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OPINION

‘Grave Danger’: Trump’s ‘Raw Display’ of Power at Court Alarms Conservative

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Well-known conservative journalist Amanda Carpenter, a former aide to two Republican Senators, is warning of the “raw display of political power” Donald Trump is using to attack the court during his trial.

During the early days of the Trump New York criminal trial many noted the ex-president was alone. He was sitting, and at times, snoozing, alone in court, unsupported by family members or friends.

Multiple reports had described Trump as “glowering.”

MSNBC’s Joy Reid commented “how alone Donald Trump looked,” with “no family there, no supporters there.”

“He looked smaller,” she observed.

Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, had told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell that “more than anything else,” what’s important is “the extent to which he’s had no control over the situation.” She explained “he needs control in order to project the image that he’s been able to project for so long. Without that control it all falls apart.”

READ MORE: Johnson Would Contest 2024 Election Results Under the Same ‘Circumstances’

“I mean, we know that Donald is a very weak person, or at least some of us know that, and that his ego is a very fragile thing that needs to be bolstered in every moment. He needs the rallies. He needs the applause in the dining room at Mar-a-Lago because he knows deep down he’s nothing of what he claims to be,” she added.

Trump spent days first urging his supporters to rally on the courthouse steps, then to protest at courthouses across the county and “rally behind MAGA,” he demanded.

When they didn’t, he falsely claimed they were being blocked in New York by law enforcement. He described the Criminal Courts Building as locked up like “Fort Knox.”

“I’m at the heavily guarded Courthouse. Security is that of Fort Knox, all so that MAGA will not be able to attend this trial, presided over by a highly conflicted pawn of the Democrat Party. It is a sight to behold! ” Trump wrote falsely, with CNN’s Kaitlan Collins quickly disputing his claim.

The optics have changed.

Trump had “complained that ‘no one is defending me,'” NBC News reported on May 1. “He grumbled outside the courtroom that there were no protesters supporting him outside.”

READ MORE: ‘On Day One’: Trump Vows to End Protections for LGBTQ Students

Then his son, Eric Trump, showed up, along with “his strategist and de facto campaign chief Susie Wiles and longtime adviser Dan Scavino. Trump’s legal strategist Boris Epshteyn was by his side two days last week. And Natalie Harp, a communications aide, has been present.”

Now, top Republican lawmakers are taking turns showing up in court to demonstrate party loyalty, becoming de-facto surrogates.

A Fox News “BREAKING NEWS” alert late Monday morning read: “Watch Live: GOP Senators, other trump defenders speak outside the NY v Trump trial.”

Indeed, Republican Senators and Trump allies are now flocking to the Manhattan Criminal Courts Building.

Last week, U.S. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) and Fox News host Jeanine Pirro were at the courthouse during Stormy Daniels testimony.

On Monday, U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and JD Vance (R-OH) were in the courthouse, standing next to Eric Trump behind the ex-president during his mid-day news conference.

Tuberville, a far-right conspiracy theorist and white nationalist, also held a separate press conference outside the courthouse Monday, decrying the “depressing” courtroom, claiming Trump is being forced to experience “mental anguish,” attacking District Attorney Alvin Bragg, and promoting a false, anti-immigrant narrative suggesting perhaps the jurors aren’t American citizens.

“We discussed what I predicted would be a growing trend of GOP officials, including VP hopefuls, appearing courtside,” Carpenter wrote Monday morning.

“Trump is under order a gag order,” she noted. “If he directs anyone to make statements that his [sic] prohibited from making that is a direct violation of the gag order and the judge must be monitoring these surrogate statements.”

READ MORE: House Ethics Committee Extends Investigation Into ‘Ultra MAGA’ Congressman

She adds, “previous surrogates have not opted to defend Trump on the merits. They [are] following the Trump playbook of attacking family members of the court, which Trump’s former lawyer Ty Cobb described as a ‘strategic’ act of intimidation, ‘designed around his traditional approach to delegitimizing the proceedings.’ That’s a real threat afoot here,” she observes.

“It’s really worth reflecting on that,” Carpenter stresses. “Republican officials are scurrying up to NYC to launch awful, slimy attacks on the court.”

She warns, “assembling members of the GOP to defend Trump courtside is a raw display of political power. And again, this has to be emphasized, they are not defending Trump on the merits. They are attacking the court.”

“Trump has successfully co-opted the GOP to shield himself from political accountability and now he is using the GOP to shield himself from criminal accountability. That’s the difference between 2016/2020 and 2024. This is a very grave danger.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

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OPINION

‘Wack Pack’: Questions Swirl Over ‘Trump Uniforms’ and Who’s Funding ‘Weird’ Trial Surrogates

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Trump trial watchers are raising questions over the increasingly large number of elected Republicans and big-name allies showing up at the Manhattan Criminal Courts Building to show support for the indicted ex-president, often giving angry and factually inaccurate speeches before the cameras, or standing behind the defendant in the background as he delivers his rants to reporters.

They are usually all men, and usually all dressed just as Donald Trump does: blue suit, white shirt, red tie.

Public Notice founder Aaron Rupar on Monday, observed, “they’re all in Trump costumes again. how cute.”

Questions about their “uniforms,” and more importantly, who is funding and organizing their travel, are being raised.

Media critic Jennifer Schulze, a former Chicago Sun-Times executive producer, WGN news director, and adjunct college professor of journalism, commented: “The trump uniforms angle is flying way too low beneath the mainstream news radar. The same is true for how this weird courtroom guest star show is being organized & financed.”

READ MORE: Why Alito’s ‘Stop the Steal’ Flag Story Just Fell Apart

And they are being called “uniforms.”

Filmmaker and podcaster Andy Ostroy declared, “I’m sorry, but all these #Trump capos showing up each day at the trial dressed exactly the same as The Godfather in blue suit and red tie is not only creepy AF but is a chilling foreshadowing of the fascist uniform-wearing government they’re jonesin’ to be a part of…”

Talk radio host Joan Esposito also asked who’s paying for these appearances: “Is the trump campaign paying for these surrogates to fly to & from nyc? If not, who is?”

Political commentator Bob Cesca remarked, “Trump’s fanboys are like the Wack Pack from the Stern show circa 1990.”

Monday’s star surrogates included South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, an election denier who had supported overturning the 2020 presidential election and signed onto what has been called a “false and frivolous” lawsuit attempting to overturn the results.

Also, Republican U.S. Reps. Eric Burlison, Andrew Clyde, Mary Miller, and Keith Self. And John Coale from the Trump-aligned America First Policy Institute, attorney Alan Dershowitz, Trump attorney and GOP attorney general candidate Will Scharf, convicted felon and Trump pardon recipient Bernie Kerik, Trump loyalist and former Trump administration official Kash Patel, and others.

READ MORE: Law ‘Requires’ Alito and Thomas to Recuse Says Former Federal Prosecutor

Op-ed columnist Terry Cowgill last week called them “manservants…standing at attention like automatons.”

“Scary and very very strange” was actress and activist Mia Farrow’s observation last week.

Vanity Fair’s Molly Jong-Fast, an MSNBC political analyst, last week asked, “Why did they all wear the same outfit?”

The Biden campaign was only too happy to post this video last week:

See the social media posts and videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Partisan Insurrectionist’: Calls Mount for Alito’s Ouster After ‘Stop the Steal’ Scandal

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OPINION

Why Alito’s ‘Stop the Steal’ Flag Story Just Fell Apart

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Justice Samuel Alito’s defense for why there was a “Stop the Steal” flag flying at his Alexandria, Virginia home three days before Joe Biden’s inauguration, ten days after the January 6, 2021 insurrection, just fell apart.

The entire justification for a sitting U.S. Supreme Court justice with lifetime tenure who refuses to recuse himself from cases including ones related to the 2020 election, which ethics experts and U.S. Senators say he is obligated to do so, is a dispute with a neighbor, according to The New York Times‘ original reporting, and a Fox News reporter.

Critics say his defense doesn’t justify flying a U.S. flag upside down, a symbol of the Stop the Steal movement used by insurrectionists.

In brief, Fox News’ Shannon Bream reports Justice Alito “told me a neighbor on their street had a ‘F— Trump’ sign that was within 50 feet of where children await the school bus in Jan 21. Mrs. Alito brought this up with the neighbor.”

“According to Justice Alito, things escalated and the neighbor put up a sign personally addressing Mrs. Alito and blaming her for the Jan 6th attacks,” Bream wrote. She added Alito “says he and his wife were walking in the neighborhood and there were words between Mrs. Alito and a male at the home with the sign. Alito says the man engaged in vulgar language, ‘including the c-word’,” which prompted Mrs. Alito to hang the American flag upside down as the insurrections did on January 6.

RELATED: ‘Partisan Insurrectionist’: Calls Mount for Alito’s Ouster After ‘Stop the Steal’ Scandal

Court watchers and critics have called into question Alito’s judgment. Senate Democratic Judiciary Chairman Dick Durban has called for the Justice to recuse himself from all cases related to the 2020 presidential election, NBC News is reporting.

Critics are asking if Justice and/or Mrs. Alito’s response to an alleged dispute with neighbors was appropriate, but now Justice Alito’s telling of events is being called into question entirely.

Aaron Fritschner, Deputy Chief of Staff for U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), says no school children would have been waiting for school buses at the time the Alito’s flag was photographed upside down, because schools had moved to virtual learning during the COVID pandemic at that time in the area the Alitos reside.

Further calling into question Justice Alito’s claims, CNN’s Holmes Lybrand, a former fact-checker for The Weekly Standard, reports none of the Alitos’ neighbors remember the alleged dispute the justice recounted.

“I spoke with some of Justice Alito’s neighbors who said they remember the American flag being flown upside-down at his home but didn’t recall any neighborhood drama surrounding it,” Lyband reports. “Each neighbor I spoke with reiterated multiple times how kind and well-liked the Alitos are.”

In its report that broke the story, The New York Times noted, “The half-dozen neighbors who saw the flag, or knew of it, requested anonymity because they said they did not want to add to the contentiousness on the block and feared reprisal.”

READ MORE: Trump Appears to Violate Gag Order After Judge Threatened ‘Incarceration’

 

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OPINION

Alito Tells Fox News Story Behind His Home’s ‘Stop the Steal’ Flag but Critics Unconvinced

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Editor’s note: The spelling of Fox News host Shannon Bream’s last name has been corrected.

Justice Samuel Alito on Friday appeared to compound concerns over the bombshell New York Times report revealing a flag associated with the January 6 insurrection and the “Stop the Steal” movement was flying at his house just before Joe Biden was inaugurated and while the Supreme Court was reviewing a 2020 election case.

Alito, whose far-right positions including writing the majority opinion in the Supreme Court case overturning Roe v. Wade, have infuriated and frustrated the left, once again has found himself the subject of apprehension over his impartiality and grasp of ethical norms.

In a rare move, the embattled justice, who now faces strong calls for his ouster, spoke immediately to the news media to address those issues, and revealed the story behind the decision to fly the “Stop the Steal” flag at his home.

Confirming again it was his wife who put the flag up, Alito seemed neither remorseful nor cognizant of the great ethical and credibility violation that act represented.

RELATED: ‘Partisan Insurrectionist’: Calls Mount for Alito’s Ouster After ‘Stop the Steal’ Scandal

“I spoke directly with Justice #Alito about the flag story in the NYT,” Fox News host Shannon Bream reported late Friday morning via social media. “In addition to what’s in the story, he told me a neighbor on their street had a ‘F— Trump’ sign that was within 50 feet of where children await the school bus in Jan 21. Mrs. Alito brought this up with the neighbor.”

“According to Justice Alito, things escalated and the neighbor put up a sign personally addressing Mrs. Alito and blaming her for the Jan 6th attacks,” Bream continued.

“Justice Alito says he and his wife were walking in the neighborhood and there were words between Mrs. Alito and a male at the home with the sign. Alito says the man engaged in vulgar language, ‘including the c-word’,” she wrote. “Following that exchange, Mrs. Alito was distraught and hung the flag upside down ‘for a short time’. Justice Alito says some neighbors on his street are ‘very political’ and acknowledges it was a very heated time in January 2021.”

The Bulwark’s Bill Kristol chastised Bream, noting she got Alito’s side of the story without “trying to see how it compares with the accounts and recollections of others involved. If only the anchor had the resources of a ‘news’ channel to seek out the truth!”

Some critics responding to Bream’s report say Alito’s explanation doesn’t make their perception of his actions — or his wife’s – any more reasonable.

Former George W. Bush administration official Christian Vanderbrouk commented, “Sam Alito is unapologetic for desecrating an American symbol as part of a neighborhood feud.”

READ MORE: Why Are One in Five GOP Voters Still Voting for Nikki Haley Over Donald Trump?

“Interesting claims by Alito,” attorney Robert J. DeNault remarked. “Not sure it’s reasonable to think any person would react to a neighbor disagreeing — even crassly or rudely — over Trump by hanging an American flag upside down. Does not feel credible to contend Alito’s upside flag was divorced from MAGA symbolism.”

“Alito speaks to Fox about New York Times report, continues to attribute it to his wife, but does not explain why his wife’s reaction to a ‘fuck Trump’ sign and being insulted was to hang an American flag upside down in the days after Jan. 6.” observed CNN’s Edward-Isaac Dovere. “Suburban neighborhood disputes happen all the time – over lawn care, noisy children, Christmas lights… all sorts of things. Not many instances of an escalated response being a now very politicized symbol of military distress.”

“Friendly reminder the entire GOP and Fox News is screaming on practically a daily basis that Judge Merchan needs to recuse because of the work his adult daughter separately does,” national security attorney Brad Moss offered. “But yeah, this is no biggie.”

READ MORE: ‘Long History of Playing Games’: Biden Campaign Shuts Down Trump’s Tantrum

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