Just Out There Running For Prez As A Straight Up Mob Boss

INSIDE: Aileen Cannon ... Fani Willis ... Adeel Mangi
Former US President and presidential hopeful Donald Trump arrives at the New York Young Republican Club's 111th annual gala in New York on December 9, 2023. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP vi... Former US President and presidential hopeful Donald Trump arrives at the New York Young Republican Club's 111th annual gala in New York on December 9, 2023. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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Pay Attention To What Trump Is Doing Here

The news that Donald Trump is considering bringing back archvillain Paul Manafort for some role at the Republican convention is a five-alarm warning of potential nefariousness given Manafort’s past ties to Russian intel, his previous money-laundering conviction, his refusal to ever turn on Trump, and Trump’s subsequent end-of-term pardon of him. But you get that, and I don’t need to explain it in depth.

Here’s what you may not have picked up on.

Coupled with the separate news that Trump is also considering bringing back Corey Lewandowski, Manafort’s immediate predecessor as Trump 2016 campaign manager, the whole thing looks even more like a mob boss move: Trump is a sending a powerful signal that as long as you stay loyal and don’t cross him, even if it means serving jail time, you will be protected. Your loyalty counts, it’s noticed, and it’s rewarded.

It’s the same signal, of course, that the pardons of Manafort and Stone and others back in 2020 sent, but Trump can’t pardon anyone right now and he wasn’t under four criminal indictments back then. What he can do now is dangle the prospect of presidential pardons if he wins re-election, suggest that previous wrongdoers are still welcome in his circle, and offer the chance of redemption even to people he previously fired or got crosswise with. By doing so, he reassures his current co-defendants, supplicants, and enablers that he’ll protect them, too.

It’s striking how vague the news reports are about what exactly Trump is “considering” and what roles Manafort or Lewandowski would actually have. That just adds to my sense that the value of these moves is at least as much the signal the leaks about them send as whatever actual value the former aides would bring to unspecified roles at some uncertain future date.

No one would trust Trump and fall for such assurances, right? Let me introduce you to Peter Navarro.

When Navarro reported to prison this week, having gone out on a limb to protect Trump from the Jan. 6 committee’s investigation, even though Trump left him hanging with no invocation of executive privilege, he was still angling for Trump to come to his rescue. “I will walk proudly in there to do my time,” Navarro said. “I will gather strength from this: Donald John Trump is the nominee.” Hint, hint.

It’s not just Navarro. Trump has more than half a dozen co-defendants in the Georgia RICO case who he needs to stay in alignment with him. I remain particularly interested in the two co-defendants in the Mar-a-Lago case, vulnerable because they’re Trump employees, have no constituency of their own, and are having their legal bills paid by him.

You don’t think people in Trump’s orbit notice the transgressiveness of him embracing Manafort? Or extending an olive branch to Lewandowski? You don’t think his past pardons registered for them? Please.

A Quick Word

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Failing Up

Donald Trump’s anemic social media platform turned meme stock Truth Social is on the verge of going public and landing him a $3.5 billion windfall.

Trump Accountability Miscellany

  • WaPo: Judges and lawyers are flummoxed by Judge Cannon
  • AJC: Georgia judge allows Trump and co-defendants to immediately appeal his decision not to disqualify Fani Willis, but won’t delay the pre-trial proceedings.
  • WaPo: New York Attorney General Letitia James urged an appeals court not to buy Trump’s claim that he can’t obtain an appeal bond.

The Long Con

Brian Beutler: “Trump is scarcely running a presidential campaign. He might become president in spite of this, but his efforts are overwhelmingly fixed on evading justice or mooting judgments he’s already lost by any means necessary. He’d ideally like to prevail in these efforts before the election, but the task will become much easier if he’s able to win or steal the presidency despite the legal peril.”

Sign O’ The Times

TPM’s Khaya Himmelman: Election Officials Get Pointers On How To Appear More Human To Extremists

Alternate Universe Alert

Last night on Fox News, Sean Hannity propagandized: “To me, the one thing they don’t want to talk about is are you better off than you were 4 years ago because there’s no good answer for them.”

Meanwhile, in the previous hour on MSNBC:

Post by @allinwithchris
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2024 Ephemera

  • Little Marco? Trump camp wants you to know it sees Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) as a potential VP pick (along with 15 other assorted candidates).
  • Cash On Hand: Biden campaign extends its cash reserves advantage over Trump campaign.
  • MD-Sen: Former Gov. Larry Hogan (R), the surprise entrant in the race, holds double digits leads in hypothetical matchups against each of the two main Democratic candidates, according to a new WaPo-UMD poll.

On Track To Avoid GOP Gov’t Shutdown

The final piece in the 2024 federal budget puzzle is poised to fall into place at long last ahead of a Friday deadline to avoid a partial government shutdown – but not without Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) having to rely on Democratic help for the third time to keep the government funded.

Biden Impeachment Farce Is Running On Fumes

WaPo: “Lacking support and evidence, the GOP-led impeachment inquiry against President Biden continued to sputter out, even as House Republicans on Wednesday held a hearing that featured witnesses who reiterated thin allegations that members of the Biden family capitalized financially on their father’s name.”

White House Defends Adeel Mangi 

A day after Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (NV) came out against the nomination of Adeel Mangi to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, the White House rallied to his defense, calling the spate of GOP-led attacks against the nominee an “Islamophobic smear campaign.” If confirmed, Mangi would be the first Muslim American judge to sit on a federal appeals court.

U.S. Life Expectancy Rises After Two-Year Dip

After the shock of the pandemic sent it downward in 2020 and 2021, U.S. life expectancy rose by more than one full year from 2021 to 2022, from 76.4 years to 77.5 years, but it still hasn’t fully recovered to the pre-pandemic level of 78.8 years in 2019.

Come For The Pretty Images …

Stay for the pronunciation of Icelandic place names:

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Latest Morning Memo

Notable Replies

  1. Missed this one
    Republicans Reject Motion to Impeach Joe Biden (newsweek.com)
    House Republicans James Comer and Jim Jordan, who are leading an impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden, refused to second a motion made by Representative Jared Moskowitz, a Florida Democrat, to impeach the president.

    Moskowitz tried to put the motion on the table for a vote on Wednesday in an effort to call GOP lawmakers’ bluff in what he called a “fake” probe.

    Moskowitz, who sits on the Oversight Committee, addressed Comer at a committee hearing relating to the Biden impeachment probe.

    “Let’s just do the impeachment,” he said. "Why continue to waste millions of dollars of the taxpayers’ money if we’re going to impeach because you believe you’ve shown he’s committed a high crime or misdemeanor. What are you waiting on?

    “By the way, we’ve got Chairman Jordan here also. Why aren’t you guys calling for the vote in your committee? When is it gonna happen?”

    Speaking to the American people, Moskowitz said: “They haven’t proven he committed a high crime and misdemeanor. Otherwise, we would call for impeachment.”

    Moskowitz then welcomed Jordan to second a motion to impeach Biden.

    "I just think we should do it today. Let’s just call for it," Moskowitz said. "I’ll make the motion, Mr. Chairman. I wanna help you out. You can second it, right? Like, make the motion to impeach President Biden, go ahead.

    Moskowitz was met with silence from Jordan and Comer.

    Moskowitz then said to the public: “They’re never gonna impeach Joe Biden. It’s never gonna happen because they don’t have the evidence. This is a show. It’s all fake.”

  2. I usually loathe someone being shouted down
    In this case I’ll allow it
    f*cking murderer

  3. The other thing I don’t see mentioned much is that by bringing folks like Manafort and Lewandowski back onto the campaign staff is that is he able to pay them using campaign funds to further buy their loyalty. Just another case of using other people’s money to his own benefit.

  4. Didn’t see much of the Lev Parnas testimony in the news yesterday. Way down the page @ nbc, and ny times. CNN had better reporting.
    Skiing and biking through CO w/ Mrs. Jstrummer …

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