You Didn’t Hear It From Me
Donald Trump brings a sort of lather, rinse, repeat energy to his conspiracy theories that makes it super easy for his supporters to latch onto and legitimize whatever thought happens to fly out of his mouth or get posted on Truth Social first.
For example, within 24 hours of Trump dropping some new conspiracy theories about the Manhattan DA’s office on his bootleg Twitter app Sunday, House Republicans entered the former president’s armageddon screed into the official record with a letter requesting that DA Alvin Bragg turn over whatever supposed communications his office might have had with the DOJ about the investigation. Even though there has not been and likely will not be any evidence of shady coordination between these two entities, facts don’t matter to Trump or the party who governs by speaking grievances into existence.
Don’t be surprised if House Republicans start investigating the phone lines next. (I’m kidding, but only, like, kind of.)
On Monday night, a bunch of Trump’s right-wing evangelical supporters organized a prayer meeting for the former president as he faces down the Manhattan DA office’s potential indictment this week. The event, “Pastors For Trump National Prayer Call,” featured special appearances from the OG Trump cronies — Roger Stone and Michael Flynn. The “prayer” event was laced with all of the usual right-wing talking points as Stone claimed that Trump was the victim of a “weaponized judicial process.” But before Trump could properly thank his supporters for their conspiracy theories and thoughts and prayers, Trump’s audio cut out and a flustered Trump emerged.
“OK, I guess we have some phone miscommunication,” Trump is heard saying when the audio reconnects.
“The radical left was working on the phone. There is no question about it.”
Trump’s then heard saying he can’t hear anyone and wants to hang up, letting out an “uhhhh” and a sigh before the line disconnects.
The phone thing could be a throwback to the 5G conspiracy theories that birthed out of far-right online chatter during the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Or it’s just the first thing that popped into Trump’s head when the audio broke. But the pastor who organized the phone call is already blaming “trolls” or a “hack” for the interruption and the far-right website Gateway Pundit posted last night arguing it could have “been outside sabotage or something else.”
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Lordy, There Is A Tape
How It’ll Go Down
There are still a bunch of unanswered questions about when and how things will transpire with the impending Trump indictment. Last night conflicting information emerged about timing and the possibility of additional testimony from Michael Cohen. Politico reported yesterday that the indictment would come down either Monday night or Wednesday.
Bloomberg News has a few other logistical details here:
While Trump will get fingerprinted and have his mug-shot taken, he won’t be marched before cameras in handcuffs or placed in a holding cell, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the details aren’t public. He’ll likely remain in the custody of the Secret Service agents assigned to his protection detail, the person said.
If the Manhattan grand jury votes to indict Trump, the indictment would remain under seal until it is formally presented to the court, the person said. Bragg’s office could announce it at a news conference if he gets the court’s permission to make it public, the person said.
Law-enforcement authorities would likely call Trump’s lawyer as a courtesy, asking him to surrender to detectives working with Bragg at his lower Manhattan offices, which are in the same building as Merchan’s courtroom, the person said.
Set Her Up
The New York Times published a new piece last night that details a lawsuit battle between a Tucker Carlson show producer and Fox News. The producer, Abby Grossberg, alleges in her complaint that Fox News’ attorneys have tried to force her and host Maria Bartiromo to shoulder the blame for the network’s repeated airing of false claims about Dominion Voting Systems and the 2020 election results — lies that will be at the center of a court hearing in the Dominion lawsuit case against Fox today.
On The Docket Tuesday
- Dominion oral arguments: A Delaware Superior Court judge will hear arguments from Fox News’ lawyers and Dominion lawyers today, who are both trying to convince the judge to issue a bench ruling rather than let the case go to trial. Fox is pushing for a dismissal and Dominion wants the judge to award it the damages its seeking based on the mountains of evidence and juicy details it presented in its motion for summary judgment and subsequent briefs. More.
- SCOTUS opinions are expected this morning starting at 10:00 a.m. ET on any number of cases of interest. Our Kate Riga will be following closely.
- ???? Trump indictment ???
The King Of Preemptive Suing
TPM’s Josh Kovensky unpacks Trump’s latest legal strategy in the Fulton County investigation into his attempts to overturn Georgia’s election results:
In nearly every case that has placed Trump in jeopardy (there have been many), he has sought to derail the investigation before it could bear fruit. Trump has been successful in this. After years of investigations, not a single probe has notched a charge against The Donald.
Also on the Fulton County front:
- ABC News: Prosecutors in District Attorney Fani Willis’ office have requested an interview with Trump’s attorney Christina Bobb, according to multiple sources. It is not clear what information prosecutors hope to gain from Bobb, whose role in Trump’s handling of classified documents is also being examined by special prosecutor Jack Smith.
- Vanity Fair: Trump’s Lawyers Seem Pretty Panicked He’s Going To Be Indicted In Georgia Too
Making The Performative Pro-Life-ing Permanent
What we need is more statues.
One of Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ first initiatives as Arkansas governor became official in recent days when the Nepo Baby signed a bill into law that will allow for a “monument to the unborn” to be built on state capitol grounds. The structure will very blatantly be a political statement and not an actual memorial. The language of the law dedicates the monument exclusively to the terminated pregnancies between the years Roe was around: it will serve “as a memorial to the lives lost from 1973 to 2022 due to the decisions of the United States Supreme Court.”
It’s as dystopian and pointed as the abortion ban in Arkansas that sprung into effect when Roe was overturned last year, banning abortion in all cases except to save the life of a pregnant person, with no exceptions for rape or incest.
What’s Garland Thinking?
Make Way For Senate Candidate Sheriff Cowboy David Clarke
With Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) ruling out a run for Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s (D-WI) seat next year, the door is wide open for the conspiracy theorizing sheriff and Trump surrogate David Clarke to toss his cowboy hat in the mix. I recently wrote about the longtime TPM character’s greatest hits here.
Extremely Odd Bedfellows
The Supreme Court recently asked for guidance on this term’s banner election case centered on the independent state legislature theory. They got six different positions. More from Kate Riga.
Negative 10 On Room Rater For Ghoul Lighting
Likelihood Of Long COVID Sinks
According to a new analysis of 5 million U.S. patients infected with the omicron variant of COVID-19, the likelihood of a patient developing long-COVID symptoms has decreased substantially since the beginning of the pandemic. From the Washington Post:
1 in 16 people with omicron received medical care for symptoms associated with long covid within several months of being infected. Patients exposed to the coronavirus during the first wave of pandemic illness — from early 2020 to late spring 2021 — were most prone to develop long covid, with 1 in 12 suffering persistent symptoms.
Why Don’t You Sit This One Out
It appears the Jan. 6 rally organizers aren’t falling for Trump’s bait this time.
On Saturday afternoon, the far-right provocateur Laura Loomer, who lives in Florida, declared on Twitter that she was organizing a pro-Trump rally outside Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s private club and residence in Palm Beach, to “protest Alvin Bragg’s WITCH HUNT.” But hours later, Ms. Loomer deleted the tweet and encouraged people to attend Mr. Trump’s upcoming political event in Texas instead.
And the latest, from Manhattan last night: