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As We Count Down To Indictments In MAL Case, Trump Starts Wailing
INSIDE: Amanda Gorman ... John Roberts ... Jimmy Carter
A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.
With Special Counsel Jack Smith basically done investigating and developing evidence in the Mar-a-Lago documents case, charging decisions appear to be imminent. Smith himself has been mum, so most of the datapoints for where things stand come directly or indirectly from Trump World, an inherently unreliable source. But that doesn’t mean they’re wrong in this instance.
Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump World is bracing for indictments. That report in and of itself seemed to be enough to trigger Donald Trump himself. Within a few hours of the WSJ report, two Trump lawyers sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland that smelled of desperation:
It reads like yet another example of Trump personally dictating a response and his lawyers barely gussying it up to make themselves look less foolish. It’s also obviously a fundraising and attention-getting ploy. It’s not real lawyering.
No such meeting with Garland is likely to happen since he delegated the case to Smith. Garland, you may recall, already snubbed a Trump request for a meeting shortly after the FBI raided (or searched, if you prefer) Mar-a-Lago last August. Trump lawyers might win a final meeting with Smith to make a case for why the evidence doesn’t amount to a crime. But at this point, Smith is in the final stages of dotting i’s and crossing t’s.
Be prepared for indictments at any time now.
Trump Criminal Trial Date Set
After sternly threatening Donald Trump with contempt of court if he violates the protective order he issued in the Stormy Daniels hush money case, the judge set a tentative trial date of March 25, 2024, smack in the middle of the presidential primary calendar.
Amanda Gorman’s Inaugural Poem Banned In Florida School
The poet Amanda Gorman, whose recitation of The Hill We Climb, was the highlight of Joe Biden’s inaugural, responded via Twitter to the poem being pulled from a Miami-Dade elementary school after a parent complaint:
The complaint and how it was handled was revealed by the Florida Freedom to Read Project.
Far Right Targets Target Over Pride Display
The decade-long winning streak that LGBT+ advocates have had in acculturating corporate America to gay pride seems to be coming to an end as corporations react to a wave of new threats against them and their employees from right-wing agitators.
The Target capitulation comes after that the Los Angeles Dodger responded to a right-wing outcry by revoking its invitation to the team’s Pride night from the delightfully named Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. After the backlash to that move, including the refusal of other LGBT+ groups to participate in Dodgers’ Pride night, the team apologized and re-invited the good sisters.
Can McCarthy Really Deliver?
Amid all the Sturm and Drang over President Biden’s handling (or, depending on your view, mishandling) of the debt ceiling hostage-taking by the House GOP, there remains a different through-line that colors the whole saga a bit differently. Namely, can House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) really deliver the GOP votes for any deal with the White House? It’s not clear he can! And that risk resurfaced yesterday in a more pointed way than it has in recent days:
Politico: White House believes massive Dem bailout may be needed to pass debt ceiling compromise
NYT: McCarthy, Bracing for Defections, Eyes a Fraught Path to a Debt Limit Deal
Meanwhile, one of the far-right members of the House GOP admitted, inadvertently or otherwise, that this is in fact a hostage taking:
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will announce his presidential campaign today on Twitter with its owner Elon Musk in an event TPM’s Nicole Lafond described as a “match made in reactionary chucklehead heaven.”
NYT: DeSantis Allies’ $200 Million Plan for Beating Trump
USA Today: She stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. Then Gov. Ron DeSantis made her a state regulator
Chief Justice Roberts Feels Sorry For Himself?
The chief justice offered his most extensive public remarks since the Clarence Thomas scandal exploded. They didn’t inspire confidence. Among them:
When I wander down the hallways and I see a colleague, I am always happy to have a chance to chat. Now, to be fair, there have been days when I don’t feel like walking down the halls.
Harlan Crow Rebuffs Congress Again
Attorneys for Clarence Thomas benefactor Harlan Crow claim Congress has no constitutional power to impose ethics rules on the Supreme Court.
Texas GOP Legislature Targets Harris County
A big move afoot to commandeer elections in Texas’ largest blue county.
Only in Texas, y’all:
A Texas House committee revealed Tuesday it was investigating the office of Attorney General Ken Paxton over his push for $3.3 million in taxpayer dollars to settle a whistleblower lawsuit from former deputies who had accused Paxton of misconduct.
The news came hours after Paxton called on the House speaker, Dade Phelan, to resign over alleged drunkenness while leading the House, a remarkable moment of acrimony between two of Texas’ top Republicans.
Phelan’s office fired back, noting the investigation has been going on since March.
‘If You Don’t Get Credit, It Didn’t Happen’
Washington Monthly: Why Don’t Americans Recognize that Inflation is Down and Incomes Are Up?
Long Live Jimmy Carter
Three months after entering home hospice, the 39th president is still hanging in there, visiting with family and eating ice cream.
“We did think that when he went into hospice it was very close to the end,” Carter grandson Jason Carter said yesterday. “Now, I’m just going to tell you, he’s going to be 99 in October.”