Fox News Shows CNN How A Trump Town Hall Is Done

INSIDE: Jack Smith ... John Durham ... Henry Kissinger
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A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.

Back To What Really Matters

With the GOP-driven debt ceiling debacle behind us, it’s important to remember that it was merely a symptom of the deeper, authoritarian rot. The tear-it-all-down impulse, the urge to inflict pain and suffering on perceived enemies, the opposition to democracy and democratic institutions all remain as animating forces within the Republican Party.

So it was not a surprise to see Sean Hannity reprise his role as chief lickspittle to Donald Trump in a televised “town hall” format last night. But what was amusing and a little revealing was to see Fox News take such a different tack from CNN’s own widely panned Trump “town hall” last month.

Still smarting from its landmark defamation settlement with Dominion Voting Systems and still under the gun with the pending Smartmatic lawsuit, Fox News decided not to broadcast the Trump “town hall” live. Rather than risk broadcasting more Trump lies about the 2020 election, Fox News recorded and edited the event. And it showed.

As The Guardian noted, last night’s broadcast contained no mention of the 2020 Big Lie. The Guardian suggests those references were edited out. Perhaps. Or maybe Hannity managed to steer Trump away from that minefield. It’s not clear to me.

Regardless though, Fox News gave itself the chance to exercise more editorial control over its event than CNN did over its own. One caveat: Fox News is airing more of the Trump event tonight, so we’ll see how that goes.

Trump Responds To MAL Recording

During the Iowa “town hall” broadcast, Trump was asked by Sean Hannity about the July 2021 recording of him touting a classified document in an interview after leaving office. The recording has emerged as a key bit of evidence in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s Mar-a-Lago documents investigation. Trump responded: “I don’t know anything about it. All I know is this: Everything I did was right.”

More On The MAL Recording

  • Harry Litman: The DOJ’s classified documents case was already dire for Trump. Now it looks even worse
  • NYT: Recording of Trump Underscores Growing Evidence in Documents Case
  • Philip Bump: Why a recording of Trump discussing classified documents would be important

Oh …

A retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who kept classified documents at his home and other unauthorized locations was sentenced to three years in federal prison.

Trump Attorney Takes On Wider Role

Todd Blanche, an attorney brought on to defend Trump in the criminal hush money case against in Manhattan, is now also involved with handling Trump’s defense in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s Mar-a-Lago and Jan. 6 probes.

Durham Victim Looking To Write A Tell-All

It looks like Igor Danchenko is looking to shop a tell-all book about being targeted by Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation of the investigators, according to advertisement for a ghost writer obtained by TPM. Danchenko was acquitted by a federal jury in DC, one of the two big courtroom defeats for Durham.

Senate Raises Debt Ceiling In Late Night Vote

The Senate moved very quickly to protect its weekend – and also avoid a default by the federal government – by lifting the debt ceiling in a late night vote. The debt ceiling package now goes to President Biden for his signature:

The Heavy Toll Of The Big Lie

A Republican elected official in Maricopa County, Arizona who refused to go along with the Big Lie, leading to numerous threats against him and his family and forcing them to flee their home, will not run for re-election next year.

2024 Ephemera

  • CA-Sen: Weird that in a race framed by retiring Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s old age a story about former major leaguer Steve Garvey considering running for the GOP nomination makes no mention that, if he won, he’d be 76 years old at the beginning of his term.
  • DE-Sen: Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), the heir apparent to retiring Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) is expected to launch her Senate campaign this month.

A Dose Of Real Talk About This Town

Matt Duss: The Bad Thing Henry Kissinger Did That You Don’t Even Know About


Hundreds of thousands of Maryland license plates commemorating the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 display a url that someone forgot to renew the domain for and now redirects to an online casino in the Philippines:

My favorite take on this though comes from Walt Hickey, who questions commemorating the War of 1812 in the first place: “In 2012, Maryland inexplicably decided to release a vanity license plate design commemorating the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, best known in popular culture as the one that prompted an unplanned gut renovation of the White House.”

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