Can One "Thread the Needle" on Trump?
Plus: Should we be thanking Tom Fitton?
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CHARLIE SYKES: Scenes from the Culture War
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JILL LAWRENCE: “Threading the Needle” on Trump Is a Dangerous Game.
KEEP YOUR NICE STATIONERY in the drawer: There’s no need quite yet to start writing thank-you notes to leading Republicans for finally, possibly, partially acknowledging reality when it comes to former President Donald Trump.
Sure, some of them are saying aloud that maybe, if that gobsmacking federal indictment is true, even fractionally, he just might be careless—even a teensy bit reckless—about how he handles top national security secrets. Never mind that this has been clear since his first months in office. It’s who he is. It’s what he does. Any acknowledgment is welcome, even now, eight long years into this nightmare.
That said, those who publicly recognize Trump’s malfeasance don’t deserve praise for pivoting, shifting, or threading some needle between telling the truth about Trump and protecting their own ambitions.
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CATHY YOUNG: Ukrainian Troops and Nazi Symbols?
THE KREMLIN TALKING POINT that Ukraine is run by a Nazi junta and that its armed forces are infested with neo-Nazis, periodically recycled by the Ukrainophobic contingent in American punditry, got a boost just before start of the Ukrainian counteroffensive from a New York Times article, “Nazi Symbols on Ukraine’s Front Lines Highlight Thorny Issues of History.” The story, which reports instances of Nazi-associated imagery spotted on some Ukrainian soldiers’ uniforms, and of Ukrainian authorities removing social media posts with such images, discusses the complexities of these symbols in the context of Ukrainian history. It predictably elicited I-told-you-so’s from the usual quarters, and the Times’s attempt at nuance was singled out for particular derision.
MARGARET MCMULLAN: Searching for My Family’s Lost Past in Viktor Orbán’s Hungary.
RECENTLY, WHILE ADDRESSING CONSERVATIVE Republicans and their far-right European counterparts and allies at CPAC’s second meeting in Budapest, Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán called for Donald Trump’s return to office, saying they share the same radical ideological values.
Around fifteen American conservative activists and politicians—including defeated Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar, Pizzagate conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec, and former Senator Rick Santorum—flew to attend the meeting in Hungary, a country that Orbán has described as an “incubator where the conservative policies of the future are being tested.”
If we’re giving grades, they’re failing.
Happy Thursday… Let’s start with a question: Should we be saying Thank You to Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch?
Hear me out. Fitton has a BA in English from George Washington. He runs an organization full of right wing crank lawyers that gleefully file partisan cases. Trump’s lawyers were telling him what I can only assume is decent legal advice about the documents case. Alas, Tom Fitton, whose group has some experience losing cases about the Presidential Records Act, told him to keep the documents.
Donald Trump may end up in the clink because he rebuffed his lawyers to get advice he wanted to hear from a non-lawyer. And that bad advice might be the key. So, thanks Tom Fitton?
I tweeted about this earlier today and it blew up. To the MAGA brain, lots of trolls responded that Fitton must be a lawyer because he runs Judicial Watch.
Alas, C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb does us all a favor and lets Fitton tell viewers in his own words:
Speaking of C-SPAN… I missed one of my favorite events of the year last night: The Congressional Baseball Game, which raised $1.8 million bucks for charity. You can watch the game here. I won’t spoil it for you, but can you guess what happens when somebody gets beaned?
🎵 On the Jukebox: Fleet Foxes - "Can I Believe You"
“You can't exonerate yourself from gossip.” Republicans have mastered the art of insinuation, from Birtherism to the Biden Crime Family. And, as Robert Graham observes, you can’t exonerate yourself from that. Heads I win, tails you lose.
Meanwhile, in the “Free State of Florida…” Farmers insurance is stopping writing new property policies there. In addition to wokeness, Florida is also where insurance underwriting goes to die, apparently.
Josh Shapiro is good at this… I knew he would be when I spent a day on the trail with him last year. His handling of the I-95 disaster has been superb. You can now watch a webcam of the live action on the rebuild.
What would happen to Donald Smith? Well, Rep. Scalise, Florida has your answer: death! Seriously, though, here are seven cases from the last six years about ordinary Joes who mishandled classified information. Spoiler alert: jail time.
Trump promised free food… After his court appearance when he visited a restaurant. Given his history, people were rightly skeptical. Can you guess how many people got free food? Nada. At least he was lifted up in prayer, which is a normal thing to pray about.
Do you know how old your siblings are? Eric Trump doesn’t.
The poisoning of the American Mind… A look from our friends at Connors Forum at the way “Americans are being fed questionable messages by the information sources that they rely on.” There’s a Bulwark nexus… and a forthcoming book!
That’s Rich… In a new Politico column, Rich Lowry argues a Trump pardon could “drain poison” from the system. I have my doubts.
AI isn’t going to take over marketing… Just yet, as evidenced by this fake Blue Jays commercial. Meanwhile, our colleague Martyn has found an AI resource that breaks down tasks into manageable bits. Even bizarre ones. (Enjoy.)
But it is coming to White Castle… And some people love it, and others do not.
Sorry, boomers… But the youths aren’t skewing towards Turning Point USA.
Hall of Fame interview closing… “Thanks for reading my books in prison.”
I’d like to buy a vowel… Pat Sajak will spend his retirement as chairman of the board of Hillsdale College.
Politics minus context… And I sadly knew the context for almost all of these clips.
“I PAY MY DUES!” Remembering the Iron Sheikh.
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