A New Trumpian Strategy For Perpetuating The Big Lie

INSIDE: Aileen Cannon ... Juan Merchan ... Jamaal Bowman
WAUKESHA, WISCONSIN - MAY 01: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks to guests during a rally on May 01, 2024 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. A recent poll has Trump and President Joe Biden cu... WAUKESHA, WISCONSIN - MAY 01: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks to guests during a rally on May 01, 2024 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. A recent poll has Trump and President Joe Biden currently tied in the state. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.

The Flood Gates Are Opened

One under-appreciated aspect of Donald Trump’s relentless year’s long campaign to promulgate the Big Lie is how it becomes internalized as gospel all the way down the GOP line to the local dog catcher.

We saw a similar dynamic in the decades-long voter fraud bamboozlement effort the GOP was running. Yes, those efforts were smoked out, the worst culprits identified, and some of the most egregious efforts either thwarted or rolled back. But I observed from our reporting on it over the years that the voter fraud bogosity was so prevalent that even reasonable, non-bad-actor Republicans adopted and advanced it unquestioningly. It was in the drinking water. They didn’t even know they’d been sipping it for years.

That was a sobering realization, a corollary to the old aphorism that if you repeat the lie for long enough it becomes true. Which brings us to the Big Lie.

We’ve seen periodic episodes of local officials thwarting the certification of election results on some Big Lie-style pretense. Heroes in their own minds, they’ve been immersed in the Big Lie for long enough for it to have saturated their entire understanding of the election process. That’s not to let them off the hook, or to excuse their actions. It’s just a different dynamic than what we saw in 2020.

The Washington Post reports this morning on examples from five battleground states since 2020 where county-level officials have tried to block the certification of the vote. The article frames it up as a potential threat to the sanctity of a Biden win in November, a way for Republicans in the thousands of counties around the country to impede, slow, or undermine the ultimate determination of who won. Or worse, to create and sustain unfounded doubts about the result of the election that could fuel election challenges, delegitimize the result, and mire the election in legal battles.

If the 2020 autocoup attempt was from the top down, led by President Trump from the White House, the 2024 version may look more bottom up, a “grassroots” effort that Trump has seeded with a million lies for a dozen years. Or, as I suspect is most likely, a combination of top-down and bottom-up election denialism that work in sync with each other to maximize disruption.

Let’s Check In On the Georgia RICO Case

Things have slowed to a crawl as Trump et al.’s appeal of the trial judge’s refusal to disqualify District Attorney Fani Willis is considered:

  • AJC: Trump, co-defendants urge Georgia appeals court to disqualify Fani Willis
  • AJC: A determined judge vows to keep Trump case moving

Speaking Of Georgia …

Georgia is the first state to require its law enforcement officers be trained in the nuances of election intimidation and election interference in order to keep them on the right side of the line, TPM’s Khaya Himmelman reports.

Could Be Worse

After a hearing on the matter yesterday, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon does not seem inclined to take Trump’s side and find fault with the validity of the search warrant executed at Mar-a-Lago in the classified documents case.

Judge Eases Trump Gag Order

New York state Judge Juan Merchan reluctantly loosened some of the strictures of the gag order he imposed on Trump in the hush-money case. The revised gag order will remain in place until after Trump is sentenced next month.

Insurrectionists Abound

With Steve Bannon due to report to prison July 1, the House GOP is trying to throw him a lifeline with the Supreme Court.

Election Results

  • NY-16: Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D) lost to Westchester County executive George Latimer (D) in the Democratic primary by double digits.
  • CO-04: Rep. Lauren Boebert (R) romped to victory in the GOP primary in her new-to-her district, which was vacated by the retiring Rep. Ken Buck (R).
  • UT-Sen: Rep. John Curtis (R) defeated Trump-endorsed Trent Staggs (R) in the GOP primary to become the presumptive successor to Sen. Mitt Romney (R).

If You’re Ignoring My Recommendation …

… and are dying to read about Thursday’s presidential debate, this Bulwark piece is about as good as it’s gonna get.


The Supreme Court is scheduled to release its end-of-term decisions at 10 a.m. ET today, tomorrow and Friday. It’s not yet clear whether they’ll issue all of their outstanding opinions by the end of this week or have to push the end of the term into next week.

In the meantime, read Linda Greenhouse on the high court’s gun decision last week.

Assange Now A Free Man

The Wikileaks provocateur entered his guilty plea to violating the Espionage Act in the far-flung U.S. federal court in the Northern Mariana Islands as part of plea deal that sentenced him to time already served in a British prison. Afterwards, he flew on to his home country of Australia.

As folks assess the implications, some reading for you to consider:

  • Charlie Savage: Assange’s Plea Deal Sets a Chilling Precedent, but It Could Have Been Worse
  • Marcy Wheeler: The Damaging Precedent Of The Julian Assange Espionage Guilty Plea

Long Time Coming

President Biden will issue a blanket pardon today to gay former service members convicted over a 60-year period of violating the military’s old anti-sodomy laws. Some 2,000 people are covered by the pardon.

Keeping An Eye On This

BOEING STARLINER SPACECRAFT, INTERNATIONAL SPAPCE STATION — JUNE 6, 2024: Amazing Maxar satellite imagery capture of the Boeing Starliner spacecraft docked to the forward port on the International Space Station. This type of satelite collection is known as non-earth imaging or NEI. Please use: Satellite image (c) 2024 Maxar Technologies.

The two astronauts aboard the first human flight of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft remain stuck indefinitely at the International Space Station while engineers try to figure out technical problems encountered on the voyage there back in early June.

The spacecraft and its crew were scheduled to return after eight days, on June 18. The return date was initially pushed back until today. But yesterday NASA announced an indefinite postponement until sometime in July.

Never Stop

US Mavis Staples performs on stage during a concert in the Azkena Rock Festival in the northern Spanish Basque city of Vitoria on June 22, 2024. (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA / AFP) (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images)

When I saw her onstage early last summer, Mavis Staples was struggling a little bit with the heat, which is understandable for someone in their 80s. By the end of the summer, she was ready to retire. But that didn’t suit her, and she has since changed her mind. The NYT has a lovely profile of the reinvigorated legend.

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Notable Replies

  1. President Joe Biden on Wednesday is expected to pardon U.S. veterans who were convicted over a six-decade period for having gay sex when it was explicitly banned by a military law. The move will affect about 2,000 people who faced charges between 1951 and 2013 under Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which outlawed sodomy even for consenting adults. Congress rewrote the code in 2013 to remove the ban. “Today, I am righting an historic wrong by using my clemency authority to pardon many former service members who were convicted simply for being themselves,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House prior to the announcement. “Despite their courage and great sacrifice, thousands of LGBTQI+ service members were forced out of the military because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Some of these patriotic Americans were subject to court-martial, and have carried the burden of this great injustice for decades.”

  2. I’m glad he’s doing something. Healthcare costs continue to rise for everyone, including those of us on Medicare.

  3. I’ll believe it when I see it. I am still not convinced Mr. Trump will show up to the debates. The format is absolutely terrible for him. Even if he does actually show up, he has no intention of actually debating. He is just trying to memorize zinger replies to be able to brag on right wing media that he ‘owned’ President Biden. The debate will provide windows into both men’s characters, but it will be the most content-free debate in U.S. history.

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