A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.
Rudy G Is His Own Worst Disaster
We’re two days into the trial of Rudy Giuliani for defaming Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, and it’s hard to imagine things going any worse for him.
For those who haven’t been following the case, here’s the key thing to know: Giuliani has already been found liable for defamation by U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell because he was such a scofflaw in failing to respond to discovery requests and even engage in the lawsuit at a basic level. So the judge entered a default judgment against him.
In that sense, Giuliani has already lost. The jury trial now is merely to determine damages and how much Giuliani will have to pay. The plaintiffs are seeking tens of millions of dollars from the former NYC mayor, who is a shell of his former self.
After the first day of trial, Giuliani walked outside of the courthouse and repeated some of the lies he’s told about Freeman and Moss, prompting the judge to damn near lose her mind when the trial resumed yesterday. “When the trial reconvened on Tuesday morning, an incredulous Howell said the comments ‘could support another defamation claim,” Kyle Cheney reported.
Giuliani’s attorney was defenseless in the face of his client’s self-destructive behavior.
After day 2 of the trial got underway, co-plaintiff Shaye Moss gave deeply compelling testimony about what Giuliani’s lies have done to her personal life and work life. She more than held her own on cross examination from Giuliani’s lawyer, and more than once she brought up Giuliani’s remarks on the courthouse steps the night before.
Then last evening, Giuliani pulled a similar stunt. In a rambling, incoherent rant he tried connecting plaintiff’s counsel with Hunter Biden and Burisma, and by that point I was expecting him to pull out the old GOP standby: B-E-N-G-H-A-Z-I. Give him time, the trial is still young.
Still Digesting Jack Smith’s SCOTUS Power Play
An interesting observation from Hugo Lowell about Special Counsel Jack Smith forcing Donald Trump before the Supreme Court more quickly than expected:
The problem for Trump is that his hands are tied. The former president would prefer the court to take up the case after the DC circuit rules because he’s eager to delay his impending trial as much as possible. But he can’t oppose the prosecutors’ request now and then make the same request in several months’ time.
Dems Could Learn A Thing Or Two From Jack Smith
When was the last time you recall a Democratic leader responding, like Smith or like Republicans, to a new development with a confident power play? Or seizing an opportunity to test and expose the depths of the institutional right’s bad faith before God and everyone?
In a new interview, Atlanta District Fani Willis did a little flexing about whether she will handle the Trump trial in person:
“I don’t think anyone should ever be surprised if DA Willis enters a courtroom,” said Willis, adding that she is “a trial lawyer at my soul.”
Asked if she might make an appearance during the Trump trial, she responded, “I think it’s very possible.”
When Fani Willis starts talking about herself in the third person, look out.
Totally Normal … In A Mob Movie
CNN: Former Mar-a-Lago employee-turned-witness repeatedly contacted by Trump and associates before documents charges
The Long Twilight Struggle
Rather than Team Democracy battling back against and defeating Team Authoritarianism, or vice versa, in a final confrontation or series of final confrontations, we’re seeing something different. We have a new model in which we no longer have parties of government of right and left but rather a civic democratic party and an authoritarian populist party. There’s a good chance they’ll be contesting elections for a while, even as the authoritarian populist party is trying in various ways to end them or radically change how free they are. …
[W]e now appear to be living in what will likely be an extended period in which national elections pit a civic democratic party against a right-wing populist authoritarian one.
It’s Bogus Biden Impeachment Day For House GOP
A vote to open a sham, evidence-free, revenge impeachment inquiry of President Biden is expected today in the House. Make no mistake: Hanging the yoke of impeachment around Biden just as the 2024 general election is getting underway is 100% part of Trump’s campaign strategy — and has its roots in the Ukraine-based first impeachment and the ongoing prosecution of Hunter Biden (who is expected not to show up for a closed-door interview with House investigators, also scheduled for today). It’s all connected in the most corrupt possible way.
Ukraine Is A Victim Of MAGA Politics
- Key takeaways from Ukraine President Zelensky’s Tuesday trip to Washington
- The White House has reportedly gotten more directly involved in Senate negotiations over Ukraine aid (which is to say in the border security package which is now linked with Ukraine aid).
- Fiona Hill warns of the stakes: “[T]he bottom line is that we are at an inflection point, a juncture where it could very rapidly tip, in fact this month — December and January — into a losing proposition for Ukraine.”
Former Trump fixer Michael Cohen’s attorney cited three non-existent cases in a motion seeking to end Cohen’s post-conviction court supervision, according to the judge:
On Tuesday, Judge Furman ordered Mr. Schwartz to provide the court with copies of the three decisions he had cited in the filing. If Mr. Schwartz could not do so within a week, Judge Furman said, the lawyer would have to produce a sworn declaration and a thorough explanation of “how the motion came to cite cases that do not exist and what role, if any, Mr. Cohen played in drafting or reviewing the motion before it was filed.”
The Latest Redistricting News
- New York: An enormously significant court decision, the state’s high court ordered a redrawing of the congressional district map that helped vault Republicans to the House majority in 2022 — giving Democrats a chance to pickup anywhere from two to six additional House seats in 2024.
- Texas: Over the objection of the three liberal justices, the Supreme Court let stand a district map for county commissioners in Galveston that federal courts have found to be a racial gerrymander.
The Cruelty Is The Point
TPM’s Kate Riga: In Sentencing Kate Cox To Suffer, The Texas Abortion Ban Is Working Just As Intended
COP Wraps Up With Tepid Agreement On Fossil Fuels
Not to rain on the parade, but while headlines are focused on the final agreement at COP being the first time fossil fuels have been explicitly targeted in a UN climate agreement, this is a watered-down version of the much sought-after fossil fuel “phaseout” language that the petrostates so vigorously opposed.
What Is Even Happening Anymore
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