February 22, 2024

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LITIGATION TRACKER ... Trump Trials Clearinghouse



“I don’t believe the Republican Party today sees Russia as an adversary. I don’t believe they see Vladimir Putin as uniquely evil. Today’s Republican Party has embraced American weakness. They are OK looking the other way and giving equity to Vladimir Putin and Russia, and that’s not just a pivot of orthodox. That’s a new chapter of Republicanism.” — Former Rep. David Jolly (R-FL). https://www.huffpost.com/entry/david-jolly-republicans-follow-trump_n_65d483bfe4b0f7fbe7b4017b

“You wonder, what does Putin have on Donald Trump that he always has to be beholden to him, his buddy in vileness?” — Nancy Pelosi on Donald Trump’s response to the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, calling Trump’s comments “beneath the dignity of a human being.” https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/4477550-pelosi-trump-comments-on-navalnys-death-beneath-the-dignity-of-a-human-being/

“He got sucked into the Trump orbit, and he is so zealously about his own self-preservation in South Carolina that he literally would push his mother in front of a train to get to where he needs to be. I hate to say it because I actually like him.” — An unnamed Democratic senator about Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/4476241-grahams-u-turns-have-senate-colleagues-fed-up-annoying-tiresome/

“Just had a great meeting with President Donald Trump this Presidents’ Day. Together, we will grow the majority and save America!” — Speaker Mike Johnson, during his 2 week vacation from legislating. https://twitter.com/MikeJohnson/status/1759743134823489550


“It takes a special kind of person to get caught overseeing a fraudulent charity, a fraudulent “university,” and a business that repeatedly committed fraud.” — Steve Benen https://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/maddowblog/civil-fraud-case-judge-fines-trump-300-million-rcna139266

“America’s pressure on Israel must go beyond stern words and leaked angry conversations. The U.S. today is complicit in the destruction of Gazan society, the immiseration of much of the strip. But even at this late stage there are choices to be made and further catastrophe to be avoided.” — Michael Hanna of the International Crisis Group. https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2024/02/16/israel-rafah-pressure-global-displaced-assault/

“It is an undeniable fact that Republicans’ allegations against President Biden have always been a tissue of lies built on conspiracy theories, and I formally call on Speaker Johnson, Chairman Comer, and House Republicans to stop promoting this nonsense and end their doomed impeachment inquiry.” — Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), ranking member of the Committee on Oversight and Accountability. https://www.thedailybeast.com/doj-charges-ex-fbi-informant-alexander-smirnov-for-allegedly-lying-about-biden

“We cannot believe Putin and his government. They are lying constantly. But if it’s true, I would like Putin and all his staff, everybody around him, his government, his friends, I want them to know that they will be punished for what they have done with our country, with my family and with my husband. They will be brought to justice, and this day will come soon.” — Yulia Navalnaya, who made a dramatic, surprise appearance at a gathering of world leaders in Munich on Friday, just hours after her husband was reported dead. https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/16/world/europe/aleksei-navalny-wife-munich.html

“Putin murdered his political opponent and Trump hasn’t said a word after he said he would encourage Putin to invade our allies. He has, however, posted 20+ times on social media about his legal drama and fake polls.” — Nikki Haley. https://twitter.com/NikkiHaley/status/1758534258367369556?s=20

“Every leader kills people. Leadership requires killing people, sorry.” -- Tucker Carlson, defending his decision not to ask Putin about freedom of speech or assassinations of his opponents. https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/17/opinion/navalny-putin-trump.html

“And when you look at these cases, and you look at the verdicts and the judgments, it’s clear the common thread that runs through all of them is Donald Trump’s lack of willingness to abide by the law, lack of commitment to the truth, [his] fundamental lack of character.” -- Liz Cheney.  https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/4475559-cheney-trump-legal-woes-fundamental-lack-of-character/

“I mean it should be a wake-up call for Republicans all over this country. I mean you look at the fact that we saw in his campaign reports that he used $50 million of campaign contributions to pay for his personal court cases. Then he tried to get the RNC to name him the presumptive nominee. We don’t anoint kings in America.” — Nikki Haley unleashing criticism of the RNC, citing Lara Trump’s assertion that every penny should go toward electing Donald Trump as president. https://thehill.com/homenews/4475640-haley-on-rnc-focus-on-electing-trump-we-dont-anoint-kings/

“The damage House Republicans are actively causing to American national security mounts every day that they insist on continuing their two-week vacation.” — WH spokesman Andrew Bates on Republicans going on ‘vacation’ without approving funding for Ukraine and addressing the border. https://www.politico.com/news/2024/02/21/white-house-gop-recess-ukraine-aid-00142425

“He (Speaker Mike Johnson) is gonna have to explain to future generations, to his kids, to his grandkids, whether or not he did what was right, whether or not he was a force for good and aided the cause of freedom, or whether he continued down this path of cowardice and doing what Donald Trump and [Russian President Vladimir Putin] want him to do.” — Liz Cheney  on Speaker Johnson failing to pass a bill approving aid for Ukraine.  https://thehill.com/homenews/house/4475545-cheney-says-its-worth-johnson-losing-speakership-over-passing-ukraine-aid-bill/


"Not only do we support President Trump, we support his policies, and any Republican that isn't willing to adapt these policies we are completely eradicating from the party. Reagan's "big tent" GOP is out, Trump's purity-test GOP is in.“ — Marjorie Taylor Greene. https://twitter.com/AccountableGOP/status/1749843233687896226

“We have serious evidence, and the Democrats don't want to admit it. They could only dream of having this kind of evidence against Trump and his family, and they were never able to produce it because all of their attacks were lies.” — Marjorie Taylor Greene. https://twitter.com/Acyn/status/1746560804797714763

“No president has ever said anything like it,” the narrator says in the ad, “It’s shameful. It’s weak. It’s dangerous. It’s un-American,” echoing what Biden said earlier this week. — President Biden’s re-election campaign’s new ad blasting Donald Trump for his embrace of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his “traitorous comments” attacking the NATO alliance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=ffwkBpChy0E&feature=youtu.be

“My father built the skyline of New York City, and this is the thanks he gets?” — Eric Trump, about his fraudster father. https://twitter.com/Acyn/status/1758647360400306306

The Lincoln Project has a AI created message to Donald Trump from his father. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWf0u-ivyoY

Jon Stewart on Tucker Carlson’s Putin Interview & Trip to Russia | The Daily Show. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oM2h3KnWAWY

“Donald Trump led this nation to the best four years economically in my lifetime.” — Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), completely forgetting about the global pandemic that disrupted the economy during Trump’s presidency. https://twitter.com/Acyn/status/1759766312920703471

“Mike Johnson ought to search his conscience” and not go down the “path of cowardice and doing what Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin want him to do.” — Liz Cheney, calling out Speaker Johnson for blocking Ukraine aid. https://twitter.com/CNNSOTU/status/1759220124530168123


“The impeachment investigation essentially ended yesterday… with the explosive revelation that Mr. Smirnov’s allegations about Ukrainian Burisma payments to Joe Biden were concocted along with Russian intelligence agents.” — Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), in a statement to reporters. https://twitter.com/cspan/status/1760363812459253828

House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) was asked by CNN’s Manu Raju about his now-discredited FBI informant’s claims about President Biden.

RAJU: You said the 1023 [which included the false claims] is the most corroborating piece of information.
JORDAN: It corroborates, but it doesn’t change those fundamental facts.
RAJU: But it’s not true. https://twitter.com/Acyn/status/1760320971544641912





Trump and allies planning militarized mass deportations, detention camps

Trump pledges that as president he would immediately launch ‘the largest domestic deportation operation in American history.’ As a model, he points to an Eisenhower-era program known as ‘Operation Wetback,’ using a derogatory slur for Mexican migrants. The operation used military tactics to round up and remove migrant workers, sometimes transporting them in dangerous conditions that led to some deaths.

Former administration officials and policy experts said staging an even larger operation today would face a bottleneck in detention space — a problem that Trump adviser Stephen Miller and other allies have proposed addressing by building mass deportation camps. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/02/20/trump-mass-deportations-immigration/

Trump’s Tax Cuts Are on the Line in 2024 Election

The 2017 Trump tax cuts are on the line in the election this year, with Republicans hoping a sweep of Congress and the White House will allow them to extend the former president’s signature law.

Democrats opposed the law when Trump was in power but have supported extending certain cuts, such as the decreased tax rates for people making less than $400,000 a year. Democrats do not want a blanket extension, which would cost nearly $4 trillion over the next decade.” https://thehill.com/homenews/4479162-trump-tax-cuts-at-stake-in-2024-election/

Russia issues warrant for arrest of Alexei Navalny’s brother days after opposition leader’s unexplained death

Russia has issued a warrant for the arrest of Alexei Navalny’s younger brother — just days after the opposition leader’s unexplained death in a brutal Arctic prison.

The Russian state-controlled TASS news agency reported Tuesday, citing information from Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, that Oleg Navalny was being sought by the federal police on an unspecified charge. https://nypost.com/2024/02/20/world-news/russia-issues-warrant-for-arrest-of-alexei-navalnys-brother/

Trump allies prepare to infuse ‘Christian nationalism’ in second administration

An influential think tank close to Donald Trump is developing plans to infuse Christian nationalist ideas in his administration should the former president return to power

Spearheading the effort is Russell Vought, who served as Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget during his first term and has remained close to him.

Christian nationalists in America believe that the country was founded as a Christian nation and that Christian values should be prioritized throughout government and public life. As the country has become less religious and more diverse, Vought has embraced the idea that Christians are under assault and has spoken of policies he might pursue in response. https://www.politico.com/news/2024/02/20/donald-trump-allies-christian-nationalism-00142086

Trump’s RNC Takeover Is on the Brink of Becoming a ‘Purge’

Skeptical holdouts within the RNC have gotten the message: Their days are numbered.

But it’s not just RNC staffers who are not safe—it’s also the party’s 168 committee members and consultants who have enjoyed friendly business relationships with the party. https://www.thedailybeast.com/trumps-rnc-takeover-is-on-the-brink-of-becoming-a-purge

Supreme Court rejects appeals to review sanctions against Trump-allied lawyers over 2020 election case

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal from Sidney Powell and other lawyers allied with former President Donald Trump over $150,000 in sanctions they were ordered to pay for abusing the court system with a sham lawsuit challenging the 2020 election results in Michigan. https:// www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/supreme-court-rejects-appeals-to-review- sanctions-against-trump-allied-lawyers-over-2020-election-case

Conservative group tells judge it has no evidence to back its claims of Georgia ballot stuffing

A conservative group has told a Georgia judge that it doesn’t have evidence to support its claims of illegal ballot stuffing during the the 2020 general election and a runoff two months later.

Texas-based True the Vote filed complaints with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in 2021, including one in which it said it had obtained “a detailed account of coordinated efforts to collect and deposit ballots in drop boxes across metro Atlanta” during the November 2020 election and a January 2021 runoff.

A Fulton County Superior Court judge in Atlanta signed an order last year requiring True the Vote to provide evidence it had collected, including the names of people who were sources of information, to state elections officials who were frustrated by the group’s refusal to share evidence with investigators.

In their written response, attorneys for True the Vote said the group had no names or other documentary evidence to share.

“Once again, True the Vote has proven itself untrustworthy and unable to provide a shred of evidence for a single one of their fairy-tale allegations,” Raffensperger spokesman Mike Hassinger said Wednesday. “Like all the lies about Georgia’s 2020 election, their fabricated claims of ballot harvesting have been repeatedly debunked.”

True the Vote’s assertions were relied upon heavily for “2000 Mules,” a widely debunked film by conservative pundit and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza. A State Election Board investigation found that surveillance camera footage that the film claimed showed ballot stuffing actually showed people submitting ballots for themselves and family members who lived with them, which is allowed under Georgia law. https://apnews.com/article/georgia-elections-true-vote-ballot-stuffing-199113b47bc2df79c63fdf007cd23115

Trump yet to condemn Navalny’s sudden death

Unlike many other U.S. and international leaders, Trump has not criticized Putin’s jailing of Navalny or mourned his untimely death. Instead, the former president only offered an analogy comparing himself to Navalny on a post shared Sunday afternoon on Truth Social, his social media site: “Biden:Trump::Putin:Navalny,” equating his treatment by Biden to Putin’s treatment of Navalny. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/02/18/trump-navalny-putin/

Asa Hutchinson: RNC leader should have to pledge not to pay Trump legal fees

Former Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) argued that the leader of the Republican National Committee should pledge not to pay former President Trump’s legal fees, as concerns rise over how the former president will fund his mounting bills. https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/4474535-asa-hutchinson-rnc-should-pledge-not-to-pay-trump-legal-fees/

Poll Ranks Biden as 14th-Best President, Trump the Worst

new poll of historians coming out on Presidents’ Day weekend ranks Mr. Biden as the 14th-best president in American history, just ahead of Woodrow Wilson, Ronald Reagan and Ulysses S. Grant. While that may not get Mr. Biden a spot on Mount Rushmore, it certainly puts him well ahead of Mr. Trump, who places dead last as the worst president ever.

Mr. Trump might not care much what a bunch of academics think, but for what it’s worth he fares badly even among the self-identified Republican historians. Finishing 45th overall, Mr. Trump trails even the mid-19th-century failures who blundered the country into a civil war or botched its aftermath like James Buchanan, Franklin Pierce and Andrew Johnson. https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/18/us/politics/biden-trump-presidential-rankings.html

Key Republican Says House Won’t Pass Stopgap to Avoid Shutdown,

Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) said the House will not pass another temporary spending bill to avert a partial government shutdown when the latest deadline expires on March 1.

Ruling out another short-term spending bill raises the chances of a shutdown given how little time Congress has to complete talks on the long-delayed fiscal 2024 spending measure. Current funding for U.S. agencies runs out in two tranches, on March 1 and March 8. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2024-02-15/house-won-t-pass-stopgap-to-avoid-shutdown-key-republican-says


“I’ve been pushing the Justice Department and F.B.I. to provide details on its handling of very significant allegations from a trusted F.B.I. informant (Alexander Smirnov) implicating then-Vice President Biden in a criminal bribery scheme,” — Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/15/us/politics/fbi-informant-bidens-ukraine.html


“The claims in the report turned out to be a lie. Mr. Smirnov now faces a two-charge indictment for making false statements and obstructing the government’s long-running investigation of the president’s troubled son. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.” — Special counsel, David C. Weiss, the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney in Delaware. https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/15/us/politics/fbi-informant-bidens-ukraine.html

AZ U.S. Senate candidate Kari Lake (R) … now says her past criticism of the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that offended and alienated many of his supporters was “meant in jest.” https:// www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/elections/2024/02/20/kari-lake- news-senate-candidate-talks-elections-ukraine-and-abortion/72665895007/
“No peace, bitch. We see you for who you are – and are repulsed by it.” — Meghan McCain. https:// www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/elections/2024/02/20/kari-lake- news-senate-candidate-talks-elections-ukraine-and-abortion/72665895007/

Philip Bump: No, Donald Trump is not America’s Navalny

President Biden had been in office for less than a week before he first addressed Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader who died in a penal colony on Friday.

During his four years in office, by contrast, Donald Trump appears to have never once mentioned the dissident’s name. After the Navalny poisoning, Trump was asked how he might respond.

Trump riffed on how tough he had purportedly been on Russia and noted that there was no proof of Russia’s involvement. Asked whether he doubted Russian involvement, Trump said it was interesting that people kept asking him about Russia.

“I think probably China, at this point, is a nation that you should be talking about much more so than Russia,” he said, “because the things that China is doing are far worse, if you take a look at what’s happening with the world.”

There was former New York congressman Lee Zeldin (R), replying to criticism of the Republican effort to block aid to Ukraine by suggesting that the Biden administration and Democrats were the authoritarianism-lovers.

“As the world reflects on the murder of Alexei Navalny at the hands of Putin,” he wrote on social media, “it’s worth remembering that Democrats are actively doing Biden’s bidding as they also try to imprison his chief political opponent, Donald Trump, remove him from the ballot, and ensure he dies in prison.”

The reality is that Trump and many of his allies see him much more as America’s Putin, the strong hand that is needed to fend off hazily defined opponents. It’s why, as president, Trump didn’t address Navalny or challenge Putin, unlike Biden. It’s why, back in 2015, Trump even defended Putin’s targeting of journalists with a Carlson-esque “our country does plenty of killing, too.”

In September, Trump embraced another person’s effort to equate his indictments with political persecution.

That person was Vladimir Putin. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/02/16/trump-not-americas-navalny/

Philip Elliot: How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Became One of Joe Biden’s Most Valuable Boosters

When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez erupted on the national stage back in 2018 in a stunner of a Democratic primary, a lot of Establishment Washington braced for the arrival of a Tea Party-style troublemaker from the Left.

Six years later, that assessment wasn’t so much wrong as undercooked. While the former bartender remains a key ally to the Left, AOC’s main job in 2024 may be President Joe Biden’s most valuable pinch-hitter. https://time.com/6695367/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-joe-biden/

Eugene Robinson: Every day in the Trump Legal Universe will be a total spectacle

Trump’s presidential campaign has hurtled through a portal into the Trump Legal Universe, which is like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, except for being real. If you’re like me, you might not have spent a lot of time thinking about just how unprecedented and deeply weird it would be, in an election year, to have the leading Republican candidate for president being tried on criminal charges that could send him to jail. We are about to find out.

It is one thing to see Trump and his eponymous company facing huge civil penalties, as in the E. Jean Carroll defamation case and the New York state lawsuit against the Trump Organization. It is quite another to see Trump’s very liberty threatened — not by election interference, as he and his lawyers bray, but by his own alleged illegal acts.

And we will be witnessing this spectacle, Trump in criminal and civil jeopardy, pretty much nonstop. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2024/02/15/trump-courtroom-political-campaign/

Reliable Sources: The Biden crime family

It has been one of the most dominant narratives in right-wing media and the GOP, used endlessly to demonize President Joe Biden — but on Thursday, it imploded in spectacular fashion.For some time now, Fox News and the broader right-wing media machine have accused Biden and his son Hunter of engaging in an illicit $10 million bribery scheme to enrich themselves and sell out America. The tale, as it goes, claimed that an executive at the Ukrainian energy company Burisma paid for access to then-Vice President Biden to improperly wield his influence and help squash an investigation led by a Ukrainian prosecutor into the company.Evidence of the bribery scheme has always been thin, at best, with most authoritative news outlets treating the claims with incredulity.

But MAGA Media personalities like Sean Hannity quickly shifted into hyperdrive last year when a supposedly highly credible FBI informant claimed to have smoking gun evidence of the conspiracy.The emergence of a confidential FBI informant coursed through right-wing media, where talking heads and outlets spotlighted the claims as damning evidence of criminal wrongdoing. It spawned scores of articles. Hundreds of Fox News segments. Republican lawmakers like James Comer and Jim Jordan, eager to bathe in the media spotlight, appeared on radio and television programs to stoke the conspiracy flames and demand investigations.

The stunning demise of the claim is just the latest in a larger pattern from Fox News and the broader right-wing media ecosystem in which it operates. Time and time again, MAGA Media figures have hyped dishonest narratives and conspiracy theories to their sizable audiences, only to look away when they later collapse. Just last year, Fox News paid a record $787.5 million for its promotion of election lies. It never ran a retraction on its air and executives have maintained that they are proud of the network's 2020 coverage. It's a record that plays on repeat. By the time the truth can catch up to the bogus claims spreading in right-wing media, the narrative has already been set and the outlets have moved on to the next supposed scandal. https://view.newsletters.cnn.com/messages/170805585805677480c1280f7/raw

Dan Balz: Speaker Johnson says he has priorities. So why hasn’t he acted on them?

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has held his position for barely four months, not long by anyone’s standards, but long enough to ask this question: Does he have any major priority other than survival?

Johnson has spoken repeatedly and sometimes vehemently about pending issues. He has called for tougher policies to halt the surge of migrants coming across the U.S.-Mexico border. He has said he favors additional aid for Ukraine in its war against Russian aggression and more assistance for Israel in its war with Hamas. But he has delivered on none of this, even when given the opportunity for action.

Johnson’s actions fall far short of words. In fact, they have been in conflict. Johnson keeps finding loopholes or excuses or rationales to avoid acting on the very priorities he claims to support. He is another exhibit in what has become the story of House Republicans, which is a failure to meet or even recognize the demands of governing, one of them being a willingness to compromise. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/02/17/speaker-johnson-fails-act/

Fareed Zakaria: Carlson, like the populist right, dislikes what makes America great

Tucker Carlson’s interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin got a lot of attention. But I was more struck by Carlson’s reaction to his visit to Moscow — his first ever. He was not just impressed; it left him radicalized and enraged at his own government.

Where to begin? Perhaps with the obvious reminder that living in Moscow if you criticize the government can mean prison or death, sometimes both.

In Dubai, a few days after the interview, Carlson put forth a bizarre hodgepodge of assertions. He thought the architecture, food and service in Moscow was better than in any American city. Really? Moscow, outside of a small historic center, is filled with drab Soviet-era concrete buildings. And while food in Moscow can be quite good, is it better than in New York or San Francisco? You need to get out more, Tucker!

Carlson also marvels at the grandeur of a subway station, contrasting Moscow’s subway favorably with New York’s. While it’s true that the Russian capital’s subways are excellent, the stations are so grand there because they were built by Joseph Stalin at huge public expense to showcase the superiority of Soviet Communism. In contrast, New York’s subways are a product of capitalism, having been built and operated through public-private partnerships of various kinds, which are more budget-conscious. It has always been true that centralized autocracies can marshal the entire resources of society to build great vanity projects. Tucker should go next to see the pyramids of Egypt and the Taj Mahal. They’re amazing.

Once upon a time, American conservatives praised the United States' organic communities, rooted in freedom and choice, built bottom-up not top-down. But the new populist right despises these cities, and that disgust is in part a rejection of modern, pluralistic democracy itself. Increasingly, they are dazzled by the clean and orderly ways of dictatorships, populist authoritarians and absolute monarchies.

After all, say what you will about Putin, he makes the subways run on time. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2024/02/16/tucker-carlson-moscow-america-cities/

Anne Applebaum: Why Russia Killed Navalny

Navalny’s decision to return to Russia and go to jail inspired respect even among people who didn’t like him, didn’t agree with him, or found fault with him. He was also a model for other dissidents in other violent autocracies around the world.

The enormous contrast between Navalny’s civic courage and the corruption of Putin’s regime will remain. Putin is fighting a bloody, lawless, unnecessary war, in which hundreds of thousands of ordinary Russians have been killed or wounded, for no reason other than to serve his own egotistical vision. He is running a cowardly, micromanaged reelection campaign, one in which all real opponents are eliminated and the only candidate who gets airtime is himself. Instead of facing real questions or challenges, he meets tame propagandists such as Tucker Carlson, to whom he offers nothing more than lengthy, circular, and completely false versions of history.

Even behind bars Navalny was a real threat to Putin, because he was living proof that courage is possible, that truth exists, that Russia could be a different kind of country. For a dictator who survives thanks to lies and violence, that kind of challenge was intolerable. Now Putin will be forced to fight against Navalny’s memory, and that is a battle he will never win https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2024/02/navalny-death-russia-prison/677485/

Maureen Dowd: The Florida Fraudster and the Russian ‘Killer’

Just as Trump has remade the Republican Party in his own nasty and selfish image, he wants to remake America in his own nasty and selfish image.

Trump doesn’t seem to subscribe to any of the verities about this country. He doesn’t believe America is exceptional. He only believes that Trump is exceptional — an exception to all the rules that the rest of us live by.

If American laws get in his way — like counting votes to choose a president — he tries to smash them. He’s bigger than democracy, after all.

If American values get in his way — like our distaste for authoritarians like Vladimir Putin and Viktor Orban — he mocks those values. When Putin and Orban flattered Trump, that seemed more important to the Mar-a-Lago megalomaniac than our nation’s proud history of facing down autocrats.

Bill O’Reilly asked President Trump in 2017 why he respected Putin even though he was “a killer.”

“You got a lot of killers,” he replied. “What, you think our country’s so innocent?”America the Beautiful, our Shining City on a Hill, is not so hot. Get in his way, and Trump will bust up institutions, trash courts, tear down cultural icons like Taylor Swift and egg on acolytes to storm the Capitol.

He doesn’t see America as the idealistic leader of the free world. He sees the world as “The Hunger Games,” as Axelrod put it. And frighteningly, Trump sometimes acts as if he prefers America’s enemies to America. https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/17/opinion/navalny-putin-trump.html

Phyllis Zagano: Trump's language of evil

Does anyone really want to watch the news these days? Gaza. Israel. Russia. Ukraine. Migrants. Mass shootings. Executions. Tragedy after disaster after meltdown after debacle.

And then there's Mr. Trump.

The ex-president's bombastic rhetoric does little to calm any news consumer's nerves. Nor does it enhance the world's view of the politics of the United States or its moral character.

Yet Trump's braggadocio is only part of what he has brought to our politics. There is a manner of speaking infesting politics, media and even private conversations that is insulting to both the subject and the listener.

Trump's is the language of evil.

When presumably educated, responsible politicians sound as if they are preaching from a bar stool at midnight, what can the rest of us do to remove angry denigration of a person or persons from whatever other pulpit we might be near?

Votes can exorcise the Congress, but will that happen? The problem is that too many voters seem to like the language. https://www.ncronline.org/opinion/guest-voices/trumps-language-evil

David Cay Johnstone: Trump’s Next Legal Move: Personal Bankruptcy

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones did it two years ago. Rudolph Giuliani did it just before Christmas. Now there’s a very good chance that before March 12, Donald Trump will join them in filing personal bankruptcy.

Filing for personal bankruptcy stops the clock on both awards, meaning that he won’t need to deposit cash or get bonds to appeal the Carroll and New York State civil fraud awards. The automatic stay to these and other civil proceedings would benefit Trump by getting past what he sees as the finish line: the Nov. 5 presidential election.

That strategy worked for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Two years after his bankruptcy filing Jones has yet to pay any of the $1.5 billion jury award for defaming the parents and relatives of the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre. That more than two years have passed suggests Trump should have no trouble getting past the election through this delaying tactic. https://www.dcreport.org/2024/02/19/trumps-legal-delay-tactics-will-lead-to-further-self-destruction/