Federal Judge Warns Of A Jan. 6 Repeat In The 2024 Election

INSIDE: Merrick Garland ... Letitia James ... Stephen Miller
President Donald Trump speaks to supporters from the Ellipse near the White House on January 6, 2021. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
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A federal judge in Washington, D.C., warned Thursday that Donald Trump could provoke a Jan. 6-style attack with another call to arms in response to the 2024 election.

U.S. District Judge Rudy Contreras made his comments from the bench during the sentencing of a Jan. 6 rioter. Noting that Trump and his allies had “spurred” the attack, the judge expressed concern that the defendant before him would respond to a similar “call” in the future.

“It doesn’t take much imagination to imagine a similar call coming out in the coming months,” Contreras said.

This is, by my count, at least the third federal judge sitting in DC who has publicly warned of the threat we still face right now – not just the retrospective assigning of blame for what happened in the 2020 election, but actively and frantically sending out alerts that we may face more political violence ahead.

This is decidedly not normal conduct from federal judges (both Democratic and Republican appointees). The only modern precedent for this kind of grave concern from the federal judiciary might be during the civil rights era.

Lots of folks have been warning for a long time about the threat of Trump and his followers, but when it’s coming from federal judges it puts the current era in a whole new light.

‘Mike, This Is A Political Career Killer If You Do This’

The testimony of Donald Trump’s White House valet to the House Jan. 6 committee has been revealed publicly for the first time. The unnamed attendant was present for the infamous Trump phone call with Pence on the morning of Jan. 6.

He doesn’t recall Trump calling Pence a “pussy,” but he did remember Trump issuing this threat if Pence went ahead and certified the Electoral College results later that day: “Mike, this is a political career killer if you do this.”

No Humor In This Gallows

Striking new video this week obtained by CBS News of the group suspected of erecting a gallows on the grounds of the Capitol on Jan. 6:

Important Read

NYT: Inside Merrick Garland’s Effort to Prosecute Trump

Letitia James Means Business

New York Attorney General Letitia James started filing the paperwork in Westchester County to enforce her massive civil judgement against Donald Trump by seizing a Trump golf course and private estate – if he is unable to post an appeal bond or obtain relief from a higher court by his Monday deadline.

What Stephen Miller Has Been Up To

Trump whisperer and non-lawyer Stephen Miller is behind a nonprofit group that has been uber-aggressively filing lawsuits, shooting off threat letters, and preparing amicus briefs against “woke” corporations, school districts, law schools, and others.

Harmonic Convergence

TPM’s Hunter Walker and the NYT have been swimming in the same right-wing waters over the past week:

Last Friday at TPM: House GOPers Teamed With Conspiracist Michael Yon Who Called Migrants ‘Apes’ And ‘Congo Cannibals’

Monday: The NYT tracks Michael Yon and Laura Loomer to the Darien Gap in Panama.

Thursday at TPM: Trump Buddy Laura Loomer Blames ‘Typo’ For Indications Her Newest Project Involved Neo-Nazi Nick Fuentes

Secret Society Coverage Central

Kudos to TPM’s Josh Kovensky on the continuing reverberations from his ground-breaking coverage of the far-right, Christian nationalist, all-men Society for American Civic Renewal (SACR).

A sampling of some the followup coverage:

  • Heather Cox Richardson: “In the past few weeks, Josh Kovensky of Talking Points Memo has deepened our understanding of the right-wing attempt to impose Christian nationalism on the United States through support for Trump and the MAGA movement.”
  • The Statesman newspaper in Idaho, where the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the largest Christian denomination, picked up on TPM’s reporting and editorialized on the exclusion of Mormons from SACR: “When SACR members talk about a Christian nation or a Christian civilization, remember that you would be excluded from it. Whatever local governance and local institutions they’re building, they aren’t for you — much less for women, LGBTQ+ people, atheists and tens of thousands of other Idahoans.”
  • The Straight White American Jesus podcast, run by two former ministers turned religion scholars, devoted an episode to TPM’s reporting on SACR.
  • MSNBC’s Joy Reid interviewed Kovensky on her Wednesday evening show.
  • The Guardian, which originally reported on the existence of SACR last year, followed up on TPM’s new work.
  • Other pickups from The Nation and Esquire.

Help Make TPM Go!

I’m focused on lassoing as many Morning Memo readers as I can who aren’t already TPM members into joining during our annual membership drive. We’re shooting for 1,000 new members. Overnight, we crested 250. Anything you can do to help close that gap will be tremendously appreciated. Thank you!

Keep An Eye On The Hill Today

We should know later this morning whether Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) is going to be able to cobble together the bare minimum of House GOP votes to avoid a partial government shutdown this weekend. It’s going to be close, Punchbowl reports.

Bring The Snark

TPM’s Nicole Lafond: Without The Votes, House GOP Now Says Electorate Can Just Go Ahead And Do The Impeachment For Them

Garland Responds To Criticism Over Hur Report

Attorney General Merrick Garland claims it would have been “absurd” for him to have edited or withheld Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report on Joe Biden’s mishandling of classified information from his vice presidency.

Indicted Bob Menendez Withdraws From Dem Primary

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), under indictment in a foreign influence and bribery scandal, will not run for re-election as a Democrat but might re-enter the race as an independent in the fall, he announced Thursday.

Dr. Seuss And Rod Blagojevich

A federal judge clearly enjoyed tossing out a bogus civil lawsuit filed against the state of Illinois by convicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) to try to return to public life.

Here’s the conclusion to the opinion and order:

Blagojevich’s federal prison sentence was commuted in 2020 by President Trump after he served 8 years of a 14-year sentence.

A Feel Good Ending*

CBS News correspondent David Begnaud returned home last fall to his small Catholic high school in Louisiana to pay tribute to a life-changing teacher of his:

(Morning Memo was on the same speech-and-debate team more years than I want to count ahead of Begnaud and before Ms. Surratt was the coach. I hadn’t seen the campus in almost 40 years … wow.)

*The sad coda to Begnaud’s segment is that he later heard he’d been kept from doing more filming on campus because of concerns it might make it look as if the school approved of his sexuality.

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