An Increasingly Desperate Trump Is Bent On Revenge

INSIDE: Jack Smith ... Kevin McCarthy ... Lara Logan
WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - APRIL 04: Former U.S. President Donald Trump greets supporters during an event at the Mar-a-Lago Club April 4, 2023 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Trump pleaded not guilty in a Manhattan cou... WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - APRIL 04: Former U.S. President Donald Trump greets supporters during an event at the Mar-a-Lago Club April 4, 2023 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Trump pleaded not guilty in a Manhattan courtroom today to 34 counts related to money paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels in 2016, the first criminal charges for any former U.S. president. (Photo by Joe Raedle/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.

The Trump Revenge Tour

The organizing principle of Trump’s re-election campaign first became apparent back in March with his chilling “I am your retribution” speech at CPAC.

I keep coming back to this theme because it animates so much of his rhetoric and has been adopted in both obvious and subtle ways by his closest adherents, and because it poses perhaps the most dire threat to the rule of law if Trump is re-elected.

I bring it back up today because his revenge fantasy is ripening and deepening in alarming ways.

In the immediate aftermath of his indictment in the Mar-a-Lago case, Trump has returned it to the forefront of his own rhetoric, and it’s being picked up again by his boosters. A few of the most egregious examples:

  • Trump warned Monday that if re-elected he will name a special prosecutor to “go after” Joe Biden and his family.


  • Trump has targeted Special Counsel Jack Smith’s wife, an echo of what he previously did to deputy FBI Director Andrew McCable’s wife:

By this point, I feel sure you know the many levels these attacks play at: They effectively cow investigators and prosecutors by raising the price and the pain of enforcing the law against him; they keep everyone involved in holding him accountable looking over their shoulders at what happens if Trump wins in 2024; they unleash the less stable and more deranged among us against Trump’s perceived enemies; they are the rallying cry not just for his supporters at election time but for his appointees and subordinates and acolytes throughout government at the local, state and federal level.

Trump’s revenge fantasy – his stated desire to abuse the powers of the office to inflict pain on those who oppose him – is now more toxic, pervasive, and sinister than at any point in his presidency. It is the rocket fuel to his quickening lurch toward fascism, not only because it appeals to his strongman tendencies, but because now as he faces criminal charges on multiple fronts it is inextricably a part of protecting and preserving his own liberty.

Trump is an increasingly desperate man, and he’s telling us exactly what he will do.

Happy Arraignment Day!

Now that the Mar-a-Lago prosecution – as opposed to investigation – is underway, let me as your humble news concierge suggest that you not get too caught up in the ups and downs of the criminal procedure wrangling that will be going on for the next several months. I’ll share with you in Morning Memo the important developments and what really matters. But criminal trials are their own world, on their own schedule, and accountability ultimately doesn’t look like what you see on TV or in the movies.

Here’s What’s Going Down Today

Arraignments are boring and perfunctory, so don’t expect any big news today when Trump appears in federal court in Miami at 3 p.m. ET. No cameras or recording devices, so we won’t see it. Still, it’s an important moment packed with symbolism.

Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman will preside over the arraignment, not U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon.

As it stands now, Trump is expected to fly back to Bedminster after the court appearance for a fundraiser and a televised speech.

About Trump’s Lawyer Search …

Probably too much ink spilled on Trump’s search for a lawyer who can represent him in court in Florida today. But a larger problem remains for Trump in getting the kind of lawyer he needs for this kind of case, as Marcy Wheeler explains.

Open And Shut Case?

Former federal prosecutor Dennis Aftergut: Trump’s “peril is extreme”

House GOP Reaches Temporary Detente With Itself

Late last night, the internal family strife in the House GOP seems to have eased for the moment, but not with any real resolution:

WaPo: McCarthy, Republican lawmakers reach deal to end House floor standoff for now

WSJ: House Conservatives Lift Blockade as Talks Continue With Kevin McCarthy

NYT: Hard Right Agrees to Allow House Votes but Threatens Continued Blockade

Eating Their Own

The North Carolina Republican Party has formally censured Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) for being insufficiently conservative.

Obamacare Update

NYT: “Lawyers reached a deal on Monday to keep the Affordable Care Act’s mandate requiring health plans to cover preventive care at no cost to patients.”

What Happened To Lara Logan?

The Atlantic: A Star Reporter’s Break With Reality

The American Manufacturing Renaissance

Jeff Krimmel: The US manufacturing sector is undergoing a historic construction boom

Makes My Brain Bleed

The GOP reaction to the indictment of Trump in the Mar-a-Lago case is so inane that I haven’t spent much time on it, but in case you needed a taste:

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Notable Replies

  1. image

    To get things started.

  2. More proof that the Freedom Caucus is an unserious group of performers. They don’t really want to change anything or they’d stop giving in.

  3. Reporter’s question: “Is it a good look to have boxes of intel in the bathroom?” Qevin’s response. “What about Hillary’s emails?”


    Every accusation is an admission.

  5. Some good news:

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