro-Nazi content on the streaming service Rumble, Rolling Stone has observed.

In a short video ad that plays before select videos on Rumble, Trump makes a pitch to the MAGA masses to help him counter "crooked Joe Biden" by donating to his 2024 campaign: "I am very humbly asking if you could chip in $5, $10, or even $25." Trump vows that donors will help him "win back the White House" and "make America great again, greater than ever before, I promise you that."

On Monday, Trump ads were being served up at the beginning of a new Rumble video by the reactionary broadcaster Stew Peters. In that video, Peters touts Hitler as "a hero" for the horrific Nazi book burnings of the 1930s, calling the violent display of cultural erasure "awesome." Peters even advocates a modern reenactment of the fiery Nazi spectacle, seeking retribution against what he falsely paints as a Jewish-led conspiracy to "make us surrender" to LGBTQ acceptance and sexual "degeneracy."

Story by Zeleb.es

Donald Trump’s time as president was marked by the chaotic approach to policy that his administration brought to the executive branch of government, and it appears that all the chaos affected many of those working for the president.

The White House Medical Unit had a problem
Uppers and downers were allegedly handed out like candy to officials serving the former president according to Rolling Stone's Nikki McCann Ramirez, who made her claim after the Department of Defense issued a report on the issue.

An investigation by the Department of Defense
In January 2024, the Department of Defense’s Office of the General Inspector published an 80-page document detailing how the White House Medical Unit was engaged in a lot of problematic behavior while Trump was the president.

“Severe and systemic problems”
The report concluded the White House Medical Unit’s pharmacy operations “had severe and systemic problems” and stated that the unit relied on “ineffective internal controls to ensure compliance with pharmacy safety standards.”

Story by Aurora DeStefano

“The old story about a snake — nursing it to health and then it bites you?” Teamsters union International Vice President at Large John Palmer told CNN, “You knew it was a snake when you handled it…Donald Trump is what he is.” Trump, Palmer pointed out, has been “anti-union for decades.”

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is being courted by both Trump and President Joe Biden for its endorsement, and the union is playing harder to get than Palmer and some others think is smart.

Teamsters President Sean M. O’Brien has said he is mindful that a segment of his membership likes Trump and so the union needs to show it has ears on both sides. O’Brien wants to communicate “that all our members’ voices are heard and our elected officials do not take for granted the power of the Teamsters vote.” “I think we’re wasting our time,” Palmer said, referring to the withholding, so far, of an endorsement.

Story by HANNAH SARISOHN

NEW YORK – US President Joe Biden’s team slammed a statement allegedly made by former president Donald Trump, where he said that Adolf Hitler “did some good things.”

The statement is not corroborated. It was provided by Trump’s former chief of staff, Gen. John Kelly, in an interview with CNN.

CNN's Jim Sciutto released snippets of his interview with Kelly that he conducted for his new book "The Return of Great Powers: Russia, China, and the Next World War," as well as bits of his interview with former national security adviser John Bolton.

"The former president’s admiration for autocrats has been reported on before, but in comments by Trump recounted to me for my new book, 'The Return of Great Powers,' out Tuesday, Kelly and others who served under Trump give new insight into why they warn that a man who consistently praises autocratic leaders opposed to US interests is ill-suited to lead the country in the Great Power clashes that could be coming, telling me they believe that the root of his admiration for these figures is that he envies their power," Scuitto wrote for CNN.

Scuitto's reporting alleges Trump's praise of Hitler, which Kelly recounted.

Story by Lee Moran

Donald Trump drew mockery online for how he responded to supercuts of his verbal slip-ups, gaffes and forgetfulness that Democrats aired during a congressional hearing this week.

The former president ranted on his Truth Social platform late Tuesday that artificial intelligence “was used by them against me in their videos,” which played during former special counsel Robert Hur’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.

“Can’t do that Joe!” the four-times-indicted Trump said, referring to his successor in the White House, Joe Biden.

But the former president ― who on Monday nicknamed himself “Honest Don” ― offered no evidence to support his claim about AI in the clips, all of which featured real footage.

Story by Zeleb.es

Former President Donald Trump forgot the name of his wife and possibly confused her with one of his former staffers during a recent speech according to some media reports. What happened and what it means may surprise you.

The Conservative Political Action Conference
While speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference on February 24th, the former president appeared to forget the name of his wife Melania while introducing her and then moments later called her Mercedes.

The comments everyone is arguing over
"Well look, my wife, our great first lady, she was great... people love her," Trump told the crowd before later going on to say: "Oh look at that, wow. Mercedes, that's pretty good!" It was a gaffe that quickly went viral online.

Is Trump suffering cognitive decline?
Newsweek noted that people clipped the speech and published a version of the gaffe on Twitter. Political analysts like Luke Beasley used Trump’s comment to accuse the former president of suffering from cognitive decline.

Story by Juliet Potrykus

Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s former Chief Financial Officer, entered a guilty plea for perjury charges in New York. This plea is connected to his testimony in a civil fraud case involving former President Donald Trump. Weisselberg is set to serve five months in jail as a result of his plea.

The Charges and Sentence
On a recent Monday in state court in Manhattan, 76-year-old Weisselberg admitted to two counts of perjury. This admission will result in his imprisonment in April, marking his second jail term after a previous 100-day sentence for tax evasion related to unreported company benefits.

Between Loyalty and the Law
Weisselberg’s guilty plea highlights his struggle between adhering to legal obligations and remaining loyal to Trump. Despite nearly five decades of service to the Trump family, his decision not to provide truthful testimony that could potentially harm Trump indicates a choice to sacrifice personal freedom.

Statement from the Manhattan DA
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office emphasized the seriousness of lying under oath, stating plainly, “It is a crime to lie in depositions and at trial.”

Story by Tom Boggioni

According to conservative pollster Sarah Longwell, voters are less concerned with Donald Trump's age than they are worried about his mental fitness as they look at the presidential choices in 2024.

Appearing on MSNBC's "The Weekend," Longwell — founder of Republican Voters Against Trump — was asked about voter worries about both Trump and President Joe Biden and she replied the public seem to hold them to two different standards.

Story by Jacob Miller

In the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, Arizona has emerged as a focal point of scrutiny regarding attempts to overturn the election results. Arizona’s Attorney General, Democrat Kris Mayes, has issued grand jury subpoenas to individuals associated with Donald Trump’s campaign as part of a criminal investigation into these efforts. The looming question now is whether key figures tied to the former president, including some who posed as fake electors, will face criminal charges.

The investigation extends beyond Arizona’s borders; similar probes in Georgia, Michigan, and Nevada have already led to charges against individuals for their roles in the fake elector scheme. Trump’s former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and attorneys John Eastman and Kenneth Chesebro have been mentioned in connection with the Arizona inquiry. Chesebro, in particular, has been highlighted in a recent document release from a lawsuit settlement, showcasing the lengths he went to in search of ways to undermine the 2020 election results.

Story by Margaret Hartmann

During his State of the Union address on Thursday night, President Joe Biden laced into Donald Trump, criticizing him directly more than a dozen times (though he referred to Trump as “my predecessor” rather than using his name). At one point, Biden accused Trump of responding to a deadly school shooting this year by saying people should just “get over it.” It’s such an appalling comment that Biden’s quote seems almost unbelievable — but it was mostly accurate.

While laying out his agenda on curbing gun violence, Biden accused Trump of bragging about his inaction on the issue and even shrugging off another shooting.

“My predecessor told the NRA he’s proud he did nothing on guns when he was president. Oof,” Biden said. “After another shooting in Iowa recently, he said, when asked what to do about it, he said ‘just get over it.’ There’s his quote, ‘just get over it.’ I say, stop it. Stop it, stop it, stop it.”

Story by Gustaf Kilander

Donald Trump allegedly held onto 70 boxes of classified documents while telling one of his staffers to claim that they were all returned.

In a Thursday filing in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida in West Palm Beach, the Department of Justice opposed Trump staffer Walt Nauta’s motion to “suppress evidence”.

The prosecutors noted that Mr Nauta “had been a valet in the White House during Trump’s administration” and that he “previously held a high-level security clearance and received training in handling classified documents”.

“During his presidency, Trump used dozens of boxes to accumulate and store records in an informal filing system,” they added. “At the end of his presidency in January 2021, around 85 to 95 of these boxes were removed from the White House and transported to Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s residence in Palm Beach, Florida, where they were later placed in a storage room.”

David McAfee

Donald Trump's mental stability is being used against him more and more in the run-up to the 2024 election, including by his own fellow Republican rivals, according to a report.

Trump, who appeared to confuse Barack Obama for Joe Biden at a rally on Saturday in New Hampshire, is taking fire from all angles on the issue of whether he's mentally fit to take the president's office again. President Joe Biden has already been hammering Trump on this issue, despite Biden himself getting his own criticisms for purported age-related decline.

Now, Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis are similarly striking out against Trump, according to the Washington Post's report.

Story by Tom Boggioni

Without endorsing President Joe Biden, the editorial board of the St. Louis Post Dispatch warned Republican voters — particularly so-called "Reagan Republicans" — that Donald Trump should be kept as far away from the corridors of power as possible.

In an editorial published on Thursday, the board of the influential midwestern newspaper declared Reagan Republicanism "dead" — and added the former president is the culprit who killed it, with party members fingered as accomplices.

The editors wrote, "Even among the many Republicans out there who recognize Trump’s obvious unfitness for office, there will be a strong temptation to fall back on partisan muscle-memory and vote for him anyway," before adding, "Republicans and conservatives of good conscience who can’t bring themselves to vote for President Joe Biden — fine — should at least consider any alternative that doesn’t give a vote to this unstable, malicious man and his dangerous movement."

Story by Amelia Neath

Seth Meyers did not waste any breath while reading out Donald Trump’s entire rap sheet after news broke he had become the presumptive GOP nominee after his rival, Nikki Haley, dropped out of the presidential race.

The host said that the Republican establishment has now “raced to line up behind four-time criminal indictee and insurrectionist Donald Trump” after Ms Haley’s departure, but that was not the only thing he had to say about the former president, who is hoping to take office in the White House for a second time.

In an almost minute-and-a-half monologue, Meyers reeled off a continuous list of things Mr Trump has done, has been accused of and has coming up for him, all the while still coming out on top as the presumptive Republican nominee.

“Presumptive GOP nominee for president, again, for a third time, despite the fact he is a twice-impeached, four-time criminal indictee and racist who’s been found liable for fraud and sexual abuse. Banned from doing business in the state of New York for three years. Owes over half a billion dollars in fines. Took millions from foreign governments while he was president. Tried to extort a foreign country to interfere in an election in 2020 and encouraged another to help him win in 2016,” Mr Meyers started, however, he did not stop there.

Story by Mike Bedigan

During the presidency of Donald Trump the White House Medical Unit operated “like the Wild West”, with controlled substances dished out to administration staff with a serious lack of oversight, according to a report.

Drugs including Ambien and Provigil – which are used to treat excessive sleepiness – were dished out without verifying the identities of patients, states the report from the Defense Department’s (DoD) inspector general.

Staff members reportedly told Rolling Stone that the White House was “awash with speed”, with prescription medication used by those to deal with the uniquely stressful job of serving the Trump administration.

Stimulants were given to those engaging in tasks including the writing of Mr Trump’s speeches, working late hours on foreign policy, responding to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, and coping with the deluge of media inquiries, the outlet reported.

Details of the medical unit’s operations were included in the report, released by the DoD on 8 January. Among the findings was that many of the White House Medical Unit pharmaceutical management practices did not comply with federal and DoD guidance.

Story by SOPHIA TAREEN, Associated Press

Two attorneys for then-President Donald Trump orchestrated a plan for fake electors to file paperwork falsely saying the Republican won Wisconsin in a strategy to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory there and in other swing states, according to a lawsuit settlement reached Monday that makes public months of texts and emails.

Under their agreements, Kenneth Chesebro and Jim Troupis turned over more than 1,400 pages of documents, emails and text messages, along with photos and video, offering a detailed account of the scheme’s origins in Wisconsin. The communications show how they, with coordination from Trump campaign officials, replicated the strategy in six other states including Georgia, where Chesebro has already pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the 2020 election.

he agreements settle a civil lawsuit brought by Democrats in 2022 against the two attorneys and 10 Republicans in Wisconsin who posed as fake electors. The Republicans settled in December.

Story by Jacob Miller

Former President Donald Trump allegedly attempted to persuade his own attorney to conceal classified documents. When the attorney declined, Trump reportedly enlisted two of his assistants to hide the documents from the attorney and suppress the CCTV video evidence, as per the most recent filing in Trump’s case involving classified documents in Florida.

The latest filing goes into details of Trump’s alleged hiding of classified documents to show that the case is not vindictive or based on political bias. It states that Trump only pretended to cooperate with a National Archive demand that he return classified documents that he stored in his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida after leaving the White House in 2021.

“When presented with a grand jury subpoena demanding the return of the remaining documents bearing classification markings, Trump attempted to enlist his own attorney in the corrupt endeavor, suggesting that he falsely tell the FBI and grand jury that Trump did not have any documents, and suggesting that his attorney hide or destroy documents rather than produce them to the government,” the document states.

After the attorney refused to cooperate, Trump then tried to deceive him, the prosecutors added.

“Failing in his effort to corrupt the attorney, Trump enlisted his trusted body man, codefendant Waltine Nauta, in a scheme to deceive the attorney by moving boxes to conceal his [Trump’s] continued possession of classified documents. As a result, Trump, through his attorney, again returned only a portion of the classified documents in his possession while falsely claiming that his production was complete,” the document states.

Story by Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday overturned a Colorado court ruling that said former President Donald Trump was ineligible to run for office again because of his actions leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol — bringing a swift end to a case with huge implications for the 2024 election.

The court reversed the Colorado Supreme Court, which determined that Trump could not serve again as president under a provision of the Constitution's 14th Amendment.

The decision comes just a day before the Colorado primary.

In addition to ensuring that Trump remains on the ballot in Colorado, the decision is likely to affect similar cases that have arisen. So far only two other states, Maine and Illinois, have followed Colorado's path. Like the Colorado ruling, both those decisions were put on hold.

The Supreme Court decision removes one avenue to holding Trump accountable for his role in challenging the 2020 election results, including his exhortation that his supporters should march on the Capitol on Jan. 6, when Congress was about to formalize President Joe Biden's win.

Trump is facing criminal charges for the same conduct. The Supreme Court in April will hear oral arguments on Trump's broad claim of presidential immunity.

Donald Trump has been criticized for making a string of gaffes during two weekend campaign speeches.
Newsweek

The Republican presidential candidate addressed crowds on Saturday in Richmond, Virginia, and Greensboro, North Carolina, ahead of Super Tuesday, when more than a dozen states will vote in Republican primaries.

Ron Filipkowski, a Trump critic and the editor-in-chief of the independent news network MeidasTouch, posted a video on X, formerly Twitter, that compiled 32 incidents in both speeches in which, Filipkowski said, the Republican "mispronounced words, got confused, mixed up names, forgot names, and babbled insane nonsense."

Ana Faguy Forbes Staff

Former President Donald Trump appeared to confuse former President Barack Obama with President Joe Biden during a rally Saturday night, the latest in a series of gaffes from Trump as the age and mental well-being of both top presidential candidates remains a concern for voters.

The gaffe came when Trump was discussing Vladimir Putin and said the Russian president “has so little respect for Obama that he’s starting to throw around the nuclear word.”

Video of the event shows the crowd going silent after Trump’s reference to Obama, before Trump then names Biden, and calls him “a fool.”

In at least seven other instances, Trump has seemed to confuse Obama with Biden.

Last week, when referencing Putin at the Conservative Political Action Conference Trump made another Putin-related gaffe, saying he agreed with the Russian President that he’d rather see Biden as president.

MSNBC

While on the campaign trail over the weekend in North Carolina and Virginia, Donald Trump made several public gaffes. The Morning Joe panel discusses.

MSNBC

Former President Trump on the campaign trail over the weekend, again took credit for signing a veterans bill that passed under his predecessor, President Obama.

‘Putin has so little respect for Obama that he’s starting to throw around the nuclear word,’ Trump says
Gustaf Kilander Washington, DC

The crowd of Trump supporters gathered in Richmond, Virginia to hear Donald Trump speak on Saturday night went silent as the former president appeared to mix up Presidents Joe Biden and Barack Obama yet again.

“Shortly after we win the presidency, I will have the horrible war between Russia and Ukraine settled,” Mr Trump said on Saturday.

“I know them both very well and we will restore peace through strength. Get that war settled. It’s a bad war. And Putin has so little respect for Obama that he’s starting to throw around the nuclear word,” Mr Trump added, seemingly in the false belief that Mr Biden’s former boss remains in charge.

There were plenty of moments during Mr Trump’s campaign events in Greensboro, North Carolina and later in Richmond when he appeared to struggle to deliver his speech or seemed to be confused.

Allen H. Weisselberg, the former Trump Organization finance chief, has already spent time at the Rikers Island jail complex. A perjury plea could send him back.
By Ben Protess, William K. Rashbaum, Jesse McKinley and Kate Christobek

Allen H. Weisselberg, a longtime lieutenant to former President Donald J. Trump, has reached an agreement with Manhattan prosecutors to plead guilty to perjury charges on Monday, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Yet Mr. Weisselberg, who for years has remained steadfastly loyal to Mr. Trump in the face of intense prosecutorial pressure, is not expected to implicate his former boss. That unbroken streak of loyalty has frustrated prosecutors and already once cost him his freedom.

Mr. Weisselberg, 76, is now expected to concede that he lied to investigators from the New York attorney general’s office when they were investigating Mr. Trump for fraud. The attorney general, Letitia James, had accused Mr. Trump of wildly inflating his net worth to obtain favorable loans and other benefits.

That civil case recently ended with a judge imposing a huge financial penalty on the former president — more than $450 million with interest. Mr. Weisselberg, who was also a defendant, was penalized $1 million plus interest and permanently banned from serving in a financial position of any New York company.

Newsweek

video that appears to show Donald Trump slurring his words at a rally in Rochester, New Hampshire, on Sunday is stoking concern among social media users.

The five-second clip was shared on X, formerly Twitter, by the Biden-Harris HQ account, which is run by Joe Biden's re-election campaign. In the footage, taken from conservative outlet Right Side Broadcasting Network, Trump comments: "You don't have to be a total genius, remain in Mexico, until you've..." at which point he becomes unintelligible for the final two seconds. The Biden-Harris HQ account wrote: "Trump slurs his words while ranting: In Mexico until [unintelligible]."

Republicans have focused heavily on the health and mental acumen of Joe Biden, with several arguing the 81-year-old doesn't have the stamina for another four years in the White House. But Democrats have hit back in kind against 77-year-old Trump, by some margin the frontrunner for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, by drawing attention to gaffes such as when he appeared to confuse GOP rival Nikki Haley with Nancy Pelosi during a rally in New Hampshire on Friday.

The video from the Biden-Harris HQ was reshared on X by the 'Biden's Wins' account, which has over 306,000 followers and added: "BREAKING: Donald Trump is slurring his words. Why won't the media cover his mental decline?"

Story by Andrew Rodriguez

A New York judge ordered Donald Trump to pay a penalty of $355 million for fraudulently inflating his wealth, totaling over $450 million with interest. Trump’s legal team requested a delay and offered to post a bond of $100 million instead.

“In the absence of a stay on the terms herein outlined, properties would likely need to be sold to raise capital under exigent circumstances,” the filing states, “and there would be no way to recover any property sold following a successful appeal and no means to recover the resulting financial losses from the Attorney General.”

Despite claims of having substantial cash, Trump’s team argues that producing the full amount is impractical. An appeals judge ruled that Trump must post the full amount but can obtain loans.

Story by Carl Gibson

Voters shouldn't be so distracted by former President Donald Trump's mountain of legal issues that they overlook his pattern of racist behavior, according to a Washington Post columnist.

The Post's Jennifer Rubin — a traditional conservative who describes herself as "NeverTrump" — wrote in a recent column that the media's assumption that the former president will win over more voters of color in this election than in his two previous bids for the White House unfairly glosses over his "casual racism." As evidence, she pointed to Trump's recent statements saying Black voters liked him because of his multiple criminal indictments and mug shots, and his echoing of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler when he accused immigrants of "poisoning the blood of our country."

"Likewise, he left no doubt about his noxious bigotry toward immigrants at his unhinged rant at the Conservative Political Action Conference," Rubin wrote, referencing Trump saying immigrants from "Africa," Asia" and "the Middle East" were "destroying our country."

"His plan to round up and deport millions of undocumented immigrants goes hand in hand with his effort to dehumanize them," she added.

Kara Scannell Lauren del Valle Jeanne Sahadi
By Kara Scannell, Lauren del Valle and Jeanne Sahadi, CNN

New York CNN — Donald Trump is facing a cash crunch as deadlines are quickly approaching to find over half a billion dollars he owes in judgments.

On Wednesday, a New York appeals court judge refused to give the former president additional time to satisfy a $454 million judgment from a civil fraud case. A federal judge is poised to decide whether to grant Trump’s last-ditch legal effort to delay or post a fraction of an $83.3 million judgment he owes E. Jean Carroll from a defamation case.

The scramble over the past week reveals challenges Trump is facing in raising the combined judgments totaling $537 million. In pleading for relief, Trump’s lawyers told judges it could cost him an additional $104 million to post the bonds – their estimate of fees he would need to pay. Trump’s lawyers said he may have to dump some of his properties under “exigent circumstances” to raise cash quickly, tap the capital markets, or find another source of cash. Last month Trump began hawking $399 gold sneakers.

“It is a really substantial problem. He’s really between a rock and a hard place,” said Adam Kaufmann, a criminal defense lawyer.

The cash crunch challenges Trump’s long-projected image of a successful businessman with deep pockets and a maverick’s ability to outmaneuver legal and financial troubles. He rode that reputation to the White House in 2016.

Now, the leading Republican presidential candidate in 2024 could end up heavily indebted to a bank, donor, or some other source of capital. Adding to the uncertainty over Trump’s future earnings are the four criminal indictments he is facing.

What about Trump's cognitive decline?

Story by Zeleb.es

Former President Donald Trump forgot the name of his wife and possibly confused her with one of his former staffers during a recent speech according to some media reports. What happened and what it means may surprise you.

The Conservative Political Action Conference
While speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference on February 24th, the former president appeared to forget the name of his wife Melania while introducing her and then moments later called her Mercedes.

The comments everyone is arguing over
"Well look, my wife, our great first lady, she was great... people love her," Trump told the crowd before later going on to say: "Oh look at that, wow. Mercedes, that's pretty good!" It was a gaffe that quickly went viral online.

Is Trump suffering cognitive decline?
Newsweek noted that people clipped the speech and published a version of the gaffe on Twitter. Political analysts like Luke Beasley used Trump’s comment to accuse the former president of suffering from cognitive decline.

Trump should be tried for treason he interfered in the election and attempted a coup.

Story by Cynthia Paul

In the federal election conspiracy case that special counsel Jack Smith has launched, former president Donald Trump has maintained that he should not be prosecuted because he cannot be held accountable for acts taken while serving in his official position.

Trump’s Constant Insistence for Other Presidents to Be Jailed
In an even more contentious move, his lawyer told the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that he could not be prosecuted for killing an opponent unless he was first impeached. However, the watchdog organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) pointed out on Tuesday that this was not his previous stance. They argued that he has in fact called on former presidents to serve prison terms for crimes they had done while in office.

They Should Be Tried for Treason
“In late 2018, Trump retweeted an image, later deleted, that showed former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama behind bars, with the caption that suggested they should be tried for treason,” according to the study.

A Capital Crime
“Trump was referring to the unfounded claims that his 2016 campaign was spied on by the Obama administration as part of a larger ‘deep state’ initiative to undermine his presidential bid. It bears emphasizing that there is no evidence for what Trump was claiming, and even if it were true, it would not rise to the level of treason, which is a capital crime.”

Story by Glenn Kessler

During his presidency, Trump often claimed he had done more for Black Americans than any other president — or, he sometimes might concede, since Abraham Lincoln. Historians scorned his claim. Many cited Lyndon B. Johnson, who signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It was Johnson, the historians said, who after Lincoln was the president who made the most lasting impact on the lives of African Americans.

To make his case, Trump would cite achievements like a low Black unemployment rate, increased funding for historically Black colleges and universities (a congressional initiative, not an executive branch one) or passage of an opportunity zone program.

“Trump’s so-called accomplishments will not even be noticed by historians five years from now,” said H.W. Brands, historian at the University of Texas at Austin, in 2020. Trump recited those claims yet again when he addressed a group of Black conservatives last week, even if the talking points have become woefully out of date.

“We achieved the lowest African American unemployment rate ever recorded,” Trump declared, apparently unaware that Black unemployment under Biden has fallen even further. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate under Trump hit a low of 5.3 percent in August 2019, but had inched up to 6.1 percent before the pandemic struck in March 2020. Under Biden, the Black unemployment rate dipped to as low as 4.8 percent in April 2023; it was 5.3 percent in January.

[Opinion] Trump Thinks He's Slick: That Unhinged Speech Was Never Meant To Appeal to Black Folks
Story by Kendra Lee

Who does the former guy think he’s fooling? On Friday night in a speech his team said was meant to appeal to Black voters in South Carolina—a demographic with which the Republican party continuously fails to gain traction, according to The Nation—he compared himself to us in the most absurd way.

He cited the 91 felony charges he currently faces, and then compared them to unfair treatment Black folks face from the American criminal justice system. “A lot of people said that’s why the Black people liked me, because they had been hurt so badly and discriminated against,” the Washington Post reported him saying in the speech at the Black Conservative Federation’s annual awards gala. The comment got laughter and cheers from the audience.

He stuck his foot in further, citing the Georgia mug shot from last summer as a reason Black voters would choose him come November. He then claimed he’d pardoned many people in the room of 500 before asking Black supporters in the room to stand. After repeated entreaties raised only one such person, he joked, “The lights are so bright in my eyes I … can only see the Black ones. I can’t see any White ones.”

Trump’s ‘Mercedes’ Gaffe: Staffers Dispute He Confused Wife Melania’s Name
Story by Zachary Folk, Forbes Staff

Topline
Former President Trump appeared to refer to his wife Melania Trump as “Mercedes” to some watching his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday—but the president’s campaign and surrogates strongly pushed back on those reports, claiming he may have been referring to another person.

Key Facts
While introducing his wife, former First Lady Melania Trump, the former president appeared to forget her name, just moments later saying, “Mercedes, that’s pretty good!” Trump may have been referring to Mercedes Schlapp, a political commentator and wife of American Conservative Union (CPAC organizer) chair and former White House staffer Matt Schlapp.

After the speech, Mercedes Schlapp called reports on the gaffe “Fake News at its finest.” At the end of the speech, Trump addressed Schlapp directly, blaming her for inviting him to speak at CPAC on the eve of the South Carolina primary: “If I do poorly, I’m going to blame Mercedes… because I am supposed to be there and I’m not there.”

However, it would not be the first time Trump has confused two people, including his wife—during a deposition for the sexual abuse lawsuit brought by E. Jean Carroll, Trump misidentified the columnist as his ex-wife Marla Maples.


Story by Joe Sommerlad

Donald Trump appeared on stage more than 90 minutes late in Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday night, where he delivered a speech that was as wild as it was incoherent.

The Republican presidential front-runner appeared flushed and visibly exhausted as he arrived to address the National Religious Broadcasters’ (NRB) International Christian Media Convention, tripping over simple words like “evangelical” during an address littered with verbal miscues and false claims.

At various points, Mr Trump declared that he had made “Israel” the capital of Israel during his presidency (presumably confusing the decision to move its US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem), said that he planned to close down the Department of Education and praised the Capitol rioters, whom he again characterised as political prisoners and referred to as “the J6 hostages”, for their “tremendous spirit”.

He also falsely claimed that “everybody” agreed with the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade and, at one stage, appeared to confuse FBI special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into his campaign’s alleged ties to Russia in 2018 with the spurious Hunter Biden laptop affair so beloved of conspiracy-minded conservatives.


Former President Trump during a Tuesday Fox News town hall essentially admitted to killing the border deal in order to hurt Democrats.

Story by Malik Graystone

Donald Trump’s recent rally in Michigan has sparked concerns about his mental acuity as he made a series of blunders, including misremembering crucial dates and admitting ignorance on key terms.

Michigan Primary Mishap
America, during NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) SUMMIT 2018 — Photo by gints.ivuskans
During the rally, Trump mistakenly reminded voters of the Michigan state primary, getting the date wrong, fueling concerns about his attention to detail amidst his presidential ambitions.

Confusion Over “Indictment”
arrives for Working dinner, during NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) SUMMIT 2018) — Photo by gints.ivuskans
In a surprising admission, Trump confessed to not understanding the term “indictment” for most of his life, raising eyebrows given his current legal entanglements.

Fumbling on Electric Vehicles
Trump’s stance on electric vehicles appeared muddled during the rally, adding to the perception of inconsistency in his messaging.

Questions on Mental State
Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley has questioned Trump’s mental state, suggesting it could impact his ability to lead if he returns to the White House.

Opinion by John Kenneth White, opinion contributor

Special counsel Robert Hur’s nearly 400-page report on Joe Biden’s retention of classified documents after leaving the Obama White House is now public. While not a criminal indictment, it is a political one.

Explaining why he would not pursue the case, Hur damningly described Biden as a “sympathetic, well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory.” This is all too reminiscent of James Comey’s political indictment of Hillary Clinton, calling her “extremely careless” in using a private email server to discuss sensitive government matters.

In his press conference rebutting the report, an angry Joe Biden described himself as “well-meaning, and I’m an elderly man, and I know what the hell I’m doing.”

Indeed, his accomplishments are far beyond what anyone expected in 2020: getting millions of shots in arms to move the country past COVID-19, passing the largest infrastructure program since Dwight Eisenhower, signing a Chips and Science Act that brings semiconductor production back to the United States, forgiving billions in student debt, providing greater healthcare coverage to military veterans and their families after their exposure to toxic chemicals and more.

Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who often publicly mocked Biden’s age and mental fitness to serve, privately told allies that he found the president to be “sharp and substantive in their conversations.”

Story by Josh Milton

Donald Trump’s ‘slurred speech’ and ‘repeated errors’ shows he has cognitive decline ‘more apparent’ than Joe Biden’s, according to a professor. For months, campaigners, pundits and uhm-and-erring voters have been grappling with the idea that either of the leading 2024 presidential candidates would be the oldest president in history by the end of their term.

This would break the current record held by Joe Biden – the 81-one-year-old dubbed a ‘well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory’ in a report by Special Counsel Robert Hur last week. Trump, meanwhile, is a not exactly spritely 77.

As both men face questions over whether they’re simply too old to be president again, one political professor has said Trump’s cognitive decline is ‘more apparent’ than Biden’s. Paul Quirk, a political science professor at the University of British Columbia in Canada, told Newsweek how Biden’s grey hair and wrinkles have been the go-to targets for Republican attacks.

Story by Amelia Neath

Now, he is making history in another way.

According to a new poll, Mr Trump has now been labelled as the worst president that the United States has ever seen.

The third instalment of the “Presidental Greatness Project”, by University of Houston political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus and Coastal Carolina University political science professor Justin Vaughn, asked academics to rank each of the 45 people who have served as president all the way from George Washington to Joe Biden.

The survey is based on 154 responses from scholars across multiple disciplines, all of whom, in some way or another, engage in presidential politics through their work.

Previous surveys were released in 2015 and 2018, with respondents this year asked to rank all those who have served time as president on a scale 0-100 – with 0 being failure and 100 being great.

Mr Trump ranked in the very last place, scoring just 10.9/100 – the same spot he occupied in the previous survey (he was not included in the first survey, which was conducted during Barack Obama’s presidency).

Is Trump a useful idiot or something far worse or is this more quid pro quo for Russia helping Trump the 2016 election inquiring minds want to know?
Story by Reuters
By Doina Chiacu

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Donald Trump, who drew criticism as U.S. president for his praise of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, made his first public comment on the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Monday in a social media post that cast no blame.

"The sudden death of Alexei Navalny has made me more and more aware of what is happening in our Country," Trump wrote, appearing to link the death to his own political troubles.

"It is a slow, steady progression, with CROOKED, Radical Left Politicians, Prosecutors, and Judges leading us down a path to destruction. Open Borders, Rigged Elections, and Grossly Unfair Courtroom Decisions are DESTROYING AMERICA. WE ARE A NATION IN DECLINE, A FAILING NATION! MAGA2024"

It was not clear what similarities Trump was trying to draw with Navalny, 47, who fought against what he called vast corruption in the Russian elite and described Russia as ruled by "crooks and thieves."

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.

Trump has railed against a judge's order on Friday to pay $355 million in penalties for overstating his net worth to dupe lenders, a decision he called politically motivated. Trump also is preparing for four upcoming criminal trials as he pursues the Republican nomination.

Trump Rants Over Lincoln Project’s Latest Ad Which Slams Him for Sinking Border Deal, Saying “Donald Trump Doesn’t Care” for American Lives
Story by Malik Graystone

The Lincoln Project has launched a new ad campaign in Florida and South Carolina, targeting Donald Trump and Washington Republicans for their role in blocking a bill aimed at bolstering border security and providing aid to Israel and Ukraine. The one-minute ad, titled “Security,” takes aim at Trump’s immigration policies and accuses him of prioritizing chaos over national security.

Highlighting Trump's Opposition
The ad emphasizes President Joe Biden’s commitment to protecting America’s southern border but criticizes Trump for instructing Republicans to block what was deemed the toughest immigration bill in decades. It accuses Trump of fostering chaos to serve his political interests.

There’s only one problem: Donald Trump
“Joe Biden is ready to protect America’s southern border,” the ad says. “There’s only one problem: Donald Trump, (who) has ordered Republicans to block the toughest immigration bill in decades … because Donald Trump needs chaos to win.”

Cartels, Coyotes and…
The ad further says, “Donald Trump Doesn’t care if your family’s safety or the lives of law enforcement officers are in the balance. He’s on the side of the cartels, coyotes, and child [expletive deleted].” While this rhetoric relies on racist narratives, it is effective in driving a point.

Trump aka Don the con

The former president denied any wrongdoing, calling the case "a fraud on me."
By Adam Reiss and Dareh Gregorian

The judge who presided over a civil business fraud trial against Donald Trump and his company has issued his decision in the case.

Judge Arthur Engoron ordered the former president and the Trump Organization to pay over $300 million in damages, and bars Trump "from serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation or other legal entity in New York for a period of three years."

The judgment is the second this year against Trump after he was hit last month with an $83.3 million verdict in writer E. Jean Carroll's defamation case against him. The former president could also face four criminal trials this year as his presidential campaign barrels toward the November election, with the first set to begin in New York state court on March 25th.

New York Attorney General Letitia James had been seeking $370 million from Trump, his company and its top executives, including his sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, alleging "repeated and persistent fraud" that included falsifying business records and financial statements. James had argued those financial statements were at times exaggerated by as much as $2.2 billion.

Trump aka Don the con

Story by Alexandria Jacobson, Investigative Reporter

“Insurrectionist-in-Chief.”

“Racketeer-in-Chief.”

“Outlaw-in-Chief.”

“Con Artist-in-Chief.”

“Houdini of White-Collar and Organized Crime.”

“Teflon Don.”

“Boss Trump.”

These are nicknames for Donald Trump offered up by author and criminologist Gregg Barak, who portrays the 45th president’s history of legal troubles as those of a mobster who has long evaded justice for his crimes.

But now, as Trump contends with 91 felony charges across four criminal cases and bears civilly liability for the sexual abuse and defamation of a writer, as well as fraudulently inflating the value of his business empire, Trump must face the legal consequences of his actions.

Still, that doesn’t mean that Trump hasn’t already employed his own “politically organized Republican crime family” to thwart the justice process, Barak argues in his new book “Indicting the 45th President: Boss Trump, the GOP, and What We Can Do About the Threat to American Democracy.”

Story by Brandi Buchman

A new assessment of public records by a federal watchdog group has found that approximately 210 defendants charged with crimes connected to Jan. 6 directly expressed that they only came to Washington, D.C., or joined in on the violence at the U.S. Capitol because they were incited by former President Donald Trump and heeding his call.

The report was published Wednesday from researchers at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the same group that represents Colorado voters suing to remove Trump from the presidential primary ballot in the state in 2024. A lower court’s finding that he “engaged” in insurrection as defined under Section III of the Fourteenth Amendment bolstered their claim, but whether he can be disqualified remains unseen.

A decision in Trump’s favor is widely anticipated from the U.S. Supreme Court following less-than-favorable oral arguments for the petitioners earlier this month.

Meanwhile, CREW researchers poring over Jan. 6 defendants’ letters, public appeals, court documents and relevant congressional reports as well as news articles and open source records have compiled a table of the extracted evidence that they say is further confirmation Jan. 6 was “the result of organized efforts by Donald Trump and his allies to halt the certification of a free and fair election by force.”


Republican presidential candidate, former Gov. Nikki Haley, R-SC, in a statement on X (formerly Twitter) weighed in on the death of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Story by Lee Moran

A veterans group has hammered Donald Trump as “Putin’s puppet” in a new ad that calls out the former president’s latest attack on the NATO military alliance.

Trump at the weekend said he’d encourage Russia to do “whatever the hell they want” to NATO members who don’t “pay their bills” (ignoring the fact that member countries don’t actually pay fees but instead promise to spend 2% of their GDP on defense).

“Putin’s puppet is back with a vengeance and Republicans are marching in lockstep, following orders to strangle the freedom fighters in Ukraine, threatening to break the NATO alliance that’s kept the West safe and encouraging Putin to invade our European allies,” began the narrator of the spot released by the VoteVets progressive political action committee on Thursday.

“Just ask the people of Poland, Finland and the Baltics whose borders are already under assault from Russia whether they trust Putin the way Trump does,” he continued. “Ask the parents of American service members if they are ready to sacrifice their kids’ lives for Trump’s weakness.”

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