Candidate Trump Keeps Doing Putin’s Bidding And No One Bats An Eye

INSIDE: Fani Willis ... Lara Trump ... Bob Edwards
OSAKA, JAPAN - JUNE,28 (RUSSIA OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump (R) greets Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) during their bilateral meeting at the G20 Osaka Summit 2019, in Osaka, Japan, June,28,2019. Vladimir Put... OSAKA, JAPAN - JUNE,28 (RUSSIA OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump (R) greets Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) during their bilateral meeting at the G20 Osaka Summit 2019, in Osaka, Japan, June,28,2019. Vladimir Putin has arrived to Japan to partcipate the G20 Osaka Summit and to meet U.S.President Donald Trump. (Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/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.

Stepping Back For A Moment …

Trump threatening to throw NATO allies to the Russian wolf and the MAGA-driven House refusing to consider Ukraine aid are part and parcel of the same pro-Putin politics that have animated Trump for almost a decade now. It leaves Europe on edge, Ukraine more isolated, and Russia emboldened.

For my money, the Republican Party’s abandonment of its traditional defense of liberty abroad (as flawed and disastrous as it sometimes was in practice) is the biggest tectonic shift in American politics since WWII. Am I overstating it? I can’t think of another comparable seismic movement in the past 80 years.

Senate Passes Ukraine Aid

After an all-night session, the Senate passed the foreign aid bill earlier this morning that includes additional support for Ukraine. But on the House side, under pressure from Trump, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has vowed not to let the Senate bill on the floor for a vote.

Quote Of The Day

Everyone should be scared as hell. Anybody who cares about American leadership, anyone who cares about protecting democracy, anybody who wants to take on authoritarians around the world should be scared to death by the fact that Donald Trump is telling us that if he was reelected president, he would throw our NATO allies to Putin.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)

Trump Goes To SCOTUS On Immunity

Trump’s far-fetched claim that the president has immunity from criminal prosecution has reached the Supreme Court.

We’re in a pretty weedy, procedural phase of this process. If you’re into that, University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck has a handy cheat sheet on the options the court had for how to handle this case (scroll down to “III. What Happens at the Supreme Court?”).

New From TPM!

We are rolling out a series of stories this week based on (1) a trove of documents from December 2020-January 2021 turned over to Michigan prosecutors by one-time Trump codefendant Kenneth Chesebro; and (2) an audio recording of an interview Chesebro did last year with those same prosecutors, who are investigating the fake electors scheme in the state. TPM’s Josh Kovensky obtained both source materials and is the lead reporter on the series.

The series launched yesterday with:

  • An introductory piece: New Documents Reveal How Trump Lawyers Sought ‘Chaos’ to Force SCOTUS, or Whoever Else, to Anoint Trump.
  • The first installment: Docs Obtained by TPM Show Trump Lawyers’ Plan To Make Jan. 6 Last For Days On End

More coming today and tomorrow.

Fani Willis Gonna Have Some Explaining To Do

Atlanta District Attorney Fani Willis failed in her effort yesterday to get the trial judge in the Georgia RICO case to cancel an evidentiary hearing scheduled for Thursday about her romantic relationship with Nathan Wade, one of the special counsels she hired.

In a preliminary hearing over various disputed subpoenas issued in advance of the Thursday showdown, the judge showed only passing interest in the romantic relationship itself but did find there to be enough of a factual question over whether Willis is financially benefitting from the prosecution to proceed with the evidentiary hearing.

“Because I think it’s possible that the facts alleged by the defendant could result in disqualification, I think an evidentiary hearing must occur to establish the record on those core allegations,” state court Judge Scott McAfee said in open court.

As for the relationship itself, McAfee said:

McAfee said the evidentiary hearing needs to establish “whether a relationship existed, whether that relationship was romantic or non-romantic in nature, when it formed and whether it continues.”

”And that’s only relevant because it’s in combination with the question of the existence and extent of any personal benefit conveyed as a result of their relationship,” he said.

Stay tuned.

Make Nepotism Great Again

Donald Trump is backing his daughter-in-law Lara Trump for co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee. If Trump gets his way (and he will), she would serve alongside Michael Whatley, current chair of the North Carolina GOP, who would replace Ronna McDaniel as the RNC’s top official. In the expected RNC shakeup, Trump also wants longtime GOP operative Chris LaCivita to serve as the RNC’s COO, while retaining his role as co-campaign manager of the Trump campaign.

2024 Ephemera

  • NY-03: It’s special election day to fill the seat vacated by the serial fabulist George Santos – and the district is under a Winter Storm Warning.
  • CA-Sen: Ahead of the March 5 open primary, the California Senate candidates held their second TV debate last night.
  • AZ-Sen: Despite everything, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is backing Kari Lake (R).
  • Nikki Haley turns Trump’s attack on her husband into the centerpiece of her campaign.

RIP Bob Edwards

The longtime host of NPR’s Morning Edition has died at 76.


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