Trump Is Playing With Absolute Fire In The Carroll Case
INSIDE: Jack Smith ... Peter Navarro ... Nikki Haley
A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.
Is Trump About To Get Rudy’d?
Carroll II, the second trial of Donald Trump for defaming E. Jean Carroll by lying about his sexual assault of her, got underway in Manhattan yesterday, and it’s shaping up to be a colossal financial threat to the former president.
Having lost in Carroll I, where a jury concluded he had raped Carroll, Trump is barred from contesting the fact of the rape in Carroll II. The only question is how big are her damages for his defamation.
While jury verdicts are notoriously difficult to predict, this case has the potential to do to Trump what a DC federal jury did to Rudy Giuliani in the defamation case brought against him by Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss. The Giuliani jury reached a verdict against him of $148 million, including punitive damages.
Like Giuliani, Trump has been defiant throughout the two Carroll trials, constantly repeating the defamatory statements with impunity, and persisting in attacking the plaintiff even while the trial was underway.
Trump was in court Tuesday as jury selection got underway, but his social media operation launched what was clearly a pre-planned full-scale attack on Carroll, including repeating the defamation. (It was perhaps not a coincidence that a key Trump lawyer resigned the night before.)
Trump is risking a substantial punitive damages award by continuing to attack his accuser. It does appear to be a calculated risk, not merely shooting from the hip inadvisably. And that should only fuel the arguments Carroll can make to the jury about how severely it should punish Trump for his misconduct.
In opening statements, Carroll’s lawyers seized on the morning’s developments to urge the jury to make Trump pay until it hurt enough to get him to stop defaming Carroll:
Carroll is expected to testify at trial today.
In the first E. Jean Carroll case, the Second Circuit Court has rejected Trump’s appeal that he was protected from lawsuit by presidential immunity.
The high court in New York denied Trump’s appeal of the gag order imposed on him in the NY civil fraud trial.
The full DC Circuit Court of Appeals has declined to reconsider the ruling that gave Special Counsel Jack Smith access to Donald Trump’s Twitter account – but all four Republican-appointed judges on the court filed an unusual “statement” (not a dissent) complaining that executive privilege had not been raised on appeal.
New filing from Trump in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case seeks to paint Trump as the victim of the intelligence community and a politically motivated prosecution:
While the 68-page filing was formally a request by Mr. Trump’s lawyers to the office of the special counsel, Jack Smith, to provide them with reams of additional information that they believe can help them fight the charges, it often read more like a list of political talking points than a brief of legal arguments.
Navarro Bid For New Trial Fails
I noticed an undercurrent of quibbling yesterday that the Iowa caucus is small and irrelevant, that Trump received a minuscule number of votes compared to the size of the national electorate, and that his Iowa caucus win was too thin a reed upon which to rest broad pronouncements about his viability as a candidate.
In isolation, each of those things has an element of truth to it. But they’re not in isolation. They’re in the context of there being no viable opposition to Trump within the Republican Party right now. This is the contest for the GOP nomination, and there’s no one who can dare attack Trump let alone mount an effective challenge to him. Period.
You can conjure up make-believe scenarios where the GOP electorate suddenly sees the light but to whom does Trump’s votes go? At present, no one has proven their ability to stand in for Trump. If Nikki Haley were to somehow pull of the unexpected and defeat Trump in New Hampshire next week … we can revisit this assessment.
The Messenger: The Inside Story of How Ron DeSantis Got Crushed by Donald Trump
Politico: Trump’s win in Iowa shows big strengths and hidden warning signs
Texas Border Stunt Is Getting Dangerous
TPM’s Josh Kovensky on the latest developments in Texas and at the Supreme Court:
The confrontation between federal power and an unruly state government came to a head this weekend after Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Texas state lawmakers have spent years laying the groundwork to annex what has, until now, been a core federal responsibility: securing the U.S.-Mexico border.
Now, Texas is physically blocking border patrol agents from accessing parts of the frontier, an extraordinary usurpation of federal authority. …
The entire confrontation is reaching a head in part because of a December injunction from a federal appeals court which bans federal agents from removing barriers placed by the state of Texas. The Biden administration is appealing, and dropped a flurry of filings before the Supreme Court this weekend about the confrontation.
Pay Close Attention To The Supreme Court Today
The Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority gets a chance to take a hatchet to the administrative state in oral arguments today. TPM’s Kate Riga will be covering the threat to the landmark Chevron decision.
Biden Summons Congressional Leaders To White House
The meeting today will focus on the stalled talks over aid to Ukraine and Israel and its unfortunate companion issue: security at the U.S. southern border.
The Price of Netanyahu’s Ambition
The New Yorker’s David Remnick draws on his trip to Israel in late December to assess the post-Oct. 7 landscape through the prism of the Netanyahu family.
This brings it all together: The E. Jean Carroll trial and the willingness to let Trump off the hook to somehow try to wrest his voters away from him without criticizing or confronting him. If Nikki Haley is the last best hope to keep Trump from the GOP nomination, then god help us.
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