A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.
Showing Exactly Who He Is
This is as remarkable a window into the House GOP as anything we’ve seen since Jan. 6, 2021.
Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), eager to release more Jan. 6 surveillance footage as fodder for right-wing revisionism, says it will take some time because they need to blur the faces of people caught on the videos … to prevent the Justice Department from prosecuting them:
The reaction was swift and fierce:
One point worth adding here: The FBI has had access to the Jan. 6 surveillance footage for years now, so Johnson’s reasoning is as flawed as it is dangerous.
Now It’s Getting Good
Since the indictment of Donald Trump last August for trying to overturn the 2020 election, Special Counsel Jack Smith hasn’t offered much publicly to advance the underlying narrative. But that changed yesterday with a new filing that vividly describes how prosecutors want to frame up their case against Trump for jurors.
In a filing that the rules require, Smith revealed other bad acts and conduct that he intends to introduce against Trump at trial. What emerges is a compelling argument that Trump’s own anti-democratic statements and conduct began years before the 2020 election and continued well after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. But it goes even further than that.
I’m going to cheat and just share the subheads that Smith used in the filing because they elegantly show the framing of the case:
- Historical Evidence of the Defendant’s Consistent Plan of Baselessly Claiming Election Fraud
- Historical Evidence of the Defendant’s Common Plan to Refuse to Commit to a Peaceful Transition of Power
- Evidence of the Defendant and Co-Conspirators’ Knowledge of the Unfavorable Election Results and Motive and Intent to Subvert Them
- Pre- and Post-Conspiracy Evidence That the Defendant and Co-Conspirators Suppressed Proof Their Fraud Claims Were False and Retaliated Against Officials Who Undermined Their Criminal Plans
- Pre- and Post-Conspiracy Evidence of the Defendant’s Public Attacks on Individuals, Encouragement of Violence, and Knowledge of the Foreseeable Consequences
The filing is only nine pages long, but it’s chockablock with specific instances and examples that show the contours of the prosecution’s case against Trump. I’d urge you to read it.
A Small Point Of Pride
I remain immensely proud of this piece by then-TPMers Tierney Sneed and Matt Shuham from late January 2021 in which they made a heroic effort to place the Jan. 6 attack in the broader context of the vast, months-long effort to subvert the election: The Capitol Mob Was Only The Finale Of Trump’s Conspiracy To Overturn The Election.
I mention it now because that piece led with a description of the disturbance caused by pro-Trump supporters trying to stop the counting of votes at the TCF Center in Detroit shortly after Election Day 2022 – and in yesterday’s filing by Special Counsel Jack Smith he revealed new information about the origins of that near-riot to block the ballot counting.
In a partially redacted section of the filing, Smith states (emphasis mine):
The Government also plans to introduce evidence of an effort undertaken by an agent (and unindicted co-conspirator) of the defendant who worked for his campaign (“the Campaign Employee”) to, immediately following the election, obstruct the vote count. On November 4, 2020, the Campaign Employee exchanged a series of text messages with an attorney supporting the Campaign’s election day operations at the TCF Center in Detroit, where votes were being counted; in the messages, the Campaign Employee encouraged rioting and other methods of obstruction when he learned that the vote count was trending in favor of the defendant’s opponent.
That’s a remarkable revelation. If only we’d known it then! It’s not clear who the “Campaign Employee” is or whether this is a new co-conspirator or one of the unnamed co-conspirators in the indictment.
It’s Coming …
At what point do prosecutors and investigators start gathering evidence for the open, blatant, transparent Trumpian plan to abuse the powers of government to retaliate against his perceived enemies?
Take a listen to this appalling brag from former Trump Pentagon apparatchik Kash Patel:
The fact that this is so far outside the CIA’s lane is just icing on the cake of underlying wrongness and bad faith.
Lest you be tempted to dismiss comments like these as the florid paeans of sycophants, here’s another new warning about Trump from his own former secretary of defense:
Oh, Well, Then …
Trump: I won’t be a dictator ‘except for day one’
Buck Up! Don’t Despair!
It’s sometimes said that our institutions and civic culture have withered so much that resistance to Trumpian tyranny would be incapacitated, rendering its onset all but inevitable.
Such a reading of the moment risks leading us astray. It fails to account for much of the good that transpired during the Trump years, from which there is plenty to learn. Undue fatalism could even prove counterproductive, de-energizing voter opposition exactly when Trump is brazenly projecting his dictatorial intentions.
Colorado High Court Hears DQ Clause Case
Oral arguments today in the 14th Amendment Disqualification Clause case to keep Trump off the Colorado ballot. It’s not clear yet, but this could be the case that the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately weighs in on.
Judge Irked By Rudy’s No-Show For Hearing
With his defamation trial looming next week, Rudy Giuliani annoyed U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell by not showing up for a pre-trial hearing yesterday. By her order, parties were to supposed to attend the hearing in person. It would have been the first time Giuliani would have faced Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss in person.
Ukraine Aid Is In Real Trouble
It’s hard to overstate how insane it is that Ukraine aid has been successfully held hostage by Republicans, with the ransom demand being an array of aggressive new U.S. border policies. And it’s not just crazies in the House. This short thread by PBS NewsHour correspondent Lisa Desjardins nicely captures the Senate Republican pathology:
Antisemitic NYC Attack Yields Hate Crime Charges
A NYC man was charged with hate crimes after allegedly stalking and harassing Israeli tourists in Times Square before punching one of them in the head. The man was allegedly taunting:
- “Hamas should kill more of you.”
- “May Allah kill you.”
- “May Allah kill all the Jews.”
- “All Jews should die.”
- “I will die for Gaza.”
- President Biden, on his re-election campaign: “If Trump wasn’t running, I’m not sure I’d be running.”
- LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, the billionaire Democratic donor, gave $250,000 to a super PAC supporting Nikki Haley.
- Special election to fill the seat of ex-Rep. George Santos (R-NY) is set for Feb. 13, 2024.
How Far Will The Conservative Supreme Court Go?
Another bellwether case before the Supreme Court yesterday that will test how far the supermajority of Republican appointees will go in validating obscure conservative pet legal theories.
A Proper Tribute To Sandra Day O’Connor
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