Donald Trump Has a Big Problem With Republicans

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Donald Trump Has a Big Problem With Republicans

Donald Trump may have secured the Republican presidential nomination, but Nikki Haley—who dropped out of the race two weeks ago—is still proving to be a thorn in his side.

Trump easily won the five Republican primaries held Tuesday night in Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Arizona, and Kansas. But he failed to garner anything close to unanimous party support.

Instead, Haley managed to rack up more than 500,000 votes. And that’s in addition to the nearly three million votes she won while she was still running, including sweeping the primaries in Vermont and Washington, D.C., both Democratic strongholds.

It’s likely that some of the votes Haley received Tuesday were cast early, before she dropped out of the race. But the fact that she continues to nip at Trump’s heels is a sign that he is struggling to unite his voter base.

Although Haley embraced political stances that, in many cases, were just as extreme as Trump’s, she appealed to more moderate Republicans and Never Trump voters. Some Haley voters are bound to vote for Trump, but those who are more centrist or independent aren’t guaranteed to jump to his support.

“The Haley voters are the swing voters of the 2024 election,” Marc Thiessen, the chief speech writer for former President George W. Bush, told Fox News last week. “Trump has to win them over, he has to pivot now to the general election and focus on uniting the party and the non-MAGA part of the GOP.”

“What Trump needs to understand is that MAGA voters are not going to decide this election.”

When Haley dropped out, she did not endorse Trump in her resignation speech. Instead, she urged the former president to “earn the votes” of all Republican and independent voters.

Trump, however, has made a hard pivot to the right. He has somehow become even more extreme than during his first term, garnering comparisons to Adolf Hitler and other authoritarian leaders. And while that has certainly played well with his most loyal supporters, it would seem he is failing to successfully court anyone else.

Donald Trump brazenly included more falsehoods about the 2020 election in a brief filed with the Supreme Court on Tuesday for his immunity case.

Trump was supposed to go on trial in March for trying to overthrow the previous presidential election, but he and his lawyers have delayed proceedings by arguing that the former president has legal immunity against prosecution. The Supreme Court further held things up when it agreed to weigh in on the matter. The high court will hear arguments on April 25.

In a brief filed Tuesday, Trump’s lawyers made their case as to why he is immune from prosecution for actions he took while still in office. Most of the arguments aren’t new, but one part of the filing stands out: In a list of the charges against Trump, the filing alleges that Trump was simply communicating with “the Vice President, the Vice President’s official staff, and members of Congress to urge them to exercise their official duties in the election certification process in accordance with the position, based on voluminous information available to President Trump in his official capacity, that the election was tainted by extensive fraud and irregularities.”

The indictment also rewords special counsel Jack Smith’s other charges against Trump, claiming the former president is being indicted for having “communicated with state officials about the administration of the federal election and urged them to exercise their official responsibilities in accordance with the conclusion that the 2020 presidential election was tainted by fraud and irregularities.”

Absolutely no evidence of fraud has been found regarding the 2020 election. Even investigators that Trump himself hired have been unable to find a shred of proof to back up his claims that the vote was rigged against him.

More importantly, the indictment does not say that Trump was acting based on information that the election was fraudulent. The indictment alleges that Trump knew he had lost but still insisted that fraudulent ballots had been cast and that electronic voting machines were switching votes to Democratic.

“These claims were false, and the Defendant knew that they were false,” the indictment said. “In fact, the Defendant was notified repeatedly that his claims were untrue—often by the people on whom he relied for candid advice on important matters, and who were best positioned to know the facts—and he deliberately disregarded the truth.”

People including then–Vice President Mike Pence and senior Justice Department officials, whom Trump had appointed, repeatedly told him there was no evidence of fraud, according to the indictment. So did the director of national intelligence, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, senior White House attorneys, and state-level allies.

In fact, a top adviser warned about the efforts to overturn the election quite clearly: “I’ll obviously hustle to help on all fronts, but it’s tough to own any of this when it’s all just conspiracy shit beamed down from the mothership,” an unnamed senior campaign adviser wrote in an email on December 8, 2020, referring to Trump’s “Elite Strike Task Force” led by Rudy Giuliani.

More on Trump’s legal woes:

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court allowed the country’s toughest immigration law—Texas Senate Bill 4—to go into effect. But not every member of the nation’s highest court agreed with the decision.

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Sonia Sotomayor argued that the court was inviting “further chaos and crisis in immigration enforcement.”

“The Court gives a green light to a law that will upend the longstanding federal-state balance of power and sow chaos, when the only court to consider the law concluded that it is likely unconstitutional,” she wrote.

Justices Ketanji Brown Jackson and Elena Kagan also dissented from the opinion.

In practice, the law will allow state police to arrest anyone they suspect to be an undocumented immigrant, and charge them with misdemeanors or felonies in the event of repeat offenses. It will also allow them to deport undocumented people back to points of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border. But S.B. 4 and its myriad allowances for local authorities also holds the potential to threaten foreign relations between the two nations, with Texas making judgments otherwise relegated to the federal government and allowing the state to ignore federal immigration standards and court proceedings.

The ultimate legality of the law—which the Department of Justice has argued is unconstitutional—is still undergoing consideration by the ultraconservative Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“The Court confronts a state immigration law that will transform the balance of power at the border and have life altering consequences for noncitizens in Texas,” Sotomayor wrote.

Still, the reality of Tuesday’s decision already warranted celebration among some of Texas’s most conservative officials.

“Texas has defeated the Biden Administration’s and ACLU’s emergency motions at the Supreme Court. Our immigration law, SB 4, is now in effect. As always, it’s my honor to defend Texas and its sovereignty, and to lead us to victory in court,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott also chimed in, describing the 6-3 decision as “clearly a positive development.”

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court handed Texas Governor Greg Abbott the reins to enforce a contentious law in the state’s radical immigration policy, Operation Lone Star.

Within less than 24 hours, the Supreme Court first allowed a pause on the new law to lapse, then issued an indefinite stay, and finally, on Tuesday afternoon, issued an opinion that canceled that stay and allowed the law to go into effect while litigation continues in lower courts.

“The time may come, in this case or another, when this Court is forced to conclude that an administrative stay has effectively become a stay pending appeal and review it accordingly. But at this juncture in this case, that conclusion would be premature,” read an opinion by Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

Texas Senate Bill 4 could still be blocked at a later date. But for now, it will allow Texas police to question and arrest anyone they believe might have illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border, and will grant police the authority to charge them with misdemeanors for first-time offenders and felonies for repeat offenders. It will also allow Texas law enforcement to deport immigrants back to a port of entry along the border. The controversial bill was signed into law by Abbott and was originally supposed to take effect on March 5—until the Justice Department and several civil rights groups got involved, arguing that the bill went way too far, stepping on the toes of the responsibilities of the federal government.

This is a developing story.

More on Greg Abbott being horrible:

Sketchy real estate empire nepo baby Jared Kushner looks at the devastation in Gaza and sees one thing: dollar signs.

Kushner praised the “very valuable” potential of Gaza’s beachfront property during a talk at Harvard University earlier this month, and essentially advocated for ethnic cleansing so Israel could develop the region.

“Gaza’s waterfront property could be very valuable … if people would focus on building up livelihoods,” Kushner told his interviewer, Harvard’s Middle East Initiative faculty chair Tarek Masoud, on March 8.

“It’s a little bit of an unfortunate situation there, but from Israel’s perspective I would do my best to move the people out and then clean it up,” Kushner continued. “But I don’t think that Israel has stated that they don’t want the people to move back there afterwards.”

Kushner said Israel should focus on displacing civilians from the southern city of Rafah, which has been under renewed bombardment and threat of an Israeli invasion. Kushner suggested moving those people “with diplomacy” into Egypt, on an entirely different continent.

“I would just bulldoze something in the Negev, I would try to move people in there,” he said, referring to the desert. “I think that’s a better option, so you can go in and finish the job.”

Kushner’s use of the phrase “finish the job” echoes a comment his father-in-law Donald Trump made just a few days prior. The former president told Fox & Friends he was “on board” with the Israeli army’s tactics in Gaza, saying, “You’ve got to finish the problem.”

Kushner also mused at Harvard whether there was anything left in Gaza to preserve.

“I am not sure there is much left of Gaza at this point,” he said. “If you think about even the construct, Gaza was not really a historical precedent. It was the result of a war. You had tribes in different places and then Gaza became a thing.”

Host: people worry that once Gazans leave Gaza Netanyahu won’t let them back in

Jared: maybe, but what’s left of the place?- Anyway, lemme tell you about how valuable Gaza’s waterfront property could behttps://t.co/FiKxU9Yw0g pic.twitter.com/NZvYl4J8og

— Hamza M Syed (@HamzaMSyed) March 19, 2024

The region occupied by modern-day Israel and Gaza has been inhabited through different groups throughout its history, but it has existed as a hub of civilization since the fifteenth century BCE. The countries’ current borders, which Kushner cites, have really only existed since the 1940s at the behest of the United Kingdom.

Since October 7, more than 30,000 people have been killed by Israeli attacks, while survivors are on the brink of famine. The majority of the victims have been children.

Kushner is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, meaning he is also a fraudulent real estate nepo son-in-law. During Trump’s presidential term, Kushner served as a top Middle East adviser and was instrumental in the Abraham Accords, which saw Israel normalize ties with a number of Gulf states. His horrific comments at Harvard are indicative of what Trump’s Middle East policy will look like should he be reelected in November.

An important reminder about Palestine:

Former Trump White House aide Peter Navarro made one last stand in front of television crews on Tuesday mere moments before getting thrown in the clink—but his fiery speech, framed to aid himself and the former president, was interrupted by a brutal fact-check from none other than Fox News.

“It was only with my case that somehow that has changed,” Navarro said, steps away from the Miami prison, claiming that he was entitled to “absolute testimonial immunity.”

“And here’s where the homework is, because the big constitutional separation of powers are these: Can Congress compel a senior White House adviser, what they call the alter ego of a president, to testify before Congress?” Navarro continued. “And executive privilege goes back to George Washington and his remarks to the Congress regarding the Jay Treaty, and he said, very simply and clearly, succinctly, elegantly, that to write to the Congress, he said, I cannot command you, as members of Congress, to come to me. You cannot command me to come to you.”

That warranted an immediate interjection by Fox News host Sandra Smith, who after a quick correction to Navarro’s rant, completely cut away from the beleaguered Trump ally to cover President Joe Biden’s campaign stops in Nevada and Arizona.

“To fact-check there, it is no longer an alleged crime that he’ll be serving this four-month sentence for,” Smith said. “He has obviously been convicted, and there was no evidence that would have excluded him, per executive privilege, from testifying.”

Fox News anchor Sandra Smith cuts away from Peter Navarro’s speech outside of prison:

“To fact check there, it is no longer an alleged crime… he has obviously been convicted and there was no evidence that would have excluded him, per executive privilege, from testifying.” pic.twitter.com/o5gX85rJbG

— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) March 19, 2024

Navarro was ordered to appear at the federal prison in Miami by 2 p.m. on Tuesday, ready to physically but not mentally surrender. He had filed an emergency stay appeal on Friday to avoid spending the next four months in jail after he ignored a subpoena from Congress, but Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts threw that plea out the window on Monday.

More on Team Trump losing:

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene is celebrating the fact that her district received federal funds for infrastructure improvements—and conveniently ignoring the fact that she voted against the budget bill that made it all possible.

In a Monday night email newsletter to her constituents, the Georgia Republican included a link to a story about a runway extension at the Richard B. Russell regional airport in Floyd County. The article cites a press release from Greene’s office, which says the congresswoman “meticulously sought out projects that would improve quality of life, increase economic and social development, assist localities with vital funding needs, and harness community support.”

The runway expansion, and other earmarks Greene “netted” for county projects, are part of the fiscal year 2024 budget bill, which President Joe Biden signed into law on March 6. Neither Greene nor the article mention the fact that Greene voted against the appropriations bill.

Greene wasn’t alone in trying to take credit for what the bill helped her district accomplish. Representative Lauren Boebert, Greene’s fellow far-right Republican and former work bestie, said in a Monday press release that she “can’t wait for the ribbon cuttings” on all the projects that the bill would fund in her district.

Boebert voted against the bill. She has also moved out of her district and is running for election in a different one on the other side of the state, sparking accusations of carpet-bagging.

This is hardly the first time Republicans have fought crucial federal funding bills, only to eagerly welcome the money. Biden dragged Boebert in August for voting against the Inflation Reduction Act, and then turning around and celebrating the funds helping build a wind farm in her district.

At least 14 Republicans also voted against Biden’s $1.2 billion infrastructure bill, only to celebrate how the measure benefited their districts after it passed. They include Senator John Cornyn, Representative Nancy Mace, and Senator Tommy Tuberville, whom Biden directly called out for his duplicity.

More on Republicans flailing:

Donald Trump continues to pick the absolute worst people for the Cabinet in his potential second term, as he is now considering Vivek Ramaswamy for homeland security secretary.

Ramaswamy was reportedly on the short list as Trump’s running mate, but that is now off the table, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. Instead, Trump personally told the biotech entrepreneur that he is considering him for other roles, including head of the Department of Homeland Security.

Some Trump allies, speaking anonymously, said Ramaswamy would be perfect for the role because he has good public speaking skills and is the son of Indian immigrants, which they believe could buffer the administration against criticism of Trump’s planned draconian immigration restrictions.

If only Ramaswamy were actually good at policymaking too. The former Republican primary hopeful had some horrific plans for immigration law, including using the military as law enforcement. He promised to deport all Dreamers, of whom there are about 700,000, and force them to reapply for citizenship.

Ramaswamy also had some objectively terrible ideas for foreign policy. He said that if he were elected, he would let China invade Taiwan after 2028 and he would let Russia keep the parts of Ukraine that it currently occupies.

But Trump isn’t evaluating possible Cabinet members on their actual policy chops. He’s looking for loyalty, ideological compatibility, and potential appeal to voters, Bloomberg reported, citing anonymous sources. And in that regard, Ramaswamy is a perfect fit.

Ramaswamy modeled himself after Trump on the campaign trail, pushing baseless conspiracy theories and even using his campaign as an excuse to dodge legal battles. Although he had criticized Trump in the past, he suddenly refused to explain those comments, instead spinning them to push conspiracy theories.

More on a second Trump term:

Donald Trump filed a lawsuit against ABC News and one of its lead anchors, George Stephanopoulos, on Tuesday, arguing that the news network got it all wrong in the coverage of his E. Jean Carroll case—he’s just a sexual abuser.

The suit hinges on particular legal phrasing stemming from New York’s penal code. In a Tuesday filing, Trump’s attorneys argued that Stephanopoulos had wrongly cited Trump’s judgment in an interview earlier this month, in which the anchor questioned Representative Nancy Mace on endorsing Trump, even though he had been “found liable for rape.” Mace has said she’s a survivor herself.

“Given that this was the first question of the interview, combined with the intensity and persistence of the questioning engaged in by Stephanopoulos of an actual rape victim, it was clear that Stephanopoulos maliciously intended to convince his viewers of a falsity, i.e. that plaintiff had been found liable for rape,” they wrote.

It’s unclear how the verbiage will play out in court, though Trump’s unexpected specificity flies in the face of another precedent set by the court. In July, Judge Lewis Kaplan clarified that although New York penal law has a “far narrower” definition of rape, the jury still found Trump to have raped Carroll in the modern sense of the word.

“The finding that Ms. Carroll failed to prove that she was ‘raped’ within the meaning of the New York Penal Law does not mean that she failed to prove that Mr. Trump ‘raped’ her as many people commonly understand the word ‘rape,’” Kaplan wrote at the time.

“Indeed, as the evidence at trial recounted below makes clear, the jury found that Mr. Trump in fact did exactly that [rape, as ‘commonly’ understood].”

Trump’s sudden focus on language comes at a time when he’s scrambling to pay up on his $454 million judgment from his New York bank fraud trial, which is still on the rise, accruing more than $100,000 in interest with each passing day. In a filing to a New York appeals court on Monday, Trump’s attorneys announced that they had been unable to secure a bond to cover the massive legal penalty for committing widespread fraud related to Trump’s real estate operation. More than 30 suretors reportedly refused to accept Trump’s real estate assets as collateral, instead demanding upward of $1 billion to offer the bond—which Trump says he and his businesses just don’t have. That announcement came part in parcel with a ginormous ask by team Trump: Let Trump appeal the case without paying up at all, and maintain the stay that will allow him to continue borrowing money from New York financial institutions. We’ll see how that one works out for him.

More on Trump losing in court:

Donald Trump appears to have cut Alina Habba out of a recent legal settlement, leaving one of his most prominent attorneys vulnerable to being sued for fraud.

Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, paid $82,500 last week to settle a lawsuit brought by former waitress Alice Bianco, who alleged that she was tricked into an unfair hush-money deal after being sexually harassed by a supervisor. The settlement contract included a bizarre and hugely significant line that stated both “parties agree that Alina Habba is not a party to this release,” The Daily Beast reported Tuesday.

This could prove dangerous for Habba, because according to the original lawsuit, she posed as a concerned friend to Bianco and offered her free legal advice about how to proceed regarding the harassment. But Habba quickly turned around, leveraging the relationship and “fraudulently inducing” Bianco to “quickly agree to unconscionable and illegal terms”—and ingratiating herself with Trump in the process, according to the lawsuit.

“My client is certainly considering suing her for fraud,” Bianco’s lawyer Nancy Erika Smith told the Beast last week. She said she was already in touch with Habba’s personal attorney.

In fact, Bianco is also gearing up to sue Bedminster again. The settlement, which Bianco signed on March 4, allows her to keep her minuscule $15,000 hush-money payment from 2021. Her lawyer won her the $82,500 settlement, and Bianco can throw out her nondisclosure agreement.

“We got everything we asked for,” Smith said. “We asked to void the agreement, that she not pay back. I didn’t want her to pay me a dime. So we got that. And she still has the right to sue Alina Habba for fraud. And she has the right to sue the club for sexual harassment.”

According to the original lawsuit, Bianco hired a lawyer to advise her about work, where a manager was trying to pressure her to have sex. She alleges Habba, one of her regulars at the club, quickly buddied up to the then 21-year-old waitress and began offering her legal advice. Text messages show Habba reached out to Bianco and met with her multiple times, denigrating Bianco’s lawyer, pushing her to keep things quiet, and promising to protect her against retaliation.

Bianco ended up signing an NDA that paid her $15,000 on the condition she never mention the harassment to anyone, not even another lawyer. If she did, she would lose it all and owe the club $1,000 a day. But eight months later, in April 2022, Bianco realized the NDA money would be taxed, significantly reducing what she’d get to take home.

When she reached back out to Habba for help, the lawyer kept Bianco at arm’s length, insisting she couldn’t provide legal advice. What Habba did not say was by that point, she was representing Trump in multiple lawsuits, including against his cousin Mary Trump and a group of New York Times journalists for their investigation into his taxes and the New York attorney general’s probe into his finances for bank fraud.

Trump lost both cases. He owes $400,000 to the Times journalists and $467 million (and counting) to the city of New York for real estate–related fraud.

The Bedminster club has sought to distance itself from Habba, insisting she wasn’t involved in the hush-money proceedings. But as Smith pointed out, “How did Habba know [the club] would pay $15,000 to [Bianco] if she was not acting on [the club’s] behalf?”

“The fact that Habba delivered a check from [the club] in the amount she suggested is a clear manifestation of the authority given to her,” Smith said in court documents.

Habba has garnered national attention for her aggressive defense tactics in Trump’s multiple lawsuits—and for how often those strategies blow up in her face. In Trump’s second trial against E. Jean Carroll, the presiding judge lectured Habba multiple times, even questioning her juridical knowledge.

More on Trump’s legal woes:

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