Insurrection, Fake Electors, And Witness Lists As Justice For Trump Grinds Slowly

INSIDE: Merrick Garland ... Kevin McCarthy ... Norman Lear
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 25: Former President Donald Trump speaks to the media moments after he was fined $10,000 for what Justice Arthur Engoron says is his second violation of a partial gag order at his civil f... NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 25: Former President Donald Trump speaks to the media moments after he was fined $10,000 for what Justice Arthur Engoron says is his second violation of a partial gag order at his civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court on October 25, 2023 in New York City. The former president may be forced to sell off his properties after Justice Engoron canceled his business certificates and ruled that he committed fraud for years while building his real estate empire after being sued by Attorney General Letitia James, seeking $250 million in damages. The trial will determine how much he and his companies will be penalized for the fraud. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) MORE LESS
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.

Trump Accountability Keeps Chugging Along

A flurry of developments yesterday in the various efforts to break the glass before Donald Trump is elected to a second term.

No one defining event. No breakthrough moment. No real satisfaction yet. But a steady drumbeat of serious efforts undertaken in good faith and making incremental progress.

Colorado Supreme Court Considers DQing Trump

It was remarkable to hear for the second time in as many months a state Supreme Court considering whether to bar Trump from the ballot under the Disqualification Clause for having committed insurrection against the United States.

In contrast to last month’s case in Minnesota, where Trump has won for now, the Colorado high court’s oral arguments yesterday seemed better developed, more on point, and truly grappling with the historic and legal significance of the moment. The lawyers on both sides, including the former Colorado secretary of state defending Trump, were quite capable and effective advocates.

Still, the court offered few clues as to how it would rule in the case.

Fake Electors Indicted In Nevada

The Nevada attorney general obtained indictments of six fake Trump electors in the 2020 election subversion scheme. Among the accused is current Nevada GOP Chair Michael McDonald. Each of the six defendants faces two felony counts apiece.

This case emerged only recently, even though we’re nearly three years past Jan. 6. The Georgia RICO case and other recent legal developments seem to have sparked renewed interest, primarily among Democratic attorneys general, in the fake electors schemes in their states.

Fake Electors In Wisconsin Settle Civil Suit

The 10 Trump fake electors in Wisconsin have settled the claims against them in an unusual civil case by admitting that Trump lost, withdrawing the elector certificates they submitted, and agreeing not to serve as electors in 2024.

Former Trump lawyers Ken Chesebro and Jim Troupis are also defendants in the case. They did not settle the claims against them, and the case will continue.

A Taste Of What’s To Come

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained some of the names of the nearly 200 people reportedly on District Attorney Fani Willis’ witness list for the RICO trial of Donald Trump and his codefendants. No major surprises, but among the standouts:

  • Mike Pence
  • Bill Barr
  • Jeffrey Rosen
  • Richard Donoghue
  • Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA)
  • Steve Bannon
  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp
  • Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger

The usual caveats: Willis may not end up calling everyone on the list, and the working list could continue to change up to and during trial.

Tepid Headline Of The Day

Boston Globe: “Legal experts express concern over Trump’s comments about not being a dictator except for ‘day one'”

Senate Republicans Block Ukraine Aid

It’s becoming increasingly unlikely that Congress will approve new aid for Ukraine before its holiday recess.

Garland Plans To Use Dormant War Crimes Statute

This was probably the biggest news of the day: Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the first ever prosecution under a nearly 30-year-old war crimes statute.

The prosecution of four Russian soldiers for alleged war crimes against an American in Ukraine may presage other war crimes prosecutions arising from the Russian invasion, Garland said.

Garland also acknowledged that DOJ is investigating the murders of Americans by Hamas during the Oct. 7 attack and may bring charges under the war crimes statute or anti-terrorism laws.

For a deeper dive on the historic significance of DOJ’s move, LawFare has you covered.

Goodbye, Kev!

I’m surprised Kevin McCarthy stuck around this long.

Humiliated, emasculated, and deposed by his own conference, the ousted speaker hung around for a few more weeks before deciding to pack it in.

His departure before the end of his term narrows the already-thin GOP majority further.

Good riddance, says Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD):

House GOP Preps To Censure Bowman

A censure vote could come as soon as today for Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) for the fire-alarm-pulling incident in which he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge.

There Was A GOP Debate Last Night

Did you miss much? No. Are these debates mere window-dressing on Trump winning the GOP nomination by acclamation? Yes.

Florida GOP Stuck With Chairman Accused Of Rape

The rape charge is serious, but the Florida Republican Party’s inability to rid itself of a chairman accused of rape is downright comical:

  • NYT: As Scandal Simmers, Florida Republicans Want Party Chairman Out
  • Politico: Florida Republicans try to oust GOP chair amid rape probe
  • Florida Politics: Republicans set in motion 30-day process to possibly expel Christian Ziegler

Consider Yourself Warned


sweeping new scientific report, with contributions from more than 200 researchers, finds that continued warming could trigger not only the collapse of the Greenland ice sheet but a wide variety of tipping points in the Earth’s climate system. Once crossed, those thresholds would have unstoppable consequences.

Norman Lear, 1922-2023

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 27 : Producer Norman Lear at home, February 27, 1984 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images)

An enormous influence on American culture, a prodigious activist for liberal causes, and a seemingly permanent fixture in American public life, Norman Lear has died at the age of 101.

My former colleague Tierney Sneed interviewed Lear back in 2015, and he was still trolling Richard Nixon all those year later: “Why Norman Lear Thinks Nixon Was So Scandalized By ‘All In The Family.’”

Re-reading that story reminded me that my very first official post at TPM included an “All in the Family” reference.

Rest in peace.

Do you like Morning Memo? Let us know!

Latest Morning Memo
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: