A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.
Lipstick On A Pig
The months-long civil fraud trial against Donald Trump and his business empire ended yesterday with a bomb threat and a dose of bombast in court from Trump himself. With closing arguments done, the judge set a deadline for himself of Jan. 31 to render a verdict.
But don’t let the flurry of Trump showmanship on the last day of the trial – making some of the closing argument himself, getting shut down after a few minutes by the judge, holding an impromptu news conference outside of the courtroom – obscure what’s happening here: Trump is about to lose and lose big.
If this had been a jury-tried case, Trump’s courtroom appearances, his outrageousness, and the showmanship would have been a wild card worth grappling with. But this was a judge-tried case, and the judge had already ruled against Trump on many key elements of New York Attorney General Letitia James’ case.
Trump is facing the very real prospect of hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties and being banned from the real estate business in New York for fraudulent business practices that went on for years. It will be a stunning though entirely deserved comedown for the man whose celebrity and political career was premised on being a high-flying NYC real estate developer.
The judge is no fool. He knows that he wasn’t the intended audience for Trump’s antics. Trump, no fool either, knows he’s going to lose. Everything about Trump’s feral display yesterday was misdirection, sleight of hand, and distraction from the devastating blow his biz empire is about to take.
The fact that Trump’s attacks on the judge, James, the case and everyone involved with it fits hand in glove with his broader jihad against the judicial system and those who would hold him to account doesn’t make this some ingenious campaign strategy. It just means he’s cornered and desperate to look in charge even as control spins away from him.
Everything Is Totally Fine
REPORTER: Do you agree with your lawyers that you could not be prosecuted if you ordered Seal Team 6 to kill a political opponent?— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 11, 2024
TRUMP: A president has to have immunity pic.twitter.com/ntLHSCDBF8
Trump’s Immunity Nonsense
Everyone is justifiably having a field day with how insincere, self-serving, and transactional Trump’s newfound love for presidential immunity is:
- Politico: Trump’s latest about-face: He now says 2020 election was ‘long over’
- NYT: Trump’s Argument for Immunity in 2024 Is the Opposite of His Stance in 2021
- Flashback to 2020 (hattip):
President Donald Trump accused Attorney General William Barr on Monday of following a “double standard” by not following through with a criminal investigation into former President Barack Obama or Vice President Joe Biden.
Playing With Fire
Continuing with the theme of yesterday’s Morning Memo:
- Jamelle Bouie: “[Trump] can use the threat of violence to make officials and ordinary election workers think twice about their decisions. And he can use the example of those Republicans who have crossed him as a warning to wavering lawmakers — to anyone who resists the force of his will.”
- Zack Beauchamp: “For all these reasons, threats of violence are likely to be uniquely effective on Republicans when issued from their own base. The threats work, more than anything else, to discipline elected Republicans — to force them to toe whatever line the Trumpists want them to walk, or else.”
- Chris Hayes on the “constant threats of violence and intimidation and harassment”:
WaPo: Maryland Elections Board member arrested on Jan. 6 riot charges, resigns
TPM’s Hunter Walker talks with former Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn about how Jan. 6 deniers inspired him to run for Congress.
Introducing The ‘Preventing Private Paramilitary Activity Act’
Vice: Democrats Propose Bill to Neuter Militias
Mike Johnson Is Struggling Not To Be Kevin McCarthy
- WSJ: GOP Holdouts Ousted Kevin McCarthy. Now Mike Johnson Feels the Heat.
- TPM: Far-Right Confident Johnson Will Let Them Continue Hijacking Government
- Politico: Johnson confronts biggest test yet: Whether to walk away from his own funding deal
- WaPo: House Republican revolt scrambles plan to prevent government shutdown
Musk The Menace
This week, Elon Musk has repeatedly promoted false and misleading claims about voting to his 168 million followers on X, the social network formerly known as Twitter. Musk then used these erroneous claims to justify massive restrictions on voting in the United States, including eliminating early voting, abolishing most mail-in voting, and imposing new identification requirements.
The Politics Of Brutality
Fifteen GOP governors have opted out of letting their states participate in a new federal food assistance program intended to help needy families in the summer, affecting more than eight million children.
The Politics Of Brutality II
Texas Amps Up Its Border Confrontation With The Feds
The Justice Department filed a supplemental memo with the Supreme Court last night in the case where it’s trying to remove razor wire that was installed by Texas in the Rio Grande, alleging that the state has escalated its confrontation on the ground with the federal government over who has jurisdiction over the border. Details here:
US-Led Coalition Launches First Strikes In Yemen
- WSJ: U.S.-Led Coalition Launches Strikes on Multiple Houthi Rebel Targets in Yemen
- Bloomberg: US and UK Strike Yemen’s Houthis After Red Sea Ship Attacks
- NYT: Houthis Vow to Respond After U.S. Leads Strikes in Yemen
Hate To See It: More Trouble For Wayne LaPierre
ProPublica: Secret Recording Shows NRA Treasurer Plotting to Conceal Extravagant Expenses Involving Wayne LaPierre
Hunter Biden Enters Not Guilty Plea In California
The tax fraud case against Hunter Biden that was filed after his plea agreement fell apart is set to go to trial June 20.
Failson Can’t Recognize Failure
Have A Good Weekend!
If you’re looking for something to do, American Fiction is that vanishing breed of film: small, thoughtful, and clever. Be lulled by Jeffrey Wright’s baritone and marvel at the great Leslie Uggams.
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