GOP Senators Say The Real Problem With Trump Is His Bad Staff

INSIDE: Jack Smith ... Samuel Alito ... Donald McEachin
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 12: (AFP OUT)  U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a meeting on trade with governors and members of Congress at the White House on April 12, 2018 in Washington, DC. Seated left is Senator John Thune(R-SD). (Photo by Chris Kleponis - Pool/Getty Images)
Sen. John Thune (R-SD) watches President Donald Trump speak during a meeting on trade with governors and members of Congress at the White House on April 12, 2018. (Photo by Chris Kleponis - Pool/Getty Images)
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A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.

The Most Mockable Of Trump Defenses

Seven years into the Trump era, and we’re still getting this kind of nonsense from sitting U.S. senators: Whose fault was it that Trump had dinner with Nick Fuentes and Kanye West? Certainly not Trump’s! It was poor staffing!

Sen. John Thune (R-SD): “That’s just a bad idea on every level. I don’t know who was advising him on his staff but I hope that whoever that person was got fired.”

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC): “If the reports are true and the president didn’t know who he was, whoever let him in the room should be fired.”

A guy whose political career was launched by the catchphrase “You’re fired!” is the victim of his own failure to fire bad staff. Amazing.

For the most credulous audience, this dance lets the senator sidestep any direct criticism of Trump while still handwringing and looking serious.

For the rest of us, the senators look like duplicitous boobs.

Word Of The Year

Gaslighting

Trump Rolls Out The Mueller Playbook

The former president has ratcheted up the attacks on the new special counsel, Jack Smith. It worked before, and no surprise he’s using it again.

Asha Rangappa writes about the complicated interplay of Trump’s public attacks and DOJ rules and regs that limit public comment on investigative matters in “Information Asymmetry and the Special Counsel.”

Oh, That’s How It Works?

Trump demands that Kari Lake be “installed” as the governor of Arizona.

Arizona County Refuses To Certify 2022 Election Results

Monday was the deadline for Arizona counties to certify election results. Several GOP-controlled counties dillydallied until the last minute, but only Cochise County blew the deadline. Democratic super lawyer Marc Elias immediately filed a lawsuit against the county, and so did Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (the Democratic governor-elect).

Refusing to certify the election results is what the NYT calls a “new frontier in the politicization of elections.”

“I don’t think we’ve seen this in modern times before the 2020 election. It all goes back to Trump and election denialism,” UCLA law professor Richard L. Hasen told the Times.

Supreme Court Issues Extraordinary Defense Of Alito

I don’t remember seeing anything quite like this before.

The legal counsel for the Supreme Court has written a letter defending Justice Samuel Alito from the allegations in a NYT story that he may have leaked in advance the results of the court’s 2014 Hobby Lobby decision, which he authored.

“There is nothing to suggest that Justice Alito’s actions violated ethics standards,” Ethan Torrey wrote. The letter was a response to questions from a Democratic senator and congressman raised by the NYT report.

Special Master Nixes Hearing

The special master in the Mar-a-Lago documents case has cancelled a hearing scheduled for Dec. 1 and instructed Trump and the Justice Department to respond in writing to questions he has about the dwindling number of dubious privilege issues being raised by Trump.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals could rule at any moment now on the Justice Department appeal that would halt the special master’s review. Stay tuned.

Oath Keepers Jury Sends Note To Judge

The jury deliberating in the trial of the Oath Keepers sent a note to the judge asking for more clarity on the seditious conspiracy charges.

Buffalo Grocery Shooter Pleads Guilty

The 19-year-old white man who killed 10 people at a grocery store in a predominately Black neighborhood of Buffalo pleaded guilty Monday to one count of domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate, 10 counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder and a weapons possession charge.

Dem Congressman Dies

Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA), who was just re-elected in the VA-04, died Monday after a long struggle with colorectal cancer.

Volcanoes Are Cool

After sunrise Monday, scientists were able to get into the field and observe more closely the first eruption of Mauna Loa in nearly 40 years.

The locations of the lava extrusion have already changed in the early stages of the eruption from the summit caldera to the Northeast Rift Zone:

Mauna Loa eruption (credit: USGS)

Here’s a closer view of the Northeast Rift Zone:

Mauna Loa eruption (credit: USGS)

Behold the spectacle of dueling volcanic eruptions on the Island of Hawaii:

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