Donald Trump Is An Absolutely Terrible Criminal Defendant

INSIDE: Anderson Cooper ... E. Jean Carroll ... Leonard Leo
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 04: Former U.S. President Donald Trump sits at the defense table with his defense team in a Manhattan court on April 4, 2023 in New York City. Trump was arraigned during his first court app... NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 04: Former U.S. President Donald Trump sits at the defense table with his defense team in a Manhattan court on April 4, 2023 in New York City. Trump was arraigned during his first court appearance today following an indictment by a grand jury that heard evidence about money paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election. With the indictment, Trump becomes the first former U.S. president in history to be charged with a criminal offense. (Photo by Seth Wenig-Pool/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.

LOL These Headlines

Donald Trump may be a genius reality TV carnival barker, but he is an awful criminal defendant, his own worst enemy, a defense lawyer’s nightmare, a cauldron of admissions against his own interest, an impulsive dolt who keeps digging himself deeper with almost every public utterance.

Look at the many messes Donald Trump created for himself during the CNN “town hall” fiasco:

NYT: E. Jean Carroll May Sue Trump a Third Time After ‘Vile’ Comments on CNN

NBC News: Trump’s comments on Mar-a-Lago documents ‘like red meat to a prosecutor’

NYT: Trump Suggests He Knowingly Took Documents From White House

AJC: Trump said Raffensperger ‘owed me votes’

(If anyone at CNN dares use Trump’s many on-air missteps as justification for giving him an unmediated primetime stage, please shoot me an email.)

This isn’t a new revelation. Trump has been a terrible witness for himself for years in civil lawsuits. The most recent smashing example was when he mistook E. Jean Carroll – whom he notoriously derided as “not my type” – for his ex-wife Marla Maples. That deposition testimony, captured on video, was probably a turning point in Carroll’s sexual abuse and defamation case against him. As if to make the point even stronger, Trump is so unreliable on the witness stand that he did not testify in his own defense during the Carroll trial.

With criminal proceedings against Trump already underway in New York state, expected this summer in Georgia, and potentially coming at any time on multiple fronts from Special Counsel Jack Smith, Trump’s own remarks being used against him by for prosecutors is going to be a recurring theme. They have an abundance of material to work with from the very stable genius.

Who Still Needs To Read This?

Maybe there’s someone in your life who still doesn’t get why the CNN “town hall” format for Trump was an abdication of journalistic duty, a failure to learn any lessons of the past eight years, and frankly an embarrassment. You might show them this thoughtful thread from Paul Waldman:

Anderson Cooper Badly Misses The Point

Trump To Appeal Carroll Verdict

Donald Trump filed a notice that he plans to appeal the $5 million federal jury verdict against him to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

DOJ Fares Well In Key Jan. 6 Appeal


The Justice Department appears poised to win a significant appeals court victory in a case that threatened to upend hundreds of Jan. 6 prosecutions for obstruction of Congress’ electoral vote-counting session.

Two members of a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals hinted strongly Thursday that they largely agree with prosecutors’ interpretation of the Enron-era obstruction law that the Justice Department has leveled against hundreds of Jan. 6 defendants.

Santos Fesses Up … In Brazil

Rep. George Santos (R-NY), under federal indictment in New York, reached a deal with Brazilian prosecutors to confess to passing bad checks and to pay restitution in return for criminal charges being dropped.

Good Read

 Paul Rosenzweig: How Is George Santos Different from Donald Trump?

White House Meeting On Debt Ceiling Postponed

A meeting planned for today at the White House among President Biden and congressional leaders on the debt ceiling has been postponed until next week.

“I don’t think there’s enough progress for us to get back together,” Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said late Thursday.

The White House and congressional staff have been in behind-the-scenes talks since Tuesday’s meeting of the President and leadership.

2024 Ephemera

Follow The Dark Money

Leonard Leo’s Marble Freedom Trust gave away $182.7 million in the year ending on April 30, 2022, according to a recent tax filing.

What A Journey That Was

Forty years after it banned gay men from donating blood, the FDA has rolled back the AIDS-crisis era restrictions.

Daniel Penny Charged In Jordan Neely’s Death

The 24-year-old former Marine who put a homeless man on the NYC subway in chokehold until he died has been charged with second-degree manslaughter. Arraignment is set for today in state court in New York.

Gun Control Setback


A federal judge in Virginia has declared unconstitutional a set of laws and regulations that prohibit federally licensed firearms dealers from selling handguns to 18-to-20-year-olds, finding that the measures violated the Second Amendment.

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