Trump Re-ups ‘Stop The Steal’ Disinfo Slogan To Delegitimize 2024

INSIDE: Elizabeth Prelogar ... Ronna McDaniel ... Matt Schlapp
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 6: A man holds a stop the steal sign as rioters take over the steps of the Capitol on the East Front on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, as the Congress works to certify the electoral college votes. (... UNITED STATES - JANUARY 6: A man holds a stop the steal sign as rioters take over the steps of the Capitol on the East Front on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, as the Congress works to certify the electoral college votes. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.

The Only Legit Elections Are The Ones Trump Wins

Mark yesterday as the day Donald Trump imported the notorious “Stop the Steal” slogan into the 2024 campaign.

The distillation of the Big Lie into a simple, easy to understand slogan that became the rallying cry for 2020 election deniers was a disinformation bonanza. It was also, for those who may have forgotten, the name of the Jan. 6 rally at the Ellipse on the National Mall where Trump spoke and dispatched the mob to the Capitol.

Trump invoked “Stop the Steal” in a Truth Social post in the context of his hush money criminal trial in New York, inveighing against President Biden, the Manhattan DA, witness Michael Cohen, and others. But the broader context for its use now is Trump’s false and self-serving claims that the four criminal prosecutions of him are a giant “election interference” scheme designed to defeat him in the 2024 election.

“Stop the Steal” is malleable and flexible. It’s the Big Lie of the 2020. It’s the Big Lie of 2024, too, with Trump already seeking to delegitimize any election he doesn’t win. It can mean the bogus “election interference” he is now claiming.

In trotting it out again in 2024, Trump is showing his defiance in the same way he does when praising the Jan. 6 defendants as hostages, continuing to insist he won in 2020, and wearing the Jan. 6 attack as a badge of honor.

This is what we’re up against.

Hush Money Judge Slaps Gag Order On Trump

After another Trump rhetorical attack on key witness Michael Cohen, the trial judge in the Stormy Daniel’s hush money case issued a gag order barring Trump from targeting juror, witnesses, and prosecutors, except Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg.

Trump also attacked the judge’s daughter in a social media post, but the judge’s order doesn’t bar Trump from attacks on the judge or his family.

Arizona AG’s Fake Elector Probe Continues

The fake elector probe by Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes has subpoenaed GOP operative Mike Roman and interviewed former Trump campaign lawyer Kenneth Chesebro, both of whom were originally indicted with Trump in the Georgia RICO case.

Jeff Clark Tries To Save DC Law License

The bar disciplinary proceeding against former Trump DOJ official Jeff Clark featured the testimony of former acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue and former deputy White House Counsel Pat Philbin.

A Giant Among Giants (A Rare Chance To See Me Fanboy)

U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar demonstrated again yesterday in the mifepristone oral arguments why she is one of the best advocates ever to practice before the Supreme Court. I’ve come out of every argument I’ve heard her make just astounded by her skills and sheer mental capacity.

Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar (
Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar (

Yesterday was peak Prelogar. You should give her a listen. Unlike the arguments in most major cases, the mifepristone arguments were tight, relatively short, and easy to follow. You won’t find a better and more accessible performance from Prelogar. Bonus content: Prelogar brightly dismisses the usual sneering from Justice Sam Alito.

Some of the reviews:

  • Neal Katyal: “The Solicitor General, Elizabeth Prelogar, is just unreal, she’s so good. She’s answering hostile questions with poise and pitch perfect answers.”
  • Eric Columbus: “To state the obvious: the Solicitor General of the United States, Elizabeth Prelogar, is extremely good at her job.”
  • Mark Joseph Stern: “Solicitor General Elizabeth Pregolar is an astonishingly talented advocate whose turns at the lectern shine with brilliance, flair, eloquence, and wit. It is always a pleasure and a gift to hear her masterful arguments at the Supreme Court. She is one of the all-time greats. (I am here to say what straight men cannot without sounding creepy 🙂 )”
  • Elie Mystal: “I try not to tweet too much about Elizabeth Prelogar because my appreciation of her work is borderline embarrassing creepy stalker Stan levels… but she really is, like, very very good at her job.”
  • Joyce Vance: “The solicitor general is stan-worthy. She’s all substance & was completely on target today in the Mifepristone argument. Her decision to focus on the standing argument was solid.”
  • Howard Forman: “Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar is brilliant. Her command of the law, the science, and other facts regarding mifepristone use and FDA law is without peer. She is a hero.”

Supreme Court advocacy operates at the peak of the legal profession, and Prelogar has mastered it in a way that puts her on a different level than those around her. Think: Steph Curry beyond the arc. Just doing things everyone else wishes they could do, and doing them so seemingly effortlessly that everyone else seems like a pretender.

NBC News Dumps Ronna McDaniel

The backlash was too much.

NBC News rid itself of immediate past RNC chair Ronna McDaniel Tuesday, less than a week after announcing her hire as a $300,000/year contributor to its political coverage, prompting a revolt at sister network MSNBC and public outcry from the on-air talent.

McDaniel’s agent apparently dropped her, too, the WSJ reports:

Creative Artists Agency represented McDaniel in her negotiations with NBC News and shopped her to other networks for contributor roles, including CNN and ABC News, according to people familiar with the matter. NBC News made a three-year deal with her valued at nearly $1 million in total, a large figure for a contributor, another person said. The agency has since cut ties with McDaniel, a person familiar with the matter said.

Any hope that the McDaniel fiasco might finally bring down the two-headed monster of partisan talking head political coverage on TV quickly faded, with NBCUniversal News Group chairman Cesar Conde telling staff in a memo: “We continue to be committed to the principle that we must have diverse viewpoints on our programs, and to that end, we will redouble our efforts to seek voices that represent different parts of the political spectrum.”

Past RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

But it’s not just TV news. The NYT found it necessary to hand-wring over the nonissue of how to give conservatives a voice: “The episode underscored the deeply partisan sphere in which news organizations are trying to operate — and the challenge of fairly representing conservative and pro-Trump viewpoints in their coverage, if major Republican Party figures like Ms. McDaniel are deemed unacceptable by viewers or colleagues.”

Bear with me here because this gets complicated: You can still … wait for it … interview conservatives and pro-Trump Republicans.

Journalism doesn’t require paying a deeply compromised pro-Trump-but-ousted-by-Trump figure six figures annually to spout talking points from inside your TV studio. That’s a coverage choice, not an insolvable journalistic dilemma.

Oh …

WaPo: Qatari royal invested about $50 million in pro-Trump network Newsmax

Matt Schlapp Vindicated?

This is not your usual lawsuit settlement.

The campaign staffer for Herschel Walker’s 2022 Senate campaign who sued American Conservative Union head Matt Schlapp for alleged sexual assault has dropped the lawsuit, saying his claims were a “complete misunderstanding.”

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - FEBRUARY 28: Matt Schlapp (L), Chairman of the American Conservative Union, hosts a conversation with Laura Trump (not pictured), President Donald Trumps daughter in-law and member of his 2020 reelection campaign, and Brad Parscale (not pictured), campaign manager for Trump's 2020 reelection campaign, during the Conservative Political Action Conference 2020 (CPAC) hosted by the American Conservative Union on February 28, 2020 in National Harbor, MD. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Matt Schlapp
Matt Schlapp (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

“I regret that the lawsuit caused pain to the Schlapp family,” Carlton Huffman said.

Huffman said neither Schlapp nor the ACU paid him to drop the lawsuit that claimed he was groped by Schlapp.

No financial settlement, no apology let alone admission from Schlapp, and a complete dropping of the case is an unusual resolution to the dispute and makes the initial allegations seem pretty fishy.

2024 Ephemera

  • NYT: Obama, Fearing Biden Loss to Trump, Is on the Phone to Strategize
  • NBC News’ Sahil Kapur: ‘Obamacare’ wars heat up in 2024 race as Biden and Trump clash over subsidies

Tragedy Brings Out The Far-Right Loons

With six people missing and presumed dead after a container ship toppled an interstate bridge and shut down Baltimore harbor, far-right grifters and opportunists seized on the accident to advance various racist, xenophobic, and conspiratorial agendas, as TPM’s Nicole Lafond notes.

The Wire creator David Simon was having none of it and came to the defense of Baltimore and basic decency:


Two boneheaded errors in yesterday’s Morning Memo. I misidentified:

  • Timothy Snyder’s academic posting: He is at Yale, not Princeton.
  • The interstate highway on which Baltimore’s toppled Francis Scott Key Bridge sits: It is I-695, not I-895.

My apologies for the errors.

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