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OPINION

Trump Would Not Oppose State Pregnancy Surveillance or Abortion Prosecution

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With little more than six months until Election Day, Donald Trump is preparing for an “authoritarian” presidency, and a massive, multi-million dollar operation called Project 2025, organized by The Heritage Foundation and headed by a former top Trump White House official, is proposing what it would like to be his agenda. In its 920-page policy manual the word “abortion” appears, by NCRM’s count, nearly 200 times.

Trump appears to hold a more narrow grasp of the issue of abortion, and is holding on to the framing he recently settled on, which he hoped would end debate on the issue after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. One day before the Arizona Supreme Court ruled an 1864 law banning abortion was still legal and enforceable, Trump declared states have total control over abortion and can do whatever they like.

Despite the results of that framing, Trump is sticking with that policy.

In a set of interviews with TIME‘s Eric Cortellessa, published Tuesday, the four-times indicted ex-president said he would not stop states from monitoring all pregnancies within their borders and prosecuting anyone who violates any abortion ban, if he were to again become president. He also refused to weigh in on a nationwide abortion ban or on medication abortion.

READ MORE: ‘Won’t Stop Him’: Judge Threatens Trump With Jail for Gag Order Breach

Recently, Trump backed away from endorsing a nationwide abortion ban, but in the past he has said there should be “punishment” for women who have abortions. The group effectively creating what could become his polices, The Heritage Foundation and its Project 2025, fully support a ban on abortion.

The scope of the TIME interviews was extensive.

“What emerged in two interviews with Trump, and conversations with more than a dozen of his closest advisers and confidants, were the outlines of an imperial presidency that would reshape America and its role in the world,” Cortellessa writes in his article.

“To carry out a deportation operation designed to remove more than 11 million people from the country, Trump told me, he would be willing to build migrant detention camps and deploy the U.S. military, both at the border and inland. He would let red states monitor women’s pregnancies and prosecute those who violate abortion bans. He would, at his personal discretion, withhold funds appropriated by Congress, according to top advisers. He would be willing to fire a U.S. Attorney who doesn’t carry out his order to prosecute someone, breaking with a tradition of independent law enforcement that dates from America’s founding.”

TIME’s Cortellessa also notes that Trump “is weighing pardons for every one of his supporters accused of attacking the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, more than 800 of whom have pleaded guilty or been convicted by a jury. He might not come to the aid of an attacked ally in Europe or Asia if he felt that country wasn’t paying enough for its own defense. He would gut the U.S. civil service, deploy the National Guard to American cities as he sees fit, close the White House pandemic-preparedness office, and staff his Administration with acolytes who back his false assertion that the 2020 election was stolen.”

READ MORE: ‘Let’s Get a Warrant for Her Backyard’: Noem ‘Done Politically’ Right Wing Pundits Say

On abortion, Trump has repeatedly bragged he personally ended Roe v. Wade, which was a nearly 50-year old landmark Supreme Court ruling that found women have a constitutional right to abortion, and by extension, bodily autonomy.

But Trump has also “sought to defuse a potent campaign issue for the Democrats by saying he wouldn’t sign a federal ban. In our interview at Mar-a-Lago, he declines to commit to vetoing any additional federal restrictions if they came to his desk. More than 20 states now have full or partial abortion bans, and Trump says those policies should be left to the states to do what they want, including monitoring women’s pregnancies. ‘I think they might do that,’ he says.”

“When I ask whether he would be comfortable with states prosecuting women for having abortions beyond the point the laws permit, he says, ‘It’s irrelevant whether I’m comfortable or not. It’s totally irrelevant, because the states are going to make those decisions.’ President Biden has said he would fight state anti-abortion measures in court and with regulation,” Cortellessa adds.

Trump in his TIME interview continued to hold on to the convenient claim as president he would have absolutely nothing to do with abortion.

But “Trump’s allies don’t plan to be passive on abortion if he returns to power. The Heritage Foundation has called for enforcement of a 19th century statute that would outlaw the mailing of abortion pills. The Republican Study Committee (RSC), which includes more than 80% of the House GOP conference, included in its 2025 budget proposal the Life at Conception Act, which says the right to life extends to ‘the moment of fertilization.’ I ask Trump if he would veto that bill if it came to his desk. ‘I don’t have to do anything about vetoes,’ Trump says, ‘because we now have it back in the states.'”

That’s inaccurate, if a national abortion ban, or any legislation on women’s reproductive rights, comes to his desk. And they will, if there’s a Republican majority in the House and Senate.

READ MORE: Hunter Biden Plans Lawsuit Against Fox News Amid ‘Conspiracy of Disinformation’

Brooke Goren, Deputy Communications Director for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) writes, “In the same interview, Trump:
– Repeatedly refuses to say he wouldn’t sign a national ban
– Left the door open to signing legislation that could ban IVF
– Stood by his allies, who are making plans to unilaterally ban medication abortion nationwide if he’s elected.”

Cortellessa ends his piece with this thought: “Whether or not he was kidding about bringing a tyrannical end to our 248-year experiment in democracy, I ask him, Don’t you see why many Americans see such talk of dictatorship as contrary to our most cherished principles? Trump says no. Quite the opposite, he insists. ‘I think a lot of people like it.'”

The Bulwark’s Bill Kristol, once a hard-core conservative Republican, now a Democrat as of 2020, served up this take on TIME’s Trump interview and overview of a second Trump reign.

“Some of us: A second term really would be far more dangerous than his first, it would be real authoritarianism–with more than a touch of fascism.

Trump apologists: No way, calm down.

Trump: Yup, authoritarianism all the way!”

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OPINION

‘Fact Checking His Delusions’: Trump’s Falsehoods May Not Be Lies Anymore, Critics Warn

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Suggesting there is an actual “method to the madness,” as the saying goes, in April The New York Times published “The Method Behind Trump’s Mistruths,” implying the falsehoods and lies Donald Trump tells almost if not daily are part of some coherent and intentional plan.

The Times’ Angelo Fichera offered explanations for why Trump lies with tremendous frequency. A few excerpts: “He grossly distorts his opponents’ records and proposals to make them sound unreasonable,” “He exaggerates and twists the facts to make his record sound better than it is,” “He relies on both well-worn and fresh claims of election rigging to suggest he can lose only if his opponents cheat,” and “He makes unverifiable claims about what the world would have been like had he secured a second term.”

Tuesday night, CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale, who started listening to or reading Trump’s every public statement during the 2016 election cycle, debunked 30 of the ex-president’s falsehoods and lies at his Wisconsin rally earlier that day. It took him just three minutes:

Barb McQuade, the well-known MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst, professor of law, and former U.S. Attorney responded to the CNN video: “The lies have become a tribal pose. Some Trump supporters believe his lies. Others don’t care. It is all about allegiance to the tribe over truth.”

Sarah Longwell, the executive director of the Republican Accountability Project and publisher of The Bulwark, earlier this year in The Atlantic wrote: “Trump Supporters Explain Why They Believe the Big Lie.”

READ MORE: Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Desperate Scramble to Stop Steve Bannon From Going to Prison

“For many of Trump’s voters, the belief that the election was stolen is not a fully formed thought. It’s more of an attitude, or a tribal pose,” she added.

John Stoehr, editor of the Editorial Board, said of Dale’s fact-checking, “What interesting here is Dan Dale isn’t just fact checking Trump’s lies. He’s fact checking his delusions. More of that would highlight his habitual incoherence.”

Trump’s public remarks, in interviews and on stage at rallies, do seem to have taken a turn. Some critics, like Stoehr, have pointed out that at times the criminally-convicted ex-president’s words aren’t just false, they don’t make sense.

Journalist Aaron Rupar, founder of Public Notice, has watched and recorded countless hours of Trump’s remarks.

In this clip from just a few weeks ago, he says Trump was “not coherent.”

This video from earlier this month got a lot of attention, with Trump talking about shark attacks, and electrocution from boats.

The Washington Post’s Philip Bump offered one reason why Trump might have injected sharks and electric-powered boats into a campaign speech, despite it being to a crowd in landlocked Nevada: Trump’s New York criminal trial was “centered on Stormy Daniels,” who “explained that one of their encounters overlapped with the Discovery Channel’s ‘Shark Week’ programming. As the two sat in Trump’s hotel room, he volunteered how much he hated sharks and wished they all would die.”

But that semi-logical divining still does not explain Trump’s “cognitive questions” – perhaps best exposed most recently by the author of a new book on Trump, “Apprentice in Wonderland.”

READ MORE: Republican Who Declared His State a ‘2nd Amendment Sanctuary’ Blocks Senate Bump Stock Ban

“Ramin Setoodeh, who interviewed Trump six times after he left office in 2021, told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins that there were points during those sessions when Trump seemed to think he still had some presidential powers,” HuffPost reports.

Saying he is the “journalist who spent the most time” with Trump, post-election, Setoodeh notes, “Donald Trump had severe memory issues.”

And while the anecdotes are disturbing, Setoodeh’s summation is far worse: “there was some cognitive questions about where he was and what he was thinking and he would he would, from time to time become confused.”

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins told Setoodeh, “you talked about his memory, you wrote that, you know, on some days I have the feeling he has no idea who he’s even talking to that he actually forgot, or didn’t remember that the two of you had spoken at your first sit down interview.”

Setoodeh responded, “right.”

It’s not just telling the truth Trump has a problem with, it’s his actual speech.

On Tuesday Raw Story‘s Sarah K. Burris reported on several verbal stumbles Trump made during his Wisconsin rally.

Trump, she wrote, “struggled to remember ABC News host George Stephanopoulos’ name, making a couple of efforts to pronounce it: ‘George Stopalopodis … George Stopodiaiiee.’ ”

“Trump mispronounced citizenship by calling it ‘citizensip.’ ”

“‘Joe Biden is forming granting mass–thinkit,’ Trump meandered in a section of the speech, with an excerpt of the video quickly spreading online.”

Back in March, Salon‘s senior politics writer Chauncey DeVega wrote: “In a recent conversation with Dr. John Gartner, a prominent psychologist and contributor to the bestselling book ‘The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President,’ the former faculty member at Johns Hopkins University told me that based on Trump’s speech, memory, recall, and other behavior, he appears to be ‘hypomanic’ and cognitively deteriorating at a rapid rate.”

DeVega quotes Gartner saying, “in my opinion, Donald Trump is dangerously demented.”

“I had to speak out now because the 2024 election might turn on this issue of who is cognitively capable: Biden or Trump? It’s a major issue that will affect some people’s votes,” Gartner said. “Not enough people are sounding the alarm, that based on his behavior, and in my opinion, Donald Trump is dangerously demented. In fact, we are seeing the opposite among too many in the news media, the political leaders and among the public. There is also this focus on Biden’s gaffes or other things that are well within the normal limits of aging. By comparison, Trump appears to be showing gross signs of dementia. This is a tale of two brains. Biden’s brain is aging. Trump’s brain is dementing.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: Democrats Have One Way to Correct Corruption of Justices Thomas and Alito: Expert

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OPINION

‘Pyongyang in the Rotunda’: GOP Red Carpet Rollout for Trump’s DC Trip Likened to North Korea

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Donald Trump’s first return to Capitol Hill since the violent and deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection he fomented elicited responses of celebratory embrace, near-coronation, and a whitewashing of history from House and Senate Republicans and some of the mainstream media. That has critics sounding the alarm, likening their remarks to those of the subjects of authoritarian dictators like North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

Trump is the Republican Party’s presumptive 2024 presidential nominee, a convicted felon awaiting sentencing who remains criminally indicted and out on bail in three other jurisdictions, an adjudicated rapist and fraudster who has been credibly accused by at least 18 to 23 or more women of varying degrees of sexual misconduct including harassment, assault, and rape, who allegedly had sex with a Playboy Bunny, and a porn star, the latter just four months after his third and current wife had given birth to their four-month old son.

He is a one-term, twice impeached ex-president who made over 30,000 “false or misleading claims” during his four years in the Oval Office, whose “inept and insufficient” response was in part responsible for about 40% of the COVID-19 pandemic deaths in the U.S., according to a February 2021 study that deemed them preventable.

And as of today, Donald Trump is 78 years old, and the subject of a New Yorker column published Friday alleging “age-related diminishment of a candidate.”

READ MORE: ‘Don’t Breathe Easy Yet’: Abortion Pill Safe Only ‘For Now’ Experts Say After SCOTUS Ruling

The ex-president met with House Republicans Thursday morning at the same restaurant where a pipe bomb was found outside on January 6, 2021. It’s just a seven-minute walk from the halls of Congress, where many of those same lawmakers who were jovially dining with and cheering on Trump, had huddled, hunkered-down, and fled through that centuries-old symbol of American democracy, afraid for their lives as supporters of the then-Commander-in-Chief – some of whom have said in court documents they believed were acting under his instructions – attacked the U.S. Capitol building and police, used the American flag as a spear, defecated on the walls, broke windows, damaged, destroyed, and stole U.S. Government property, hunted for the Democratic Speaker of the House, calling her by name, and hunted for the Republican Vice President, chanting their threats to “hang Mike Pence,” in a coordinated effort to help Trump overturn the results of the 2020 election he had lost by over seven million votes, and 74 Electoral College votes.

None of that matters now to the people’s elected representatives of the Republican Party in the House and Senate.

U.S. Senator, venture capitalist, and former “Never Trumper,” J.D. Vance (R-OH) on Thursday, walking in Washington, D.C. after he and nearly all of the Republican Senators met with Donald Trump and gave him a 30-second standing ovation, told reporters the GOP has absolved Trump of guilt and responsibility for the deadly insurrection three years ago.

“Well look, I think no real Republican with any credibility in the party is still blaming him for January the 6th. Frankly, some of his critics were in the room (Thursday) and were supportive and are supportive. So I think it’s a good thing and the Republican Party’s in a good place.”

After House Republicans had breakfast with Trump, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, criticized for apparently not remembering Congress is a co-equal brach of the U.S. government and Donald Trump is no longer a leader of any branch of government, glowingly bragged the ex-president “said I’m doing a very good job.”

Aaron Fritschner, deputy chief of staff for a Democratic U.S. Congressman, blasted Senate Republicans after they met with Trump, saying they “just rolled the red carpet out and welcomed him back with smiles and handshakes.”

READ MORE: GOP Will Ban IVF if Trump Wins After Southern Baptists Condemnation: Expert

He posted a photo of Trump warmly shaking hands with Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who reportedly had not spoken to Trump since before the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S Capitol, and on that day declared him “practically and morally responsible” for the insurrection.

Journalist and Public Notice founder Aaron Rupar posted a “supercut” of Republicans responding to Trump’s visit, also likening their embrace to how subjects speak of dictators.

Award-winning Talking Points Memo publisher Josh Marshall praised Rupar and blasted Republicans: “For all the ‘triumphant returns’ and ‘Trumps flexes’ and all the rest I don’t think anyone beside @atrupar really captured it. This was Pyongyang in the Rotunda. The maniacal clapping in unison, MTG almost breaking down in tears cuz Trump smiled at her. Total North Korea vibe.”

Critics are slamming not only House and Senate Republicans, but the mainstream media’s coverage, especially a social media post by the Associated Press, which declared Trump’s return to D.C. “triumphant,” a term often reserved for a conquering or undefeated hero.

Veteran journalist and D.C. Bureau Chief of Mother Jones, David Corn, co-author of the 2018 book, “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump,” criticized the AP’s post, saying: “Sounds like a North Korean report.”

Award-winning journalist Steve Silberman called the AP’s post, “an instant candidate for the Museum of American Fascism.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: Buttigieg on Martha-Ann Alito: Flags Symbolizing Love vs. Insurrection Are Different

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OPINION

‘We Do Not Remember When You Tried to Have Us Killed’: GOP Slammed for Trump Standing Ovation

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Donald Trump returned to Capitol Hill Thursday, the first time since the violent and deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection he fomented, spending the morning with House Republicans and the afternoon with Senate Republicans – who for more than 30 seconds gave the criminally convicted and still criminally-indicted ex-president a standing ovation.

Critics slammed Republicans for honoring a convicted felon whose “Big Lie” and actions put their own lives at risk, and resulted in death and tremendous injury and violence during and after the attack on the U.S. Capitol and on American democracy.

“Republican senators just gave a standing ovation to the convicted felon who wants to pardon the violent mob that broke into and defecated all over our nation’s Capitol,” The Lincoln Project said on social media. They added, “He sent bloodthirsty mob after these people on January 6th.”

READ MORE: ‘He Said I’m Doing a Very Good Job’: Mike Johnson Slammed Over Remarks on Trump Meeting

“Congressional Republicans just gave a standing ovation to the re-election losing, twice impeached, quadruply indicted, adjudicated rapist, business fraud & convicted felon who sent a rabid mob to attack them & their colleagues 3 years ago,” wrote activist and social media influencer JoJoFromJerz, who has nearly one million followers on X. “And that is how you know it is a cult.”

“It’s really not very complicated or subtle. And no one denies it,” observed Condé Nast legal affairs editor Luke Zaleski. “Trump requires total loyalty to him or he’s at war with you. Loyalty over the law, the constitution, and the country. And his party has sworn an oath of omertà and fealty to him uber alles. And surrendered America.”

“We are with you Dear Glorious Leader Trump Eternal. We do not remember when you tried to have us killed so you could stay in power. No, Dear Leader, we applaud for you. Your rule is mighty and you are all-powerful!” mocked professor of communication Jennifer Mercieca.

Watch the short clip below or at this link.

READ MORE: Many Republicans Don’t Believe Trump Was Indicted or Aren’t Sure – But Say He’s Not Guilty

 

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