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Trump's Nesting Doll of Lies
Is anybody listening?
We interrupt the horse-race punditry, polling proctology, and omphaloskepsis1, to bring you this bit of news: Donald Trump keeps telling us what he intends to do.
In Florida the other day, the putative GOP nominee pledged to execute the “largest domestic deportation operation in American history” on his first day in office. His remark, we are told, was “met with thunderous applause” from the MAGA crowd.
He’s making other promises as well. Earlier this week, the Wapo reported: “Trump and allies plot revenge, Justice Department control in a second term.”
Yesterday, he confirmed it.
In an interview on Univision, Trump was asked if he would indeed weaponize the FBI and Justice Department against his opponents. Perhaps attention should be paid to his answer:
“Yeah. If they do this, and they’ve already done it, but if they follow through on this, yeah, it could certainly happen in reverse.”
“What they’ve done is they’ve released the genie out of the box”…
“If I happen to be president and I see somebody who’s doing well and beating me very badly, I say, ‘Go down and indict them.’ They’d be out of business. They’d be out of the election.”
“He’s said it all before; he’ll say it all again,” writes Susan Glasser. “The question, with one year left on the clock, is: Who’s listening?
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It’s lies all the way down
Trump’s threats — all completely plausible — come just days after federal prosecutors laid out their case against the former president in a remarkable 79-page filing that catalogs Trump’s cascade of deceit, fraud, and lies.
Special counsel Jack Smith argued Monday that Donald Trump’s bid to subvert the 2020 election was far from a case of misplaced “advocacy” or constitutionally protected speech, and he urged the federal judge presiding over Trump’s Washington, D.C., trial to sweep aside Trump’s bid to “sanitize” his conduct…
In a 79-page filing, Smith’s team articulated its clearest case yet for Trump’s prosecution, repeatedly characterizing Trump’s false claims of election fraud as knowing lies aimed at defrauding election officials — from secretaries of state and governors to his own vice president, Mike Pence.
Really, it’s worth your time.
Jack Smith’s team has learned the lessons of the Mueller investigation. Smith seems to understand the asymmetry of that probe — where Mueller failed to push back against the Trumpian torrent of abuse and deception.
Smith also appreciates the need for clear communication. His filings are direct, vivid, and actually written in English (unlike so many legal documents). One declarative sentence follows another, as the prosecutors dismantle, hammer, and ridicule Trump’s attempts to obfuscate, obstruct, and spin.
Here is Smith’s team explaining that it didn’t matter whether Trump “genuinely believed” that the 2020 election was stolen.
Just as the president of a company may be guilty of fraud for using knowingly false statements of facts to defraud investors, even if he subjectively believes that his company will eventually succeed, the defendant may be guilty of using deceit to obstruct the government function by which the results of the presidential election are collected, counted, and certified, even if he provides evidence that he subjectively believed that the election was “rigged.”
Inside the Big Lie were nesting dolls of deception, deceit, and knowing fraud. That includes Trump’s statements:
That “36,000 non-citizens had voted in Arizona.”
That “more than 10,300 dead people had voted in Georgia.”
That there had been “an illicit dump of more than a hundred thousand ballots in Detroit.”
That “there had been 205,000 more votes than voters in Pennsylvania.”
That “there had been tens of thousands of unlawful votes in Wisconsin.”
That voting machines in various contested states had switched votes from the defendant to Biden.
“These claims were false,” the indictment declares, “and the Defendant knew that they were false.”
Really, you should read the whole thing.
Speaking of the Rule of Law…
Help is on the way: “Conservative lawyers to launch Society for Rule of Law to counter Maga movement” | The Independent
A group of preeminent conservative lawyers who opposed former president Donald Trump’s efforts to manipulate the legal system are launching a new, long-term project aimed at fostering respect for the US constitution and the rule of law in the legal profession.
The group, which initially began operating in 2018 under the name Checks and Balances, includes preeminent conservative legal figures such as J Michael Luttig, the former Fourth Circuit judge who was shortlisted as a Supreme Court pick during the George W Bush administration, and George Conway, who was former president Donald Trump’s pick to run the Justice Department civil division before he became a prominent critic of the ex-president.
Unlike other groups formed by anti-Trump conservatives during Mr Trump’s presidency, the Checks and Balances group has been a bit of a shoestring operation, until now operating with a small budget raised from its’ members.
But a source familiar with the group’s plans told The Independent that a decision was made by the group’s board to seek outside funding for the purposes of a major relaunch and rebranding operation as the “Society for the Rule of Law”…. The society’s roll-out will include a “Rule of Law summit” [which took place on Wednesday evening] in Washington.
This new funding stream for the group includes a major donation from the Defending Democracy Together Institute, the anti-Trump Republican group founded by former Weekly Standard journalists and ex-Reagan administration officials such as William Kristol and Mona Charen.
Surreal and Insane
On yesterday’s podcast, A.B. Stoddard and I broke down the highlights and lowlights of the GOP debate, and our very weird political moment.
1. What Dems Think They Must Do to Win in 2024
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) announced this afternoon that he will not seek re-election in 2024. This is a major victory for Republicans as it all but assures the seat will flip.
In response to the news, National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman and Montana Sen. Steve Daines offered a single sentence statement of confidence:
We like our odds in West Virginia.
Manchin’s decision also adds to speculation that he may be gearing up for an independent presidential bid with the help of No Labels. In the video statement announcing retirement, Manchin said he will be “traveling the country and speaking out to see if there is an interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle.”
BONUS: Check out Bill Kristol on the Manchin news:
2. If only Peter Thiel had been warned.
“Voting for Trump was like a not very articulate scream for help,” Thiel told me. He fantasized that Trump’s election would somehow force a national reckoning. He believed somebody needed to tear things down—slash regulations, crush the administrative state—before the country could rebuild.
He admits now that it was a bad bet.
“There are a lot of things I got wrong,” he said. “It was crazier than I thought. It was more dangerous than I thought. They couldn’t get the most basic pieces of the government to work. So that was—I think that part was maybe worse than even my low expectations.”
3. What Our Veterans Need and Deserve
Will Selber in the Bulwark: “Thank you for your service” doesn’t help those struggling with the crushing weight of their combat experiences.
This Veterans Day, let us begin an honest dialogue. Civilians must do better than just repeating “Thank You for Your Service.” (That phrase, intended as a kind of patriotic embrace, can feel more like a shove.) They must demand answers to what went wrong in Afghanistan and insist that we bring all of our Afghan allies home now. Active-duty personnel and veterans must be open to dialogue and step outside our close-knit communities. We must be vulnerable and tell our stories—all of them, no matter how ugly.
One Republican lawmaker, who has heard Greene use that word multiple times to describe Boebert, told The Daily Beast that Greene has been at this campaign for some time.
“Calling her a whore, that’s not new,” this GOP lawmaker said. “She’s been doing that for a while.”
Another GOP lawmaker also witnessed Greene refer to Boebert as a “whore.”