Coup Indictment, Steps Towards Truth, and Youngkin's Moment?
Plus, the circus comes to town.
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DONALD TRUMP’S “DEFENSES” to the various civil and criminal charges that have been brought against him change shape over time like cinematic alien invaders: I didn’t do it. I had every right to do it. I never even met her. I may have met her, but she’s not my type. My lawyer told me I could do it. Hunter Biden did it. I did it, but it wasn’t a crime. It’s too insignificant to charge a former president. It’s too significant to charge a presidential candidate. It’s fake news.
But two of Trump’s standard, all-purpose defenses seem to have survived the test of time: (1) I really believed it. And (2) I relied on the advice of counsel.
Special Counsel Jack Smith’s new indictment of Donald Trump for crimes connected to the 2020 presidential election will challenge and, I believe, ultimately lay waste to those defenses.
MONA CHAREN: Trump’s Trials Will Be a Step Toward Truth.
A YEAR AGO, I WAS WARY of indicting Donald Trump. I feared that charging him—though arguably the most deserved prosecution imaginable—would only strengthen him politically. It’s a little hard to recall now, but last year, Trump was in eclipse. In July 2022, half of GOP primary voters expressed a desire to move on from Trump. His anointed candidates fared poorly in November, and even some of his most ardent backers, including the Murdochs, were eyeing other options. If he could be relegated to the rear view window, I reasoned, even if (goddammit) it meant that he escaped liability for his crimes, it would be the best available outcome. An indictment, I feared, would spark a rally-round-Trump effect that would revive his fortunes among Republicans and thrust this viper back into our national life.
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JILL D. LAWRENCE: With Trump Indicted Again, Is This Glenn Youngkin’s Moment?
IS THIS REALLY IT? Are Republicans doomed to field as their 2024 nominee a lying, multiply indicted loser whose calendar is so crammed with criminal and civil trials, and whose actions are so egregiously unpatriotic, that even his former vice president says he “should never be President of the United States”?
Maybe not. Maybe this is Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s moment.
As he teases Republican donors about the possibility that he will swoop in to save the day, Youngkin could not have asked for better liftoff conditions: over 200,000 more people employed in the state since he took office 18 months ago, which his team notes marks Virginia’s highest labor-force participation since 2013; record fundraising hauls; a personal-best 57 percent approval rating, which he achieved in a state that gives no special welcome to GOP politicians; and his party’s two leading presidential contenders looking ever less viable.
“Clowns are the pegs on which the circus is hung” P.T. Barnum once observed, and today, the literal circus and the figurative one came to town on a stormy Washington Thursday. For me, I prefer the circus that brings joy to children.
As today is a step towards the beginning of justice and closure for January 6, I am thinking of the documentary Pelosi in the House by Alexandra Pelosi, Nancy’s daughter. If you haven’t watched it, it really brings you behind the scenes on January 6. (Alexandra’s documentary Journeys with George about the 2000 election is great, too.) Today, I’m taking a moment to think of all those who bear the scars of January 6, and how grateful I am for all of them. I’d encourage you to take a moment and keep them in your prayers, too. I’m glad Harry Dunn and and Aquilino Gonell are there to stare him down.
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The secret history… Of gun rights.
Mike Pence knows… what he’s getting himself into.
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An Army Veteran’s New Mission… Is Keeping Sriracha on Shelves.
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