Discover more from The Bulwark
"Top of the Line!" Trump Fawns, Again.
Plus: Bragg brings a gun to a knife fight
Not a parody: Missouri House Republicans vote to defund libraries
A Bulwark special: Why Ukraine fights.
Jim Jordan is bringing his clown car to NYC, and Alvin Bragg isn’t having it. Via the NYT:
The Manhattan district attorney on Tuesday sued Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio in an extraordinary step intended to keep congressional Republicans from interfering in the office’s criminal case against former President Donald J. Trump.
The 50-page suit, filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York, accuses Mr. Jordan of a “brazen and unconstitutional attack” on the prosecution of Mr. Trump and a “transparent campaign to intimidate and attack” the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg. Mr. Bragg last week unveiled 34 felony charges against Mr. Trump that stem from the former president’s attempts to cover up a potential sex scandal during and after the 2016 presidential campaign.
But, but, but… Don’t get your hopes up (Via Punchbowl):
U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil — a Trump appointee — rejected Bragg’s efforts to obtain a temporary restraining order and preliminary order barring enforcement of the Pomerantz subpoena. Vyskocil scheduled an April 19 hearing on the matter. Judiciary Committee Republicans have scheduled an April 20 deposition for Pomerantz.
I had some thoughts about the suit on “Deadline White House” yesterday:
“[Unlike] Robert Mueller, he is pushing back and he is calling out Jim Jordan very clearly for a move that is pure political retaliation,” Sykes continued, referencing the former FBI director tasked with investigating possible connections between Trump’s 2016 campaign and the Russian government. “It is an attempt to intimidate. It is an attempt to obstruct justice and it is an abuse of congressional power.”
In today’s Bulwark, Dennis Aftergut dissects Jordan’s shambolic investigation into the “weaponization of the government.”
Since February, he has hosted hearings that have flopped harder than a distracted trapeze artist. As Francis Wilkinson wrote in the Nation yesterday, Jordan doesn’t “seem able to manufacture a political hit for a new era.”
How badly have Jordan and his doppleganger, James Comer, flopped? Check out the early reviews:
Washington Post: The Holes In Jim Jordan’s Convoluted ‘Weaponization’ Theory.
San Francisco Chronicle (Podcast): Ex-GOP Rep.: McCarthy 'Drunk On His Own Bathwater'.
Washington Post: The Republican Clown-Car Caucus Is Undermining Itself.
Punchbowl News: Tensions Rise Over Comer’s Oversight.
You get the idea.
“Top of the line!”
Indicted felon Donald Trump returned to Fox News last night, and FAWNED on some of the world’s most brutal dictators. Because, of course.
Watching the video is bad enough. Reading the actual transcript is a wild ride through the recesses of the former president’s mind:
TRUMP: Top of the line. Top line. They’re all top of the line. Are our guys not top of the line? Never was.
These are top of the line people at the top of their game.
President Xi is a brilliant man. If you went all over Hollywood to look for somebody to play the role of President Xi, you couldn’t find, there’s nobody like that.
The look, the brain, the whole thing. We had a great relationship. You know, when he first came to Mar-a-Lago, It was so organized by them and by us, but by them very pom, pom, pom. Everything’s like business. No games, you know.
They don’t say, Gee, how did the Yankees do last night? Oh, that was a wonderful. They don’t care. They don’t care about anything. I said, You ever go to a Broadway play? I’ll take you to one. Do you ever have plays like do you ever go.. No, I don’t know. He’s all this is business. These aren’t game players, right?
I like it, you know, in a way, I like it. You have no life. But that’s what he likes.”
Trump: “Top of the line. Smart. Top of the line. When they came in, it was supposed to be a meeting that lasted exactly 15 minutes. .
So we go to breakout sessions with all they had. Like 40 people. We had 40 people, you know, the comparables. Right? And we’re sitting across the table from each other in the ballroom of Mar a Lago. It was an amazing scene, but our meeting was supposed to take 15 minutes. It took 4 hours.
We got along so well.
People ask how smart is Kim Jong Un? Kim Jong Un is smart too.
You know, when you come out and as a young man at 24, 23, even though he sort of inherits it, most people when they inherit, they lose it. And that’s easy stuff.
He took over a country, a very smart people, very, very energetic people, very tough people at a very young age. And he has total dominate control. That’s not easy. These are these are very smart.
Putin, very smart.
Now, he’s had in and probably a bad year. If he took over all of Ukraine and what are we going to do because Biden is so committed to Ukraine. What happens if it’s a not winnable war?
You know, there are people that say Ukraine cannot win.
You can’t beat Russia. Russia right now, I’m not saying anything out of school. I read it in one of our newspapers. So, you know, it’s probably fake news, but maybe not. I don’t think it is.
Russia right now is making massive amounts of ammunition. Sounds simple, right? But they’re making massive beyond anything they’ve ever made before. We don’t have any ammunition. We’ve given it to Ukraine.
We’re not we’re not prepared to fight. I rebuilt our military, new planes, new tanks, new everything. They’ve taken, the military that I’ve rebuilt, and they’ve given it all to Ukraine. I mean, massive amounts.”
War crimes? Genocide? Murders? Not something that the GOP front-runner seems to care about. But we knew that, didn’t we?
Peter Wehner: A Grotesque Leader of a Grotesque Party
On yesterday’s Bulwark podcast, Peter Wehner and I discussed how GOP leaders failed to grasp that going along with Trump would increase his hold on the party—and further radicalize the base.
BONUS: For Bulwark+ members: Mona Charen and I consider the abortion trap door, Clarence Thomas's ethics, and have a disagreement about the Manhattan indictment.
Meanwhile, in court…
WILMINGTON, Del. — A judge ruled on Tuesday that Fox News could not argue that it broadcast false information about Dominion Voting Systems on the basis that the allegations were newsworthy, limiting a key line of defense for the network as it faces the beginning of a potentially costly defamation trial next week.
The youth vote in Wisconsin, revisited.
Fascinating analysis in the Wapo of how Democrats turned out college-age voters in last week’s state Supreme Court race. Look at this stunning graphic:
In Eau Claire, a city with 77 voting wards, the highest turnout was in Ward 20, which covered the upper campus of the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire and residence halls. A total of 883 votes were cast and Protasiewicz got more than 87 percent of them, according to data provided to The Washington Post by Project 72 WI, a group focused on young voter turnout in the Supreme Court election and that supported Protasiewicz in the race.
Four years earlier, during another state Supreme Court election, turnout in the same ward had totaled 158 people. While overall turnout in the ward decreased from the 2022 midterms, Protasiewicz won a larger share of votes than Gov. Tony Evers (D)….
In Madison, some campus wards turned out in higher percentages than some high-performing wards elsewhere in a city which has consistently had high turnout in recent general elections.
And this for an election that many college students did not even know existed a few months ago.
A Bulwark Special: Why Ukraine Fights
Today’s Bulwark features a remarkable essay from Ukraine. It’s very much worth your time.
This longform piece by Tamar Jacoby is something special. Tamar has been living in Ukraine during the war and she has done deep reporting trying to understand the nationalism that is growing there.
It’s a story about colonialism and oppression, democracy and illiberalism. It’s going to educate you—I promise you’ll learn a lot you didn’t know before. But it’s also going to challenge you. Because nationalism has an absolute value sign around it. Some of it is great. Some of it is troubling. None of it can be understood outside the context of a war in which the invading power tortures and murders civilians and literally steals Ukraine’s children in an attempt to erase their country’s identity.
The amount of research and reporting that goes into a piece like this is substantial and we can only publish it because of the support of Bulwark+ members.
But we’re making it free for everyone to read, because it’s important.
So thank you to our members—you made this happen.
And if you haven’t joined yet, we’d love to have you. —JVL
Fluffers gonna fluff.