Uh-Oh! Trump’s Lead Attorney in Classified Docs Case Quits.


Donald Trump has lost another lawyer—and the former president’s loss could be special counsel Jack Smith’s massive gain.

Evan Corcoran left the Trump legal team some time in the last few months, CNN reported late Thursday. He was the last of Trump’s attorneys to have handled one of the former president’s federal cases from the beginning, and was originally brought on to help in Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents.

But Trump and his aides allegedly misled Corcoran, telling him not to search Trump’s Mar-a-Lago office for any documents. Trump refused to reveal where he kept the documents and instead encouraged Corcoran and other attorneys to lie to the Justice Department in order to withhold those documents.

This all came to light last year when Corcoran was summoned before the grand jury in the classified documents investigation. His testimony was crucial to Smith’s indictment.

Corcoran’s departure could prove to be very bad for Trump’s case. Corcoran kept memos detailing his interactions with the former president, revealing how Trump was scheming to undermine a subpoena from prosecutors, according to Smith. Trump even allegedly told Corcoran to hide any sensitive documents that he found.

Smith will likely call Corcoran as a key witness in the trial, although it is not yet clear when Trump will actually go to trial over the classified documents. The start date has been repeatedly delayed as presiding Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, continues to hand the former president win after win.

Trump’s lawyers have a difficult job. Two of them quit his legal team last year amid reports of infighting, and the former president regularly insults court staff and judges, resulting in gag orders that he then goes on to violate. He also has a record of failing to pay his legal counsel, with Rudy Giuliani even complaining that Trump owes him $2 million.

Read about what it’s like to be a Trump lawyer:

The financial backer covering Donald Trump’s $175 million bank fraud bond has already been revealed as a “king of subprime car loans” with sketchy business practices. But the financial situation behind the dubiously leveraged suretor, Knight Specialty Insurance Company, has gotten even more complicated: Apparently, its parent company is located in the Cayman Islands, a popular tax haven for corporations and the ultrarich.

That should ring alarm bells for the New York attorney general’s office, according to former industry regulators who spoke with The Daily Beast, since the locale not only allows companies to skirt taxes but also allows them to minimize oversight and evade some U.S. regulations—all things that could potentially make collecting the cash even harder.

“This just stinks to high heaven,” former California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones told the Beast.

“Taken in its totality, this dog does not hunt. Along every step of the way, this purported bond is problematic. It’s just one issue after another that calls into question whether this bond could ever possibly satisfy the judgment,” said Jones.

At the center of the fiasco is one key question: Can the suretor actually pay up? Previous analyses of Knight indicate that the answer might be no.

In a court filing last week, Knight revealed that its liquid assets don’t meet the needs of Trump’s already minimized bond. According to a financial assessment, the company, owned by billionaire Don Hankey, had just $138 million in “surplus.” Knight would therefore need to spend 127 percent of its reserves in order to cover Trump’s bond—far more than the 10 percent of a state-regulated suretor’s surplus that’s allowed by New York law.

Hankey told Forbes that Knight initiated the deal with the criminally charged GOP presidential nominee, and explained that Trump had used both cash and investment-grade bonds to secure the money with his insurance company. Hankey added that he had never met Trump but had been a supporter of his previous campaigns.

Trump and his co-defendants still owe more than $464 million in the case. It’s unclear how long the case will take to appeal, but that won’t stop the interest on his disgorgement from accruing at a rate of more than $111,000 a day.

Read more about Don Hankey:

Conservatives are constantly bugging about all of the conspiracies against them. And now, they think their own speaker of the House is part of a “psyop.”

At issue seems to be Representative Mike Johnson’s about-face on reauthorizing a section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. On X (formerly Twitter), Senator Mike Lee, a fellow Republican, posted a video of Johnson explaining why he has decided to renew the provision, as supposed proof that Johnson was part of a government conspiracy.

Does this thing ever strike you as one gigantic, self-licking ice cream cone of a psy op? https://t.co/qTz5XK02ZX

— Mike Lee (@BasedMikeLee) April 12, 2024

It’s the latest attack on Johnson from Republicans dissatisfied with his efforts as speaker. Earlier this week, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene sent a memo around the House calling for Johnson’s ouster, while complaining about the Republican Party’s alleged “complete and total surrender” to Democrats under their speaker.

The section of FISA in question is section 702, used by U.S. intelligence agencies to intercept the communications of foreigners abroad. It can also ensnare American citizens if they communicate with foreign suspects, and a warrant is not required in those cases. The reason Lee went after Johnson over it might not be the civil liberties implications. It’s more likely because Donald Trump complained about FISA on Truth Social on Wednesday.

“KILL FISA, IT WAS ILLEGALLY USED AGAINST ME AND MANY OTHERS. THEY SPIED ON MY CAMPAIGN!!!” Trump wrote. As a result, the effort was blocked in the House in a 193–228 vote, with 20 Republicans among those voting it down.

The House successfully advanced a revised FISA bill to the floor on Friday, though, setting up a protracted fight.

Republicans are quick to allege people they don’t like are Democratic psyops. The last target of these accusations was pop superstar Taylor Swift, all because she … started dating an NFL player and might possibly endorse Joe Biden.

Read about the right’s wild Taylor Swift theory:

A new speech has provided even more insight into Donald Trump’s memory problems—indicating that the GOP presidential nominee is having a difficult time recalling who’s who among the major players in his criminal trials.

Speaking at the so-called “Border 9/11 Gala” fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago on Thursday night, Trump mixed up Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is prosecuting his hush-money trial, with New York Attorney General Letitia James, who prosecuted his New York bank fraud trial. Trump also seemed to lapse on James’s name, incorrectly referring to her as “Letitia Jones,” but he didn’t forget to sprinkle in one of his favorite nicknames for her—which, although his campaign hasn’t given an overt reasoning for it, conspicuously resembles a portmanteau of two well-known racial slurs.

“They put him into the state of New York, and then ultimately into the D.A.’s office to run the case,” said Trump. “This is being run by Biden. They put a man into the state, Letitia Jones, ‘Peekaboo,’ I call her, Peekaboo Jones, Peekaboo—they put a man into that one, Letitia. They put a man into that one to run it, and then he went into the D.A.’s office.”

It’s bad. His mental decline is getting worse by the day. pic.twitter.com/JuyMcOcpdT

— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) April 11, 2024

Trump also used the night to declare that he has so many votes on his side that “they could cancel that election” and declare him the presumptive winner—an interesting suggestion from someone currently facing criminal charges related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

“Because, I’ll tell you what, if it’s just by the vote, they could cancel that election,” Trump said. “We win that election right now. We have so many more votes than they do, but we have to be very vigilant. We have to be very careful.”

More on Trump’s mental state:

Representative Matt Gaetz has a reputation as a provocateur and MAGA ideologue on Capitol Hill, with an active ethics investigation against him. After a new profile in The Atlantic, he might be known for other, worse reasons.

One such revelation in the piece, published Thursday, was that he’d show videos of his sexual conquests to other staffers and members of Congress on Capitol Hill.

“He used to walk around the cloakroom showing people porno of him and his latest girlfriend,” one former Republican lawmaker told Atlantic writer Elaine Godfrey, speaking anonymously. “He’d show me a video, and I’d say, ‘That’s great, Matt.’ Like, what kind of a reaction do you want?”

He also, early in his career as a state legislator in Florida, was allegedly involved in a “points game,” in which he and other Republican lawmakers earned points for sleeping with women, with one point for doing so with a lobbyist, three points for a fellow legislator, six for a married fellow legislator, and so on.

Gaetz got his start in politics thanks to the wealth and political career of his father, Don Gaetz, who would serve as president of the Florida Senate. The elder Gaetz ran and sold a hospice company, netting $500 million, and spent a lot of money funding development projects in the Florida Panhandle. The counties that make up the Panhandle, one lobbyist told Godfrey, “are owned by the Gaetzes.”

Gaetz was elected to the Florida state Senate while his father was president and had a reputation for walking into his father’s meetings and sitting on the couch with his feet up, according to one political consultant. The pair were often derisively referred to as Daddy Gaetz and Baby Gaetz, the article said.

The profile wasn’t all negative, though: Gaetz has apparently shown a willingness to work with Democrats, including Representatives Jared Moskowitz and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, when it benefits him.

But recent news about the Florida Republican hasn’t been good. Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy claims Gaetz led the effort to oust him because Gaetz wanted him to squash the ethics investigation against him. That investigation is over allegations that Gaetz slept with a 17-year-old girl, as well as instances of drug use and corruption.

More on Matt Gaetz’s winning personality:

A retirement announcement is about to shake up the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a major way—and it’ll likely cost a pretty penny.

Wisconsin state Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, 73, announced Thursday that she will be leaving her post at the end of her term next spring, leaving behind an open seat on a highly contentious bench in a pivotal swing state.

“My decision has not come lightly. It is made after careful consideration and reflection. I know I can do the job and do it well. I know I can win re-election should I run, but it’s just time to pass the torch,” Bradley wrote in a statement, noting that after 39 years on the bench, she felt now is the right time to bring “fresh perspectives” to the court.

The election to replace Bradley will take place two years after liberal Justice Janet Protasiewicz beat out the incumbent, conservative Justice Dan Kelly, securing the first liberal majority on the state bench in 15 years. Her election resulted after the biggest political fundraising campaign for a state Supreme Court seat in U.S. history, spending more than $45 million to swap the Wisconsin judiciary’s political ideology.

Protasiewicz fought hard on issues that were slated to come before the court, including abortion rights and the state’s gerrymandered legislative maps. Wisconsin Democrats were quick to warn that the same issues, and then some, will be back on the table with Bradley’s exit.

“There’s no question that reproductive freedom and abortion bans in Wisconsin will be a central issue not just this fall, but also in the Supreme Court race next spring,” Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair Ben Wikler said, according to NBC News. “The far right is trying to take over the Supreme Court so that they can put the 1849 abortion ban into effect.”

Why state Supreme Courts matter:

Spoiler alert, literally: Donald Trump wants Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on the ballot to take away votes from Joe Biden.

In a video posted to his Truth Social account on Thursday afternoon, the former president called Kennedy “much better than Biden.”

“If I were a Democrat, I’d vote for RFK Jr. every single time over Biden, because he’s frankly more in line with Democrats,” Trump said in the video, where he alternatively praised Kennedy but also called him “a radical left Democrat.”

“It’s great for MAGA, I hope he continues to run, but the Communists will make it very hard on him to get on the ballot, as they did for him as a Democrat. He wanted to get on the ballot. They made it very, very difficult for him. They really went after him viciously, just like they go after me. Welcome to the crowd, RFK Jr.,” Trump continued.

Donald Trump: “I do believe that RFK Jr. will do very well, and I do believe he’s going to take a lot of votes away from Joe Biden.” pic.twitter.com/P9BQHebydc

— Keith Edwards (@keithedwards) April 11, 2024

Trump has made no secret of how much he wants Kennedy on the ballot, praising him on different occasions. But Kennedy’s recent actions seem to be more in line with Trump’s right-wing ideology. Kennedy has claimed that Biden is a bigger threat to democracy than Trump and attracted praise from MAGA ideologues Roger Stone and Steve Bannon, and his donors are almost exclusively Republican.

He also downplays the role of guns in mass shootings, claiming that antidepressants and video games are bigger factors, and keeps having to correct his words about the January 6 Capitol rioters—possibly because one of his advisers, his former New York campaign director Rita Palma, may have been one.

Palma even recently told a meeting with New York Republicans that the Kennedy campaign’s number one goal was to siphon votes from Biden. She was fired Thursday.

Read about the people RFK Jr. attracts:

In an effort to save his job, House Speaker Mike Johnson will meet with Donald Trump on Friday—but a new detail about their expected joint announcement seems, on its face, like a complete waste of time.

Fox News reported Thursday that the pair will use the platform to announce an election integrity bill to bar noncitizens from voting in U.S. elections, even though that’s already illegal.

The meeting comes at a time of extreme tension for Johnson, who faces the possibility of being the second speaker in U.S. history—and within the last six months—to be kicked out of leadership. Members such as Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, who filed a motion to vacate Johnson after he worked with Democrats and Republicans in the Senate to pass a $1.2 trillion omnibus bill, are upset that the leader of the lower chamber hasn’t made big enough strides to advance their party’s policy goals. In their opinion, working with the opposite party—as politicians are traditionally expected to do—to draft bipartisan legislation is a sign of failure.

And Republicans don’t have much patience for the reality of the situation, which is that the party’s razor-thin House majority effectively forces Johnson to liaise with Democrats to pass anything at all. Instead, they want Johnson to remain staunchly loyal to the far-right cause, all while attacking him with examples of inaction that are fueled by their own division.

To salvage the mess, Johnson met with Greene for an hour on Wednesday, offering the conspiratorial Georgia Republican a spot on a proposed “kitchen cabinet” of advisers to the speaker. But the water is not yet under the bridge: After the meeting, Greene told reporters that she would “wait and see” before making a decision on the offer.

“I explained to him, this isn’t personal,” she said. “But he has not done the job that we elected him to do.”

Johnson is, ultimately, in an impossible position. Even though his caucus is frustrated by his inaction, actually acting upon his promises, such as sending aid to Ukraine, would almost certainly be a death knell for his six-month tenure wielding the gavel.

Johnson’s downfall bears an uncanny resemblance to the final days of his predecessor, former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who got the boot from eight members of his party after he committed the same sin of working with Democrats in order to pass a 45-day stopgap funding bill. At the end of the day, Johnson’s inability to unify a historically divided—and unproductive—GOP flags even deeper problems in the health of the conservative party.

Read more about Johnson and Trump’s meeting:

Georgia’ Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones may soon face the music for serving as a fake elector for Donald Trump in 2020. 

On Thursday, Pete Skandalakis, the executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, said he would personally take up the investigation into Jones’s actions. The move comes after Fani Willis, the Fulton County district attorney, was disqualified in 2022 from investigating Jones because she once hosted a fundraiser for his political opponent.

Skandalakis was under fire for taking so long to select a replacement for Willis, and was even sued by four Georgia residents to make an appointment. In the end, he chose himself.  

Willis has already brought charges against Trump and several of his Republican allies for seeking to overturn the 2020 election results for Georgia after the once staunchly red state unexpectedly voted for Joe Biden.

In an effort to mitigate the disaster that was the 2020 election, Trump and Republican allies in multiple states tried to use slates of fake electors to claim that the states that had voted for Biden had really voted for Trump. Many of those fake electors were high-ranking state Republicans, and in Georgia, one of those fake electors was Jones, a state senator at the time. He and 15 other fake electors claimed they were the “duly elected and qualified electors” from Georgia in signed documents.

“I’m happy to see this process move forward and look forward to the opportunity to get this charade behind me,” Jones said in a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Fani Willis has made a mockery of this legal process, as she tends to do. I look forward to a quick resolution and moving forward with the business of the state of Georgia.”

If the investigation implicates Jones in a crime, he wouldn’t be the first Georgia Republican to get in trouble over the electoral process. Brian Pritchard, the first vice chairman of the state Republican Party, was found to have voted illegally in nine elections from 2008 to 2010. Meanwhile, Trump is resorting to desperate measures in his own Georgia trial, launching a last-minute attempt to get Willis thrown off the case after an earlier effort fell apart.

All of this bad press should convince Georgia Republicans to try to fix things ahead of November’s coming elections. Instead, state lawmakers just passed a bill that would make it easier to kick registered voters off the rolls. 

Read more about the fake elector scheme:

The Arizona legislature devolved into a state of chaos after Republicans abruptly shut down a discussion to repeal the state’s recently reinstituted draconian abortion ban, with Democrats chanting “Shame” at their colleagues across the aisle.

On Wednesday, Republican state Representative Matt Gress motioned to bring House Bill 2677—a formal effort to repeal the abortion law—up for a vote. But that effort was cut short when another GOP lawmaker motioned to go into recess, throwing the legislature into disarray.

“He does not care about the women who will die because of this horrific ban,” shouted one Democratic lawmaker, pointing at Gress.

“I absolutely—” started Gress, before getting cut off by other lawmakers, who shouted “absolutely not!”

More action from Arizona House floor pic.twitter.com/JOtlJadisO

— Cameron Arcand (@cameron_arcand) April 10, 2024

Another effort to make a motion to repeal the law also failed after the recess. House Majority Leader Leo Biasiucci, a Republican, motioned to adjourn, gaveling the session out before the “nay” votes could even be heard. Meanwhile, in the Senate, a similar move by Democratic lawmakers to strip the law was also suddenly adjourned.

Following the bedlam, Republican House Speaker Ben Toma seemed more focused on scolding House Democrats than finding an immediate solution to the dangerous law.

“These are difficult conversations we all need to have, and we absolutely cannot have them when Democrat legislators act as uncivilly, and engage in appallingly childish behavior, as we saw on the House Floor today,” Toma wrote in a statement. “That’s not how we debate important issues down here and I find it completely unacceptable and disappointing.”

But Toma’s plea for more time falls flat considering that the legislature will only be meeting once per week now that state budget negotiations have begun, reported The Center Square.

The state’s Supreme Court decided Tuesday to revive a near-total abortion ban from 1864, before Arizona was even a state, that offers no exceptions for instances of rape or incest. But some Republicans in the state—especially the ones currently on the campaign trail—immediately came out against it, including Senate candidate Kari Lake, Representative David Schweikert, and Representative Juan Ciscomani.

Former Republican Governor Doug Doucey also lamented the decision, even though he appointed four of the justices who contributed to the court’s majority opinion.

The flip-flopping is no coincidence, especially as abortion has become a losing issue for Republicans nationwide. The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn nationwide abortion access proved disastrous for Republicans last November, resulting in major losses in districts where abortion was a key talking point. Postelection, those raw numbers turned into some stunning platform reversals for the conservative party, with GOP consultants referring to the turning tide on the issue as a “major wake-up call.”

More on Republicans blocking abortion rights:

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“Donald Trump has lost another lawyer—and the former president’s loss could be special counsel Jack Smith’s massive gain.Evan Corcoran left the Trump legal team some time in the last few…”

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