The Uniquely Catastrophic National Security Risk Of A Trump II Presidency

INSIDE: Peter Navarro ... Aileen Cannon ... Bernie Moreno
PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - MARCH 19: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media after voting at a polling station setup in the Morton and Barbara Mandel Recreation Center on March 19, 2024, in Palm Beach, Flo... PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - MARCH 19: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media after voting at a polling station setup in the Morton and Barbara Mandel Recreation Center on March 19, 2024, in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump, along with other registered Republican voters, cast ballots in the Presidential Preference Primary. There wasn't a ballot or election for Democrats since the Florida Democratic Party only provided the name of Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) MORE LESS
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

Morning Memo comes to you this week from Knoxville, Tennessee, where I’m checking in on my folks. Sign up for the email version.

Would You Buy A Used Car From This Guy?

Donald Trump is a walking, talking, breathing national security risk. He can’t pass a background check. He can’t get a security clearance. He’s a risky borrower. This is a man who you wouldn’t buy a used car from.

You could scarcely invent the constellation of national security risks that Trump poses: deep financial and emotional insecurity, ongoing criminal liability, susceptible to flattery, a pathological personality. But beyond the risky personal traits, he presents an unrivaled track record of proven misconduct in the national security realm: swiping the nation’s most closely guarded secrets, casual disregard for the handling of classified information, a willing target of foreign interference and influence, an inability to distinguish the self from the state.

In any other era of American politics, the 2024 election would come down to trust. No one trusts Trump, not even many his own supporters. That’s not his appeal, for them, nor the point. But Trump is not without any precedent in our history; he is of a type.

The American myth has always been two-fold: the pastoral democracy in a New World Eden and the land of the huckster, the flimflam artist, the speculator, the boom-chaser, the booster. We have glorified both in our national story.

Trump is the latter tradition incarnate, the fast-talking, fly-by-night, always-be-closing snake oil salesman constantly reinventing himself to spring a new trap on the next easy mark.

His presidential candidacy itself is a long con. He’s running because it’s his best legal defense to the criminal liabilities he faces and a surefire way to subsidize his legal bills on the backs of contributors.

What’s different about the current era is that until now we’d largely managed to keep the worst of the hustlers out of the Oval Office.

Trump Goes All In On Immunity Argument

Donald Trump filed his brief with the Supreme Court in the Jan. 6 case, arguing for absolute immunity for the president for official acts. You know the argument well by now. Next up: Special Counsel Jack Smith’s brief.

Please Consider Becoming A TPM Member

If you’re a regular reader of Morning Memo, the single best way to keep it going is to sign up to become a TPM member. We just launched our annual membership drive, so now is a great time to show your support. Our goal is 1,000 new members. Please, do what you can to help us get there! Thanks in advance.

Inside Trump’s Full Embrace Of Jan. 6

  • Semafor: How Donald Trump learned to love the January 6 prisoner movement
  • AP: Trump is making the Jan. 6 attack a cornerstone of his bid for the White House
  • USA Today: Donald Trump puts Jan. 6 ‘hostages’ at center in his campaign

Quote Of The Day

When a coup against the democratic regime happens and it’s not punished, that is a very strong indicator of the end of the rule of law and the victory of that authoritarian movement.

Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale and author of How Fascism Works.

Peter Navarro Is Now In Prison

The only higher-up imprisoned for Jan. 6 so far is Peter Navarro, whose offense was refusing to comply with a subpoena from the House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol. Navarro reported to prison yesterday, but not before conducting a Four Seasons Landscaping-style press conference in a Miami strip mall.

The Whys And Wherefores Of Aileen Cannon

While everyone is still scratching their heads over U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon’s bizarro order Monday in the Mar-a-Lago case, some deeper reading on the case:

  • NYT: Judge in Trump Documents Case Draws Attention for Slow Pace
  • Roger Parloff was in Cannon’s courtroom last week for a daylong hearing in the case and files this dispatch.

Just Another Normal Day At Mar-a-Lago

TPM’s Hunter Walker: Trump Invited Boat With Massive QAnon Flag To Dock At Mar-a-Lago For ‘Refreshments’ On Sunday


Our own Josh Kovensky joined MSNBC’s Joy Reid last evening to talk about his fantastic story on the Society for American Civic Renewal: Inside A Secret Society Of Prominent Right-Wing Christian Men Prepping For A ‘National Divorce’

A Whirlwind Of A Day For Texas SB4

A series of unusual and fast-paced court orders over the course of Tuesday left the status of controversial Texas immigration law in a highly uncertain state until late in the day.

To make sense of it all, I would suggest reading Texas law professor Steve Vladeck.

Sherrod Brown Gets The GOP Opponent Dems Wanted

Trump-backed businessman Bernie Moreno (R) easily won the GOP primary for U.S. Senate in Ohio, beating state Sen. Matt Dolan (R). Democrats had gone as far as boosting Moreno in the primary in hopes of facing off against him in the general in what will be a challenging re-election bid for Sen. Sherrod Brown (D), one the Senate’s most progressive members.

2024 Ephemera

  • Down the memory hole: Fox News buries its own scoop on Mike Pence’s unprecedented refusal to endorse the man he served under as vice president.
  • The band is back: Trump is considering bringing former 2016 campaign chairman Corey Lewandowski back to help on the GOP convention alongside former 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
  • “Too Big To Rig”: Donald Trump is dialing up his warnings of a rigged 2024 election by unveiling a new slogan calling for a landslide victory that no amount of “election fraud” can overcome.

Smooth, Real Smooth

An Ohio congressional campaign inadvertently sent out its concession email in the middle of Election Day, hours before polls closed:

You might remember the candidate, Derek Myers, as the volunteer in then-Rep. George Santos’ congressional office who made a bizarre secret audio recording of internal office discussions and provided it to TPM.

Myers officially conceded hours after the mistaken concession, when he finished 11th in an 11-candidate GOP primary field in the OH-02.

Ending On A Sober Note

Gavin Schmidt:

For the past nine months, mean land and sea surface temperatures have overshot previous records each month by up to 0.2 °C — a huge margin at the planetary scale. A general warming trend is expected because of rising greenhouse-gas emissions, but this sudden heat spike greatly exceeds predictions made by statistical climate models that rely on past observations. Many reasons for this discrepancy have been proposed but, as yet, no combination of them has been able to reconcile our theories with what has happened.

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: