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Former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden.

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/Elizabeth Frantz

The one good reason to watch the Biden-Trump debates

Well, if they want a geriatric cockfight then we, as a nation, shall have one.

After months of circling each other, Joe Biden and Donald Trump abruptly agreed this week to face off in not one, but two televised presidential debates. The first will be in late June, the second in mid-September.

Trump had been taunting low-profile Joe for weeks, holding rallies with an empty podium at his side, accusing the gaffe-prone commander in chief of ducking him.

But Biden suddenly flipped the script, coming out swinging on social media with the Dirty Harry dare (“make my day, pal”) and a “sick burn” about hearing Trump was “available on Wednesdays” — the one weekday when the former president’s hush money criminal trial isn’t in session.

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Jess Frampton

Are bots trying to undermine Donald Trump?

In an exclusive investigation into online disinformation surrounding the reaction to Donald Trump’s hush-money trial, GZERO asks whether bots are being employed to shape debates about the former president’s guilt or innocence. We investigated, with the help of Cyabra, a firm that specializes in tracking bots, to look for disinformation surrounding the online reactions to Trump’s trial. Is Trump’s trial the target of a massive online propaganda campaign – and, if so, which side is to blame?

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Adult film actress Stormy Daniels testified on Tuesday against former President Donald Trump, detailing her sexual encounter with Trump in 2006 and her $130,000 hush money payment from Trump's ex-attorney Michael Cohen before the 2016 election. In the process, she shared explicit details and said she had not wanted to have sex with Trump. This led the defense team to call for a mistrial. Their claim? That the embarrassing aspects were “extraordinarily prejudicial.”

Judge Juan Merchan denied the motion – but also agreed that some of the details from Daniels were “better left unsaid.”

The trouble is, plenty is being said, inside the courtroom and in the court of public opinion – aka social media. With so many people learning about the most important trials of the century online, GZERO partnered with Cyabra to investigate how bots are influencing the dialogue surrounding the Trump trials. For a man once accused of winning the White House off the steam of Russian meddling, the results may surprise you.

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Stormy Daniels is questioned by prosecutor Susan Hoffinger before Justice Juan Merchan during former President Donald Trump's criminal trial.

REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg

Stormy embarrassments about the wrong things

Of all the salaciously sloppy moments in Donald Trump’s hush-money trial unfolding just a short walk from GZERO HQ — and there are a lot – one stands out.

No, it’s not the anecdote about Stormy Daniels allegedly spanking Trump with a magazine — a detail that unintentionally evoked nostalgia for the fading benefits of print media. Try spanking a candidate with a digital edition!

No, it’s something far more modest. As the adult entertainer poured out presidential peccadillos about his penchant for satin pajamas, Trump’s lawyer declared that it all was so embarrassing that the jury was now prejudiced against his client. He demanded a mistrial.

State Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan had to rule on the nature of embarrassment. What level is so harmful that it erodes the system, in this case, forcing a mistrial? In a sense, this is the core question of our confessional culture: Are there conventions of decorum that preserve human dignity and, if so, how do we adhere to them?

Merchan didn’t ponder this too long. He denied the mistrial but admitted that much of Daniels’ testimony was “better left unsaid.”

It was a cultural comment on the age of oversharing and a flimsy protest against the strategy that Steve Bannon once called “flooding the zone with shit,” but it warrants some attention. Would it help our political culture if some things were left unsaid, or are we actually leaving the most embarrassingly important things unsaid?

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The US Supreme Court’s “upside-down” logic in Trump immunity case
The US Supreme Court’s “upside-down” logic in Trump immunity case

The US Supreme Court’s “upside-down” logic in Trump immunity case

2024 is certain to be a historic year for the US Supreme Court: In June, SCOTUS will issue rulings on former president Donald Trump’s immunity claims in charges brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith involving Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Emily Bazelon joins Ian Bremmer on GZERO World to unpack the legal arguments at the heart of the case and what caught SCOTUS experts off-guard during oral arguments.

“It seemed going in that this was a pretty clear case,” Bazelon explains, “That Trump’s claims that he has absolute immunity for acts he committed in office is just too broad. It seemed obvious, and then it didn’t seem obvious at all.”
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Former U.S. President Donald Trump walks amid his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments, at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 7, 2024, in New York City, U.S. Trump has been charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records, which prosecutors say was an effort to hide a potential sex scandal, both before and after the 2016 presidential election. Trump is the first former U.S. president to face trial on criminal charges.

Win McNamee/Pool via REUTERS

Trump flirts with detention

American cable news has been riveted for weeks by the courtroom spectacle of former president and current presidential candidate Donald Trump. That was even before Stormy Daniels, the famous porn star at the center of the so-called “hush-money” trial, took the stand on Tuesday to offer provocative details about an encounter with Trump that he insists never happened.

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The major Supreme Court decisions to watch for in June
The major Supreme Court decisions to watch for in June | GZERO World with Ian Bremmer

The major Supreme Court decisions to watch for in June

In June, the US Supreme Court will begin issuing decisions on cases involving everything from reproductive rights to gun ownership to homeless encampments to former president Donald Trump’s criminal cases. Yale Law School Lecturer and staff writer at the New York Times Magazine Emily Bazelon joins Ian Bremmer on GZERO World to unpack some of the biggest cases on the docket this year and what’s at stake in some of the major decisions expected to come down next month.

This year’s SCOTUS term comes at a time when approval for the Court is at an all-time low. As of September of 2023, a record 58% of Americans disapproved of how the Court handles its job. That follows multiple ethics scandals involving Associate Justice Clarence Thomas and a string of conservative decisions, including the 2022 Dobbs decision striking down the right to abortion, increasingly out of step with public opinion. With the Court wading into the 2024 election and former President Trump’s immunity claims, it risks being seen by the public as even more partisan and politicized.

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Trump’s Gag Order EXPLAINED
Trump’s Gag Order EXPLAINED | PUPPET REGIME

Trump’s Gag Order EXPLAINED

After being fined and warned, defendant Donald Trump learns what he can and cannot say.

Watch more PUPPET REGIME!

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Alex Kliment

What the Trump trial circus is missing

On the first day of the first criminal trial of a former US president, I couldn’t resist. The courthouse is 15 minutes from my desk here in New York, so I jumped on the 6 Train and headed out to the scrum of protesters, counterprotesters, journalists, police, and other gawkers in Lafayette Park outside the courthouse.

There was lots – lots – of yelling. Just as I arrived, a guy in a “Gays for Trump, You got a problem with that, Bitch!” T-shirt was at the center of a smartphone scrum screaming at a woman holding a “Trump is the Definition of Depravity” sign that she was a “pedophile.”

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