March 7, 2024

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LITIGATION TRACKER ... Trump Trials Clearinghouse


“Mitch McConnell is one of those perhaps historic figures for whom the greatness of his skill and impact are matched only in inverse by the malignity of his impact on our politics. To put it more brashly, McConnell was great at doing political evil.” — Josh Marshall.

“I think all of the cases should be dealt with before November. We need to know what’s going to happen before it, before the presidency happens, because after that, should he become president, I don’t think any of it’s going to get heard.” — Nikki Haley.

“If you don’t bother voting, don’t bother calling.” — Donald Trump’s campaign warning Republican lobbyists in D.C. that If they don’t vote in Sunday’s primary, they won’t get access should the former president end up back in the White House.

“We have to get moral values back into our country. And you can’t do that when you have a million people every couple of months come into this country that know nothing about God, that know nothing about our laws and constitution.” — Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL).

Boebert is “a Proven Conservative and Effective Leader” and a “trusted America First Fighter” who has his “Complete and Total Endorsement.”  — Donald Trump once again supporting Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), whose three-year tenure has been marred by allegations of hypocrisy. Most recently her eldest son, 18-year-old Tyler Boebert, was arrested on felony charges for stemming from a series of car thefts, where he and some underage friends robbed several people, including a woman with a brain tumor who said she had just $75 "left to her name.” of her last $75.

“Losers who are losers are never graceful. I just think that he’ll do anything to try to win. If — and when — I win, I think he’ll contest it. No matter what the result is.” — President Biden who doesn’t think Donald Trump will concede if he loses in November.

“I don’t want a snake oil salesperson as president. I’m voting for Biden/Harris over Trump all day every day.” — Mark Cuban.

“And in the course of unnecessarily deciding all of these questions when they were not even presented by the case, the five-Justice majority effectively decided not only that the former president will never be subject to disqualification, but that no person who ever engages in an insurrection against the Constitution of the United States in the future will be disqualified under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Disqualification Clause — as the concurrence of Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, and Jackson witheringly explain.” — Judge Michael Luttig.


“The GOP has chosen. They will nominate a man who attempted to overturn an election and seize power. We have eight months to save our republic and ensure Donald Trump is never anywhere near the Oval Office again.” — Former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY).

“Frankly our country is dying.” — Donald Trump in his Super Tuesday victory speech, filled with dark imagery and messaging.

“There’s so many things … that Donald Trump has done and said that would have mandated any other normal human being to resign in shame the next day. Republicans continuing to vote for him are normalizing “evil and wrongdoing.” — Ana Navarro on “The View.”


“While a pregnancy might have been difficult on a 10-year-old body, a woman’s body is designed to carry life.” — Cincinnati Right to Life leader Laura Strietmann, commenting on the 10-year-old Ohio girl who was raped and had to travel to Indiana for an abortion.

Trump's comments to standing applause at CPAC:
  • About November 5: “It will be our new liberation day ... it will be their judgement day.”
  • About migrants: "They have languages that nobody in this country has ever heard of. It's a very horrible thing.”
  • About migrants and diseases: "We don't want to have this contagion in our country.”
  • About the military: "I don't ever think it can be wokeanized at the lower levels."
  • On mistakenly calling Obama the current president: "There are those people who say he's running our country.”
  • About when he was president: "Top military officials wore MAGA hats around him, even though "they're not allowed to do that.”
  • About police killing shoplifters: ”that’s why I'm giving immunity to police"
  • About his memory: ”There's no cognitive problem. If there was, I'd know about it."
  • About water pressure: "In Beverly Hills, you pay a fortune in taxes, they say you can only brush your teeth once a day"
  • About California: ”If God came down and God was the vote-checker, I believe we would win California."
“Why don’t you fuck off?” — Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), when asked by BBC journalist Emily Maitlis about pushing conspiracy theories like “Jewish space lasers.”

“A woman won’t make a good president because she “has no balls to scratch.” — Trump voter to NBC.

IT’S OFFICIAL: Mark Robinson — a dangerous conspiracy theorist — is now the Republican nominee for North Carolina governor. He wants to completely ban abortion with no exceptions and bring back NC’s notorious bathroom ban. We have to defeat him. —WATCH THIS!





Trump’s Team ‘Literally Popping Champagne’ Over Supreme Court Taking Up Immunity Claim

Various Trump advisers and sources close to the former president and 2024 GOP frontrunner were jubilant about the Supreme Court’s decision, with all of them now viewing it as highly unlikely that a federal election interference trial will happen before Election Day.

Though a Trump criminal trial in New York is expected to begin next month, the former president’s team had long viewed a Jan. 6-related trial as more politically damaging. For months, Trump’s lawyers expected the federal trial to start this summer, and they have actively prepared for that scenario. Now, they likely don’t have to worry about that timeline.

Said one lawyer close to Trump on Wednesday night: "Literally popping champagne right now."


Trump supporters target black voters with faked AI images

Donald Trump supporters have been creating and sharing AI-generated fake images of black voters to encourage African Americans to vote Republican

The co-founder of Black Voters Matter, a group which encourages black people to vote, said the manipulated images were pushing a "strategic narrative" designed to show Mr Trump as popular in the black community.


Missouri Bill Makes Teachers Sex Offenders If They Accept Trans Kids' Pronouns

A new bill introduced in the Missouri House would force teachers to register as sex offenders if they use the names and pronouns of transgender children or otherwise support them and their identity.

AIPAC uncorks $100 million war chest to sink progressive candidates

AIPAC is expected to spend $100 million across its political entities in 2024, taking aim at candidates they deem insufficiently supportive of Israel, according to three people with direct knowledge of the figure, who were granted anonymity to discuss private meetings.

The strategy has taken on new urgency this election season from donors animated by the Israel-Hamas war. AIPAC’s biggest targets are members of the so-called Squad of progressive House Democrats who have been openly pressuring the administration to call for a cease-fire. But AIPAC’s ambitions are broader. United Democracy Project, the group’s super PAC, is monitoring 15 to 20 House races and polling in many of those districts, according to a person directly familiar with UDP’s strategy and granted anonymity to discuss the approach.

Trump’s Allies Ramp Up Campaign Targeting Voter Rolls

A network of right-wing activists and allies of Donald Trump is quietly challenging thousands of voter registrations in critical presidential battleground states, an all-but-unnoticed effort that could have an impact in a close or contentious election.

Calling themselves election investigators, the activists have pressed local officials in Michigan, Nevada and Georgia to drop voters from the rolls en masse. They have at times targeted Democratic areas, relying on new data programs and novel legal theories to justify their push.

Trump Has One Week To Pay $83.3 Million To E. Jean Carroll

Donald Trump’s scramble to cover millions in legal fines could start to come to a head next week, as the ex-president has only until next weekend to pay the $83.3 million verdict in E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit unless a court rules otherwise — and Carroll expressed ‘very serious concerns’ Thursday about Trump’s ability to pay.

Trump says he'll use local police for mass deportations if he's elected

Trump, who visited the U.S.-Mexico border on Thursday, has vowed to launch the largest deportation operation in American history if he's elected president for a second term.

Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity that he would give immunity to police to give the job they have to do and said the officers understand who the migrants are.

It's going to be the local police are going to turn them over, and we're going to have to move them back to their country, he added.

GOP’s Post-Roe Peril Spreads Like Wildfire

Republicans are trapped in a political minefield over reproductive rights, paralyzed in fear that their vulnerabilities on abortion and in-vitro fertilization could hand Democrats the 2024 election.

Rarely has a political issue proven so salient, so personal and so animating for voters at both the state and national level. The Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling on IVF suggests the fallout from the end of Roe v. Wade is far from contained.


Trump's claims of a migrant crime wave are not supported by national data

When Donald Trump speaks at the southern border in Texas on Thursday, you can expect to hear him talk about ‘migrant crime,’ a category he has coined and defined as a terrifying binge of criminal activity committed by undocumented immigrants spreading across the country.
But despite the former president’s campaign rhetoric, expert analysis and available data from major-city police departments show that despite several horrifying high-profile incidents, there is no evidence of a migrant-driven crime wave in the United States.


German chancellor slammed for revealing British military role in Ukraine

Sending long-range German missiles to Ukraine would require deployment of German troops in war zone, Chancellor Scholz says.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has been accused of a flagrant abuse of intelligence after he revealed that British troops are helping the Ukrainian military launch long-range Storm Shadow missiles on Russian positions.

Tobias Ellwood, a senior Conservative lawmaker and the former head of the UK's Defense Select Committee, said Berlin endangers the lives of British troops in Ukraine, the Telegraph reported on Thursday.

This is a flagrant abuse of intelligence deliberately designed to distract from Germany's reluctance to arm Ukraine with its own long-range missile system. This will no doubt be used by Russia to racket up the escalator ladder.

Britain is known to be providing intelligence on Russian targets, but it is unclear what level of support it is providing on the ground to Ukrainian troops firing its missiles.

Mitch McConnell’s Legacy Is Donald Trump

Axios reports that Democrats are shuddering at Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) retirement more than celebrating it.

That’s because McConnell is supposedly the bulwark of a dying breed of old-guard Republicans being systematically replaced with right-wing hardliners.

It’s true that McConnell was a master of the legislative intricacies of the Senate, but let’s take a look at his real legacy:
● He undermined every effort at campaign finance reform and is singularly responsible for the flood of dark money in politics today.
He quite literally stole a seat on the Supreme Court by refusing to even hold hearings on Merrick Garland.
He threatened Barack Obama to keep Russian election interference secret in 2016.
He wouldn’t admit that Joe Biden won the the 2020 election for weeks.
He refused to hold Donald Trump accountable for the January 6 insurrection which allowed him to run again in 2024.
If you’re concerned about the authoritarian influence of the Trump wing of the Republican party, there’s no one more responsible for nurturing it and keeping it alive than Mitch McConnell.

There’s no reason for Democrats to get nostalgic about McConnell’s tenure as the Senate GOP leader.


Putin Says West Risks Nuclear Conflict if It Intervenes More in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the West faced the prospect of nuclear conflict if it intervened more directly in the war in Ukraine, using an annual speech to the nation on Thursday to escalate his threats against Europe and the United States.

Putin said Western countries that are helping Ukraine strike Russian territory must, in the end, understand that all this truly threatens a conflict with the use of nuclear weapons, and therefore the destruction of civilization.

He added: We also have weapons that can strike targets on their territory. Do they not understand this?

Michigan's 100,000 'uncommitted' votes challenge Biden's Israel stance

President Joe Biden's reelection campaign faces an arduous task uniting his party after Michigan Democrats waged a massive protest vote over his support of Israel's military campaign against Hamas in Gaza.

With 95% of the votes counted, Biden won Tuesday's primary with 81%, but 13%, or more than 100,000 people, cast "uncommitted" ballots in a state where a large Arab American community and other progressive Democrats vented their anger at Biden's support of an Israeli offensive in which tens of thousands of Palestinians have been killed.


Elon Musk, David Sacks, and the Ignorant Isolationism of the GOP

Since russia invaded Ukraine two years ago, a couple of celebrity billionaires have been among the loudest opponents of U.S. support for Kyiv. The entrepreneur and investor David Sacks, for instance, says Ukraine and the United States are propagating a “WAR OF LIES” to maintain public support for the war effort. The Silicon Valley financier has also prophesied that a Ukrainian defeat is inevitable, the Zelensky government will be overthrown, and the war is “depleting” NATO. To Sacks’s post making these predictions on X, his friend (and fellow member of the “PayPal mafia”) Elon Musk responded: “Accurate.”

According to Musk, there’s “no way in hell” Vladimir Putin will lose the war.

"Department of Life": Trump allies plot abortion crackdown for second term

Allies of former President Trump are looking to crack down on abortion should the GOP frontrunner secure another White House term later this year.

Though the plans come from the Heritage Foundation — not the Trump campaign — the think tank is highly influential in Republican circles, and its Project 2025 is the most sophisticated pre-transition planning effort to date.


Arizona investigators issue grand jury subpoenas as state’s 2020 Trump election probe accelerates

Arizona prosecutors in recent weeks issued grand jury subpoenas to multiple people linked to Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign, a sharp acceleration of their criminal investigation into efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state.

The new steps are a sign that Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat, is nearing a decision on whether to charge Trump’s allies in the state, including GOP activists who falsely posed as presidential electors in December 2020.

Bob Good Wants a Government Shutdown This Fall

Rep. Bob Good (R-VA), who heads the House Freedom Caucus, told Republicans during a closed-door leadership meeting that they should attempt to shut down the government in September to prevent Democrats from achieving any policy victories before the election.


“More and more I’m hearing about 15 weeks. I haven’t decided yet.” — Donald Trump suggesting he might back a 15-week national abortion ban.


“15 maybe 16 weeks … “ — Sen. Lindsey Graham saying he is planning to push a national abortion ban, echoing Trump.

Trump’s response to Haley’s departure: “Nikki Haley got TROUNCED last night, in record setting fashion, despite the fact that Democrats, for reasons unknown, are allowed to vote in Vermont, and various other Republican Primaries. Much of her money came from Radical Left Democrats, as did many of her voters, almost 50%,” Trump wrote in a lengthy post on Truth Social. “I’d like to thank my family, friends, and the Great Republican Party for helping me to produce, by far, the most successful Super Tuesday in HISTORY, and would further like to invite all of the Haley supporters to join the greatest movement in the history of our Nation.”


Biden’s response: “Donald Trump made it clear he doesn’t want Nikki Haley’s supporters. I want to be clear: There is a place for them in my campaign,” Biden said in a statement after Haley made the news official. “I know there is a lot we won’t agree on. But on the fundamental issues of preserving American democracy, on standing up for the rule of law, on treating each other with decency and dignity and respect, on preserving NATO and standing up to America’s adversaries, I hope and believe we can find common ground.”

Timothy Snyder: The apocalypse we choose

In four months as Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson has given Russia a chance to win its war in Ukraine, and thereby turn the world towards tyranny.

Johnson's term of office consists of stratagems to avoid funding Ukraine.  He and a minority of Trumpist Republicans have left Ukrainians without the means to defend themselves, and enabled Russian aggressors to retake Ukrainian territory.  As a result, troops are killed and disabled every day.

Around the world, Johnson's behavior is seen as betrayal and weakness.  We tend to focus on the details of Johnson's various excuses, rather than seeing the larger pattern.  Johnson's success in making the war a story about him exemplifies the American propensity to miss the big picture.

Alive?  Thank a Ukrainian.  The great American capacity is to take others for granted, and our specific form of hubris blinds us to the great services others perform for us.  The resistance of the Ukrainian armed forces and Ukrainian civil society is holding back every form of modern catastrophe.  Ukrainians are preserving an order established after the Second World War, but also pointing the way towards a brighter future.  Their tremendous daily efforts have pushed the world toward a set of better alternatives we would all lack without them.  But they need us at their back.

At horrible cost, Ukraine is fulfilling the entire mission of NATO, thereby sparing all other NATO members any risk of loss of territory or of life.  The NATO economies are about two-hundred and fifty times as big as the Ukrainian economy.  If they exploit a tiny fraction of their economic power, they could easily sustain the Ukrainian armed forces. Unfortunately the largest by far of these NATO members, the United States, is doing nothing.  Should this continue, and should Russia win its war in Ukraine, then further war in Europe becomes not only possible, but likely.


David Corn: The Smirnov Affair: MAGA Republicans Are Useful Idiots for Russian Intelligence

In June 2020, a businessman and fixer named Alexander Smirnov, who was also an FBI informant, passed his handler at the bureau a potentially explosive tip: The owner of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, had told him that he had paid $5 million each to Joe Biden and his son Hunter so the elder Biden, then vice president, would stop an investigation into the firm. Last year, that allegation became a key component in the Republican effort to impeach the president. But according to federal prosecutors, it was all a lie. Nine days ago, Smirnov, an Israeli and American citizen who had worked with oligarchs over the years and had been a confidential FBI source for a decade, was indicted for making false statements to federal investigators.

Smirnov’s indictment is a big deal and blows up a huge chunk of the GOP’s impeachment drive. But, more important, his allegedly phony accusation did not occur in a vacuum. It is part of a larger story of the rotten relationship between Russian intelligence and the Trump cosmos.

A year before Smirnov dropped this (presumably counterfeit) dime on the Bidens, Rudy Giuliani—who at the time was Donald Trump’s personal lawyer—took a trip to Ukraine that he publicly said was for the purpose of digging up dirt on the Democratic presidential contender. Giuliani was particularly focused on the unfounded claim that Biden, as veep, had orchestrated the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor to end a probe of Burisma. Giuliani’s agenda included pressing the Ukrainian government to launch investigations that could yield derogatory information about Biden. (These Giuliani machinations would lead to Trump’s first impeachment.) In the following months, Giuliani’s endeavor was aided by Russian operatives spreading disinformation about the Bidens. In fact, Trump’s own intelligence establishment and his Treasury Department would later publicly declare that Russian agents were mounting an operation to discredit Biden to help Trump win reelection.

It appears likely that Smirnov’s supposedly false statements to the FBI were connected to this covert Kremlin campaign. According to the prosecutors in the Smirnov case, in 2023 he told the FBI he had been in touch with Russian officials. Later, during an interview with the FBI after he was arrested, Smirnov admitted that officials associated with Russian intelligence had been involved in “passing a story” about Hunter, according to court filings.

Add all this up and it looks as if Russia succeeded in inserting an explosive allegation—$10 million in secret payments to the Bidens!—into the MAGA bloodstream and boosted the GOP impeachment crusade against the president. In other words, the Republicans—and all their comrades at Fox and other right-wing media outlets that trumpeted Smirnov’s allegation against the Bidens—have been useful idiots for Moscow

Jonathan V. Last: Biden Is Still the Democrats’ Best Bet for November

Pretend you are a Democrat and have been handed a magical monkey’s paw. You believe that Biden is too old to defeat Trump and so you make a wish: I want a younger, more vigorous Democrat.

We’ve got one problem with the monkey’s paw: It doesn’t exist. If Biden withdrew from the race, the Democratic Party would confront a messy, time-consuming process to replace him. Perhaps a rigorous but amicable write-in campaign would produce a strong nominee and a unified party. But perhaps the party would experience a demolition derby that results in a suboptimal nominee and hard feelings.

Or maybe party elites at a brokered convention would choose a good nominee. (This is the Ezra Klein scenario, and I’m sympathetic to it. Smoke-filled back rooms get a bad rap; historically they produced better candidates than the modern primary system.) But very few living people have participated in a brokered convention. It could easily devolve into chaos and fracture the moderate, liberal, and progressive wings of the party.

The point is: Biden has a 50–50 shot. Maybe a little bit worse, maybe a little bit better—like playing blackjack. Every other option is a crapshoot in which the best outcome you can reasonably hope for is 50–50 odds and the worst outcome pushes the odds to something like one in three.

Joe Biden is Joe Biden. He isn’t going to win a 10-point, realigning victory. But his path to reelection is clear: Focus like a laser on suburban and working-class white voters in a handful of swing states. Remind them that Trump is a chaos agent who wrecked the economy. Show them how good the economy is now. Make a couple of jokes about the antlers. And then bring these people home—because many of them already voted for him once.

Having a sure thing would certainly be nice, given the ongoing authoritarian threat we face. But there isn’t one. Joe Biden is the best deal democracy is going to get.

Rick Hasen: Supreme Court Opens the Door to Potential Chaos

The Supreme Court’s unsigned majority opinion in Trump v. Anderson, ending Colorado’s attempt to disqualify Donald Trump from appearing on the ballot as an insurrectionist, is a remarkable self-own. It simultaneously turned what could have been a short, sweet (if weakly reasoned) unanimous holding about states not having the individual power to disqualify presidential candidates from their ballots into a bitter 5–4 dispute over the scope of Congress’ power to disqualify candidates.

And if the majority felt that it needed to take the heat from the court’s liberals and from Justice Amy Coney Barrett because it wanted to provide clarity that Congress cannot try to disqualify Trump if he appears to be reelected when Congress counts Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, 2025, it made a mess.

Leading scholars and lawyers reading the opinion already disagree over what Congress can do and how, keeping the door open to potential chaos. It’s a rare miss by a usually strategic and savvy Chief Justice John Roberts.


Ankush Khardori: The Enormous Pressures About to Land on Judge Tanya Chutkan

The Supreme Court seemed to drop a bomb this week when the justices agreed to hear Donald Trump’s claim that he is immune from prosecution for trying to overturn the 2020 election. But the fallout may not be as clear-cut as it seems.

Almost immediately after the court’s order, a consensus seemed to form among the pundit class: that it will now be impossible for Trump’s trial in Washington to take place before the election. Here is the reality — tentative and messy, perhaps, but true nonetheless: Trump’s trial in Washington can still start before November given the time available on the calendar. Trump’s trial also should start before November given the intense public interest.

Whether it will start before November at this point will ultimately be up to the Supreme Court and presiding U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan — who may soon have to confront one of the most challenging and politically controversial legal questions in American history as the result of a confluence of events that she had nothing to do with.


Paul Rosenzweig: With Trump’s SCOTUS Appeal, Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied

Sometimes the law mandates delay and no one can do anything about it. But there is nothing mandatory at all about what the Supreme Court has done with Donald Trump’s appeal. On the contrary, the decision to hear his petition for presidential immunity and delay his criminal trial for the January 6 insurrection is an affirmative choice.

What could possibly be different here—especially when it seems almost self-evident that the Trump criminal matter calls out, as no other case can, for prompt resolution? The Court must understand that its delay means the trial will likely not occur before the election, and the only reasonable conclusion is that a majority of the Court wants it that way.

And that, in the end, is the most terribly depressing part of this episode. Those who have seen the courts as the final guardrail against Trumpist authoritarianism now must face the prospect that they are not. Adjudication of law is becoming a Kabuki theater of politics masquerading as reason. The courts are no surcease. The only answer, if one exists, is at the ballot box. Perhaps even that will not suffice—after all, Trump has already been defeated once, and that brought no justice. But the alternative—that justice is to be permanently denied—is too grim a circumstance to contemplate.


Bess Levin: Melania Trump Wanted to Humiliate Her Husband After the Stormy Daniels Hush Money Deal Came to Light

Last March, shortly before Donald Trump was criminally charged for his hush money deal with Stormy Daniels, we learned that Melania Trump was still angry with her husband over the alleged affair and didn’t care if he ended up going to prison for it. So it’s pretty unsurprising to learn that when the allegations first came out that he’d paid a porn star six figures to keep quiet about cheating on his spouse, Melania was extra pissed about it and feeling pretty ungenerous toward the then president, refusing to join Trump on a trip abroad and instead headed to Mar-a-Lago without him.

Four years later, Melania appeared to communicate a similar message when she didn’t show up for Trump’s speech at Mar-a-Lago (a.k.a. her home), following his arraignment by the Manhattan district attorney on 34 felony charges stemming from the hush money deal. (He pleaded not guilty and has denied the affair.) At the time, reporter Linda Marx revealed that the former first lady did not sympathize with Donald’s plight. A source familiar with the matter said, Despite what happens to Donald, she will be fine.

The hush money trial—Trump’s first but not last criminal one—is scheduled to kick off on March 25. Prosecutors in the case have already requested a gag order preventing him from attacking known or likely witnesses, court staff, the DA’s staff and their families, and any potential jurors.

Franklin Foer: The Real Reason Trump Loves Putin

For nearly the entirety of the past decade, a question has stalked, and sometimes consumed, American politics: Why do Donald Trump and his acolytes heap such reverent praise on Vladimir Putin? The question is born of disbelief. Adoration of the Russian leader, who murders his domestic opponents, kidnaps thousands of Ukrainian children, and interferes in American presidential elections, is so hard to comprehend that it seems only plausibly explained by venal motives—thus the search to find the supposed kompromat the Kremlin lords over Trump or compromising business deals that Trump has pursued in Moscow.

But there’s a deeper, more nefarious truth about people on the right’s baffling unwillingness to criticize the Kremlin: They actually share its worldview. Putin worship isn’t even an aberration in the history of conservatism, merely the latest instance of a long tradition of admiring foreign dictators. Over the past century, without ever really blushing, the American right has similarly celebrated the likes of Adolf Hitler, Francisco Franco, and just about every Latin American military junta that called itself anti-communist.

The right hails these dictators as ideological comrades in the war to preserve traditional society, the values of order and patriarchy, against the assault of the decadent left. Unlike conservative politicians in the United States, these foreign leaders don’t even need to bother with mouthing encomiums to concepts like tolerance, freedom, and democracy. They can deliver reactionary politics in the unvarnished form that some hard-liners on the American right have always hoped would take root in their own country. As the journalist Jacob Heilbrunn argues in America Last, his history of conservatives’ romance with dictators, Conservatives have searched for a paradise abroad that can serve as a model at home.

Anne Applebaum: Why Is Trump Trying to Make Ukraine Lose?

Maybe the extraordinary nature of the current moment is hard to see from inside the United States, where so many other stories are competing for attention. But from the outside—from Warsaw, where I live part-time; from Munich, where I attended a major annual security conference earlier this month; from London, Berlin, and other allied capitals—nobody doubts that these circumstances are unprecedented. Donald Trump, who is not the president, is using a minority of Republicans to block aid to Ukraine, to undermine the actual president’s foreign policy, and to weaken American power and credibility.

For outsiders, this reality is mind-boggling, difficult to comprehend and impossible to understand. In the week that the border compromise failed, I happened to meet a senior European Union official visiting Washington. He asked me if congressional Republicans realized that a Russian victory in Ukraine would discredit the United States, weaken American alliances in Europe and Asia, embolden China, encourage Iran, and increase the likelihood of invasions of South Korea or Taiwan. Don’t they realize? Yes, I told him, they realize.

Linda Greenhouse: Let’s Thank the Alabama Supreme Court

I never thought I’d be grateful to the Alabama Supreme Court for anything, but now I am. With its decision deeming frozen embryos to be children under state law, that all-Republican court has done the impossible. It has awakened the American public, finally, to the peril of the theocratic future toward which the country has been hurtling.

Patricia Murphy: Losing the forest for the trees in the Fulton County Trump case

The underlying accusation in all of this is that Wade and Willis lied about the length of their relationship, the same relationship, mind you, that defense attorneys have failed to show is either a conflict of interest for the prosecution or a source of financial enrichment for either Willis or Wade.

The real question now is why any of this is relevant? And more than that, why are defense attorneys, including those for Trump, spending so much time trying to discredit Willis and her team and so little time trying to prove their clients’ innocence of the charges against them?


Bess Levin: After Thoroughly F**king Over America, Mitch McConnell Decides to Treat Himself to a Break

Cast your minds back to February 2021. A month prior, the president of the United States had incited a literal insurrection in an attempt to stay in power. Shortly thereafter, he was impeached, which was followed by a Senate trial. On the day the votes were cast, McConnell said the following: "There’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it. The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president. And having that belief was a foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole, which the defeated president kept shouting into the largest megaphone on planet Earth."

Those words would have been incredibly powerful if not for one thing: Moments before uttering them, McConnell voted to acquit Trump, because he is a shameless hack. As a reminder, had Trump been convicted by the Senate—which, yes, would’ve required more people than just McConnell to vote differently—the 45th president would have been barred from ever running from office again, and we wouldn’t currently be grappling with the very real chance of him winning reelection this fall.

But hey, you might be thinking, My memory is sharp and I’d like to recall more than one thing about the majority leader when he’s gone. In that case, might we recommend the current Supreme Court, which McConnell had an outsize hand in shaping: On Wednesday, it said that it will take up Trump’s claims of immunity at the end of April. Which is very good for the ex-president and very, very bad for the fate of democracy.


Teri Kanefield: Why Some Prefer Oligarchy and (🎶) What’s Russia got to do, got to do with it? (🎶)

In the 1930s, America’s right-wing wanted the United States to emulate Germany. Today, America’s right-wing wants the United States to emulate Putin’s Russia.

Putin’s supporters don’t think worse of him because he made himself wealthy by seizing power and control of the nation’s resources. They think better of him. He’s strong enough and smart enough to able to reverse the evils of Western debauchery. He’s strong enough to keep order in Russia and to flex his muscles on the world stage.

Similarly, Trump’s supporters don’t think worse of him because he made himself wealthy by cheating on taxes and laundering Russian money. They don’t think the wealthy should have to pay taxes and they believe liberty means the freedom to sell property to anyone at any price.

And that, my dearies, is why the Republicans are willingly partnering with Russian oligarch-gangsters (and why they continue to support Trump).

They are not being duped or fooled. They are not credulous morons being manipulated by the wily Russians. They are allies.

Philip Bump: Hunter Biden gives House Republicans the rebuttal they didn’t want

Hunter Biden’s appearance in front of investigators and members of the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees unfolded a bit like a Bruce Lee movie.

Republican legislators and interviewers challenging the president’s son on the House majority’s behalf would throw out an allegation, often one that’s been worn smooth after tumbling around in the right-wing media universe for the past year or two. And Biden would invariably swat it away, stripping off the layers of innuendo that had been applied by Donald Trump and Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) or Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) or any of myriad Fox News commentators.

This included epic battles against well-known foes, like an exchange between Hunter Biden and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), or repeated, extended back-and-forth with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.). But at no point was a question left unanswered — including through an invocation of the Fifth Amendment — or, to an objective observer, left answered with obvious incompletion.

The discussion was centered on the Republican effort in the ongoing impeachment inquiry to demonstrate that President Biden had benefited financially from Hunter Biden’s business endeavors — and, they hoped, that the elder Biden had used his position as vice president to that end. They were unsuccessful in making that case from the hearing’s first moments.

"I did not involve my father in my business," Hunter Biden said in his opening comments, "not while I was a practicing lawyer, not in my investments or transactions, domestic or international, not as a board member, and not as an artist, never." His position did not diverge from that at any point; instead, he frequently invoked this same claim over and over again as a means of cutting off one of the familiar lines of inquiry with which he was presented.

The forest remains uninteresting to those trying to build a case for impeaching President Biden. In his testimony, Hunter Biden did an effective job of also explaining why the trees Republicans had focused on weren’t that important either.