Former federal prosecutor Katzberg, who does commentary for Slate told the site that former President Donald Trump has a serious problem controlling himself.
No person likes being attacked, but it's dangerous when it comes to a judge or a federal prosecutor going on a public attack campaign that endangers the lives of those working for the court. There's no rule against it, given there isn't an indictment, much less a case. Still, Trump has gone on a spree over the past several months, alluding to special counsel Jack Smith being a partisan hack. He's attacked Smith's wife.
For a while, Trump had a bizarre conspiracy theory claiming Jack Smith wasn't his real name. His name is John Smith, but he goes by Jack. Slate cited Smith's local hometown newspaper that went to the high school to find a yearbook, finding that Smith did go by Jack as far back as his teens.
Slate asked Katzberg why Trump was doing it.
“I just don’t think he’s able to control himself. Any experienced lawyer would have resigned a long time before that," he said.
He attacked Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg a “degenerate psychopath that truly hates the USA.” He insulted New York Attorney General Letitia James and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis as “racists in reverse.” He then began using racially charged language about the two Black women and calling James "Peekaboo," confusing many trying to figure out what it meant. In the Urban Dictionary, "Peekaboo" has an X-rated connotation. The other is that Trump is referring to the racist word that begins with "J" and sounds a lot like peekaboo.
Katzberg thinks it all goes to Trump's insecurities. He explained Trump "has the thinnest skin of any human being in history and is incapable of keeping his mouth closed."
Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen thinks Trump has dementia.
"Let me put it to you this way," Cohen told Insider last year. "As you sit and listen to Trump speak, you realize that he has, at best, a 10-year-old's vocabulary. He's using peekaboo as a hide-and-seek term."
"His rambling about 'we were settling' and then questioning why anyone would settle when they're not guilty is indicative of some cognitive impairment," alleged Cohen.
He doesn't appear to be alone in allegations about Trump's health. Former White House adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman said that. Trump intends to run for president again; then he should come clean about his "health" to the American people. She didn't elaborate further.
Another option could be similar to a legal tactic that Roger Stone used in 2020 during his case. During his trial, Stone regularly attacked the judge in his case. It finally came to a head when he posted a photo of the judge with a target by her face. Not long after, Stone and his lawyers demanded a different judge in the case, saying that Judge Amy Berman Jackson couldn't possibly be impartial after they'd spent months attacking her.
It could be a strategy Trump is trying to use, hoping he could get a better judge.
According to former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, a letter from two of Donald Trump's lawyers to Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding an audience to discuss special counsel Jack Smith should not be taken seriously by anyone, and is a ploy that will not help them if and when DOJ indictments come down.
In a column for MSNBC, the attorney claimed the letter — and the way it was shared on social media — is a sign of desperation and fear as Smith reportedly is coming to the conclusion of one of his many investigations into the former president.
Getting right to the point, McQuade wrote that after Garland's refusal, "Trump will wail that this rejection proves once again that he is a victim of witch hunts and hoaxes. The predictability of Trump’s game would be tiresome if it were not so harmful to public trust in government institutions."
The ex-U.S. attorney also noted a reference to President Joe Biden and an investigation into his son Hunter's business activities which she described as a sad Trump attempt to make the case to his followers that, "...everyone is corrupt, so support the leader who shares your values."
Writing, "Trump’s guilt or innocence has nothing to do with these other investigations, but drawing the false equivalency provides a talking point for Trump’s supporters," she explained, If Trump’s lawyers really wanted a meeting to discuss the investigation, they would not post the letter on a public website — a phone call to a member of the trial team would do."
"The final tell in the letter is its motive — fear. Sources familiar with the case told The Wall Street Journal that a charging decision in the case may be near," she elaborated. "This letter is a pre-emptive strike that Trump can use if he is indicted. He will cite the letter to show that even before he was charged, his lawyers were on record complaining of unfairness."
"Those complaints may score points in the court of public opinion, but they are irrelevant in a court of law," she predicted.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) corrected NBC host Chuck Todd after he argued Congress does not have the power to regulate ethics rules for the Supreme Court.
"The work that we're doing on ethics in the court ought to be easy, and yet it's not; it's partisan also," Whitehouse said during a
Meet the Press special program on the Supreme Court. "So I think that the first step is going to be for the judicial conference, the other judges, to put some constraints around the Supreme Court's behavior and treat the Supreme Court the way all other federal judges are treated, and that happens inside the judiciary."
"The Chief Justice has to make this decision, though, right?" Todd asked. "Separation of powers, whether, I mean, it's pretty established, Congress can't make a law that does that, right?"
Whitehouse informed the host he was mistaken about how the Constitution works.
"No, it absolutely can," Whitehouse laughed.
"Well, it doesn't mean it's constitutional," Todd quipped.
"Yes, it does," the senator explained. "It means it's constitutional because the laws that we're talking about right now are actually laws passed by Congress. The ethics reporting law that is at the heart of the Clarence Thomas ethics reporting scandal is a law passed by Congress."
"When Justice Thomas failed to recuse himself from the Jan. 6 investigation that turned up his wife's communications, he made the case that that was OK — he had no idea she was involved in insurrection activities," he continued. "The problem with the Supreme Court is that they're in a fact-free zone as well as an ethics-free zone."
Appearing on MSNBC's "The Katie Phang Show," Guardian reporter Hugo Lowell claimed Donald Trump might have avoided being hit with violations of the Espionage Act if it had not been reported that he shared highly sensitive government documents with friends at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
According to Lowell, who has been reporting that the documents may have been hidden from Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran, a new report that Trump left documents laying about and might have shown them to others makes it more likely he'll face more severe charges if that is true.
"The Washington Post reported this week about how prosecutors seem to have evidence that Trump was showing highly sensitive documents to other people," Lowell began. "That's really interesting because that's the kind of aggravating move that a prosecutor looks for when they're trying to prosecute Section 93e of Title 18 which is the Espionage Act."
"There's two parts," he continued. "The first part is willful retention. Willful retention alone is very rarely charged, and I think in the case with the former president, with prosecutors, that was the only thing they might consider not charging."
"But if they have evidence that Trump was showing people and they have the second part of that clause, which is willful transmission and dissemination, that changes the game entirely," he added. "That is the sort of thing that they would charge. That is really concrete evidence that Trump has a lot of problems."
Bogus but hyper-realistic videos of Donald Trump secretly plotting with Russian President Vladimir Putin or President Joe Biden in a secret White House confab with antifa activists? Entirely fake speeches delivered by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) or Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN)?
All possible now. Just watch the wouldn’t-have-been-possible-in-2020 deepfake video starring a computer generated Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who’s depicted as desperately trying to convince his colleagues in “The Office” that he’s not wearing women’s clothes. Donald Trump Jr. is among the people who've shared it on social media in recent days.
Among the most unprepared for AI-infused election shenanigans: members of Congress themselves.
“I haven't heard it talked about here,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) told Raw Story when asked about deepfakes and AI impacting Election 2024.
It’s not that the the Capitol isn’t buzzing with AI regulatory chatter since OpenAI CEO Sam Altman testified before lawmakerslast Tuesday — including telling Hawley that even he is “nervous” about large language learning platforms, such as his company’s ChatGPT, being used to manipulate voters. The problem: this was news to many at the Capitol.
That’s why experts are nervous, too, especially since AI technology is evolving at warp speed.
“Congress should have been proactive yesterday — decades ago,” Woodrow Hartzog, professor of Law at Boston University, told Raw Story.
Congress has a ton of catching up to do, mainly because U.S. policymakers — at the behest of Silicon Valley’steams of Washington lobbyists — have dithered for years in writing rules for the digital road, more or less allowing tech companies to police themselves.
“At the very least, it needs to think about the fact that this is not just a technology and deepfakes problem, that the problem of deepfakes in our democracy is rooted in significantly broader structural concerns around tech accountability, generally, mixed with our laws surrounding privacy, surveillance, free expression, copyright law, equality and anti-discrimination,” Hartzog continued. “All of those seemingly disparate areas — and the cracks that have been growing in our protections around them — are part of this story.”
How dangerous, really?
Artificial intelligence offers great promise of taking humanity to new technological heights.
But the ability to create increasingly realistic fake media is getting easier by the nanosecond, too. What formerly required specialized expertise — not to mention days and weeks worth of time; thus dedication — only to concoct clunky deepfakes is now available to all. The democratization of fakes has many experts freaked out.
It’s easy to see how AI-based deceptions, propaganda and scams could damage an election’s status as truly free and fair, even if just a small fraction of voters are affected.
Consider that the 2016 election was decided by some 80,000 votes across three states. Countless bots and Russian intelligence officers involved themselves (if Senate Republicans are to be believed). Campaign operatives — domestic and foreign, and as bad as they can be — have nothing on AI’s powers (if its creators are to be believed). Especially when combined with today’s always-improving deepfake technology, the ability to dupe is almost easy.
“Think about this as nuclear technology,” Siwei Lyu, a SUNY Empire Innovation Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University at Buffalo, told Raw Story. “Right now, instead of just the U.S. government and a few governments in the world knowing the techniques for making atomic bombs, like everybody now can have a toolkit off of Amazon to make their own atomic bombs. How dangerous that could be, right?”
Lyu continued: “Of course, somebody may use that as a generator to power up my house and then I don't need to be on the electricity grid anymore, but there are people for sure who will misuse it — and those are the things we have very little control over. So that's really where the problem is.”
The fear for Election 2024 isn’t, necessarily, one big, earth-altering digital atomic explosion; the fear is dozens, hundreds or even thousands of personal smart bombs — polished, powered and propelled by generative AI — being quietly dropped on susceptible-to-vulnerable populations in swing states.
They might originate from domestic sources: say, unscrupulous super PACs or lone-wolf political agitators unconcerned about the nation’s largely antiquated election laws and regulations that, in some cases, haven’t been updated since the dawn of the World Wide Web. If that.
Worse, they could come from foreign actors — think Russia, or perhaps Iran and North Korea — who’ve already demonstrated an insatiable appetite for sowing chaos in U.S. elections.
“The makers of deepfakes will create those fake media to reinforce, strengthen your belief, and then the recommendation algorithm will actually push that to you as a user so you will start to see more of this stuff,” Lyu said.
This will all be guided by the private data of millions of Americans, which Silicon Valley firms already have access to because of congressional inaction. When fed into generative AI platforms like ChatGPT the algorithmic loop of fear-drenched, truthy sounding falsehoods and fakes could prove infinite.
'Got to move fast'
Back on Capitol Hill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is now a part of bipartisan negotiations – along with Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Todd Young (R-IN) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) – focused on legislating artificial intelligence.
“We can’t move so fast that we do flawed legislation, but there is no time for waste, or delay, or sitting back,” Schumer told his colleagues on the Senate floor after Altman testified. “We've got to move fast."
There’s only a short window to act, because generative AI is becoming more ubiquitous – more than 100 million people have already signed up for ChatGPT alone.
“And so while it is important for Congress to act, I hope that they realize that they can't just pass one anti-deepfake law of 2023 and dust their hands and call it a day, because this problem is one that is significantly larger than just a few algorithmic tools,” Hartzog, the BU law professor and co-author of Breached: Why Data Security Law Fails and How to Improve It, told Raw Story. “It's fundamental to our whole sort of media information distribution networks and free expression and consumer protection laws.”
Other lawmakers don’t feel the same pressure. Many assume America’s safer than other nations when it comes to AI-powered deepfakes.
“I think in a more advanced ecosystem, like our new system, it's probably easier for campaigns to jump on it pretty quickly and knock it down. I think in the developing world it could start riots and civil wars,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, recently told Raw Story.
Others in Congress – including party leaders – think the government is largely helpless when it comes to preventing the deepfake-ification of American elections.
“All we can do is tell the truth and appeal to the public not to believe everything they hear and see,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the Senate majority whip, told Raw Story.
While 2020 was the "alternative fact” election, 2024 is primed to be the alternative reality election. “Fake news” isn’t just a bumper sticker anymore; it’s now reality.
“We’re in it,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) told Raw Story, “and AI is making it exponentially easier to create a false narrative, to project that false narrative worldwide, to make the false narrative believable by creating much more detailed and thorough content and it will be very hard to take something that’s disseminated worldwide and knock it down as false.”
Gillibrand has been calling for the creation of a new federal Data Protection Agency for years now, arguing the Federal Trade Commission is toothless when it comes to regulating big tech. The Federal Election Commission, meanwhile, often takes years to reach any agreement on even the most modest updates to its political advertising regulations.
“I think we have to keep focusing on the truth and making sure we have levers of government and a legal system to create accountability and oversight to make sure the truth is protected,” Gillibrand said.
Legislating "truth" in a post-truth political universe may prove impossible, but we really won’t know until the dust settles after Election 2024. That’s why many lawmakers, experts and privacy advocates are bracing for an election like no other in U.S. history.
“Every anti-democratic trick in the book will be played in 2024. No doubt,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) – a Trump impeachment manager and member of the select Jan. 6 committee – recently told Raw Story. “The guy dines with racists and anti-Semites, Trump seems determined to prove that he can do anything he wants, including shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue, and his cult following will not budge. So this is where we are in the 21st century.”
Fearing a 2024 ballot headed by now-indicted Donald Trump will cripple the Republican Party's hopes to retain the House and win back the Senate, GOP campaign consultants and moderate Republicans are growing increasingly frustrated that they have been unable to come up with one candidate who can bump the former president off of his perch.
The Politico report notes that what appears to be a massive influx of 2024 GOP presidential nomination contenders, most with little to no chance of being successful, will make it easier for the former president to land his third nomination.
According to Republican Jason Osborne, the New Hampshire House majority leader, "If those people are all still in the race when January comes around, it’s going to be 2016 all over again, and Trump will win,” before lamenting, "That’s just how it is.”
Politico reports, "For Trump, the swelling field is just the latest dose of good luck for a politician who has for years played by rules afforded to no other candidate. He has seemingly become inoculated from blowback to scandals both major and minor that would threaten to fatally wound almost anyone else. The GOP graded his own pair of rambling and lackluster announcement speeches — both in 2016 and again in 2022 — on a curve that did not apply to [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis’ shambolic Twitter launch last week."
Conservative strategist Sarah Longwell explained, "For those of us who view Donald Trump as an existential threat, we’re kind of tearing our hair out over this idea of a crowded field and a repeat of the same dynamics in 2016."
Republican strategist Gregg Keller contributed, "Every person that gets into the race helps Donald Trump be the focal point of the race. You would think it would muddy the water — in fact, it does the exact opposite. It focuses more and more attention on him, to the extent he’s beating these people, attacking these people, stealing the limelight in the way he wants to from these people.”
Former Rep. Joe Walsh claimed DeSantis is already faltering which means the party is likely stuck with Trump.
“He’s been an unlikable son of a bitch. He’s not wearing well,” he explained. “So whereas the field would have been Trump and DeSantis, really, four or five months ago, now you’ve got all these other people who are getting in or are going to get in purely because they’ve seen the same thing … They’re all going to make the bet, well, ‘F--k this. I’ll be the Trump alternative.”
Rick Wilson — Lincoln Project co-founder and vocal Trump critic — is sharing his prediction for the 2024 primary and, by his projection, it doesn't look good for the Republican Party.
According to Wilson, former President Donald Trump would have to be "dead or in jail" for another Republican candidate to have a viable chance of winning the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
To make matters worse, Wilson even suggested that incarceration might not be enough to diminish Trump's influence among voters. According to Mediaite, Wilson made his remarks during a recent segment of the "The Dean Obeidallah Show."
Obeidallah asked Wilson for his take on the feud between Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).
"Is there anything we can do to amplify a DeSantis-Trump divide if that race gets closer, even if it doesn’t?" he asked.
Comparing the political feud to a scene from the movie, "Jaws," Wilson said, "I want you to think about that scene in Jaws where Roy Schneider’s on the back of the boat throwing chum in the water. That would be me. I want DeSantis and Trump to fight and fight and fight. And fight and fight."
He added, "Now, I want that because I know. And a lot of my former conservative friends are like, well, you’re just, oh, why don’t you love DeSantis? DeSantis is a guy who is terrible at this work."
Wilson went on to explain why DeSantis and other Republican presidential candidates will likely be fighting an uphill battle.
"Trump still has a stranglehold over the Republican Party," Wilson noted. "I have to plan for the worst-case scenario. The worst-case scenario is that Donald Trump will be the nominee in the Republican Party once again. There is very there are very few paths to get a Ron DeSantis or any other of these jokers in the field over the finish line in the primary."
"I mean, Trump has to be dead or in jail," he added. "And even in those cases, he still might win the primaries."
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R) said Saturday night that the tentative debt ceiling deal that's been reached between the White House and House Republicans includes clawing back $400 million from a CDC fund "that sends money overseas to countries like China."
Greene, who also celebrated her 49th birthday on Saturday, has previously accused President Joe Biden (D) of being "held hostage by the radical left mob" in spending talks. But her tune was more positive after reports that Biden and Speaker McCarthy had reached a deal in principle that would extend the debt ceiling and skirt default.
Her post on Twitter contained more details about what is purportedly in the deal than other reports from media agencies, but the facts have not been verified. According to Greene:
"Hearing @SpeakerMcCarthy’s soon to be finalized agreement on the debt limit will clawback $400 MILLION from the CDC 'Global Health Fund' that sends money overseas to countries like China," she wrote. Then she added:
"Here’s a few other countries that will no longer get access to these taxpayer dollars: Afghanistan, Albania, Armenia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burma, Cambodia, China, Ivory Coast, DRC, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Malawi, Mail, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia, and Zimbabwe."
The congresswoman added:
"Also on the chopping block is nearly $1.5 BILLION from the CDC’s 'Vaccine Distribution and Monitoring Program.'"
Donald Trump on Saturday said his biggest opponent in the 2024 race for the Republican nomination for President, Ron DeSantis, fired his friend and top campaign official, just like on Trump's former show, "The Apprentice."
The former president, who earlier in the day attacked the conservative advocacy group called "Club for Growth" on social media for its support of DeSantis, posted on his Truth Social platform that DeSantis fired Phil Cox, a former executive director of the Republican Governors Association. He also had some words for Cox, who was reportedly chosen for the RGA post based on "close relationships with a number of Republican governors."
"Ron DeSanctimonious just fired, like on 'The Apprentice,' his friend and top campaign official, Phil Cox, because his campaign is a complete disaster, and 2028 is looking really bad," Trump wrote of DeSantis, utilizing a nickname he uses almost every time he speaks of DeSantis.
"His campaign manager, who so deftly handled the Ted Cruz campaign against me, wanted to work for me, but was turned down - a 'money grubber' like no other, and won’t quit until he’s got every last penny," he added. "Now 'Rob' must change the theme of his campaign from NEVER BACK DOWN to WINNING ISN’T EVERYTHING!"
Donald Trump late Saturday leveled an attack against the "Club for Growth," a conservative advocacy group that recently criticized the former president in an ad, for supporting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).
Trump posted on Truth Social, his own social media platform that he created after being banned from most other platforms in the wake of his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection attempt, that the group is attempting to counter DeSantis' own policy decisions.
"The very stupid, China loving 'Club for No Growth,' which has been backing Ron De Sanctimonious as his poll numbers have been absolutely CRASHING, has just spent some of the RINO money they have accumulated on an ad campaign hoping to counter the fact that Desanctus, just off the worst Presidential 'Launch' in history, opted three times to cut & destroy Social Security, even lifting the minimum age to 70," Trump wrote. "He also voted to cut Medicare & institute a 23% National Sales Tax. Ron is a loser!"
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's birthday is Saturday, but on Twitter she chose to celebrate a "brave new whistleblower" who she said might link President Joe Biden to a pay-to-play scandal.
Greene, who turned 49 years old on Saturday, claimed in a tweet that she personally read reports on the Biden family from the Treasury Department.
"Human trafficking, prostitution, money laundering," she wrote. "It was shocking."
She went on to say a "brave new whistleblower has come forward" in the GOP investigation into Biden. That purported whistleblower has information that she says "may directly implicate Joe Biden himself in a foreign pay-to-play scheme" when he was the Vice President of the U.S.
She noted that the GOP House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, led by Rep. James Comer (R), "will not stop until we bring the full extent of this corruption and potential crimes to light."
The post comes after several reported instances of GOP witnesses and alleged whistleblowers going missing or dodging reporters.
Embattled Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) on Saturday was reportedly impeached and suspended from his duties pending the results of a trial.
Paxton, who recently got 11th-hour support from former president Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, and more, was first recommended for impeachment by a GOP-led panel reviewing the allegations against him. Thursday, he called for a protest at the state capitol in response to the recommendation.
Now, The House voted 121-23 to suspend him based on allegations of bribery, abuse of office, and obstruction. This is the state's first such impeachment since 1975, according to The Texas Tribune.
"In a history-making late-afternoon vote, a divided Texas House chose Saturday to impeach Attorney General Ken Paxton, temporarily removing him from office over allegations of misconduct that included bribery and abuse of office," the outlet reported Saturday. "The vote to adopt the 20 articles of impeachment was 121-23."
It further reported:
"Attention next shifts to the Texas Senate, which will conduct a trial with senators acting as jurors and designated House members presenting their case as impeachment managers."