The GOP hasn’t been able to regain its financial footing since it lost its key fundraiser: former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

According to federal campaign finance records reviewed by The Daily Beast, McCarthy’s successor Mike Johnson still has a long way to go before he’s shoring up the same amount of dough. That poses a major risk to vulnerable House Republicans—17 of whom will find themselves running for re-election come November in districts that swung towards Joe Biden in 2020.

While Johnson’s fundraising constitutes a fraction of what McCarthy raised for the caucus, the starkest difference can be seen by examining fundraising numbers for members of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Patriot Program, which was designed to help the most vulnerable incumbents, according to the Beast. Funds for Arizona Representative Juan Ciscomani, for example, have taken a huge nosedive. In the first three quarters of 2023, Ciscomani received approximately $145,000 per quarter as directed by McCarthy, before he was given the boot. But in the last two quarters under Johnson’s leadership, the freshman lawmaker has received an average of just under $14,000.

And with all the House seats up for re-election in November, this is arguably the worst time for the coffers to be running dry. Part of the reason for the lackluster numbers, however, may be outside of Johnson’s control. According to one GOP donor that spoke with the outlet, vacating McCarthy made a lot of conservative donors with open wallets “really, really angry”—which they ended up taking out on his successor.

While describing McCarthy as a “money machine,” GOP donor Eric Levine told the Beast that donors were going to take out his downfall “on whoever was next.”

Johnson, meanwhile, has openly acknowledged the predicament.

“Since October, Speaker Johnson has built a team from the ground up, traveled to 25 states, and contributed millions directly to Republican campaign accounts across the country,” a spokesman for Johnson’s campaign told the outlet. “His most recent quarter with over $20 million raised demonstrates the Speaker’s success and commitment to growing the majority.”

McCarthy, on the other hand, is still plying those fundraising skills—for revenge. One of his close allies is trying to recruit primary challengers to the eight Republican representatives who voted to oust him in October. And McCarthy is more than ready to mobilize his donor network to fund those challenges.

Judge Aileen Cannon has handed another reprieve to Donald Trump in his Mar-a-Lago classified documents case.

The case was expected to be one of Trump’s first criminal trials to go to court, but any trial date now appears to be up in the air after Cannon on Monday ordered a stay on Trump’s legal requirement to give the government advance notice of which classified materials will be discussed. But the stay—which is described as temporary—also has no set expiration date.

Legal analysts have worried that a strategy of continual delays could be the Trump-appointed judge’s way of surreptitiously dismissing the trial altogether.

“This case was set for trial on May 20, which obviously won’t happen,” wrote MSNBC legal analyst and former U.S. attorney Joyce Vance. “It should have been ready to try by the end of last year. Extending the 5(a) deadlines indefinitely is the same thing as giving Trump an indefinite trial delay.”

In March, Trump tried twice to get the case dismissed, arguing in separate motions that it wasn’t clear when he took the sensitive material whether doing so was illegal and that the classified documents could be considered “personal materials” rather than presidential ones under the Presidential Records Act. The latter defense was roundly rejected by special counsel Jack Smith’s office, which pointed to a transcript of Trump’s own words in which the former president acknowledged the records definitely were not personal.

Meanwhile, Trump has practically confessed that he took the sensitive records. In an interview on Newsmax, Trump claimed point blank that he actually did take the classified documents, describing the process of shamelessly packing them away while leaving office.

“I took ’em very legally,” Trump said. “And I wasn’t hiding them.”

Ultimately, Cannon’s extended time allowance for the GOP presidential nominee just presents another roadblock to actually trying the former president for any of his alleged misconduct. The Supreme Court is still deliberating Trump’s presidential immunity claim, which leaped out of the former president’s election interference trial and challenges whether Trump could be charged at all for alleged crimes he committed while in office. The high court is expected to issue its opinion sometime between late June and early July.

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who is at the center of the allegations against Donald Trump in his hush-money trial, is the next witness on the stand Tuesday

Trump started his day early Tuesday morning with an angry post on Truth Social fuming that he only just learned which witness would be called next, only to quickly delete the post, possibly afraid of violating his gag order and facing prison time.

Trump was warned Monday by Judge Juan Merchan that any further violations of his gag order would result in prison time. The former president has already been found guilty of violating the order 10 times, resulting in a total of $10,000 in fines: $1,000 for every instance.

The case centers around hush-money payments made to Daniels from Trump to cover up an affair prior to the 2016 election through his former fixer and attorney, Michael Cohen. Daniels’s testimony will mark a change from earlier witnesses, who have mostly spoken about payments and communications taking place in 2016 and 2017. Daniels has previously spoken about receiving threats over the payments, remarking that she accepted them because she feared for her life. Her testimony could elaborate on this as well as other salacious details, which could be very damaging to Trump.

Trump is facing 34 felony charges for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime in his payoff of Daniels. He has pleaded not guilty.

A former accountant in the Trump Organization dropped a bombshell during her testimony at Donald Trump’s hush-money trial Monday. According to witness Deborah Tarasoff, Trump “personally signed” the checks to his former fixer and attorney Michael Cohen.

The prosecution asked Tarasoff about numerous business documents showing payments to Cohen, who coordinated the payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels that are the core of the hush-money case.

Pictures of voided checks were shown to the court, including one $70,000 check signed by the ex-Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg and Donald’s son Eric Trump.

According to The Guardian, Tasaroff told the court that prior to 2017, these kinds of payments came from the Donald J Trump Revocable Trust, but after that, they came personally from the then–newly elected president.

In one instance, Tasaroff confirmed that Cohen was paid $35,000 from Trump’s personal account for one month’s invoice, like the earlier trust-based payments. Afterward, she was asked about a $35,000 check to Cohen from June 2017 and confirmed that the signature came from the former president. She did the same with a check from the following month.

Tasaroff also testified that after 2015, Trump or one of his adult sons had to sign off on every invoice over $10,000. When Tasaroff created the checks, Trump would either personally sign the check or write “void.”

“If he didn’t want to sign it, he didn’t sign it,” she said, according to CNN.

Earlier on Monday, the court heard testimony from Jeffrey McConney, the former corporate controller at the Trump Organization, confirming handwritten notes about payments to Cohen coming from discussions with Weisselberg. Those payments seemed to provide damning proof of tax fraud in the Trump Organization’s reimbursement of Trump’s ex-lawyer and fixer.

All Monday’s testimony goes to show, prosecutors hope, that Trump had direct involvement in repayments to Cohen, even after being elected president, and thus made payments to Daniels to cover up his affair with her prior to the 2017 election. Trump faces 34 felony charges for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime. He has pleaded not guilty, and the court has yet to hear testimony from Daniels or Cohen.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. just got a random—and possibly unwelcome—endorsement in the presidential election from Kevin Spacey.

Kennedy’s presidential campaign has been wracked with controversy as of late. In desperate need of a boost six months out from the 2024 election, he is no doubt looking for high-profile backers to rebut criticism from all corners, including his own family. Spacey, however, was probably not high on his list.

That didn’t stop Spacey from tweeting his support for Kennedy on Monday.

“There’s a lot I can learn from this man. When the world turned its back on me, Bobby leaned in. He’s a formidable fighter for justice and a loyal friend that’s not afraid to stand up for what he believes,” the disgraced actor wrote in response to a 30-minute mini-documentary narrated by Woody Harrelson, which Kennedy posted on Saturday.

The endorsement comes as Spacey faces new sexual misconduct allegations, soon to be made public in a Channel 4 documentary. He has previously been accused of sexual assault and battery in 2017, which he has denied. Most recently, Spacey resurfaced to commiserate with Tucker Carlson on the former Fox News host’s interview show on X (formerly Twitter), where he brought back his Frank Underwood character from House of Cards.

Kennedy, despite running well behind Joe Biden, has called on the president to drop out of the presidential race. Spacey’s endorsement isn’t likely to move the needle there.

A group of Republican senators have threatened the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, and his family against issuing arrest warrants for any Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In a letter to ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan on April 24, 12 Republican senators, including Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, and Tim Scott, warned that if an arrest warrant was issued for any Israeli leaders, “We will interpret this not only as a threat to Israel’s sovereignty but to the sovereignty of the United States,” according to a report from Zeteo.

“Target Israel and we will target you,” the letter from April 24 added, noting that the senators would sanction the court’s employees and associates, “and bar you and your families from the United States.”

“You have been warned,” the letter concluded.

Other signatories include Katie Britt, Rick Scott, and Pete Ricketts.

In response, Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen said that it is “absolutely wrong to interfere in a judicial matter by threatening judicial officers, their family members and their employees with retribution. This thuggery is something befitting the mafia, not U.S. senators.”

On Friday, the office of the chief prosecutor posted a statement on X (formerly Twitter) denouncing threats against it as well as attempts to intimidate and impede its officials.

The GOP senators cited the American Service-Members’ Protection Act, a bill that has been referred to by some as the “Hague Invasion Act” because it could be used to justify a military operation against the ICC in The Hague if it prosecutes American officials or soldiers. In recent years, and especially after the court in 2023 issued an arrest warrant against Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials for war crimes issued in the invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration pledged to help the ICC in its efforts.

Israel and the United States are not members of the ICC, but the Palestinian territories were admitted with the status of a member state in 2015. A week before Khan, a British attorney, was appointed to the court in 2021, the court ruled unanimously that it had jurisdiction over “Gaza and the West Bank.”

It’s telling that allegations of war crimes by Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu don’t seem to faze leading Republicans in the Senate, even as at least 34,735 people have been killed, including over 14,500 children. Instead, they are attacking anyone who seeks to hold the Israeli government accountable, whether college students or the International Criminal Court, rather than doing so themselves.

Georgia’s former Republican Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan announced Monday that he is endorsing Joe Biden in the 2024 election, a stunning defection that puts him at odds with other leaders in his party.

Countless Republicans who have been personally slighted by Donald Trump, from William Barr to Ted Cruz, have nonetheless pledged their support to him in the upcoming election. But Duncan has drawn a line in the sand. The former Georgia official faced pressure from the Trump campaign to stop the certification of 2020 election results in the crucial swing state.

“The healing of the Republican Party cannot begin with Trump as president (and that’s aside from the untold damage that potentially awaits our country),” Duncan wrote in an op-ed for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “This November, I am voting for a decent person I disagree with on policy over a criminal defendant without a moral compass.”

Despite conservatives’ insistence to the contrary, Trump’s legal troubles are convincing some Republican voters to jump ship ahead of the 2024 presidential election. Duncan, for his part, cited Trump’s criminal case directly: “The alternative is another term of Trump, a man who has disqualified himself through his conduct and his character. The headlines are ablaze with his hush-money trial over allegations of improper record-keeping for payments to conceal an affair with an adult-film star,” he wrote.

Duncan, who also refers to Trump’s chilling Time magazine interview as a reason for his defection, was once considered as a potential challenger to Trump in 2024. In March, Duncan considered and then turned down overtures from No Labels to mount a third-party campaign.

Now Duncan is throwing his support behind Biden, in the hope that it may convince other lifelong conservatives to break with the man who threatened Duncan’s colleague, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, to “find 11,780 votes.”

Duncan is the second high-profile Republican to express support for Biden in recent days. Last week, Trump’s former White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews announced she will vote for Biden because Trump “will not uphold the Constitution.”

At Donald Trump’s hush-money trial Monday, a former Trump Organization executive appears to have, through some handwritten notes, exposed serious tax fraud from the former president.

Jeffrey McConney, the former corporate controller at the Trump Organization, testified in court about a reimbursement payment of $360,000 in 2016 to former Trump attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen. That payment was “grossed up” from a $180,000 expense, to offset income taxes. The details were handwritten on Trump stationary by McConney, who was taking notes while speaking to Allen Weisselberg, the company’s chief financial officer, who told him that Cohen was owed money.

The written notes outlined a $180,000 reimbursement to Cohen, which consisted of a $130,000 wire transfer (the same amount paid to Stormy Daniels) and $50,000 for tech services, plus an additional bonus of $60,000. This total amount of $240,000 was then grossed up 50 percent to $360,000 to offset income taxes, a fact that Trump lawyer Emil Bove unsuccessfully moved to strike from the record.

Prosecutor Matthew Colangelo noted that reimbursement payments usually don’t exceed the amount of expenses, but that Cohen received double the amount of a $180,000 expense. Colangelo asked McConney if he could recall any other instance where an expense reimbursement was doubled for tax purposes. McConney replied no. In other words, a major exception seems to have been made to reimburse Cohen for the hush-money payments.

The prosecution hopes that to the jury, all of this is a convincing paper trail of Trump’s payments to Cohen, and thus to Daniels, in order to cover up Trump’s affair with the adult film actress prior to the 2016 elections.

Trump is facing 34 felony charges for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime, and has pleaded not guilty. Daniels and Cohen have yet to testify, and when Cohen takes the stand, prosecutors will not only seek his confirmation of the payments, but also that they lead directly to Daniels.

As his hush-money trial proceeds, Donald Trump has been left searching for new angles with which to claim victimhood. His newest: Gag orders are unconstitutional.

Outside the New York City courthouse where his trial is taking place, Trump answered questions from the press pool on Monday. When reporters asked if he thought Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer now set to testify against him, was a liar, and if Trump was going to testify, the former president launched into a tirade against basic courtroom procedures.

“As you know, they’ve taken away my constitutional rights, so I’m not allowed to answer that question. This has never happened in this country before—it’s a ridiculous thing,” he responded.

Reporter: Are you going to testify?

Trump: I have a gag order. I’m not allowed to answer that question pic.twitter.com/ss1c9flfDL

Trump is referring to the gag order imposed on him by Judge Juan Merchan, which prohibits him from publicly commenting on witnesses and jurors, and was expanded after he attacked Merchan’s daughter. Trump currently owes $10,000 for his gag order violations in this trial alone—not to mention the $15,000 he owes for violating the gag order in his civil fraud trial—and could face jail time if he keeps breaking the order.

The former president is correct that the order prevents him from opining on Cohen publicly. But publicly impugning witnesses’ credibility during a trial is not a constitutional right, and Trump is hardly the first defendant to have had a gag order issued against them.

Trump has frequently claimed that the legal proceedings against him, from his impeachments to his postpresidency trials, constitute a “witch hunt.” But claiming that a prohibition on his ability to post on Truth Social or answer press poolers’ questions about key witnesses is an unprecedented violation of his rights strains credulity, to say the least.

Utah Senator Mitt Romney revealed the motivation for the bipartisan consensus to ban TikTok, and it has little to do with protecting users’ data.

Speaking at the McCain Institute on Friday alongside Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Romney lamented Israel’s inability to control the flow of information out of and about Gaza, despite its best efforts to restrict press access.

“I mean, typically the Israelis are good at P.R. What’s happened here? How have they—how have they, and we, been so ineffective at communicating the realities there and our point of view?” Romney asked Blinken, seemingly in disbelief that images of Israel’s indiscriminate bombing of Gaza have prompted outrage in the United States.

Then Romney explained that the TikTok ban overwhelmingly passed both chambers of Congress because of the widespread Palestinian advocacy on the app.

“Some wonder why there was such overwhelming support for us to shut down potentially TikTok or other entities of that nature. If you look at the postings on TikTok and the number of mentions of Palestinians relative to other social media sites, it’s overwhelmingly so among TikTok broadcasts. So I’d note that’s of real interest, and the President will get the chance to make action in that regard,” Romney said.

Incredible mask-off moment: Romney and Blinken say that the ban of TikTok was directly because "the emotion, the impact of images has a very challenging effect on the narrative", the narrative being "Israel's PR".pic.twitter.com/WkIGTAXG2X

The admission is not exactly surprising. Republican Representative Mike Gallagher argued in November that the app was “digital fentanyl” turning young Americans into “Hamas supporters.” Still, Romney’s openness, after supporters of the ban bleated about data security and privacy concerns for months, is shocking.

Romney’s comments betray a general bipartisan disinterest in engaging Israel’s conduct in Gaza on its own terms, preferring instead to complain about protesters, interrogate university presidents, and, apparently, muse about social media’s role in boosting pro-Palestinian activism. As Israel moves closer to a catastrophic invasion of Rafah, having already banned Al Jazeera in the country, Romney and Blinken would be wise to consider whether TikTok is the real problem.

QOSHE - The Latest Way Kicking Kevin McCarthy Out Has Backfired on Republicans - Ellie Quinlan Houghtaling
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The Latest Way Kicking Kevin McCarthy Out Has Backfired on Republicans

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07.05.2024

The GOP hasn’t been able to regain its financial footing since it lost its key fundraiser: former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

According to federal campaign finance records reviewed by The Daily Beast, McCarthy’s successor Mike Johnson still has a long way to go before he’s shoring up the same amount of dough. That poses a major risk to vulnerable House Republicans—17 of whom will find themselves running for re-election come November in districts that swung towards Joe Biden in 2020.

While Johnson’s fundraising constitutes a fraction of what McCarthy raised for the caucus, the starkest difference can be seen by examining fundraising numbers for members of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Patriot Program, which was designed to help the most vulnerable incumbents, according to the Beast. Funds for Arizona Representative Juan Ciscomani, for example, have taken a huge nosedive. In the first three quarters of 2023, Ciscomani received approximately $145,000 per quarter as directed by McCarthy, before he was given the boot. But in the last two quarters under Johnson’s leadership, the freshman lawmaker has received an average of just under $14,000.

And with all the House seats up for re-election in November, this is arguably the worst time for the coffers to be running dry. Part of the reason for the lackluster numbers, however, may be outside of Johnson’s control. According to one GOP donor that spoke with the outlet, vacating McCarthy made a lot of conservative donors with open wallets “really, really angry”—which they ended up taking out on his successor.

While describing McCarthy as a “money machine,” GOP donor Eric Levine told the Beast that donors were going to take out his downfall “on whoever was next.”

Johnson, meanwhile, has openly acknowledged the predicament.

“Since October, Speaker Johnson has built a team from the ground up, traveled to 25 states, and contributed millions directly to Republican campaign accounts across the country,” a spokesman for Johnson’s campaign told the outlet. “His most recent quarter with over $20 million raised demonstrates the Speaker’s success and commitment to growing the majority.”

McCarthy, on the other hand, is still plying those fundraising skills—for revenge. One of his close allies is trying to recruit primary challengers to the eight Republican representatives who voted to oust him in October. And McCarthy is more than ready to mobilize his donor network to fund those challenges.

Judge Aileen Cannon has handed another reprieve to Donald Trump in his Mar-a-Lago classified documents case.

The case was expected to be one of Trump’s first criminal trials to go to court, but any trial date now appears to be up in the air after Cannon on Monday ordered a stay on Trump’s legal requirement to give the government advance notice of which classified materials will be discussed. But the stay—which is described as temporary—also has no set expiration date.

Legal analysts have worried that a strategy of continual delays could be the Trump-appointed judge’s way of surreptitiously dismissing the trial altogether.

“This case was set for trial on May 20, which obviously won’t happen,” wrote MSNBC legal analyst and former U.S. attorney Joyce Vance. “It should have been ready to try by the end of last year. Extending the 5(a) deadlines indefinitely is the same thing as giving Trump an indefinite trial delay.”

In March, Trump tried twice to get the case dismissed, arguing in separate motions that it wasn’t clear when he took the sensitive material whether doing so was illegal and that the classified documents could be considered “personal materials” rather than presidential ones under the Presidential Records Act. The latter defense was roundly rejected by special counsel Jack Smith’s office, which pointed to a transcript of Trump’s own words in which the former president acknowledged the records definitely were not personal.

Meanwhile, Trump has practically confessed that he took the sensitive records. In an interview on Newsmax, Trump claimed point blank that he actually did take the classified documents, describing the process of shamelessly packing them away while leaving office.

“I took ’em very legally,” Trump said. “And I wasn’t hiding them.”

Ultimately, Cannon’s extended time allowance for the GOP presidential nominee just presents another roadblock to actually trying the former president for any of his alleged misconduct. The Supreme Court is still deliberating Trump’s presidential immunity claim, which leaped out of the former president’s election interference trial and challenges whether Trump could be charged at all for alleged crimes he committed while in office. The high court is expected to issue its opinion sometime between late June and early July.

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who is at the center of the allegations against Donald Trump in his hush-money trial, is the next witness on the stand Tuesday

Trump started his day early Tuesday morning with an angry post on Truth Social fuming that he only just learned which witness would be called next, only to quickly delete the post, possibly afraid of violating his gag order and facing prison time.

Trump was warned Monday by Judge Juan Merchan that any further violations of his gag order would result in prison........

© New Republic


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