A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.
Greetings! Hope you had a refreshing and fulfilling holiday season, maybe even a little time away, because the election year is now upon us. We are plunging directly into the thick of things, with the Iowa GOP caucus just two weeks away.
It will be an election year unlike any other, with democracy on the ballot like never before, with the leading opposition candidate currently facing more than 90 criminal charges, with a former president seeking to regain the White House for the first time since Grover Cleveland, and with the two main candidates’ combined ages of more than 158 putting their own mortality front and center.
TPM is going to take a different approach to covering this election. We’ve always shied away from the pedantic horserace coverage, but this year in particular such coverage fails to meet the moment. The braindead, gaffe-driven, optics-obsessed coverage of the TV-news era was always a public disservice, but in the current environment it enables Trump and Trump wannabes and obscures the stakes.
If you’re focused on the ages of the candidates instead of the criminal prosecutions of Trump, you’re doing it wrong. If you’re clutching your pearls over whether voters will “tolerate” lawfully enforcing the Constitution’s Disqualification Clause and declaring Trump ineligible for the presidency, instead of focused on what Trump II would entail for the Republic, you’ve got your head in the sand. If you’re assuming Trump will abide by the results of the 2024 election if he loses, where have you been?
The GOP Is A Threat To The Rule Of Law
Former Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) have each pledged to pardon Donald Trump if they are elected president and he is criminally convicted.
Jack Smith Eviscerates Trump’s Immunity Claim
A well-written and strongly argued brief from Special Counsel Jack Smith to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that Donald Trump’s claims of presidential immunity from prosecution “threaten to undermine democracy.” The appeals court hears oral argument in the fast-tracked appeal next week.
Maine SoS Targeted In Attempted Swatting
What Will Aileen Cannon Do Now?
An over-the-top legal filing from Donald Trump opposing setting an early deadline for him to invoke an advice-of-counsel defense in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case tees up another chance for U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon to torpedo her own trial date.
Former Trump fixer Michael Cohen is asking a federal judge for mercy after he gave his lawyer what turned out to be bogus cases from the artificial intelligence program Google Bard to use in a legal filing — and was called out by the judge.
The NRA’s Long-Awaited Comeupance
New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit against the Wayne LaPierre and three other NRA insiders over claims of mismanagement and corruption is set to go to trial today.
Gov. Mike DeWine (R-OH) vetoed a bill that would have banned gender-affirming care for minors.
Which EVs Qualify For Tax Credits In 2024
The IRS released a (very short) list of the EVs that qualify for a tax credit of up to $7,500 in 2024. Caveat: The tax credit is still available for leasing EVs regardless of where the car and its components were built.
The Year That Was
An almanac of 2023 and climate change:
The year included the hottest single day on record (July 6) and the hottest ever month (July), not to mention the hottest June, the hottest August, the hottest September, the hottest October, the hottest November, and probably the hottest December. It included a day, Nov. 17, when global temperatures, for the first time ever, reached 2 degrees Celsius above the preindustrial levels.
Israel Supreme Court Nixes Part Of Bibi’s Judicial Overhaul
Israel’s Supreme Court struck down a key component of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s contentious judicial overhaul Monday, delivering a landmark decision that could reopen the fissures in Israeli society that preceded the country’s ongoing war against Hamas. …
In Monday’s decision, the court narrowly voted to overturn a law passed in July that prevents judges from striking down government decisions they deem “unreasonable.”
For Your Radar …
Iran has deployed a destroyer to the Red Sea after the U.S. Navy thwarted a Houthi attack on commercial shipping over the weekend.
South Korean Oppo Leader Survives Assassination Attempt
Lee Jae-myung, 59, the leader of South Korea’s Democratic Party, remains hospitalized in stable condition with what are reported to be non-life-threatening injuries after being stabbed in the neck by a 66-year-old man during a visit to Busan.
Death Toll In Japan Quake Nears 50
The magnitude 7.6 quake on the Noto Peninsula has killed at least 48 people after it collapsed buildings, ignited fires, and triggered tsunamis.
A Tragic Sidenote To The Japan Quake
A Japan Airlines passenger jet collided on the ground at a Tokyo airport with a Japan Coast Guard plane delivering earthquake relief supplies. All 379 passengers and crew safely evacuated the airliner before it was engulfed in flames. Five of the six crew aboard the Coast Guard plane perished in the crash.
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