Iowa GOP Embraces Insurrectionist For POTUS
INSIDE: E. Jean Carroll ... Aileen Cannon ... Jack Smith
A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.
Not An Anomaly
Donald Trump is on the verge of becoming the GOP nominee for the presidency for the third straight election. What might have seemed like a historical blip in 2016 that was remedied by Trump’s general election defeat in 2020 is now an eternal black mark on the Republican Party.
Hijacked by Trump, purged of its traditional middle-of-the-road corporate conservatives, and transformed into a cult of personality, the Republican Party is unrecognizable as the party of Lincoln. Gone are the Bushes, Cheneys, and Romneys. In are the worst group of scoundrels, hacks, hangers-on, and would-be authoritarians this nation has ever seen.
Whatever quaint and out-dated notions remained that Iowa’s Midwestern conservatism and its rural and highly educated populace would serve as an important early filter in the nominating process can be put to rest.
A majority of Iowa Republican caucus-goers went for Trump after the travesties of the Trump presidency: the failed response to the COVID pandemic, the indignity of losing to Joe Biden, and the insurrection at the Capitol, among so many others.
I’m going to steer clear of the over-analysis of the second and third place finishers, the phantom that is “momentum,” and other tea-leaf reading in the midst of the Trump storm. This is all about Trump, and no other storyline merits more than passing consideration. Semafor put it well this morning, calling it a “dream scenario” for Trump: “A dominant performance, a divided field bitterly fighting for scraps, and little sign of consolidation behind any of them.”
After his poor showing in Iowa, Vivek Ramaswamy suspended his campaign and endorsed Donald Trump.
McKay Coppins: You Should Go to a Trump Rally
WSJ: $6 Trillion in Taxes Are at Stake in This Year’s Elections
The pro-Democratic group American Bridge 21st Century is planning a $140 million ad campaign using testimonials to remind women and working-class voters why they voted against Trump in 2020.
Quote Of The Day
We Were 100% Warned
NBC News: Fears grow that Trump will use the military in ‘dictatorial ways’ if he returns to the White House
Trump supporters are asked: “Would you rather have four years of Donald Trump as a dictator or four years of President Biden re-elected?”
E. Jean Carroll Gets Another Whack At Trump
The four-times indicted frontrunner for the GOP nomination, fresh off his big win in Iowa, is expected in federal court today in New York for the (second) trial of E. Jean Carroll’s defamation claim against him for denying he raped her. Trump’s liability was already established in the first jury verdict, so this trial will be focused only on Carroll’s damages. In recent days, Carroll implored the judge not to let Trump engage in the kinds of stunts he pulled in the NY state judge-tried fraud case.
Trump made a last-ditch effort to delay the trial for a week, citing the death of his mother-in-law. The judge denied the request, noting that Trump had managed to schedule a campaign stop in New Hampshire tomorrow.
It’s time for the courts to stop giving Trump special treatment. To stop walking delicately and gingerly lest he claim foul play when he is merely subjected to procedures anyone else in his position would be held accountable to. The courts, charged with delivering justice, need to stop being afraid of Trump.
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance
Aileen Cannon Is Still At It
In a late-night ruling Friday, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon denied Special Counsel Jack Smith’s motion to impose a deadline on Donald Trump to assert an advice of counsel defense in the Mar-a-Lago documents case. With trial set for May, Cannon said it was premature to force Trump to assert the defense. Smith can refile the motion later, but it’s not clear what time frame Cannon considers proper. All signs point to Cannon abandoning the May trial date and pushing the trial until after the November election. But she’s slowrolling it rather than acting transparently.
Oregon Supreme Court declines to rule on Disqualification Clause case against Trump, preferring to wait until the U.S. Supreme Court weighs in.
Trump ordered to pay nearly $400,000 in attorney fees to the NYT and three of its investigative reporters over his baseless defamation lawsuit.
Joseph Tacopina withdraws as Trump’s lawyer in the Stormy Daniels hush money case.
The Politics Of White Resentment
TPM’s Kate Riga: In Their Quest For Dominance, Republicans Break Government At All Levels
An Interesting Origin Story
Drawing from his new book – The Rebels: Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and the Struggle for a New American Politics – Josh Green writes for TPM about how power In America shifted in 1978 and laid the groundwork for the current political moment.
Feds Seek Death Penalty For Buffalo Shooter
The Justice Department announced it would seek the death penalty for the man accused of killing 10 Black people in a 2022 shooting spree at a Buffalo grocery story.
A Biden administration plan to impose a fee on oil and gas companies for every excess ton of methane emitted would be the first federal price on greenhouse gas pollution.
How The EV Transition Is Going
John Voelcker, my go-to expert on electric vehicles, cuts through the noise to assess the current state of the EV market.
The Icelandic Saga
A new eruptive phase began and then seemed to end over the weekend on Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula.
A long fissure opened outside the protective berm hurriedly constructed to protect the town of Grindavík, which was evacuated in November and re-evacuated in haste over the weekend. The berm worked remarkably well at diverting a lava flow around the town. But a few hours later, a second shorter fissure opened inside the protective wall and sent lava to the edge of town, where three houses were destroyed.
You can see the main fissure in the background in the photo below, with lava diverting along a line that runs off the left of the photo. The fissure that opened up nearly in town is the dark slash in the center of the photo:
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